Fun fact: Over five years ago, in July 2013, I started interning at Who What Wear. It was the summer before my senior year of college and as a business major with just two short prior internships, I had little other experience or real qualifications for a career in fashion. I did, however, have a strong sense of personal style, a surprising amount of confidence in my own taste for a 21-year-old, and the ability to take direction, learn quickly, and know when to chime in at just the right moment. These things, along with amazing mentorship, supervisors, and a good chunk of luck, led me to a job shortly after graduation—and five years later, here we are.
I can now call my old supervisor, Michelle Scanga, one of my work BFFs; I've gotten to style countless photo shoots and write hundreds of articles; attend fashion shows and events I never imagined I'd be at; and have been lucky enough to go to work every day, first in L.A. and now in NYC, alongside some of the most stylish women I know. Not surprisingly, this has helped shape my style as I grew from intern to editor over the years, and I learned a lot about both myself and fashion along the way. To see and read about the five biggest ways my style and overall outlook on dressing has changed since starting here, simply continue on below.
Pictured: Me and our managing editor, Michelle Scanga, on one of my first days as a full-time employee. This was the fashion closet in our old office, which I'd then manage for the next couple years. Note: the heavy filtering so indicative of the early stages of Instagram.
1. My outlook on trends is more complex
While I wish I could easily give you my take on trends in a few words these days, I guess the beauty of my new outlook on them is that it's more complex than black and white. At times, I discern that while something feels really cool at the moment, it also shows signs of being on its way out and choose to skip.
Other times I know a trend is budding and still quite small, but my intuition tells me it has staying power and it also fits in with my personal style so I invest heavily in it. While for every few decisions I get right, there's always one I might get wrong, I'm empowered by my ability to decide for myself what I want to wear, as opposed to simply getting caught up in what everyone else is doing—as I may have in the past.
It goes without saying that this comes from not just my work itself, but what I see those around me do as well. For example, I love talking to our editor in chief, Kat Collings, about a potential purchase. Our debate-like banter often has us at odds over whether something is played out or just popular enough, but regardless of whether we're in agreement, over the years, her analytic approach has definitely rubbed off on me and my own ways of decision-making.
2. I take more risks and think outside the box
As someone who has very strong convictions about what I will and won't wear, if you speak to any of my close friends or colleagues about this topic, they might tell you I'm lying about this one. However, while I'm still not what one would call a huge fashion risk-taker, over time I've become more and more willing to branch out of what I've decided "looks good on me" in favor of trying something new and possibly fun.
I also have become better about thinking outside the box and allowing my purchases to serve more than one function. For example, a dress I may have bought for an event can now also serve as one of my more casual vacation outfits when paired with the right shoe. I take pleasure in turning my "nighttime pieces" into daywear and vice versa, as well as finding new uses for various basics. My co-worker, (and deskmate) Lauren Eggertsen, is a master at this—but let's hope this compliment doesn't get to her head.
3. I appreciate great basics like never before
As a self-proclaimed white T-shirt queen, I have developed both an appreciation for and collection of amazing basics over the years and don't know where I'd be without them. I'm lucky enough to be in contact with so many amazing brands that doing research before a purchase is not just easy, but it's part of my job.
I've learned that an amazing, $45 jean jacket from ASOS can do as much for my wardrobe as my favorite Saint Laurent ankle boots and protect both with my life. One person who, since my early intern days, always stood out to me in the office as somehow having the perfect version of everything was our co-founder and CEO, Katherine Power. Whether it was a crewneck sweater, simple heeled sandals, or a black tote, her most nondescript essentials were always on point and did as much heavy lifting for her outfits as, say, her Céline skirt or Balenciaga jacket.
4. I don't just try new brands. I love them
Over the course of five years, you get to come in contact with a lot of new brands and launches, and few things are more satisfying than having a hunch one will be a hit and being right about it. It goes without saying that trying new labels before they go mainstream also allows you to cultivate a unique wardrobe that doesn't feel like an extension of what everyone else you know has.
I can recall a time when Jacquemus only sold a handful of items on its own website, people were still confusing Gianvito Rossi with his father Sergio, Attico was only an elusive Instagram account, and Simon Miller had such a small collection you had to wait for the Bonsai bag to come in stock and pounce on it. These brands, along with many others, have gone from under the radar to everywhere, reminding me that you don't need to stick to those big, established names to dress well.
5. I've *almost* mastered "polished-casual"
This might sound highly specific, but anyone who's ever worked in an office with no dress code can probably relate to the desire to look casual but still, well, good. Lucky for me, nobody accomplishes this like the staff of Who What Wear, and I've been taking notes for half a decade.
From adding a third piece to make your outfit feel all tied together to finding the perfect shoes that give you a look that's dressed-up but cool to simply investing in quality items and tailoring so that almost everything you own can feel elevated, I've picked up a lot of tricks and inspiration from those around me and continue to do so on a daily basis.
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