I’m always fascinated by other people’s life stories, and since I’m going through a bit of a life transition, I’ve been reflecting on my own path. My adult life has looked like this:
get bachelor’s of music | take a year off to freelance as a musician | get master’s of music | move to nyc | fall in love with nyc | work in arts administration | decide to try performing as a career again | win a spot in the New World Symphony | fall in love with future husband | follow future husband to St. Louis | teach music in public schools | work in arts administration again | become Director of Education for the St. Louis Symphony
So how did I end up with a fashion blog and a personal styling business?
Fashion was always my first love. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama. As early as I can remember, I wanted clothes or shopping “sprees” ("spree" consisting of choosing one item) for my birthday. My favorite time of year was when we got to go to Sears and pick out our back-to-school clothes. Every weekend, I read the Sunday ad papers. At my granny’s (my southern grandma, as opposed to my California grandma), my sisters and I would look though every page of the phone-book sized J.C.Penney catalog. Of course, both of these things were the prescursors to my obsession with internet shopping. When I was about 12, I started checking out Vogue magazine from the library. In the early 90's, when other girls in my high school were sporting hoodies and North Face windbreakers (I went to high school in the Pacific Northwest), I was doing my best to emulate Kate Moss. I actually once asked my mom, “Do I look ‘waif’-ish?”. I can only imagine how horrified she must have been to have to answer a question like that from a teenage girl, but she seemed to understand that it wasn’t about weight, but about a “look”.
I also played music for most of my childhood, first violin and then bass. When it came time to choose a career path, I went in that direction and started college at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Fashion was still the thing I thought about when not in the practice room, and I rebelled against the dreadlocked, unwashed masses of “Obies” by cultivating a classic look on a non-existent budget (see: beginning of love affair with thrift stores). I finished my degree and added a Master’s degree at Rice University, during which time I actually made a New Year’s resolution to “wear more black”. Checked that one off the list!
If you know anyone who’s a classical musician, you know that it takes a laser focus with blinders on to get anywhere in the profession, so I kept my nose to the grindstone with various music-related detours. However, all along the way, I kept shopping, experimenting with fashion, reading fashion magazines and blogs, and keeping up on each season’s fashion shows, even if I didn’t have anyone to discuss Dries Van Noten’s latest collection with. All my life, people have complimented me on my style and taste, but I constantly downplayed any attention - the “oh, this old thing?” routine. Friends, family, and people I’d just met at parties would ask me to help them shop, clean out their closet, or decide what to wear. For a few people who really hated shopping, I did it for them as a favor. With others, I’d give my advice and text them when I saw something that would be perfect for them.
I gradually realized this was something I might have a talent for, an eye for. I realized it might be something, not unlike music, that could help people feel better in their daily lives. That maybe knowing every item in stock in every store could actually come in handy for something. Finally, after lots of therapy and gentle prodding by my husband (his response when I told him I wanted to do this for a career: “Duh. I wondered how long it was going to take you to figure it out”), here I am, following my dream. Wish me luck.