Sea of Shoes blogger Jane Aldridge and almost every other well-known fashion blogger on the planet have imparted their style advice in a comprehensive new book called Style Yourself (WeldonOwen, $24.95), which is billed as “inspired advice from the world’s top personal style bloggers.” Everyone from Tavi to Susie Lau to Jazzi McGill is in there (as well as contributions from 92 other bloggers). The book is in essence a guide to styling for everyone from aspiring fashion bloggers to regular folks who don’t know the difference between a dolman sleeve and a bell sleeve and how to tell which style looks best on them.
We chatted with Jane, who penned the introduction to the book, to find out why she decided to lend her voice and eye to this project, what she’s got in the works, and her take on the whole fashion blogger phenomenon.
Fashionista: You’re very selective about the projects and collaborations you choose to work on–why did you decide to get involved with Style Yourself?
Jane Aldridge: They approached me and I thought it would be a good fit. It’s hard to go into your closet everyday and pull an outfit together. So it’s so helpful to have this book as a reference guide. It made so much sense to me. People try to focus their wardrobes around key pieces. They’re looking to find a look they like and not jump all around to discover it, so I think having this index of everything that’s out there is great because different things look good on different people.
Would you ever want to write your own book?
I’m working on a lot of different stuff right now but, as always, I’m not allowed to say. Things are definitely changing a lot right now.
A lot of personal style bloggers have a front-row presence at fashion week, but you never go to runway shows. Would you ever want to venture into that world?
I would love to go to a designer’s show that I really love but at the same time it’s such a circus. It’s more in my comfort zone to stay away from that. That’s not what I’m about. I don’t cover current fashion and I don’t think it makes sense to me to go to every show. I still haven’t ever been to a fashion show but I’m not saying it won’t happen.
Do you have a top three list of designer shows you’d like to attend?
Oh, I wouldn’t be so bold as to name them.
What’s your take on personal style bloggers who do want to be in the middle of the circus? How do you feel about the attention bloggers are getting from big brands like K-Mart and from established labels?
I think with the brands, something hit them upside the head and they were like, ‘Oh bloggers, we need them.” I can see the collaborations are slowly evolving to be better fits for brands and bloggers. But I think it’s cool that some bloggers are doing their own thing. I really like what Luxirare is doing right now.
There are a lot of bloggers featured in this book, which do you love to read and get inspired by?
Almost all of them. I’ve been reading so many of their blogs for so long so it’s great to have them in all in this book. I try to follow as many fashion blogs as I can but they multiply everyday. I’m really fond of Style Bubble because I’ve been reading her blog from the very beginning and it’s so amazing to see what she’s become today. She’s an empire now.
In your introduction to the book you talk a bit about how the suburbs of Dallas weren’t a very inspiring place, style-wise, to grow up in. Is that still true for you? How do people react now to the way you dress and have reactions changed as you’ve seen more and more success with your blog?
Out here in the suburbs there’s not really anyone to relate to. The thing that made me mad was that people were very contemptuous of the fact that I wanted to dress up. ‘Oh you’re so silly,’ ‘Oh you’re so frivolous,’ ‘That’s so stupid to want to look different,’ they’d say. You have to conform. And I was looked down upon for wanting to look different. It’s still that way today. But there are parts about living in Texas that I really love. And i wouldn’t want to move to New York.
Why do you say you wouldn’t want to move to New York?
Everyone always asks me if I’m going to move to New York! So no, not anytime soon. I enjoy a lot of things about Texas. Dallas has amazing vintage.
What are your favorite vintage stores in Dallas?
Vintage Martini in Carrollton, Archive Vintage and V.O.D Boutique right by the W hotel.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you want to work in fashion?
I don’t want to paint myself into a corner. I’m having so much doing what I’m doing right now. The projects I’m working on right now are super gratifying and I’m learning so much. I’m happy where I’m at right now but things are changing that’s for sure.
Any parting advice for aspiring fashion bloggers or people looking to find their own style?
As for advice for bloggers I would say become more tech savvy because that’s what I didn’t know about when I started and I’m just catching up now. If you have those technical skills then you’re empowered to do anything you want with your blog. The more that I’ve learned about photography and HTML and things like that the more I feel I’m in control of my blog.
For personal style, I don’t know if I’m in any position to give advice on that. I feel so condescending when I give personal style advice. People have to do their own thing.