With the rise of the internet and fashion blogging, today, many of us are more inspired by what we see on the pages of a blog than by fashion magazines. We are inspired by real girls, with real bodies, who look like us. These girls don’t have the budget of a magazine editor or the wardrobe of a fashion department - they shop in thrift stores and malls just like us, and create inspiring, achievable ensembles we can all emulate.
To celebrate the many fabulous fashion bloggers out there, in this series, I will be interviewing some of my favorites and finding inspiration in their styles, giving you tips and creating affordable outfits based on their looks. First up is the gorgeous Maria, of Lulu Letty.
Maria, of Lulu Letty, is a full-time blogger with an amazing sense of style. Her outfit posts are always something special - she doesn’t follow the crowd or pay attention to trends. Her love of vintage and vintage-inspired looks is clear in her clothing choices, which include peter pan collars, high-waisted trousers, and feminine shapes. Her makeup is similarly classic; it's rare to see her in something other than her trademark red lips and flicks of jet-black eyeliner.
What I love most about Maria’s style is that despite its uniqueness, it can easily be imitated. While she does occasionally wear jeans, her look is much more about mixing vintage-inspired skirts and dresses with contemporary pieces - something we can all do with items in our own closets.
One of my other favorite things about Maria’s style is her ability to mix masculine and feminine styles. She isn’t afraid of a pair of pants or an oversized blazer. Yet she mixes these pieces with light, feminine blouses or tailored shorts in order to show off those enviable curves and avoid looking overly androgynous.
Our Interview with Maria
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (who you are/what you do/where you're from, etc.).
"My name is Maria, I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and post-college lived in the Boston area for almost six years. I currently live in Michigan again with my husband, Cole and two dogs, Wellie and Pip. This summer I’ll be moving to Minneapolis. I blog full time."
2. How would you define your style?
"My style can be a bit all over the place. Sometimes very girlie and sometimes very masculine. The thing that never changes is my love of classic vintage styles. Another blogger once defined my style as 'classic Americana with a twist,' and I think that works quite well!"
3. How did you find your sense of style?
"Through a lot of trial and error. I’ve tested out many different looks, from hippie to punk, to preppy and vintage. I would say my look now leans towards the latter, but has a small element of each style."
4. What inspired you to start a style blog? What motivates you to keep blogging?
"I was really bored with my life and style. I was definitely in a rut. One happy day I accidentally stumbled upon Rhiannon’s blog, Liebemarlene and that changed everything. After spending a whole day reading her blog, I immediately decided to try my hand at a style blog. I think what motivates me is my deep love of clothing and the quest for finding my personal style. I’m not very inspired by high-end fashion nor runway shows, but by what normal girls wear everyday."
5. Did you go to college? What was your college experience like?
"I did go to college at Michigan State University and graduated with a BS in Merchandising Management. My college experience was a bit humdrum. It was such a huge state school that I never really found my place there. The one good thing that happened was meeting Cole my freshman year."
6. Where do you like to shop?
7. What advice do you have for students interested in being stylish on a college budget?
"Thrift, thrift, thrift and then thrift some more. I used to thrift a little in college, but during my days (1999-2003) everyone was obsessed with labels. If you didn’t have a Juicy velour outfit, LV mini bag and North Face fleece, you were nothing. It was very ridiculous. Thanks to thrifting celebs like Alexa Chung, it’s now more acceptable to wear vintage and second hand pieces."
8. Who/what inspires you?
"Classic film stars like Katharine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Grace Kelly, Louise Brooks, Audrey Hepburn and Diane Keaton. Likewise, I love old movies. My favorites are The Philadelphia Story, Rear Window, Funny Face and Annie Hall."
9. What are the pieces you couldn't live without?
"Probably all my thrifted finds like my Saint James shirt and all my vintage coats."
10. What advice do you have for new bloggers or people considering starting a blog?
"Do it! You’ll always find several reasons why you shouldn’t, but ignore those reasons and go for it!"
How to dress Like Maria
If you want to create a classic, vintage-inspired look like Maria’s, here are my tips for achieving her aesthetic.
1. Look for vintage, or vintage-inspired pieces.
Don’t be afraid of vintage and thrift store shopping. Maria loves classic dresses with Peter Pan collars and wears them with other vintage-inspired pieces, such as ankle socks and oxfords. If this is a little overwhelming, vintage pieces can look just as great paired with modern pieces like a leather jacket or wedges. If you’re struggling to find real vintage pieces on a budget, check out Modcloth's vintage-inspired dresses and skirts.
2. Don’t be afraid of masculine elements.
While many of Maria’s outfits are perfectly feminine and girly, she looks equally fantastic in high-waisted trousers and tailored shorts. If your usual style is ultra-girly, it would definitely be fun to play around with masculine pieces, such as an oversized blazer or a bowler hat.
3. Layer, layer, layer.
Maria is a Midwestern girl, so she always throws a jacket or cardigan over her dresses. She also loves wearing chunky cardigans over everything. For more on layering while keeping your shape, like Maria does, see our guide to layering without looking lumpy.
4. Play with color.
Maria does a great job at mixing neutrals - navys and tans, grays and blacks - but she also loves to add an unexpected splash of color. Try adding a pop of red or blue to an otherwise-neutral outfit for a similar look.
5. Find your signature beauty look.
Maria is known for her trademark red lip and eyeliner flick, but if that isn’t your thing, find your own beauty trademark that is completely new. This adds a stamp of individuality to your look, no matter what you wear.
Outfits Inspired by Maria
To help get your inspiration going, I have created two outfits inspired by Maria - one appealing to the masculine side of her style, and one tending towards the feminine. I have tried to keep the vintage-inspired aspects of Maria's style while still using pieces from college budget-friendly stores.
This girly, bow-adorned blouse is a perfect complement to this oversized, masculine blazer. Knee socks and a trapper hat give the look a cute vibe while shorts and lace up boots add a bit of a trendy edge.
This look is a much more feminine representation of Maria's style, channeling her statement red lips and black-lined eyes. Maria is a huge fan of vintage-style dresses and this Peter-Pan collared dress is perfect. Add knee socks and brogues to avoid an overly girly look.
What do you think?
Are you looking forward to the rest of this series? Which other bloggers would you like to see featured in this series? Will you be experimenting with Maria's style? Let us know in the comments!