Tuesday, May 11, 2010

featured blogger: Kyla from Blue Collar Catwalk

by frédérik sisa

If there's one thing lacking here at The Fashionoclast, it's the big picture of fashion. I focus on the elements of style, yes - shoes, accessories, and so on - but rarely on the gestalt of style. In other words, I tend to pay attention to the parts of an ensemble rather than an outfit as a whole.

Part of the reason is that I'm a "there are no rules" kind of guy. Guidelines, maybe, but no rules. Another part is that I have no interest in making myself the subject of an outfit-of-the-day kind of style blog. I don't think you'd be all that interested either. Besides, the bulk of my writing experience lies in newspapers, so that influences me a great deal.

However, fashion isn't just about the details and I would be remiss if I didn't look at the bigger picture. As I work out future big picture posts, Plan B involves connecting with fun and complementary fashionistas. Hopefully, you’ll find something to inspire you in your fashionable efforts.

Unsurprisingly, there are a LOT of blogs out there featuring ladies and their wardrobes. (If there are any male equivalents, I haven't found them.) I rarely pay attention to the big-ticket, designer-oriented blogs. Give anyone enough money to shop on Rodeo, or a family connection to the fashion industry, and I can't be surprised that they have killer style. But show me people who use the resources at hand to express themselves, and I'm interested. Thrift shops, department stores, DIY projects - the possibilities seem endless in the hands of imaginative fashion iconoclasts. Which brings me to stylish Kyla of Blue Collar Catwalk, whose mix of improvisation and DIY results in wonderfully "together" outfits. As is the custom, I consulted Torquemada's book of questions, which Kyla kindly answered.

So you live in a small town and, like me, don't have a trust fund or stock portfolio to fund extravagant expenses in fashion...where do you do your shopping, and what resources do you draw on to pull your wardrobe together?
About 6 months after starting my blog, I made a huge job transition. I used to have some expendable income that I could use on shopping. Now, that income goes towards bills, and my shopping money is pretty nonexistent. In some ways, though, I prefer it that way. The lack of cash has made me so much more creative with what I already own. And it got me back into thrifting, which I have come to love more than going to mall. For one, I know I'll be able to afford anything I find, and second, I am more likely to find a unique piece that no one else will have. And since it's so inexpensive, I'm more likely to take risks, which is ultimately what sculpts personal style. In addition to my local Goodwill, I supplement my wardrobe with basics from JCPenney, Target and discount stores like Ross and TJMaxx. It's all just about working with what you've got and keeping an open mind.

What accessories or clothes do you think are the most versatile and give you the most bang for the buck?
Jackets. Hands down. From a moto jacket to a boyfriend blazer and everything in between, I think jackets are my most valuable wardrobe staples. Not only are they practical for all seasons (even the freezing AC in summer), but they can transform outfits in any direction. A moto jacket instantly roughs up a too sweet look and a structured blazer is the perfect counterpart to a more relaxed or funky look to add a bit of polish. I just got a great fitting black blazer fairly recently and now can't believe I lasted so long without one!

(Kyla's lovely dress-sash-as-belt inspired an idea...)

I really dig the crazy pants trend in your wardrobe. How has your style evolved and what have you learned since you started blogging?
I have become so much more open-minded and creative since I've started blogging. Some of that has come with my new thrifting addiction, too. I feel like my style used to be so much more mapped out and planned ahead. Now, it's so much more organic. I open my mind and allow myself to gravitate towards the things that appeal to me in the most intrinsic ways. I'm much more willing (and excited) to step outside of my comfort zone and away from scripted trends and fashions. Nine times out of ten, the reward is worth far more than the risk. Not only do I end up loving things I would have never tried in the past, but it also helps me to get away from constantly trying to define my style. This new perspective has made fashion so much more enjoyable!

How would you sum up your style in a nugget of advice to other folks?
I like to have fun with my style and keep it ever-changing. I've definitely allowed myself to be more influenced by high fashion pieces, but then pare them down for my life and style. My best advice would really be reiterating the previous answer a bit. Open your mind, and try, try, try new things. Never write anything off just because you don't know if you can "pull it off." If you wear it in a way that makes you feel confident and good about yourself, then you are pulling it off.

What does the future hold for Blue Collar Catwalk?
Isn't that the million dollar question. Blogging has helped me to connect with a community and a part of myself that I've been seeking for a long time. I love doing it and have no intentions of putting it down anytime soon. I would like to find a way to bridge blogging and real life. I'm still searching for that niche, but I know I'm bound to find it soon.
Thanks, Kyla! For more, visit www.bluecollarcatwalk.com.


Mary said...

I love Kyla's blog! Great interview :)

Jilliebeanie said...

Kyla is fabulous. Hers is one of my very favorite blogs. Great interview.

Ebony said...

Kyla is such an inspiration. She's definitely got a good thing going over at Blue Collar Catwalk :)

Frederik Sisa said...

Glad you all liked the interview. Thanks for reading!

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