Your chic votes made Andrea_K one of our Style Icons for April. Read this interview and learn more about her; like how she finds style inspiration from her badass father and how natural and resourceful creativity first sparked her interest in fashion.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from a small rural town called Ravenna in West Michigan. However, the last six years I’ve called Lansing, the capital, home. I attended Michigan State University in East Lansing and found a great job locally after college.
What is your job?
I work in public relations/marketing for Capital Area Michigan Works! Which is a government workforce development agency. My title is Assistant Communications Officer and it involves assisting in communications strategic planning, executing all tactics—such as press release writing, event planning, photography, etc. I’m also an associate photographer for Jason Aten Photography; a boutique wedding studio and I freelance write for a couple publications.
What inspires you?
My dad’s sense of style has definitely rubbed off on me. He still rocks the leather jackets and vests, black jeans, motorcycle boots and leather cuffs inscribed with the Blue Oyster Cult initials. Friends always thought he was some sort of escaped convict, but he was simply a badass. And I find myself drawing from his personal style aesthetic to inspire my own.
When did you first become interested in fashion?
As young as I can remember I’ve been interested in fashion and personal style. I grew up in a single income, working class family with five siblings so money was always tight. I was such a creative child. I spent my childhood piecing together hand me downs and attempting to redesign them with scissors and thread. I never wanted people to know my family was poor so I did the best I could from a young age to develop my personal sense of style and differentiate myself.
Has your fashion sense changed over the years?
My sense of fashion has definitely changed over the years; I’m shaped by my environment. In college, my style was much more casual. There was no need for me to be interested in much else and spend my money on unnecessary items if I would mostly be attending class. Yet, I was exposed to so much more after leaving my small, rural, white people bubble and became even more interested in fashion.
Now that I have a full time career and other endeavors I pursue, I want to purchase versatile pieces that I can wear to work and dress down for fun and play. I also take more risks and will try virtually anything, which I would never do before joining Chictopia.
Since you said you take more risks, is there are particular style or item that you’ve tried that you can recall never trying before or being afraid to wear?
I was particularly afraid of harem and tapered pants and even tall heels. Yet, since joining sites like Chictopia, I think, “Hey, why not?” I get to see real girls like me trying these out and I’m constantly inspired by their styles. I used to be hesitant to deviate too much from the norm in my town and my conservative work environment, but now that I feel comfortable and confident in my job and with life altogether, I feel like I’m much more open to taking more risks and occasionally attracting odd looks from strangers!
Where do you like to shop?
I like to shop at a variety of places including a few local shops in Lansing, American Apparel, Barneys Co Op, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Zara. I also love bluefly.com.
What does “style” mean to you?
Style is just a loose term to describe someone’s way of expressing themselves. I think everyone has a sense of style and whether or not someone believes it’s a good style varies from person to person.
Who are your style icons?
All my style icons are actual Chictopians. The Haute Pursuit, Sterling Style, Fashion Distraction, and Carolines Mode are just a few of my favorites.
What do you feel best wearing?
I feel best in something comfortable: an oversized tee and jeans with a leather jacket of course.
What do you like about Chictopia?
Chictopia is such a positive community. And it feels like an actual community. I feel more connected through Chictopia with other fashion/style enthusiasts.
Through Chictopia, I’ve been able to make friends, especially through attending the Chictopia10 conference. I even flew out to Philadelphia recently to visit Kim of “Crowded Closet”:http://www.crowdedcloset.com that I met there because she was so incredibly awesome. It’s crazy to think that if I didn’t join Chictopia, I would never have met such amazing people and made these great friends. I’ve even grown closer to one of my best friends Tieka of Selective Potential because of our mutual interest in fashion and fashion blogging.
What is your favorite trend for spring?
My favorite trend for spring is the neutral colors trend. I mostly wear black, but I’ve been inspired by blogs and girls on Chictopia in khaki and blush colored clothing and they look so chic. Sterling Style has been my top inspiration. I’ve already made a couple purchases inspired by this trend!
Any fashion you absolutely hate?
There is nothing I hate. There are just things I can pull off and things I can’t. I might not like something and then I see a photo of someone looking fabulous and then I instantly like it.
Any fashion advice?
Wear what you feel most comfortable in and you’ll feel confident. There have been days when I try too hard and I don’t feel quite like myself and it does the opposite of what I intended of doing.
Okay, rapid fire:
Heels or flats? Heels. I like to pretend I’m tall.
Vintage or designer? Designer. I’m a lazy shopper and it’s easier this way.
Winter or summer? Summer. Michigan snow=hell.
Big bag or mini bag? Big bag. I like to pack my life’s belongings wherever I go.
Plaid or stripes? Stripes. I just love stripes.
For more of Andrea visit her Chictopia blog or her personal blog: Blonde Bedhead.
~”Rebecca: The Clothes Horse