From her initiation into fashion to sharing shopping secrets of New York, Kelly of Sparkles and Shoes has some interesting things to share. I got to interview Kelly for this blog this Saturday, over brunch at Le Pain Quotidien in the West Village, in New York.
Kelly is a recent college graduate from Georgetown in Washington DC and has since moved to New York for her job. Even though her blog, Sparkles and Shoes is relatively new, it is pretty popular already in some niche fashion blog-o-spheres. In addition to being a fashion blogger, Kelly works in advertising, was an avid swimmer through college, loves photography and travel.
I recommend following her blog and reading her wonderful and insightful posts about fashion and blogging and everything in between.
Sid: Tell us a little bit about how you got interested in fashion
Kelly: I’ve always been interested in fashion – when I was in high-school, it was very popular to make collages of trends to put it on the cover of your notebook. At that time, my parents only subscribed to BusinessWeek and Forbes! So I decided I need to subscribe to magazines like Vogue, Glamour and Seventeen. That’s when I started appreciating trends.
I wore a uniform every day to Catholic school, so I was so excited to wear fun clothes and dress up during the weekends and started adding to my collection. Then I went to college and I was like “I can wear whatever I want at any time, yay!”. But DC, which is where I went to college at, was relatively conservative. Fashion and advertising were something I was really interested in, and I thought maybe I could do both.
Last summer I interned for the Jones Group which is an apparel holding company where I got a lot of first-hand fashion experience. I wasn’t necessarily sure if I wanted to be in the industry because that wasn’t quite what I was looking for in terms of a job but it really opened my eyes from model casting to catalog shoots and about how little things can make such a huge difference with the outfits. And after almost 3 months, spending almost every day with stylists the amount of interesting things that people put together really opened my eyes.
Sid: So how did the transition to blogging happen?
Kelly: I decided I really like fashion and I have tons of favorite things. And I would always tell my friends about this great new mascara or a great new coffee table I found at some store. So I started a blog about my favorite things and I realized how much I liked fashion.
Sid: So this isn’t your first blog?
Kelly: It is my first blog! I wanted to make more of a lifestyle blog, so three days a week I blog about fashion and the rest I blog about other things that I really like. A girl I went to college with has a very popular blog called The College Prepster. I was in classes with Carly, the writer of that blog for four years, and she would tell me about blogging and in August 2012, after two months of reading blogs, I started my own.
Sid: How did your personal style evolve over these months that you’ve been blogging?
Kelly: I am a little less conservative in what I wear. My style was very preppy and I’ve added a little more of unique pieces and I think I’ve become a little less mainstream. Certain things that bloggers do has inspired my personal style, like stacked bracelets or deciding what the neckline of my top necklace would be. I have also amassed an earring collection because I pretty much wear standard pearl studs everyday and now a couple of times a week I wear fun earrings. So I am more appreciative of fashion when writing about it and it’s influenced my style a little bit.
Sid: How much time do you spend on your blog every week?
Kelly: Actually writing posts, I would say about 5-10 hours a week. Then I spend a few more reading blogs and then a little bit more on my shopping. So say I decided I want to write a post about red shoes – did it last week. So I write the post, I feature a pair of my shoes and then I go through every website I like to find red shoes that I want to recommend to my readers.
Sid: So how do you promote your blog?
Kelly: My blog originally started out with my friends as recommendations of products. I also decided not to use my last name for privacy reasons, changed my Twitter from my last name to my middle name – I use Kelly Ann instead of my last name and I really started promoting it through Twitter. A lot of fashion bloggers follow me and I also participated in two group giveaways and got a lot of readers and membership through that. I’ve also done a few guest posts with other bloggers that I admire.
Sid: Are you happy with the overall progress you’ve made so far with your blog?
Kelly: I think I am. I think my writing has really improved and my blog has become more focused. I have gained quite a following although it is still relatively small at less than 500 followers.
Sid: How would you describe your personal style?
Kelly: I would say my personal style is still very classic preppy and conservative with a little bit of fun and fashion thrown in. I still work at an office where you have to be covered up. There’s no shorts in this office. There is no cleavage or tank-tops. Then I really like expressing myself with shoes and jewelry.
I would also describe my style as a combination of investment pieces like pea coats and high quality, well made boots and less expensive more trendy things. I also believe fashion extends not only to your wardrobe but also to your jewelry, hair and makeup. When putting together a look I try to keep all of these things in mind to create a cohesive package fit for the event or situation. For accessories, including jewelry and bags, my favorites are Michael Kors and Kate Spade. For make up, I am a Sephora junkie, especially NARS and Urban Decay.
Sid: So what are your favorite accessories?
Kelly: I like statement necklaces – the one I am wearing, and I really like watches. I’ve collected quite a few and appreciate that as presents and a lot of my friends, for birthday or Christmas, get together and buy me a watch. It is also specially important in my industry to make sure I know what time it is for meetings and conferences; especially with clients when it is not appropriate to pull out your phone. And I like shoes; you can wear whatever kind of shoes you want at my office, so shoes are definitely a way I express myself.
Sid: Is there any recurring color themes in your outfits?
Kelly: Royal Blue. Royal Blue is my color and I wear tons and tons of Royal Blue. My eyes change colors and sometimes they are blue and when I wear Royal Blue it tends to bring it out. I also really like turquoise for accessories. I have turquoise earrings, bracelets and watches. My main two watches have turquoise on them.
Sid: Which neighborhoods/areas in the city do you find to be the most fashionable?
Kelly: I really appreciate SoHo between Canal and Houston. That to me is a very eclectic group of people and I also think Williamsburg has some amazing fashions and not necessarily things I would wear but things I appreciate how people make put outfits together. I also really like the West Village. The Upper East to me is a little too conservative.
Sid: How do you get the inspiration for what you wear? Any specific process you go through when you put together a new outfit?
Kelly: Usually, the night before I decide what to wear and try to vary it up, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday I wear pants or Tuesday, Thursday, and other days I wear skirts or dresses, so it depends on what I wore the day before because I really try to vary it up. I also try to vary my color palette, so if I wore red today, the next day I’ll go with blue and the day after I’ll go with black. So I try and vary the colors and I have a great walking closet with a lot of options to choose from.
Sid: So you went to school in DC, right? How do you compare the fashion sense of the two cities, now that you are in New York.
Kelly: New York is infinitely better! Going to school at Georgetown was a very specific style – very preppy or very sporty. Basketball shorts to class were a very common thing which made me cringe. And if you went downtown it was either tourists or politics. Politics involved a very set look – very conservative, very neutral. New doesn’t really do neutral! I say that with a grain of salt because New Yorkers including myself love black. But, they are not afraid of color and it is not monotones of gray and black. I think New York is infinitely more fashionable.
Sid: Do you have any hidden gems in New York you go to shop at and would like to share? Probably something that isn’t very popular?
Kelly: I like going south of Canal on Broadway. There are a bunch of very small boutiques that carry a lot of interesting clothes that are not too revealing but still have very unique patterns. I am not a huge fan of things with logos. A Luis Vuitton bag with the pattern all over it is not really my style.
Sid: Do you have any favorite brands or do you prefer more indie stuff?
Kelly: I definitely have favorite brands like J Crew. I like different patterned tops from Anthropologie. I shop a lot for basics at Ann Taylor and Loft. If I want to keep up with a trend but am not sure if that’s going to stay, I do very grudgingly shop at Forever 21, and understand that the pieces are not the best made and probably only going to last for that season.
Sid: Do you ever shop online?
Kelly: The only real time I shop for clothes online is when I am at the store and I try on something and they don’t have it in my size, then I’ll order it online. Or if it is a brand like J.Crew or Ann Taylor because I know this fit of pant in this size is what I buy.
Sid: What are your hobbies besides fashion?
Kelly: I love photography. I love taking pictures of anything and everything. My Instagram is all over the place but it’s things that I find unique. I also love traveling. I have had great opportunity growing up going to tons of different countries and places. With swimming I was lucky to go to national meets all over the country so I’ve spent a good amount of time in very small towns and some in very large cities I am not sure I would ever have visited if there wasn’t a swim meet there. I try and take at least one trip a quarter, so four trips a year. I am also getting into cooking – not so good at it yet, but I am trying and I really enjoy the challenge!
Sid: Which social networks do you spend most of your time on?
Kelly: Personally I spend time on Facebook, but not as much with my blog. I mainly promote my blog through Twitter and use it as an extension of my favorite things so i’ll post half about things about my blog and about current events and my day to day life. I am also a huge fan of Pinterest. That’s partially where I get some style inspiration, both for my outfits and what I want to talk about.