I interviewed and photographed one of my blogger besties and favorite girlbosses to work with, Tori Bouldin of The Stylette. Tori and I first connected on Instagram through a mutual love of each other's work and a shared ethos. We finally met up at a restaurant one rainy afternoon in January and after an amazing two hour conversation about social media, fashion and our moral responsibility as feminists and artists, decided to collaborate. This is the first of many collabs between us!
You're a fellow multi-hyphenate. How do you explain what you do to people who are curious?
I'm a mom, wardrobe stylist, creative director and editor-in-chief of an online media platform, The Stylette. Style by Tori B. is my own personal brand and blog documenting my life and growth as a twenty-two-year-old mom, stylist and entrepreneur. The Stylette is my second baby. I started it shortly after I found out I was pregnant in 2014. It's a fun webzine, but digital media platform sounds more sophisticated. As a digital media platform, it's a misconception that The Stylette is a blog, but that's okay. It's pretty cool that people come up to me now and tell me they love the site! I created the site from scratch, and I'm the one who oversees all the content that goes up on the site.
I've been through so much in my life that I just want to use my platforms to promote self-love and supporting others through one of the things I love most in my life which is fashion. I have a no-bashing policy on my site. No gossip, no bashing of celebrities/influencers. We only focus on the positive and important issues on The Stylette. We represent women of ALL different backgrounds and cultures and I think that's one of the reasons why people connect with the site.
Many people give in easily to fashion trends instead of creating their own signature style. Yet it's safe to say that you absolutely nailed yours. What advice would you give to those that are struggling to find their personal style within the fast fashion world that's constantly on our feeds?
Go with your gut! Seriously, you have to be true to yourself when it comes to your personal style or else it wouldn't be personal. One of my favorite style quotes is by Ralph Lauren, "Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever." Your style should be a representation of who you are and the person you want to be. If you see something that doesn't fit in with today's trends but you absolutely love it, go for it.
How much of your personal style goes into your work?
It depends. When I'm thinking of concepts of I'm styling a shoot for The Stylette, 100% of my style goes into it. The Stylette is my main creative outlet. If I'm styling a lookbook for a brand or designer, I try to incorporate my vision and creativity without taking away from their vision and the aesthetic of their work. When people look at my work, I want them to think, "That's definitely Tori B."
There is a huge debate about street style - whether people are more interested in what is going on outside the shows at Fashion Week than they are about what's being shown on the runways. How important is Fashion Week to you as a stylist and blogger and where do you stand within what seems to be this shift in perspective?
As a stylist, editor and blogger, Fashion Week is my source to know what will be trending in the upcoming seasons. It gives me loads of style inspiration on and off the runway. Honestly, street style, in my opinion, is becoming less authentic now than how it used to be. I feel like a lot of the influencers and bloggers that attend the shows dress so that they're walking advertisements for NYFW because that's what brands pay them to do.
Street style's authenticity comes from the "regular" people on the streets who are just passing by and happen to have amazing style and a personality to match. That's the type of street style I love. I'm a huge fan of Bill Cunningham's street style photography (RIP).
What is the key factor in deciding which clothes you want to pull for a shoot?
The concept of the shoot I'm styling for is key. I like to use pieces I can style in an unconventional way. Instead of "thinking outside the box", I like to think that there is no box. I like the freedom of expression when it comes to fashion and personal style. I like to make a statement and put my signature on every look I style.
Let's talk about your blog now. What's in store for 2017?
The Stylette is growing and I'm happy to say that I finally have a team! My Stylette Squad. This year we're working on some pretty dope editorials and I'm so excited that Aesthetic Distance will be on our creative team!
I'm also working on creating an offline community so that The Stylette readers can interact and create friendships through meetups, shopping events and more. We have some awesome contributors on board this year, like Taylor from Stylishly Taylored, Rosemary from The Office Goth and Lisa Callahan of The LC Studio and there are still a few more to come. I don't want to reveal too much, but I'm excited to see how far The Stylette will go in 2017.