Thursday, March 21, 2013

behind the blog: chioma's evolution of style

I'm so happy to have Chioma here this week for Behind the Blog. I'm always excited to see what Chioma is going to wear next - her outfits are always so cheerful and bright, yet put together. She's definitely a style inspiration for me.
Tell us what motivated you to start blogging. Were you following a lot of personal style/fashion blogs before you started blogging?

 I have always loved fashion and hoarded fashion magazines since I was a teen, so when personal style/fashion blogs started popping up on my radar, I stalked those too! Some of the main ones were Style Pantry, Zarna’s Runway, Atlantic Pacific (seriously, who doesn’t follow her? She’s fabulous!), and HRH Collection’s blog! My boyfriend (now Fiancé) at the time got tired of me always reading fashion blogs and recreating looks to wear and suggested I start one and share my own personal style in the fashion community and add my own voice. After much prodding, here we are, almost two years later, I’m still loving sharing my personal style, and making friends in this blogging community. I’m glad he gave me that gentle push, and he has continued to encourage me the whole way, even when I doubted myself. I’m so glad I started, because style blogging has forced me out of my box to experiment with different trends and to develop my own niche in personal style.

Which blogs do you read every day? 

I follow way more blogs through my Google reader and Bloglovin than I care to admit (I plan to delete a ton and focus on blogs I truly love), and I always try to read the blogs of lovely readers that comment on my posts! But I love to read Zarna’s Runway, Suburbanfaux-pas, The Serena Saga, In The City with Crystalin, Lilly’s Style and of course your blog daily!

Who takes your pictures? What camera and lens do you use? Have you ever been caught in the act of taking these?

My lovely sister takes my pictures for me! She has been so patient with me and I’m so thankful for her! My fiancé has taken a few too! I am actually planning on investing in a tripod and remote for days when they are busy and I’m inspired to share a look! We use a Canon Rebel T3i; my fiancé got me for Christmas, and the lens that came in the kit. I’m really enjoying learning about photography, and while there have been a few bumps in the road, some shown on the blog, it’s been exciting!

I have been caught in the act!  A couple of my friends who live in the neighborhood have come out to say hi while we were taking shots and they were really sweet about it but I was still a little embarrassed. Once, the maintenance guys were walking around collecting dog poop and we had to move out of the way, so yea, that was awesome! Lol! I’ve actually gotten braver though, I used to be paranoid that my neighbors were all secretly peeking at me out of their windows but now I just push that thought away and pretend to give ‘em a good show if they are! ;) 

Do people in real life know about your blog? What were their reactions when they found out about your blog?

My immediate family and friends definitely know about it! I was shy at first, but I’m really proud of my blog and wanted to share it with them. My girlfriends know how much I love fashion and shopping and are always asking me to help them style looks, so it was kind of expected and they support me. Very few coworkers know and I like it that way. I have shared a few looks on my Facebook page but I really don’t think people understand why I’m posting so many pictures of myself so I don’t stopped. I now solely share posts/looks on my Facebook “fan” page so that those that are interested in fashion can check them out.

Your outfits are always so bright and cheerful – what is your advice for those just starting to experiment with color (ahem…like me)?

Thanks Fran! Well growing up, I gravitated towards darker colors because I didn’t want to stand out or be noticed. But as I got older and started developing my own style and confidence I disliked wearing black and brown more and more. I felt the two colors washed me out while looking great on others lol. I strongly believe bright colors can affect one’s mood. It can be gloomy outside or you could be having a bad day and if you see/wear a bright color it instantly brightens your mood/day!

My advice on experimenting with color is to  just get your toes wet and start off gradually incorporating one pop of color into each look. Whether it is in the form of an accessory until you’re comfortable with whole articles of clothing, soon you will begin feeling more comfortable wearing color. And I don’t mean regular colors, I mean vibrant colors. After doing that for a while and getting comfortable and gaining confidence, try adding 2 pieces of color, and then 3! Soon, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

I have been asked this question a lot lately, so I am going to work on a more in depth post to answer this question soon on the blog.

Many fashion bloggers hop from one trend to the next. How do you manage to stay on trend without breaking the bank and just blindly following each trend?

I think I learned in college the hard way about gravitating to every trend and style because it’s popular at the moment. I would have saved so much money had I known what I know now. Don’t get me wrong, some new trends do excite me and if it’s a risky piece that I’m not sure I will love and wear for a long time, that’s what the thrift store, forever 21, target, and h&m are for! Style is always repeating itself so you can’t go wrong in a thrift store/consignment shop if you want to experiment with the latest trend. I refuse to pay inflated prices for passing trends that aren’t always made of the best quality. I also don’t enjoy looking like others so that helps as well. Also knowing who you are and what you like helps a lot. I love seeing certain trends and pieces on other women but I also know what works for my body and what pieces make me feel beautiful and comfortable.

Colorful, unique blazers? Yes!  (seen here, here, & here) A great pair of boots, or jeans?? Heck yes!  (seen here, here, & here) Scarves, statement necklaces, and midi/maxi skirts?? Also winners in my book! (seen here, here, & here)I try and focus on investing in quality pieces that I will want to wear 10 years from now and if the piece doesn’t fit in that category then I think twice about it or I thrift it ;)

Putting yourself on the internet comes with the expectation that not everyone will always love what you are wearing and writing. Have you encountered any of these criticisms, and if so, how do you handle it?

You’re so right and that is what kept me from starting a blog sooner. The fear of judgment, negativity or someone being mean because they didn’t like how I wore a look freaked me out a little. It doesn’t happen often, but I just hate seeing negative comments being left on fellow bloggers’ posts. I really have no time for that kind of negativity. We are all different and there is NO way we can like every outfit we see, so there is no reason to be negative or try to bring someone down. (I subscribe to the rule I teach my students: If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all)

I have been very blessed to have such lovely readers who always leave sweet and constructive comments. I have no problem with constructive criticism, because there is always room for growth but if a comment is left on my blog to be mean or spiteful, it will be immediately deleted and life will continue without them J

What has been the best thing to come out of blogging? 

Gosh, where do I start? I have “met” some wonderful ladies who I have SO much in common with! I have developed some great friendships and not a week goes by where I don’t find a new blog that inspires me and I immediately follow them! To be able to talk about frilly, frivolous things like fashion and know that other women understand you is amazing.

Blogging has also helped me develop a working wardrobe. Not only am I more conscious of what pieces I spend my money on, I have pieces that can be re-styled over and over and I get so excited about forming new looks from old pieces. My personal style has also developed through blogging. Seeing yourself on a blown up picture online, for the world to see, is the best and worst type of mirror to have lol. It has really helped me in learning what looks good on me and what doesn’t.

I think blogging is something that forces you to be open, vulnerable and creative. This little blog has provided a creative outlet for me, in the midst of work and grad school that I desperately needed. It’s been a haven where I can share my personal style and at the same time, discover new passions such as writing and now photography. I’m so excited to see this blog grow this year and meet even more fabulous ladies!

When it comes to promotion of your blog, what methods do you use? Do you spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs, pinning your looks, doing link ups?

I try to promote my blog through the following sites at least once on the day of the post and the next day, because I post 3x a week: (Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook) I also try and respond to all or most of comments on my posts and visit their respective blogs and comment at night. I submit most of my posts through the Lucky Style Collective, but I’m not so sure that it’s garnered any new traffic to my site. I participate in link ups on 2 out of the 3 days I blog, during the week and I try and comment more on new blogs on those days as well.

What tips or suggestions do you have for your fellow bloggers? 

I would strongly suggest creating real relationships with other bloggers through genuinely commenting and even emailing. Even simple things like retweeting a post on Twitter or liking a picture and commenting on Instagram are ways to get to know other bloggers outside of their comment boxes. When I say “genuinely comment” on other bloggers’ post, I mean if they’ve shared their weekend or something of interest in a post, don’t be the blogger that says “cute bag” in response. Or even worse, don’t be the blogger that spams comment boxes asking to be followed. Just like in real life, on the internet, people can tell when you’re being a real person or when you have an agenda.

Also try and find your niche out of so many bloggers and figure out who your target audience is. As much I enjoy reading high fashion blogs, my blog is not a high fashion blog. I want my blog to reflect my personal style as one that is realistic, affordable, vibrant, chic, and fun! And I want readers to come to my blog and want to stay because after they’ve read a few posts, they think, “I would totally be friends with her!” or “I wanna go shopping with her!” I don’t take myself very seriously and I just try to have fun with it.

Thanks so much for featuring me in this awesome series Fran! I hope to see all of your beautiful faces on the blog soon! 

Thank you so much Chioma! Go visit Chioma's Evolution of Style and then come back next week to read about Fizz & Frosting.