After leaving the finance world, Amanda Start pursued her passion, the fashion industry.
She created a blog, The Online Stylist, as not only a way to share her eye for style, but to interactively help people build wardrobes, select ensembles and give advice. We talk to Amanda about her site and what it takes to be an interactive fashion blogger and stylist.
Name: Amanda Start
Where did you go to school?
What was your major?
I left school at 16 and didn’t get the chance to go to college or University. So I like to think my major was getting out there and getting stuck into the world of work…early on!
When did you create The Online Stylist?
What inspired you to start your blog?
I just really wanted to write and was thrilled to discover the wonderful world of blogging. The idea that I could write and people might find it and read it was an absolute eyeopener to me and I couldn’t wait to get started.
What is the main goal of your site?
To showcase accessible style and fashion in such a way that communicates the pure joy I have for it.
On your site you offer styling services. What are the most important things to take into account when you are styling a client?
To build up the big picture as to who they are, what they really want out of the advice and to ascertain how far they’d like to be encouraged to try something different. I get the biggest buzz when clients come back and say they’ve bought something that they wouldn’t have tried before…and love it!
Did you always dream of a career in fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion but never dared to dream of a career in it. I ended up in finance & stayed there until just before I turned 40 so if I hadn’t taken redundancy and discovered blogging, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have happened. I like to think of it as fashion serendipity!
How would you describe your personal style?
For the most part I go for classics but like to add an edge with accessories or stand out detailing. Or sometimes, a real statement piece. I love a look that makes you glance at the wearer more than once and then want to make a mental note of all the details.
What items in your wardrobe could you never live without?
My Paige skinny jeans that I was introduced to by Donna Ida, all of my Michael Kors accessories and my shoe collection. I often end up planning an outfit around my shoes – they’re just a necessity, they’re a source of inspiration!
Who are your fashion icons and how do they inspire you?
Olivia Palermo for her ability to fuse together high end and high street labels in what can only be described as pure glossy genius. I’m also inspired by lots of personal style bloggers such as Blair from Atlantic Pacific, Lindsey from Saucy Glossie and Taylor from Sterling Style. I’m not only inspired by the looks they wear but how they work so hard at creating amazing blogs – the blogging world is a really motivational place to be.
Who are your top 3 favorite designers? Why?
1. Michael Kors for his brand of Manhattan luxe.
2. Chanel – it’s iconic, covetable and makes every girl dream.
3. Manolo Blahnik – his shoes are beautiful, timeless works of art. I own a pair of sandals and they’re truly cinderella heels.
Have you received any words of wisdom that you live by?
Since I’ve started blogging…many! If I had to wrap them up in one I’d say write about what you love, do it with integrity and treat others as you wish to be treated.
What does a typical day for you entail?
I walk my daughter to school and then am either chained to my desk blogging, catching up with admin or meeting a copy deadline until it’s time to pick her up. Or I’m occasionally in London attending blogger events and meetings. I love to venture up to the capital for a fashion adventure and then come back home to the peace and serenity of the New Forest.
The biggest accomplishment in my blogging career is:
I would have to say being involved in a media campaign for my favourite designer, Michael Kors. Simply because I love the brand and was so proud to be asked to represent it as part of the new Covent Garden store opening.
As a blogger, I couldn’t live without:
My iMac and iPhone…they’re the centre of my blogging universe, one at home and one on the go!
As a blogger, I can’t stand:
A sense of entitlement – it’s ugly.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt as a fashion blogger?
Be prepared to work hard….for a long time and for not a lot of recognition. Be selective with opportunities and realistic with everything…and remember to be proud of (and celebrate!) your milestone achievements.
What can we expect next from Amanda Start?
I’m always aware of how the fashion blog world is evolving and changing but also how my own life is too. You can expect a happy marriage of the two that hopefully continues to reflect who I am and what I love.
Lastly, what is your coffee of choice?
Always Nespresso…Ristretto is my kick start flavour of the day.