Virginia Chamlee is the Managing Editor of Jacksonville Magazine
, but additionally produces one of our favorite new blogs to drool over, Virginia A La Mode
. This Florida girl has serious styling chops and we think many brands will enjoy the below interview. Ladies and gays, meet Virginia...
VC: I actually started blogging back in 2007, when I was in college. I was steadily building a readership, but then I studied abroad in Spain for my final semester, and completely neglected my blog. Eventually, I grew frustrated and just deleted the whole thing. I picked it back up again in 2011. I was going to a lot of estate sales, and scoring some pretty incredible vintage finds. My boyfriend urged me to start my blog back up as a way of sharing my tips on outlet and vintage shopping. At the time, I was a political journalist, so I wasn't writing about fun, lifestyle-type subject matter. The blog fulfilled a way for me to write about some of my favorite things, like fashion, outside of work.
DM: Tell us about a successful experience working with a blogger network, brand or advertiser on your website. Why do you think it was successful?
VC: In 2013, I was contacted by TJ Maxx's PR team, to act as part of their "#Maxxinista" campaign. They flew me to New York for a long weekend, and I got to go on a shopping spree at their flagship store in Chelsea, style twelve looks and do a photo shoot with a professional photographer. They later used the images on social media and I acted as their guest editor for the month of October. I think it was successful because it fit so perfectly with my content—I wasn't trying to force something. I love shopping at TJ Maxx and my readers know that. I've been posting about my TJ's finds for a while, so it wasn't some out-of-the-blue collaboration. I think readers appreciate authenticity and, when bloggers are just collaborating with absolutely anyone, I think it cheapens the content. I was fortunate to get to work with a brand that I really loved.
DM: Describe your personal style. Who are your personal style influencers?
VC: My personal style is, simply put, eclectic. I love trying out new trends, but I try and stay true to a particular aesthetic—urban chic, I guess you could call it. I get a lot of influence from hip-hop culture (Kanye West is probably my biggest style inspiration), so I'm often wearing leather sweatpants, a jersey-style top, or gold accessories. But I also try to inject a little femininity into all of my ensembles—be it with a pink lip or a killer pair of heels. I'm also really inspired by surfers and skaters, being that I live near the beach. Slip-on Vans will always be in constant rotation in my wardrobe. And vintage, of course, is a huge passion of mine. I always try to style vintage pieces in a modern way, though.
DM: What is your goal with the blog?
VC: Honestly, I started my blog simply for fun. I think a lot of girls today start blogs with the hopes that they can turn it into a full-time gig and, for me, that's never been the objective. I am a writer by trade (I'm currently the managing editor of a regional publication in Northeast Florida), so blogging comes really naturally for me. I want my blog to be a place where readers can get inspiration—see how I've styled something, and hopefully take some inspiration from that. Also, I try to be consistent about posting vintage/outlet/TJ Maxx-type finds, which I think sets my blog apart. I might have on a really expensive bag or pair of shoes, but nine times out of ten, I got them half price or I've paired them with something I got at a thrift store or estate sale.
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