Blogger Spotlight - Poor Little It Girl
When Cathy picked up the phone to do this interview, we instantly fell in love with the voice behind Poor Little It Girl, the affordable fashion blog that showcases a range of ‘gimme-gimme’ buys for under $100. Her sweet and bubbly nature was contagious and we soon realized that her words on style, confidence and achieving your dreams while looking fabulous weren’t only going to benefit our readers. Nicole by OPI took every word to heart, and in the end, she said it all better than we could, “Nail polish isn't nail polish, it's an accessory. It's an outfit maker. It's not just lacquer on your nails it's something important, it's something people notice.”
Tell us a bit about your background?
PLIG: I'm from Florida and I went to Florida State University and graduated with a fashion merchandising and business major. Right after I graduated I moved to New York City. I began working at Women’s Health Magazine as a publisher’s assistant. I had done an internship at Cosmo Girl when I was a senior. I worked there [Women's Health] for a little more than a year. I really wanted to get back into fashion, so I took a job doing PR for Target. It wasn't really my thing, so I heard from my boss from when I interned at Cosmo Girl that the fashion assistant was leaving. [Laughing] I immediately started stalking all of the editors there. I heard about the job on a Tuesday, went in for three interviews and had the job on Friday. Hands down the best job I've ever had. I learned so much there. Unfortunately, when it folded six months later that was kind of a bummer. I did some freelance jobs for a while and worked at People Style Watch but then decided to leave the city. I moved to Atlanta and now I’m the style editor for Atlanta magazine.
When you were in school did you know that you wanted to work in fashion?
PLIG: Oh my gosh, absolutely. I was pestering my mother since I was 14 years old saying, "I want to go to NYC. I want to go away to school." I was always kind of the one who wanted to get out and do things. I always had a retail background. I've always just had the fashion bug in me.
What do you think was your greatest experience from working in the fashion magazine industry?
PLIG: When I was at Cosmo Girl I went on every photo shoot with our creative director. She was this older, super French, super fabulous woman who styled all of our celebrity shoots, basically every fashion page of the story. Watching her take clothes from Forever 21, Target, and Walmart and turn them into the most amazing fashion story you've ever seen for teens. This completely solidified why I love the teen market and why I love the quote-unquote mall brands so much. You can do so much with them. I think just watching her... I mean, she's changed my life and probably doesn't even know it.
That's awesome. You should let her know! I know you believe there are great things you can achieve with affordable fashion, which I think speaks a lot to Nicole fans. People take it for granted that you can have affordable things and still be gorgeous and create a bunch of different looks. What do you think is the most exciting thing about fashion and beauty and doing it affordably?
PLIG: Well, for me, the reason Poor Little It Girl is about under $100 style is because, exactly like you said and it sounds so cliché, but you don't need to spend a lot of money to look like you have a lot of money. Sort of my fashion mantra is, "Shop your closet before you go to the store" because you have things in your closet that are free. That's not to say that you see something in the store and you don't automatically need to have it. But I think the trickle down effect from what is happening on the runway to what is happening in the mall is mere weeks.
So you’re an advocate of going shopping frequently, but not always buying?
PLIG: Absolutely. I can't even tell you; it is one of my favorite things to do. I can walk around the mall for hours and not purchase a single thing. Just go around and feel fabrics and see the different trends at the stores. Just getting a feel for everything and looking at mannequins and seeing how their outfits are pieced together. You don't always have to get your inspiration from celebrities. You can get it from stores.
There is a push to wear designer brands and celebrity brands and it's being rammed in our faces all the time. Is it about the brands or about how you wear it?
PLIG: It is absolutely not about the brand. I remember in my high school days that if you didn't wear Abercrombie you were nothing. I kind of wish I had the same mentality that I have now. As long as you are confident in what you are wearing and it feels good and it fits you well, that’s what matters. It is actually more important than anything else. I'm 4'11" and I can't tell you how many jeans that I went to school in that I stapled the bottom of because they were so long. That's more embarrassing than not wearing designer labels. I was stapling my jeans, I mean, who cares where they came from!
As far as having confidence in yourself, do you think that is more important than what your outfit is?
PLIG: Yes. If you have confidence, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. I don't wear super crazy things but I'm a little out there with my style. I just wore this amazing vintage dress to a party and everyone was like, "Cathy, what are you wearing?" And that's how I know I look good. If someone asks, “What are you wearing?” then I know I hit the mark.
When you're building a look for yourself what do you take into account. Your mood, color, season, or is it just anything goes?
PLIG: I kind of just go for mood. I love to dress in skirts. My standard outfit is gonna be a tank top, a high-waisted skirt, and a cardigan with a big chunky belt. Like I said, I'm 4'11". I'm really short, so I kind of like to play with my proportions as much as I can. I feel like I have more fun when I have so many separates to work with rather than just jeans. That's not to say I don't own 45 jeans.
Everything on your site is under $100, but do you think there is anything you should splurge on? What do you splurge on?
PLIG: I would say jeans. I'm obsessed with my Paige jeans. For being so short, they fit me perfectly. When I do want to get under $100 jeans, I generally shop at Urban Outfitters. They have some great BDG jeans that fit really well, but when I want to splurge, they are Paige denim. There is nothing better and they last forever.
What are some of your favorite pieces right now?
PLIG: I have a couple of things. Right now, I live in my American Apparel maxi skirt. It's black and kind of chiffon-y and I have to wear a slip under it because it is so sheer. I wear it for any and everything. I dress it up with heels and a silk top. I wear it with sandals and a tank top. I could not live without that skirt. If you look at my blog you'll notice my banner is a bunch of sunglasses. It's a picture I actually took of a small portion of my sunglass collection. I'm obsessed with sunglasses and I can say that I do not own a pair that I paid more than $10 for. I probably own 40 pairs of sunglasses.
How do you stay up on the trends? Do you look at magazines? Do you look at things prior to going shopping?
PLIG: I don't really have one place I look. I'm a huge magazine buff, but I'm not really sitting here reading the pages of Vogue religiously when the issue comes out. I get it everywhere. I do a lot of blog searching. Looking at people's personal style. That's really where I get most of my inspiration.
Are there any blogs that really grab you?
PLIG: Right now, Cupcakes and Cashmere.
Funny, we're big fans too! We get excited about her, but we know she isn't a celebrity.
PLIG: She's a celebrity to me. If anyone says Cupcakes and Cashmere I know exactly whom they are talking about. She did that shoot for Forever 21. She has a book coming out now. In the blogging world, she is the celebrity of all celebrities. You know what I find most appealing about her, and other blogs too, is that she talks about other things than just focusing on fashion. She does posts on house decorating and entertaining, food and fashion. I do that too. If you read my posts I talk about other things as well. I mean, I like football, yoga; I really like the Food Network.
It's funny because we did a post about festival nails and we are huge music buffs. I know you did a post about festival fashion. So as far as music goes, what are you listening to?
PLIG: I just went down to Wanee in Florida. It was a super hippie festival and amazing. My music, well right now, I just got Adele's new CD.
That's an office fav.
PLIG: Well, I went through a bad breakup and my friend was telling me that I really need to hold off on getting this, but I couldn't wait. Everyone was talking about it. I had to get it. I got it, and oh my gosh, “Turning Tables”, shut the front door! “Turning Tables” is so good. I have it on repeat. I'm a huge Beatles fan. I can probably sing you every single word to every single Beatles’ song there ever was. I kind of like everything.
So it's spring and I know you posted recently about sandals too. What do you suggest for looking for a new pair? And what are your feelings about nail lacquer on your toes? Does it need to match your shoes or not?
PLIG: I'm very anti-matching. I always say, “It doesn't need to match, it just has to go.” I'm very adventurous with nail lacquer on my toes. I love to do polka dots and sparkles when it comes to toe nail polish. Because of my job I don't really do too many crazy things on my fingernails. When it comes to shopping for sandals, it's about bright shoes, bold color. When I buy a pair of sandals I know I am going to wear them until I wear them out. Don’t be afraid to buy two pair of the same sandals if they aren't too expensive. It's spring, you're supposed to have fun. No more blacks and darks, it should be fun and bright because it’s really the only time of year when you get to really pay attention to your toes.
At your job, do you usually stick with just pinks and reds, more traditional nail lacquer shades?
PLIG: Yeah, I do. It's not so much that I'm trying to be more professional, but it is easier for me with the lighter pinks to touch up than with dark colors. But I love going into a meeting with a cute pair of peep-toed shoes on and having bright blue toes sticking out from it. It's like, yep, I'm fun.
It's that hint of edge?
PLIG: Yeah, even if I'm wearing a nice dress and a blazer, I'll have bright blue toes.
Are there any shades that you are particularly drawn to?
PLIG: I just really like neon pinks, bright pinks. Maybe it’s because I don't wear a lot of pink clothing that I'm always drawn to the bright pink shades. I was just going through all of my nail polish the other day and I realized I own a lot of pinks. Matte pink. Shiny pink. Sparkly pink. Pink glitter. I own a lot of pink.
Last few questions. What is your big picture? Do you want the blog to be your focus or is there something else and Poor Little It Girl is just your creative outlet?
PLIG: I really do see a future for Poor Little It Girl. I would love to incorporate more things into it. Kind of expanding the brand because the whole idea behind Poor Little It Girl is that you're poor, but you're still the one that shines. Living in New York City, here was my thought, "I may not have any money, but I'm still going to be the one who everyone's eyes are on when I walk into the room because I have the confidence and style and the attitude to know that I can conquer anything.”
You went into fashion writing and that was a dream of yours, what would you say to girls who want to pursue their dream?
PLIG: There is a Bob Dylan song and a quote in it and I've always held onto it. It’s from the song “Tangled Up In Blue” and the line is, 'the only thing I knew how to do is keep on getting on.' I've always held to that. Even when things get tough, you have to keep moving forward. I've gone through no money, magazines folding. I've been through so many hard times, but you just have to keep on getting on. You have to keep putting one foot in front of another and knowing that you are worth it and your dream will come true, you just need to work for it. Nothing just falls into your hands. There are the people who have access to everything in the world, but it's the ones who really work for it where true success comes from. Because you don't really appreciate anything until you know you put blood, sweat and tears into it. Believe you me, I have put so much sweat and tears into the magazine world.
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