"I would say I’m a creative person. I enjoy anything visually pleasing, which sounds pretty general but I would rather lose any of my other senses than eyesight (I’ve thought about this many times!) More than anything I like wearing things that have a story."
Relive our moments and conversation at the Union Square Greenmarket with digital girl and fine artist Samantha Andriano.
Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting and mentoring budding personal style blogger, Jamie Grimstad. Since, Jamie has launched her blog Little J, which has already created some big buzz. There’s something to be said for Jamie’s incredible ambition and well-curated focus on fashion and fitness. So today she’s sharing her story and thoughts on confidence in style and how it pertains to identity as a young adult:
On a daily basis, young girls (and grown women) are constantly under society’s pressure to look thin, to look glamorous, and to always be their best selves – a pressure that is partially stemmed from the hype around social media in today’s day and age. I can’t even remember a time when I have been with a group of friends and a comment about how he/she looks has not come up in our conversation. But why are we all so focused on appearances and how others view us? While I have struggled to find the answer to this question myself, I have discovered that it all goes back to self-confidence.
Like many girls my age, I have (and still do) struggled to maintain a high confidence level in my ability, my looks, and in athletics (most specifically running). I oftentimes find myself worried about receiving judgment from my friends, being humiliated, or even being disappointed in myself for not living up to society’s so called “standards.”
During my pre-teen years I really struggled to fit into my hometown community of Nashville, Tennessee – I wasn’t a hardcore athlete (which my school praised) and I didn’t follow along with the norms of other girls. Rather, I had other interests – in art, in culture, and in design, in dance, in fashion, and in traveling abroad. I felt like an outsider in silly situations, and it really took a toll on how I viewed myself as a person.
About four years ago, my family spontaneously up-rooted all of our entire lives to move to Manhattan. A city that I had always dreamed of living in, but never believed that it would become a reality.
Now living in NYC, which we all know is a mecca of female powerhouses; my exposure to women who have the gumption to not only dress, but also carry themselves with confidence is on every corner. I attend school with girls who have high hopes and dreams of becoming the next leaders of the world, the next editors of major publications, and the next diplomats. Furthermore, I live in a city with limitless opportunities, not to mention, a city that is filled with some of the most interesting people in the world. Living in NYC, I have truly been able to figure out what kind of person I want to become – and be okay with it, for that matter. Through both fashion and blogging, I have been able to express myself completely without hesitation, which is part of the reason why I love it so much. Running a blog has allowed me to start conversations with thousands of readers over the Internet and inspire young girls like myself to not only pursue their passions, but also be confident in everything they do.
I may still receive judgment from some of my peers for what I chose to do (or what I don’t) – but at this point, I do not care. I have come to a point in my life where I now realize that I do not need to “fit in” to whatever the societal norm is. I have learned that if you have confidence and good self-image, you simultaneously develop fearlessness inside of you… A fearlessness to be yourself in any given situation.
The most important thing that I have to remind myself is to be confident in my ability in any arena of life that I step into. Not to mention, radiating that confidence onto the people that surround me. In doing so, I realize that I become the trailblazer, the role model, and the influencer that others admire.
I re-tell this story everywhere but only because it has had a huge impact on how I carry myself on a daily basis. A little something something that I learned from the best, “Big Jamie” (my grandmother) is the following quote, which she used to always tell me as a young girl: “Confidence – it’s like perfume; for, people can smell it off you.”
I have come to learn that being confident is simply about being comfortable and unique to your lifestyle. It’s about how you live, and how you carry yourself in any given situation, and in fashion, it’s never about the piece, however it’s about your presentation.
Photo courtesy of India and Jamie Grimstad
Meet Jessica Wu who shares her personal journey through her professional endeavors as an emerging wardrobe stylist…
We’ve created lives that revolve a constant stream of content, information and decisions. The internet is the modern-day equivalent of the high school reunion that you dread going to, but can’t seem to escape otherwise: Whether you like it or not, you’re bombarded with questions, comments, concerns and pressures by those closest to you… But you know what the scariest part is? Most of the time they don’t even have to say it to you directly to get the point across.
As much as I enjoy living vicariously through friends and peers who are leading “fabulous” lives abroad, there is a present (and seemingly constant) reminder to get the soul-searching out of your system while you’re young… After-all, when are you ever going to have the chance for a sweet escape, if not now?
I think this collective mentality we’ve established around living fast and leaving the past behind is something that’s got to change. We’ve become conditioned to think that there is always something better, somewhere else. What motivates us to travel doesn’t seem to be so much about experiencing a place for what it is, but seeing it as a means to an end of something in our lives. When we feel used up in one city, we’ll just hop on over to the next. We’ll start over and we’ll be rid of our troubles.
But the truth of the matter is they’ll still be there. Right where you left them… Waiting for you to return to face them.
I wholeheartedly believe travel and exploration are a necessary part of life. I can’t wait to really see the world for myself. Yet I’ve learned how important it is to stay in one place for an extended period of time. When you’re able to do this, you come to realize that you can commit to building a life with longevity- Both personally and professionally.
Think about it:
YOU CAN BUILD A NETWORK: Of people, professionals, support, wisdom, knowledge… You get the point. Every day I’m learning how important it is to value yourself, but not to forget to value those around you. If you stay in one place long enough you’ll have more of an opportunity to strengthen bonds with friends, family and the like. Absence makes the heart grow fonder is only applicable to a certain extent.
YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE: The more you spend time in a certain place, neighborhood or city you’ll be able to better understand what you can do to give back. Life is a two-way street and if we can establish an understanding of how to appropriately provide for our community, then sky’s the limit in terms of what we can accomplish. It’s hard to thrive in a place that’s struggling, right?
YOU CAN GET TO KNOW YOURSELF: Having an element of structure and consistency can reap huge reward… Even for those who believe there is no better way to live than on the edge. One of things we’ve really been trying to do on The Style Line is explore the dynamics between people and their environments. After-all, that’s what makes culture, and in order for it to thrive, traditions and value need to be established. And that takes time.
YOU CAN BECOME STRONGER: And in turn make your community stronger. In this day and age we’re advocating for the individual, which is great. But at the same time, there comes an even greater responsibility with individual pursuits, which poses the question: How are your decisions and dreams impacting the landscape as whole? This may mean many different things to a lot of people. Yet the more time you spend in one place building something that means to you, there is more of a chance of dealing with comments and questions from your respective community. Going through the motions and considering what your community has to offer will inevitably strengthen your values and point of view.
My family and I have been in New York for ten years now. After 15+ moves, 3 states and intermittent travel excursions both domestic and abroad, I truly believe that I’ve found that this is the place that speaks to me the most. It’s a community I have grown up in and gotten real in.
Travel informs our perspective and our pursuits, but let’s not forget to think about what motivates our movement throughout the world.
We can be together even when we’re a part, but at the end of the day there’s no greater success then finding a place that you have people you’re connected with… And that you can call home.
Desk Diaries: The Style Line meets Pittsburgh
If you’ve been following us on social, you’ll see that I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA this weekend to host our one-year milestone event with our fantastic Pittsburgh-based contributor, Christina. The weekend was spent in great company in an even greater community. I finally had a chance to meet Emily Slagel of Mid-Atlantic Mercantile and was introduced to The Livermore, who kindly provided tasty drinks and treatsand the Kicky Feet Vintage sisters who showcased their curated collection of restored vintage pieces. It was an intimate gathering, but I relished the opportunity to connect offline.
Reflecting on this weekend and the past year in general, there are many things I have come to learn about my profession and myself since taking on the responsibilities of running the site full-time. One of the biggest being the realization that the stories worth sharing are those that are made up of authentic experiences. This weekend was one in itself. I’ve come to realize is that living the experience will best be able to inspire how you share it.
I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had an authentic Pittsburgh experience and celebrate new beginnings with new friends, this weekend. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to making this day so special… And stylish!
To new cities. To new stories. To new style. To a new chapter.
- RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN