Self Expression & Street Fashion: An Interview with Leigh

What is self-expression? As stated by Merriam Webster it’s the ‘’expression of one’s own personality, or the assertion of one’s individual traits.’’ When it comes to street fashion this is what it’s all about. Not the fancy boutiques or dishing out on the newest trends, but channeling one’s creativity, challenging boundaries—and even making a few friends along the way.

And who better to talk to on the subject than Leigh? Better known as @pinkvintagehrt on Instagram, Leigh is a fashion blogger whom I deeply admire for both her unapologetic creativity and ability to compose some of the most interesting outfits (and photography) I’ve seen. 

Above: @pinkvintagehrt in Downtown Manhattan

Leigh is someone who I wish I would have come across in high school and early college. I was, like many individuals around that age, just figuring out who I was, what my primary ”goals” were in life and, apparently one of most relevant things, what style was and how to possibly achieve some sense of it.

Sure, there were days when most of us want to lounge back on the more casual side of things. But what about those occasions when it is an absolute must to look presentable? Furthermore, how does one achieve this with confidence and practicability? That’s what I wanted to ask Leigh.

The following segment consists of a variety of questions and answers that spill the tea on fashion, whether or not fashion rules exist, channeling confidence, and more . . . 

Looking for more fashion tips, check this out…

Our Conversation 

On Upbringings

Q: Tell us about yourself. Where were you born? Did you have any family members who were fashionable themselves?

A: I was born in Washington D.C. but have been in New York City most of my life. I remember playing in my grandma’s and aunt’s closets and jewelry boxes when I was younger.

Q: What was your fashion sense like growing up? When did your style start to really mature and evolve into what it is today? 

A: Ugh. I wore a hideous grey and white plaid uniform to school—and all of grade school. I feel like I really developed a sense of style like a year ago. I started taking risks and really got inspired by street style. 

Q: Did freedom with your style come naturally? Or did this take a number of years to build up to? 

A: It took about two and half years of blogging to stop toning myself down. After my first NYFW (New York Fashion Week) I decided to just go for it. I wanted to inspire others with my sense of style. 

via @pinkvintagehrt

Our Conversation

On Fashion 

Q: Do you believe in trends? 

A: Oh yes! Wearing trends is so important to us socially. It makes me feel somewhat accepted and gives me more confidence. But I wear what I call the ”original” vintage versions of trends

Q: (Regarding previous question) What advice would you give to someone who feels pressured to give into ”trends?” 

A: I would tell them to check out vintage inspired shops on Etsy for pieces that hit the latest trends and mix them into your wardrobe. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who might be afraid to express his/her creativity? Let’s say they confess ”I’m scared of standing out or being judged.” 

A: Start slowly with accessories. Like a pair of statement earrings, a school scarf or edgy shoes. Then step out of the box and wear something you normally wouldn’t and wear it with confidence. We never really question people that dress loudly because they wear it with confidence. We know it’s who they are. 

Above: @pinkvintagehrt in New York

Q: What advice would you give to someone who has a smaller budget but still wants to look fashionable? 

A: Hit up your thrift shops and affordable vintage shops. Also look for sales and invest in quality items. It’s better to have a wardrobe filled with quality, classic staples that will last for years to come than a closet filled with poorer ”trendy” items that you’ll wear for just a few seasons. 

Q: Let’s say someone doesn’t know where to start with creating an outfit. Where would you direct them? Are there any techniques you use yourself?

A: I start with the mood I’m in—where I’m going and the weather. I also tend to keep looking at outfit inspiration (people and other fashion icons) and take note of street fashion looks. From there I layout outfits and mix and match them as I’m getting dressed. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who believes that only ”good outfits can come from expensive stores?”

A: Dressing well comes with how you style your outfit and wear it with confidence. I’ve seen several articles and Youtube videos where people did the ”look expensive challenge” with items from thrift shops totaling less than $100 (sometimes even lower) for the entire look. 

Q:  How would you respond to someone who says people who ”dress up” are attention seekers?

A: I’ve actually never heard of that! Maybe because I’m a New Yorker that has literally seen it all (laughs). But to ”dress up” means to dress with confidence and wear what you have with pride and also knowing who you are. 

Our Conversation

On Other Experiences

Q: Was there ever a time you felt judged because of the clothes you were wearing? 

A: There have been a few times where I was overdressed or wearing slightly too loud, bright clothes. I think I was a little embarrassed and may have started to tone down what I wore after that. 

Q: Now for something fun. Do you recall one of the most interesting outfits you have seen? 

A: Oh boy. I’ve seen sooo much in between traveling, fashion week, and taking in all the street fashion in NYC. It’s hard to pinpoint . . . I can say that I love some head to toe pink looks that I’ve found on Pinterest. 

via @pinkvintagehrt


The moral of the story: just do it. Whether you’re holding back from jumping into the street fashion craze—or afraid to express your inner creative—trying something new is apart of one’s growth process.

Looking for office fashion tips? Go here:

To recap, here are 5 things I had personally learned from Leigh:

1 . . . Channeling confidence is hard for everyone. There are very few people, if not any, who have not experienced a day (or days) where they walk out of the house feeling less than important or overly self cautious. So even if you have collected so called ”bad” moments with expressing yourself, or felt judged, take everything as a learning opportunity. 

2 . . . Fashion does not wait for you. If you still find yourself passing up on those bright colors and complex patterns in fear of being judged or ”noticed” you’re likely going to miss out on a grand opportunity to challenge previously set boundaries (not to mention an unexpected compliment).

If you really want to become a pro at expressing yourself—and possibly inspire others in the making—you have to take risks and not be afraid of the word experimentation.

3 . . . Fashion is a form of art, so don’t take it too seriously. Trends are fun until you start treating them as the 10 Commandments. Remember: fashion is there to help us understand ourselves, people and, in some sense, discover what it means to be ”creatively free.” 

4 . . . Good quality and accessories can be found anywhere. As told by Leigh, and even from my own experience, some of the most interesting statement pieces can even be found at second hand establishments: thrift stores, flea markets, and vintage shops. 

So if you want to find unique pieces (and save a buck) be sure to expand your boundaries and not just stick to higher end brands. 

5 . . . There is really no such thing as looking ”too fashionable.” That’s a fact. Of course there will be times when things such as office dress code come into play. But if you’re heading off on holiday or driving further into town for a fun get together with your friends why not wear something different for a change?

Want to check out more of Leigh’s style? Go here:

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