Today’s Friday Focus is well versed on the four seasons of fashion! She’s got her fur for the brittle winters, cut offs for summers on Lake Michigan and everything in between (military jackets, skinny jeans, maxi skirts) for spring and fall thanks to the windy city of Chicago! Hey, she might just be our weather wardrobe consultant! The interview below is held dear to our hearts because while we love our current city, New York, we hate to see others like Chicago get overlooked. Get your read on to find out some Chicago Shop Spots (Dose Market, Modern Vintage, Eskell). For more of Jena, add her as your Personal Stylist, follow her on Twitter @ChiCityFashion and of course, read all about Chicago fashion at ChiCityFashion.com.
GO TRY IT ON: Where in Chicago, offline, do you get your fashion inspiration?
JENA: I love going to the different markets to see local vendors. From the monthly Dose Market to Modern Vintage, it’s great to see a wide range of fashion offerings and the diversity of people who attend. I buy pieces I would have never thought of myself wearing initially but always seem find a way to wear them.
GO TRY IT ON: Tell us the best of Chicago in terms of shopping and under the radar finds – the spots that put Michigan Ave to shame!
JENA: I’ve been quite the loyal shopper at Sofia for about 2 years now. From high end vintage finds to new under-the-radar designers, you can find everything at this Gold Coast boutique. Blake is an amazing store for beautiful [hard to find in Chicago] designer pieces. They don’t have a sign and you have to be buzzed in…but I promise it’s worth it! Some other favorites of mine are in Bucktown: Eskell, Tangerine, p45.
GO TRY IT ON: How would you describe your style and how did you establish it?
JENA: I always have a hard time answering this question! I really like to incorporate various styles into my wardrobe but can never resist statement-making pieces. I’ll wear a neon outfit one day and 70s wide-leg jeans and a peasant top the next. Experimenting is the best part of fashion, so why stick to just one style?
GO TRY IT ON: What kind of role does fashion play in your life? Do you and your network of friends and family talk about fashion? If so, how?
JENA: Not sure if this is good or bad but fashion consumes my life. Those not in my “fashion world” most likely get sick of me talking about it non stop but I can’t help it! Fashion is how I express myself and tap into my creativity on a daily basis and thankfully, I work with girls who have the same appreciation and understand the difference between couture and ready-to-wear. This is also why I love blogging, to communicate with others who share the same interest as me.
GO TRY IT ON: Tell us a little about your fashion background. How did you become “in fashion” and when and how was ChiCityFashion created?
JENA: I graduated with a Business Marketing degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Going to a small, mostly business-oriented school (in the smallest town ever) I never thought fashion would be my career and assumed it would remain a hobby. After attending career fairs and realizing there’s no way I will ever wear a suit, I knew that I had to take a different path. I launched ChiCityFashion 2nd semester of my senior year in college and before then, used Twitter to stalk celebrities (doesn’t everyone?). I then noticed a big fashion presence in social media and began to tweet about fashion news, style tips, etc. and realized 140 characters simply wasn’t enough. So ChiCityFashion was born!
GO TRY IT ON: These days, it isn’t rare for someone interested in Fashion to begin blogging. However, you seem to have made a bigger dent then most with 4,742 Twitter followers. What was your strategy?
JENA: Initially, I wanted an outlet to document my fashion-related thoughts. I think what makes people want to read ChiCityFashion is that from day 1 I kept the content authentic. I don’t have an intern (I do this and work a full time job) and avoid projects and partnerships I don’t 100% believe in. My posts flow like a conversation; I write how I talk and publish what I want to say. Did I think over 4,000 people would be following me on Twitter and actually care about it? No way. But I appreciate their support and it’s an honor to have my thoughts and ideas reach a large audience.
GO TRY IT ON: Say you have an unlimited budget. Where would you spend it and on what?
JENA: At Barneys. On Proenza Schouler.
GO TRY IT ON: Do you ever feel like you have to tone down your cutting edge style to meet the Chicago, midwest look? It’s a fashionable city but definitely not as “wear whatever you want” as New York.
JENA: I’ve worn sequins and red lipstick (during the day…and not doing the walk of shame) on the L before and trust me, people think I’m crazy. But I’d much rather wear what I want to wear instead of “toning it down” to conform to others. That’s not what fashion is about. Plus, I dress for ME…and no one else. There will be a person every once in a while who appreciates my crazy outfit…and those are the people that I’m trying to reach. My fashion mantra has always been “never be afraid to take a risk.” And I’m not.