style

On Fall Fashion Trends and Dressing Confidently with Style Thief Fashion's Erin Stoll

Photo by  Pete Bellis  on  Unsplash

Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash

I met Erin Stoll of Style Thief Fashion five months ago, and the experience changed my life. Ok, maybe meeting Erin alone wasn’t life changing, though she is pretty fantastic. Erin and I met at Rachel Hollis’s RISE Conference. Going to the conference, soaking in wisdom from Rachel and the other speakers and meeting an AMAZING tribe of women who have now become REAL LIFE FRIENDS has made a huge impact on my life and this website.

Erin is hilarious, real and so freaking adorable. I knew we’d be friends from our first conversation. Thanks to the magic of social media, we talk weekly—sometimes daily—even though she lives in the Midwest. Watching Erin rock her fashion styling and wardrobe editing business (while working full time for Special Olympics and being a wife and mom) is a huge encouragement to me to keep pursuing MY dreams, despite how busy the rest of my life might be.

Today, Erin’s sharing her favorite fall trends, the five pieces you MUST have in your wardrobe at all times and how she edits women’s EXISTING WARDROBES to help them feel more confident. I know you’re gonna love Erin as much as I do by the end of this interview…

Jenn Prentice (JP): Oh hey, friend. Thanks for chatting with me. First thing is first, tell everyone about yourself.

Erin Stoll (ES): Why is this the most difficult question? I am so many things! I will narrow it down to this: I'm a wife, mama, lover of people and shoes. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and I love coffee and chocolate…probably too much! 

JP: We met in April, only a few months after you launched Style Thief Fashion. Since then, I’ve watched you and the business BLOOM. You just hosted a styling session with Evereve, and you’re headed to Omaha Fashion Week. Tell me more about Style Thief Fashion and what inspired you to start it.

ES: I have loved fashion my whole life. As a teenager, I read Vogue and tried so many trends (some good and some that were so SO bad). It took me a long time to find my style; but through trial and error, I eventually discovered it. Basically, I would see a look in a magazine and think "I have a dress like that and I could find a similar shoe and add some jewelry." I figured out how to put my own spin on the trends I saw while staying true to what worked for me. Eventually, friends started calling me and saying "Hey I'm going on a date and I don't know what to wear!" or "I want to come borrow your dress, shoes, jewelry." I loved helping them find the perfect outfit.

I had the idea to start a blog when blogging first became big, but I talked myself out of it. I thought: "Why would anyone listen to me? Other women have blogs like this. It’s already been done." You know, all the things we say to hold ourselves back. But then I turned 40, and I felt fearless! Around Christmas of 2017, I had friends at my house for a solid week, asking for my help styling them for their holiday party, holiday getaway, etc. I thought: I could do this ALL DAY. So, I decided to go for it, and I launched Style Thief Fashion in January of 2018.

JP: Where did the name come from?

ES: The name Style Thief came from the idea that I would "steal" looks I saw in magazines, on Instagram, etc. but still make them my own. With my business we are essentially taking away your old look and finding a new you. 

JP: I love that tagline because it feels easy and accessible; and I think a lot of women feel intimidated by fashion and trying to stay “on trend.” What’s your goal with Style Thief Fashion?

ES: My goal is to help women find their unique style and feel confident, no matter what. I’ve struggled with my weight and accepting my body since I was young. Growing up, I would put on outfit after outfit trying to find the perfect thing and end up in tears on my bedroom floor. I’m a lot more confident in myself now—though I definitely still have my days. I want to encourage women that no matter what their size, no matter what is going on in their life, they can feel amazing in their clothes and their bodies when they understand what works for them.

JP: How does the styling process work?

ES: It's important to me that each client I work with focuses on who she is TODAY. We start by clearing out the "clutter"--physically and energetically. I know it sounds "woo woo," but women tend to emotionally hold on to clothes that they used to wear because of a memory attached to them. Or they hold on to clothes because they reflect a size they want to be again. I firmly believe that your wardrobe should reflect you NOW. When we find what works for your body, your lifestyle, your job, your life NOW, you aren't clinging to the past or waiting for the future. You are embracing who you are and that is the path to finding your true style.

JP: Yes, yes, yes!!!!!! I could not agree more with everything you just said. So, let’s dig into that a bit more. How do you think clothes impact our lives as women?

ES: I think clothes have a tremendous impact on women—even if we don’t want to admit it. How many times have you had a great day then you put on a pair of jeans and they feel tight? Or you go into a dressing room and your "normal" size doesn't fit? Or how much money have you spent on an outfit you don't really like but you wear it to fit in with the moms at school, or you want to look "on trend"? While we shouldn't let the size of our jeans or finding the perfect outfit have so much control over our mood, we can't deny that when we have on an outfit that fits our body, is comfortable, or makes us feel powerful, we can take on the day-whatever that looks like for you. When you know your unique style, you can get dressed without all the other drama getting in the way. If you know that when you open your closet you LOVE everything inside and it ALL fits, you can move on and focus on your family, your career, your relationships--the REALLY important stuff!

JP: This is why I’m doing a Simplify September Capsule Wardrobe. Less time worrying about clothes. More time for other things. Speaking of September and clothes. What are your top five fall trends?

ES: Only five? Ok. I can do this…

1.) A great fitting pair of dark or black denim. While I still love a distressed jean, this Fall a clean pair of dark or black denim will take you from the soccer game, to work, to date night.

2.) A (faux) leather jacket. I also love the look of a moto jacket for fall. It can be dressed up or down. 

3.) A blazer. Menswear inspired blazers are big this fall! Herringbone, tweed and plaid are all great choices. Keep the color neutral and the fit slightly oversized. 

4.) A black boot. Something like the classic Chelsea boot will go with jeans, dresses and skirts; and you can find a version of it to fit your budget almost anywhere!

5.) Prints! I would choose a button down shirt in one of the following: plaid, animal print or floral. All 3 prints are big and can be worn in countless ways. Choose your favorite and rock it with all of the above. Or pop a print in a dress, shoe or jacket. 

JP: What are your top five wardrobe staples?

ES: This is easy! 

  1. 1. Denim Jacket. It will always be the number one item on my list
  2. 2. Black Dress  
  3. 3. Chambray Shirt
  4. 4. Three pairs of jeans (I know I'm kind of cheating here!) A distressed boyfriend jean, a clean darker denim, and a lighter wash. 
  5. 5. Basic tanks and tees in White, grey, black and a stripe. 

If you have all of the above, you can build SO MANY outfits! 

JP: Well, I gotta say I’m breathing a sigh of relief. I have everything you recommended in my closet, which is good since I’m not buying any new clothes, shoes or accessories until next May. Let’s shift gears again. Two more questions, both a bit more serious. You have daughters. What do you hope they know and understand about clothes and their bodies and how are you trying to model that through your work? 

ES: Whew! Girl this is THE question right here. Well first I want them to love and accept their bodies, and I know the best way to do this is to model this behavior for them.  I still struggle with this some days. It is a journey and I'm still on it! I focus on what their bodies can DO not what they look like. I also let them pick out their own outfits! They know what they like and I love watching them express themselves with their clothes. 90% of the time its not an outfit I would choose for them. My oldest literally throws on whatever is clean, and my five year old would wear a tutu and sequins every single day! But if they feel great, that is what matters! We'll see if I'm still feeling this way when they are teenagers!

JP: Last question. I’m asking everyone I interview this one. At the end of your life, what type of legacy do you hope to leave?

ES: I hope they say that I made them laugh and that I had the best shoes! Ha! No, but really, I want the people I work with and the people I love to know that I believe in them. I want them to feel as though I inspired them to embrace who they are. It took me so long--WAY too long--to do that for myself. So I want to give women permission to embrace who they truly are, and help them find a way to express who that is through their clothes. I want my family and friends to know that I love them FIERCELY and that its never to late to find your inner badass! She's in there!

JP: So where can people find you and get in touch? 

ES: I'm on Instagram at . They can also email me at stylethieffashion at gmail dot com.

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How To Pack Strategically--And On Trend--For Summer Vacations

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Ah, summer vacation. For some, the term conjures up endless days of relaxation, reading, doing whatever you want in the sun or beside a body of water. For others, it simply means a break from your normal routine. If you're a parent, summer vacation might also mean a little bit of stress...especially when it comes to packing. 

For the next two months on This Is Thirty Four, we'll be talking about time and possessions. If you're like me, when heading out on a trip with your kids, you tend to throw half of all you possess into your suitcase; and once you reach your destination, you don't even use a lot of what you packed...and you hate all your outfits.  

This summer, my family will spend three of the next five weeks living out of suitcases. Our kids are still young and require a lot of cargo: clothes, snacks, toys, books, car seats, etc. So, in order to cut down on the baggage my family is taking on flights and road trips, I'm getting strategic about the way I pack for myself on our family vacations. Not only am I taking fewer items in my suitcase, but I'm also excited to wear the outfits I've chosen.  

Below are three steps for packing strategically--and on trend--for a summer vacation, interspersed with actual outfits I'll be wearing on my trip to Lake Michigan this week. Warning: These steps will require some effort to implement. So, don't start packing late at night or an hour before you have to leave. If you already know where you're headed, you can start implementing some of these steps RIGHT NOW. 

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Step 1: Analyze your vacation before you begin packing

Here are a few questions that I asked myself before packing for our week-long trip to Lake Michigan: 

What types of activities will we be doing?

What types of clothes and shoes will these activities require?

Who will be going on these various activities?

What will the weather be like while you're there? 

(Pro tip: If you use a day planner, you can write out the answers to these questions in there and use it to make your packing list.) 

During our trip to Lake Michigan this week, our whole family (my parents, brother and sister-in-law included) will be hiking, going to the lake, getting ice cream and doing a lot of putt-putt and other kid-friendly activities. We rented a cabin, so we'll probably eat most of our meals in; but Russ and I might be able to sneak away for a date one night. The weather is supposed to be in the high 70s and low 80s with decent humidity. 

Armed with the aforementioned info, I packed mostly shorts, tank tops and sandals in my suitcase. I included one romper...because rompers are basically socially acceptable pajamas...and a cute, cotton dress for a potential date night. All my clothes are kid-friendly...because hikes mean dirt and ice cream means sticky hands...and my shoes are comfortable and won't get ruined if caught in a late afternoon rain storm. 

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Step 2: Visualize your outfits

I consider myself a fairly stylish person, and I have a decent number of clothes in my closet. But every morning--and consequently every time I pack for vacation--I think the same thoughts many of you probably think: What am I going to wear? I hate all my clothes.

The truth is, I have a lot of cute things to wear--and so do you. We just need some outfit inspiration. My go-to places to get inspired? 

Liketoknow.it and Pinterest.

If you're not familiar with the Liketoknow.it app, it's basically where fashion bloggers go to show off their outfits and link to the clothes they are wearing so you can buy those items from their affiliate links. It's dangerous for your wallet, but it's a WEALTH of outfit ideas. 

If you're trying to avoid spending money, like me, you might want to try Pinterest. There are a ton of fashion bloggers to follow on there, OR you can simply search for the type of outfits you're looking for. While I'm no fashion blogger, I do have a Summer Style inspiration board that I refer to often. 

As you're saving on Liketoknow.it or pinning on Pinterest, try to find outfits that have similar color schemes, styles and even incorporate some of the same basic elements (ex: a white tank top, denim shorts, etc). This will make step three much easier.

(Pro-tip: Only save or pin outfits that are similar to pieces you already have in your closet. The idea behind step two isn't to save money on new clothes, it's to find new ways to wear what you already have!)

Once you've saved some outfits on Liketoknow.it or pinned them to a Pinterest board, go to your closet and set the pieces that you think you might want to pack aside. It's ok if it's a huge pile, we'll whittle it down to a carry on in step three. 

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Step 3: Only pack pieces that can be worn more than once, in different ways

This is the key. This is how you go from a mound of clothes that will never fit into the overhead bin, to an easy to manage carry-on. First, sort through the clothes you set aside after you got inspired in step two. Then, create outfits that incorporate similar pieces. I packed all four of the outfits in this post in my suitcase for Lake Michigan this week. You'll see the same shoes, denim vest and shorts in multiple photos. Finally, put away any clothes that can't be worn more than one way...unless it's a romper...ALWAYS. PACK. A ROMPER; and put the remaining items in your suitcase. 

(Pro tip: If you still have too much stuff, go back to step two. It might be helpful to lay the outfits for each day out on the floor side-by-side, so you can see how everything works together.) 

 

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I hope this post is as helpful as it was fun for me to put together. None of the clothes in this post are linked because most of them are way too old to still be in stores. BUT, if you see an outfit or a piece of clothing you like and want me to try to find something similar for you, just send me a message! I love helping people find cute clothes and feel more confident in their own skin. 

Happy summer, friends! We'll return to our regularly scheduled (and a bit more introspective) content next week! 

A Year Without Clothes

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Question: Do you guys ever do something and then immediately think “Oh sh*t! What did I just do?” Or maybe, a better question is: How OFTEN do you have that feeling? I had an “OH Sh*t” moment yesterday when I announced to the world (or the three people who were watching me on Instagram Live) that I would not be buying clothes for an entire year. NO CLOTHES FOR A YEAR? What am I thinking?

However, in keeping with the theme of last week’s Instagram Live, I am going to make my “yes be yes” and stick by my word. NO BUYING CLOTHES (OR SHOES) FOR A WHOLE YEAR.

If you didn’t watch my Tuesday Truth on Instagram Live yesterday, you’re probably wondering why I’m torturing myself this way. The answer is simple: Over the past few years, I have become far too consumed with material possessions—specifically what’s in my closet—and turned to shopping as a stress reliever or general pick me up when I’m having a bad day.

It’s not that I can’t afford the things I purchase. The problem is that I’m not being a good steward of the money God has blessed me with AND the reason I’m buying that item in the first place is seriously flawed.

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something this drastic for a while now, and last night I heard a sermon by J.D. Greaer at The Summit Church. The whole sermon is worth a listen, but the line that struck me the most was:

“The joy of the Lord is not only our strength, but our contentment in the mundane.”
-J.D. Greaer

You know when you’re sitting in church and you feel God tugging on your heart to confess a sin or make a change or do something outside of your comfort zone? Hearing J.D’s words was like a message straight from Heaven; and all I can say is “Ok God. I hear you, and I’m willing to listen.”

What now?

So, I made the announcement. NO BUYING CLOTHES OR SHOES FOR A FULL YEAR. (Perhaps the repetition and use of all caps will help the reality of the words sink in.) In order to hold myself accountable and prove to myself—and all of you, but mostly myself—that this can be done, I will be doing the following:

1.)  Posting a weekly outfit round-up and an update on my fight to stay the course every Friday on social media.

2.)  Posting monthly reflections on the NO CLOTHES journey on the blog.  

3.)  Creating monthly challenges that each of you can participate in with me, even if you don’t want to go all in and abstain from buying for a year. (Think: No Target for a month; ridding your inbox of promotional emails; and unfollowing fashion bloggers or other folks who feed your discontentment on social media)

4.)  Curating my Pinterest boards to provide outfit inspiration for pieces that I already have in my closet. You can follow my Summer Style Inspiration board.

5.)  Praying and memorizing scripture. (1 Timothy 6:6 might be a good place to start)

Honestly, I’m expecting God to move in my heart and my life in big ways over the next year. J.D said one more thing worth mentioning in his sermon this Sunday:

“God is not upset at you because you want to be happy. He is upset FOR you because you choose to be happy in things besides HIM.”

I’m tired of chasing after lesser things, and I’m ready to shift my focus from temporary happiness to lasting joy.