AJ Parker wears clothes. Then she takes photos of them for her style blog, AJ Wears Clothes. She’s also from Arkansas and we love her style, which is why we interviewed her for our Sparkling Across America series! We chatted with AJ about her style inspiration, her fashion challenges, and the hottest regional styles. Read on for the whole scoop from the Natural State!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you begin blogging?
I started blogging around the same time that I started joining shoe clubs. I’d post pictures of the outfits I wore with the shoes I bought and thought, “Hey! I could be blogging these outfits.” I’ve tried to start style blogs before, but they never really stuck. But once I bought a domain name and a DSLR, I was actually ready to give it a shot.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
I pull ideas from everywhere! I’m always clipping from magazines or taking ideas from TV shows, and Pinterest has totally changed my inspo game. I think it’s important to take your inspiration and make it your own, though, rather than just copying a look.
How do you make the best of staying on top of style without a good mall to shop at?
It can be tough sometimes! I always feel limited by the stores in my area, but if you’re creative you’re only limited by your imagination. I try to spend on classic pieces that will last for several seasons, and then I buy into trends on the cheap. And I never discount a store, either. I’ve found great pieces at stores I would normally never shop. If you’re patient and willing to dig – and you don’t go into a store with something specific in mind – you can find something no matter where you shop.
What is the hottest hue of the season and what are you doing with it?
I know all of the experts are yelling about oxblood and emerald, but I think it’s going to be olive! Olive is a fantastic neutral that looks great with a lot of colors. I plan on getting lots of wear out of my olive skinnies and maybe investing in a few other pieces to mix into my wardrobe. Olive + Leopard is going to be my fall uniform.
Are there any regional style trends that don’t seem to be as popular in other parts of the country?
Okay, I had never HEARD of Piko tops before, but they’re huge in Arkansas! They’re like, these slouchy tees that have fitted arms and come in every color imaginable. Not a great look for me personally, but a lot of the girls look adorable in them.
What is your favorite thing about living in Arkansas?
Arkansas is such a beautiful state! I love that on any given weekend, you can drive two hours in any direction and be somewhere great.
This summer you completed the 30 x 30 challenge in which you wore only 30 different pieces to create 30 different outfits. What was the hardest part of this challenge and what did you get out of it?
I love the 30×30 challenge. It really makes you think differently about your wardrobe! The hardest part was definitely finding my inspiration by the end. I got bored with wearing the same clothes and kept looking wistfully into my closet at all of the other cute things I was missing. But in the end, I learned a lot about how to get the most out of what I already own. I also look at clothes differently when I shop now, and try to find things I can wear a lot of different ways.
In fact, you’ve done quite a few style challenges, like your “Take One” challenge and a monthly budget. What fashion challenge has been your favorite and why?
I think the Take One, Pass it on challenge (originally the brilliant idea of Sarah’s Real Life!) might have been my favorite. It’s like 30×30 in that you remix your wardrobe, but it’s a little more accessible because you only have to re-wear one piece at a time. I liked the idea so much, I remix one piece every week on Fridays. When you blog, it’s easy to fall into the trap that you have to wear something new for every post. I think it takes a lot more creativity to take something you JUST wore and make it feel fresh, and I love the challenge.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry you own and why?
My wedding ring will forever be a sentimental favorite, but I have this one pair of earrings that I would absolutely cry over if I ever lost or broke them. They look like sparkly poinsettias and even though I’m pretty sure I only paid about $20 for them, they will always be the pair I grab first!
What is your favorite piece from EvesAddiction.com right now?