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Incredibly enough, it will be one year in August that I’ve been blogging. Crazy right? It feels like just yesterday that I wrote my first post, and I can’t help but think of all the great and wonderful people I’ve met along the way through this crazy journey.  Part of me doing the Renowned Women of Chicago series is to showcase women that have various facets of style and grace. Not only that, I wanted to showcase women from all walks of life and background – regardless if they are bloggers or not.

One of the most amazing individuals that I’ve met on this journey is this week’s Renowned Woman of Chicago – Erin Bassett of Color Me Styled. She is a great collaborator, colleague, and friend. She also happens to be the very first blogger I met in person! I met her and her husband Danny on a late night at Nellcôte in the West Loop. I extended an open invitation on Twitter to an Industry party there at Nellcôte, and she was the only one that responded! Ha! Needless to say, we had a great night getting to know each other and she graciously answered all of my newbie blogger questions. I may be wrong, but I think her and Danny were already a bit tipsy upon arriving. Oops!

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The Epicurean:  Hi Erin! Thanks for agreeing to the interview.  Tell us a bit about yourself? Who you are? What you do for a living? 

Erin: Hi WCE! Thanks for having me. I’m Erin M Bassett. I’m a blogger, blogger coach/mentor, Instagram addict (follow me, I follow back! http://instagram.com/erinmbassett), dog-person and devoted wife! My husband, Danny, and I live in the West Loop so we’re always out visiting the delicious restaurants in the neighborhood. For a living, I am a blogger coach/mentor. I have the privilege of helping my clients just Blog Better! We work one-on-one to improve their blogs, help attain goals and create brand partnerships that they only could have dreamt of earlier. I’ve published some ebooks too based on the FAQ I get from my clients. (http://erinmariebassett.com/ebooks)

The Epicurean: Wow! You have a lot going on for sure! Are you originally from Chicago? If not, how did you end up here?

Erin:  I’m not! Originally I’m from Brookfield, Wisconsin. I went to school at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. After school I moved to Santa Cruz, California and after a year there I moved to Chicago!

The Epicurean:  That’s great! Your blog, Color Me Styled, just got a brand new makeover! Tell us more about your blog? When did you start the blog, and what its focus aside from fashion? 

Erin:  Yes! She really needed it too. Color Me Styled is two years old and I sit down to create every post with one question in mind; how can I inspire my readers with this post? I try to create positive and informative content that will inspire my readers to make the most of their day. Content covers fashion, style, home-cooking, DIY, travel, apps, social media and shopping. My “niche” is lifestyle so I cover a variety of topics because in my mind we’re all renaissance men & women who do a little bit of everything!

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The Epicurean: Being a native cheesehead, do you think being from Wisconsin has any influence on your fashion sense and style? 

Erin: Oh for sure. I always look for pieces that are classic and versatile but with a unique element. So a cardigan with a chiffon back panel for example. But my style is very practical and I learned that from my parents who each invest in clothing that lasts them for years. That being said I prefer causal looks and I’m inclined to wear jeans and a top everywhere.

The Epicurean: Do you remember when you first got into fashion and style? 

Erin: Does “forever” count? Seriously, I can’t think of a time when I didn’t care about fashion and style. Growing up it was actually my Dad who taught me to invest in quality over quantity. He shops at higher end retailers and pays more per item but then he wears the items for 10 years! I also would visit my Aunt who lives here in Chicago growing up and she taught me how to shop sales at the big department stores to get designer items at a discount. My closet is all about quality and functionality. In college I definitely went the “fast fashion” route with Forever 21, H&M and Target but now I focus on adding the best to my closet as possible

The Epicurean: I agree with your Dad completely when it comes to quality. Kudos to him! Who are some of your favorite designers?

Erin: I cannot get enough Cynthia Rowley, Elizabeth and James and Tibi. And Alice and Olivia. And Rachel Zoe. And Emerson Fry. And Joie. For every-day looks (I work from home after all) I live in Marine Layer, J.Crew and Anthropologie.

The Epicurean:  Some great designers there! What do you find to be the most difficult for you (if any) when it comes to fashion and style?

Erin: The fact that I’m a size 8-12. I’m admire designer clothing and find fashion so inspiring but rarely do the items I adore on the runway “work” on me. Often the pieces are not forgiving for curvy girls and if they are, they sell out immediately. It is frustrating to say the least.

The Epicurean: Wow. This is amazing that you are willing to share that with the readers. What about blogging about fashion? What do you find difficult about that?

Erin: Being confident during photo shoots. It is a lot harder than it might look! But, I don’t do well with feeling negative about myself or thinking I “can’t” do something so I’m putting myself out there in a new style series I’m calling Contemporary Curves. I’m partnering with contemporary designers and fashion houses to demonstrate that girls sized 8-12 can, and should, shop at these stores with confidence! There are pieces out there for everyone, you just might have to work a little harder at it if you’re not blessed with model genes.

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The Epicurean:  See, I knew you were amazing for multiple reasons. Bravo on starting that new series! When it comes to fashion bloggers out there, who do you look to for inspiration and advice?

Erin:  Inspiration: I think fashion inspiration sits right next to general inspiration so Coffee Stained Cashmere is a Tumblr blog that has a kind of moody feel to it but the fashions are classic. With Love From Kat features more fashion than general lifestyle posts. I love her affinity for color blocking and monochrome looks. Plus I wish I had her hair! Jacey of Damsel in Dior has awesome taste and her style posts are approachable but elegant! I also love reading Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue in print too!

AdviceThe Everygirl is everything! They’ve done such a good job of creating and curating content to address all the elements of girl’s lives. Their style advice and roundups are practical, helpful and best of all, affordable! I’m lucky to call Sara of Project Soiree a personal friend and I text her all the time for style advice or help. Plus, she and Farissa have come over for closet consults through WhatRUWearing a couple of times and I just love how they put together items I never would have thought to combine!

The Epicurean:  Finally, what advice do you have to the male readers out there who want to be more fashionable?

Erin: It is the same advice I give to girls who want to try new fashions. Try things on and experiment but make sure you feel comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, it’ll show in your face and body language and people will notice that you’re not feeling awesome. Look to the runway and magazines and ads for inspiration and then be creative with items you already have.

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Gracias Erin for taking the time to do this awesome interview with me! Make sure you stop over at Color Me Styled for lifestyle tips, advice, and inspiration.  Thanks again Erin!

The Windy City Epicurean