We Heart It Community Spotlight: Salli Mandel

We Heart It - Style By Salli

While covering New York Fashion Week last month, we spotted a photographer outside Lincoln Center, snapping street style pics right alongside the pros. Obviously we just had to stop her–and were shocked to find out style blogger Salli Mandel of Style by Salli is only 15!

If you’ve ever wondered how to go from casual consumer to fashion blogger extraordinaire, read on — she’s got tons of tips for appropriate school shopping, getting creative with clothes and how she plans to turn her love of fashion into a career.

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Hey Salli — thanks for chatting with us! Let’s start with the basics: what’s your favorite part of picking out your outfit and getting dressed in the morning?

I actually pick out my outfit the night before, or have an idea as to what I want to wear. Maybe I want to highlight a certain jacket, shoes or accessory. I love experimenting and trying new things [and] I’ve tried a ton of different styles. I usually pick out one item I know I want to wear, and then build around it accordingly. It’ so much fun to see what I can come up with, especially when I layer things, crop things, or sort of make items “different” so that I can get a ton of looks out of one item.

We know you write a lot about your favorite budget fashion websites — what the items you couldn’t live without, if you could only pick five?

My top 5 fashion favorites at the moment are:

  1. My black sandals from ASOS (that were only $13!). They go with everything (no exaggeration) and are super easy to walk around in all day.
  2. My black Céline nano. It’s important to have a basic bag. I invested in mine so I could get one I knew wouldn’t go out of style and that I could keep using a ton.
  3. A vest. Whether it be the infamous J. Crew herringbone vest, that I luckily grabbed at a sale over the summer, or a cheaper Old Navy vest, I find myself layering vests into my Fall and Winter wardrobes a ton. They are really versatile, especially a good black or navy one, and can be worn in so many different ways.
  4. A t-shirt dress. On those days when I can barely get myself out of bed to go to school, I like to wear something casual that is easy to just hop into and go. I love Brandy Melville t-shirt dresses because they’re really soft and are the perfect length for school. Pop one on, slide into some cute sandals, tie a plaid around your waist, and you’re good-to-go.
  5. My J. Crew field jacket. I have one in green that was a total score from the J. Crew Factory store and I’m so happy I got it when I did! It’s the cutest jacket and is perfect for layering over a button down, shift dress, or even a crop top.

How did you decide to start a blog? Have you always been a creative person?

Ever since I was little, I’ve been really creative. When I discovered blogs, I decided it was the perfect thing for me because it was something that would make me really happy and also help me later in my life, applying to colleges and making connections in the fashion industry.

What do you like to do, besides blog, to be creative and experiment with different mediums?

The three major things in my life at the moment are blogging, horseback riding, and school. I have a horse so that takes up almost all the free time that isn’t devoted to school or blogging. I’m totally okay with it because I love it! I love hanging out with my friends and living in a city makes it that much easier.*

*(Salli lives in Washington DC)

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You attended Fashion Week in NY this year — tell us about that! How did you get hooked up with such an amazing gig? Any advice for aspiring fashion bloggers?

Yes! I’m super passionate about my blog and I want it to go far (like every other blogger out there). It’s sort of a confusing story, but I was emailed by a photographer’s assistant just to say hello and that she saw my blog and wanted to introduce me to the photographer. Of course, I was excited and got to talking with her and they said that they had a spot on their team to come photograph street style at NYFW. She asked me some questions about what I would add to the team and what my strengths and weaknesses are, and not long after she said I would be a perfect fit! I was ecstatic and I knew it would be an incredible experience.

I really put myself out there with my blog and try to make as many connections as I can with other bloggers, businesses, and photographers. While going into the shows is amazing, it’s really hard to come by tickets and invites like I did. I got a ton of emails and comments on my blog and Instagram about “how I got in” and other questions after I announced the news. My advice is to really get yourself out there and take as many opportunities as you can. They’ll start coming more if you really get people’s attention.

I had planned, if I wasn’t invited into the shows at Fashion Week, to just go and take street style pictures outside the tent, just so I could experience it. I recommend doing that, especially if it isn’t a huge hassle to get to the city, because while the shows were an amazing experience, I met more people outside the tent while shooting street style than when I was inside. I met a ton of bloggers and other people who would approach me, or I would approach them, and we’d exchange cards. That was the most inspiring part of my trip because connections are a huge part of blogging and being in the fashion industry.

Who are you favorite people to follow on We Heart It and what types of images do you typically gravitate towards?

I’m actually a fairly recent user of We Heart It, but I’m already addicted. My Friday night? Spent scrolling and clicking on the site (#noshame). I love searching for style pictures that incorporate items that I already own, so I can discover more ways to style them! I especially love street style pictures because I find them the most inspiring. My absolute favorit eperson I’m following is Mauu_W (aka Fashion Police because the style pictures are so cute and I seriously could heart every single image.)

You’re only 15, but have you started thinking about a career yet? How important to you is being creative in the future?

I have a huge dreams for myself, which can sometimes be disappointing, but overall I think it makes me work harder to make them come true. I dream to be a fashion business owner, but I want my blog to always be a part of my life. I hope to study business in college and hopefully travel around a lot. I’m a traveling addict and Europe is my absolute favorite place on Earth. Like they say, you can take a girl out of Europe, but you can’t take Europe out of a girl! I always want to use my creative skills, so a job that doesn’t involve my creativity is probably not the job for me!

If you’ve got a style blog, link us to it in the comments, or drop a line for Salli. And of course, don’t forget to follow her on We Heart It!

Want to be featured too? Let us know!