Columbus, I Love You.

I grew up near Dayton, OH in a suburb called Oakwood, that I hated.  I made great friends and was blessed enough to attend a very reputable high school, but I always felt like a black sheep.  Even before I really knew fashion was the industry I wanted to go into, I always pushed the envelope with what I wore the school, wearing converse in the winter and doubling up on belts for a head to toe black and white look.  A lot of the girls I went to school with found comfort in ripped Abercrombie jeans, a white tank, and tan UGGs, so it goes without saying that you could always see me coming from a mile away with my quirky sense of style. I was so beyond thrilled to graduate and leave "The Dome" because it just wasn't a good fit for me.  A lot of my friends have since graduated college and moved back, and that is fantastic for them, but for's a place I will never feel at home. 

Now, I found my true home in Columbus, OH.  A mere hour and a bit away, I am perfectly content sitting at North Market with a good magazine or book, watching people walk by and interact with each other. I don't get to explore Columbus that often, and I've lived here for 5 years so it's really a shame.  The other day, my photographer suggested we shoot at a bridge downtown that I had never heard about so we hoped in the car and made our way there.  We actually shot my Sneakers article on the bridge and then took a stroll about a half mile away to this riverside walkway to shoot these pictures, and what happened next solidified my love for the resident's of Columbus.  

As I was leaned against a pillar for a shot below a very alternative couple walked by and the woman took the time to tell me I look gorgeous.  Here I am, wearing my leopard hi-tops, a men's denim shirt, and bright red pants which isn't exactly the typical outfit choice for a 22 year old woman, yet she loved it.  That woman spoke to just how amazing  and open minded people are up here.  And that is why I will forever love Columbus. The city in and of itself is absolutely breathtaking in spots, but aside from that the people I have met the past 5 years have exposed me to a world of diversity.  People with different life stories, cultures, experiences, and so much more have really helped me embrace who I am and gain a world of confidence that I didn't have before. 

When it comes to fashion and style inspiration, it's easy to look to the obvious.  You can easily replicate a look out of a magazine, or peruse the Women's fashion section of Pinterest but I challenge you to draw inspiration from the city you live in.  Since I started calling Columbus home I have noticed a more urban style in my day to day looks. I find myself reaching for comfortable sneakers pretty much every other day.  I do like to still look presentable however, so an outfit like the one below is perfect for those days that you want to look casual chic in .5 seconds.  If you can find a great pair of printed sneakers, be it animal print or something cute like polka dots, you can pair it with a couple solid color basics and hit the town a.s.a.p.  

This outfit represents so much more than a woman and her love for sneakers. It represents who I have become, and the fact that I am not longer scared to challenge myself stylistically, nor step out of the house in a look that I know will get me some attention.  5 years ago, I pushed the envelope.....Now, that envelope has been torn wide open and there is no turning back.  So Thank You Columbus, for bringing out a whole new side of me and my style, for helping me gain confidence in my obsession with sneakers, and for being there for me the past 5 years, through every up and down.  Columbus, I Love You.

Red Skinnies: JCPenney / Top: Target Men's  / Sneakers: Vans / Earrings: Kohls
 Stay Stylish

Photos courtesy of Jay. L Photography. 2014

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