Text and The City


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Photo by Megan Tsang

A big city blogger falls for Birmingham.

By Javacia Harris Bowser

Fashion blogger and freelance wardrobe stylist Victoria Sanders, better known as Vic Styles of VicStyles.com, says her friends have often compared her to Carrie Bradshaw of the wildly popular television show Sex and the City. “I think it started because I dress sort of quirky,” Styles says.

At a recent event I hosted for local women who write and blog, Styles arrived wearing a plum skirt, a black fitted off-the-shoulder top, white stilettos, and an ivory wide-brimmed hat. Since most other people in attendance were dressed in jeans or the office-appropriate frock they’d worn to work, Styles certainly stood out. If you’d been there, you might have leaned over to the person seated next to you and whispered, “She’s not from around here.” And you would have been right. Sort of.

Styles’ parents moved from Washington, D.C., to Birmingham when she was 20, and she decided to come with them to attend college at the UAB. It was while she was in Birmingham that Styles started her first blog, Fashion Equals Love, in 2008. “I didn’t even know any other bloggers aside from a few girls in L.A.,” Styles says. But she kept blogging, nonetheless, and her love for fashion kept growing.

At the time Styles worked at the clothing store Express, and her manager, who noticed she was a fashion maven in the making, suggested she look into a career in wardrobe styling. “Before that I had no idea you could get paid to dress people,” Styles says. “When she planted that seed in my head, I just started buying all of these books and doing all of this research, and I just decided to move.”

The decision to leave Birmingham for Los Angeles wasn’t a difficult one because, quite frankly, Styles hated Birmingham. “I thought this place was slow and everyone was backwards and not forward thinking,” she admits. And so it was off to Los Angeles.

There she stopped blogging. “I became an assistant, and my life was basically like The Devil Wears Prada,” Styles says. “I had no time. I was getting yelled at. It was horrible but great at the same time.” Eventually, Styles became a freelance celebrity wardrobe stylist. She’s worked for a number of entertainers including rappers Big Sean and Snoop Dogg, singer Ariana Grande, and actresses Tia Mowry and Tisha Campbell. Today Styles works primarily for commercials and television, styling for brands like Skechers, Foot Locker, Nickelodeon, and Lifetime.

Despite her successful career as a wardrobe stylist, blogging kept tugging at her heart. Styles knew she needed another creative outlet. “Blogging is my way to put together things the way I see them, the way I want them to be seen, whereas styling is very much about what my client wants,” she says.

In 2012 Styles launched a new blog, VicStyles.com. The website is not your typical fashion and beauty blog. Yes, there are posts on her favorite hair and beauty products and rich, vivid photography showing off her eclectic, eye-catching style. But there is also storytelling. And each post shares words of encouragement and inspiration for women daring to go after their dreams.

Styles eventually gained such a huge following through her blog and social media platforms that they became another source of income for her as she started to land opportunities to work on campaigns for brands like Shea Moisture, Target, and Hanes.

Her talent for blogging and brand building has, ironically, led Styles back to Birmingham, where she’s not only helping her mother brand a new business but is also hosting networking brunches for aspiring and emerging female entrepreneurs and workshops for bloggers seeking ways to monetize their work.

Styles says Birmingham has surprised her. “I have fallen completely in love with a place that I completely hated,” Styles says. “I thought there was no creativity, no soul, no anything in this city. And coming back and seeing this creative community and all these amazing little restaurants and shops—it’s really refreshing. I would honestly consider moving back.”

Meanwhile, Styles has enjoyed writing for her blog so much, she’s now working on her first book, which she says will be part memoir, part manual for “women that are trying to make something happen.”

Her advice for women with big dreams is simple. “If you think you don’t have the right resources to achieve your aspirations, Styles says, “just use what you have and stop making excuses.” Reach out to your friends for help because, she says, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

 

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