Nikki Washington and Valerie Anderson knew that they had something special the first time they went shopping together. Able to keep pace while zipping from store to store, the stylist team behind the Houston fashion blog Style to Envy were floored by how well they gelled.
Washington, an industrial biologist, and Anderson, an industrial engineer, decided to jettison their individual blogs in favor of a collaborative effort and a new business, which has been rocking-and-rolling since November of 2012. They’re been inseparable ever since. “We’re married. We fight. Our significant others feel neglected sometimes.” Washington said. “[I tell folks] I’m married and I have this one,” Anderson agrees.
When did Style to Envy get started and what exactly do you guys offer?
Nikki: We had individual blogs. We met at fashion events and we started to meet to blog together. We encouraged each other—even though we both traded off wanting to quit on a weekly basis. One day we decided to start writing together and we’ve been doing it ever since.
Nikki: It’s not just about blogging we’re friends. We’re good friends now. We get each other.
Valerie: We launched right before Fashion Houston last year. Very strategically—we wanted to showcase the week of events and our first posts were interviews with local designers. We also started our weekly Tip Thursday series about what to wear to a fashion show.
We offer personal styling to individual clients, mainly. A lot of folks don’t know what their style is—the consultation helps to narrow that down. We take a look in people’s closets and see what’s going on in there. Some folks have a very “schizophrenic” wardrobe and we can see where it needs to be paired down. We offer options to help folks get their fashion life together, so to speak. What to wear to work, on the weekends, to transition—all of that. Then we have more event-focused services and personal shopping services.
Nikki: [The services] depend on the client. If you have a client starting from square one and knows nothing about what they want to wear, we need to meet them where they’re at. The goal is to find a style that works for their body, their budget and their lifestyle.
Was it difficult to collaborate or do you guys have similar styles?
Nikki: Our styles are similar, but we wear things differently. Valerie is the glamorous one and I’m more calm, but edgy. She’s also the “mouth”—she’s great with TV segments, presentations and meetings.
Valerie: And Nikki is the writer—she knows all about fashion terms, lingo, and technical details. We balance each other out.
From the looks of the blog, you guys encourage each other’s style and play off one another. Are there other places in town that you take inspiration from?
Nikki: Honestly, we don’t look at “Houston” stuff much. I believe that the way we think about fashion is different than other bloggers. Val and I feed off each other. We’re inspired by magazines and international fashion, but our goal is to educate based on what we learn and not just copy trends. We want to teach folks to dress themselves—on a budget—and look great!
What style challenges do you guys see again and again?
Valerie: People don’t know what to wear to events. How to dress up their casual looks for the weekend, like wearing colored jeans and adding animal print in.
Nikki: A lot of folks don’t know how to dress on weekends—they through on sweats.
Valerie: One big issue we see a lot is how to transition your clothes. It’s hot here most of the year, so we all have a lot of summer clothes. We just did a segment on maxi dresses—in Houston, you can wear them year round.
Nikki: We’re not trendy—we dress for our personalities. But we get a lot of questions on how to wear trends, so we give scenarios like, how to add this trend if you work in a corporate office, date night, whatever you want to do.
Valerie: You can add it in little pieces or go all out. It’s up to you.
How would you sum up Houston style?
Valerie: Houston is all over the place. We have an uptown crowd with a certain style—classic and designer. Then we have the inner-loop hipster cool kids who are extreme. They’re the ones who kinda scare people with all they have going on in a look. You got that going on and then you have your typical “Texas” fashion. Cowboys and Southern Belles. Then you have other folks that are fashion forward—all ages, all races—and they just have style. They’re eye catching. Houston is a mix of all that.
Nikki: It’s like a style melting pot.
Any tips for looking chic in Houston this fall?
Valerie: Wear layers. Not hot layers like wool sweaters and all that—light ones. I’m wearing a sleeveless shirt with a blazer right now so that when I leave the house early and it’s chilly, I’m covered. When it’s hot at 3 o’clock, I’m still good!
Nikki: Don’t be afraid to wear fall trends just because you’re in Houston. Wear scarves—lightweight fashion scarves are great here. And you can wear them in a million different ways.