In this series, we’ve been interviewing some of our favorite fashion bloggers around the world, today our featured blogger is Michelle of The Stranger.
Hi Michelle, tell us a little bit about yourself (who you are/what you do/where you’re from, etc.).
My name is Michelle Lara Lin. I’m a blogger at The Stranger (http://thestrangerblog.com). My family is from Taiwan. I was born and raised in New Zealand. But I don’t quite identify with any geographic location in particular. I’ve lived all over the world, and somehow I’ve wound up here in New York City.
How would you define your style?
My style fluctuates depending on my mood, but for the most part I would say that my style is classic and romantic. Sometimes I enjoy putting a dark and seductive spin to my looks.
How did you find your sense of style?
When I lived in Taiwan, I was frequently lectured for the way that I dressed. It was incredibly discouraging. I found my sense of style shortly upon moving to New York City. You can do whatever you like here and nobody really cares. The city blessed me with a newfound freedom to experiment with fashion. Now I am finally dressing at the height of my individuality.
What inspired you to start a style blog? What motivates you to keep blogging?
Several factors. I really enjoy putting together lovely outfits. Simple pleasures like this get me through hectic days. On the other hand, I think fashion is headed towards a questionable direction. Aesthetics are certainly subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can tolerate most trends, but I simply don’t believe in messy prints or clashy-colored outfits worn just for the sake of being photographed by street style photographers. The purpose of fashion is not to induce a panic attack upon your spectators. I felt the need to launch a subtle “revolt” against some of these silly trends.
…But none of this really fueled me to start the blog until I logged onto Facebook one morning. I found, to my surprise, that this girl had posted photos of herself in an outfit identical to something I had worn in my profile pictures. At first I was awestruck, then I was flattered. She made me realize that I should be doing something about the positive reception towards my style. I owe it to her for elevating my decision to start this fashion blog.
How did you choose the name of your blog?
I named it after a brilliant novel, The Stranger (French: L’Étranger) by Albert Camus. This dead man… He changed my life, to say the very least. I enjoy his other works just very much too, but it would be silly to name my blog The Plague, or A Happy Death, or The First Man. That’s how I ended up picking The Stranger. It’s very fitting in many ways. Some days I do feel like Mersault (the main character in the novel), but most days I just feel like a stranger in the vaguest sense.
What was the best comment you ever received from a reader?
“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?”
I couldn’t approve the comment though. My family reads my blog!
What is your top fashion tip?
I don’t see a point in following trends. I believe in sticking to safe, soothing, and simple color palettes. I am also a fierce advocate of manipulating classic looks with a modern flair, something that Olivia Palermo does very well.
What advice do you have for new bloggers or people considering starting a blog?
Use WordPress.org! Even the New York Times uses them. It gets confusing for first-timers, and it certainly confused me. But if you’re serious about blogging, WordPress is a no-brainer.
What importance do social networks have for you?
I thought about shutting down my Facebook account for the longest time, but figured it would be ill-advised considering 70% of my traffic comes from there. As distracting as social networks are, I owe it to them that I get so much traffic on my blog.
What is your favourite thing to do when not blogging?
I am addicted to traveling. I’ll never be content with settling down in one place. I need to be on the run. I’m driven by this strange, chronic wanderlust, and a thirst to explore every corner of this planet. I like traveling alone very much– it’s liberating. I also read and write a lot, although I read far more than I write.
For you, what is the world’s most fashionable city?
Ask me this question in ten years. There’s still so much I need to see!
How would you describe fashion in the city where you live?
New York City is not as fashionable as the media makes it out to be. Most people are devoured by work and sleep deprivation. There really isn’t that much time to put any thought into an outfit. I don’t blame them. On the other hand, come New York Fashion Week and suddenly the city will splatter itself in the most attention-grabbing outfits it can manage to compile. It’s funny, really.
What message do you hope to send to your readers?
I’ll focus on the message I have concerning fashion:
While the way you dress may be a reflection of your personality and individuality, don’t stress too hard over fashion. At the end of the day, it’s your inner character that matters. Never feel pressured to drape yourself in designer clothing. Never use price tags to judge the legitimacy of an outfit. Fashion is often abused as a gateway to status, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe that if you focus more on the aesthetic elements to it, you’ll discover a very raw and simple joy in it.
Do you find Michelle’s style inspiring? Let us know in the comments!
Here are some Michelle’s tips for shopping on Giglio.com: