November 7, 2012

Ambiance it-girl... Colleen!

We had such a great time last week, playing dress up and getting to know our November it-girl, Colleen Wong!  This is one amazing lady, and it was a total pleasure to learn more about her and how fashion plays a role in her life.  Here, Colleen dishes on her love of fashion, the greatest advice she ever got, and her surprising style icons.  

Q. Hi Colleen, can you recall your first fashion memory?

A. I have an old photo of myself as a kid, wearing this outfit with all different colors and patterns together, a long dress, a sweater, tall boots...  looking back on it- it's so funny, but I remember feeling so proud of myself.
Q. Where do you find inspiration, and what's inspiring you now?

A. Everyone inspires me!  Close girlfriends, walking down the street, traveling around the world.  Especially the women in Argentina and Italy.

Q. What makes you an AMBIANCE it-girl?

A. I grew up poor.  Not the kind of poor that you shop at GAP and vacation in Santa Barbara during the summer, but the kind of poor you shop at Goodwill and camp for recreation.  This detail is important in my life story for several reasons: one, it led to my love and appreciation of clothing, two, it forced creativity in my wardrobe, and three, it made me want to go to college.  When I was 13, I worked at Christmas tree farm so that I could invest in my interest in clothing.  Early on I learned that clothing made me feel beautiful and fun and comfortable in my own skin.  I learned the importance of quality and comfort.  I bought every basic you could have.  When I entered college, I had a full wardrobe of solids: solid blacks and browns and creams.   My wardrobe monotony was realized when I met Becky.  Becky was from San Diego, she had amazing taste and clothing full of color.  She was my inspiration.  She introduced me to Ambiance one drizzly fall afternoon and it was love at first purchase.  I vowed to myself secretly that I would never buy another item that didn’t have color, texture, or pattern.  I kept this promise to myself.  Since then, my taste and wardrobe have expanded and grown, my booty has gotten bigger, and I have earned three college degrees.   I continue to seek comfort, but am now willing to try something unique or different.  I rely on my close friends for feedback, and trust few when it comes to style.  I truly feel that my love for quality, affordable, unique fashion makes me an Ambiance it-girl.

Q. Who are your personal style icons?

A. My close friends.  I've gotta give credit to my friend Becky.  And my Nana, she's a fancy lady. 
Q. Is there a Fall trend that you're really excited to try?

A. I’m dying to try the new patterned jeans this fall.  It’s a trend I might need coaching on which is the main reason I haven’t picked up a pair yet.  Help!  Patterns on the bottom?  I’m not sure how to pull this one off, but I want to!

Q. What's been the best fashion advice you've taken so far?

A. BE OPEN.  Open yourself up to different styles and designers, and always willing to branch out.
Q. Please share your favorite AMBIANCE experience with us...

A. I have had so many wonderful experiences at Ambiance; it is hard to choose just one.  I grew up in the SLO area, but did not discover my favorite store until I was at Cal Poly over 5 years ago.  My dear friend, Becky, and I would come in, feel spoiled with personal stylists and leave with the most unique and adorable outfits.  It was a splurge, like getting a pedicure, but more special.  Even with these great memories, my favorite moment is recent.  I came into Ambiance on a Thursday evening after work; I was on a mission for the perfect sweater.  And true to form, I found the perfect one.  Of course I had the usual attentiveness and care that I always get, but while I was purchasing the most adorable Free People sweater, we started talking about hair.  I’m not even sure how the conversation started, but I left smiling.  We chatted about how the girls have decided Thursdays are a must night to wash your hair.  With the smoke from the Farmer’s BBQs, it is impossible to walk downtown without reeking of smoke after.  This was a rookie mistake by me, a long-time local.  After all my years in SLO, I hadn’t made that logical connection.  Once again, my personal stylists had taught me a lesson.  I left Ambiance that night with the perfect sweater, a smile on my face, and plans to shower when I got home.

Q. And of course... What's your Butter London pick?

A. West End Wonderland.  It's sparkly, and classic.  My go-to color.

You are truly an inspiration.