Elana Pruitt – 5 Years of Talking ChicBy admin | May 26th, 2011 | Category: Interviews, July 2009, Talking Chic | No Comments »
Since the third issue of Agenda Magazine , Elana Pruitt has been writing the fashion column “Talking Chic.” The column has touched on almost every subject related to fashion with Elana’s perspective and reflects what many of us are thinking. But no one can tell it quite like Elana. Since that Winter 2004 issue, the column, the webzine, and its author have evolved.
“Aaah, the leisurely luxury of online browsing. What was once a pastime for me—you know, like checking a couple of favorite websites to see what’s new—has turned into a scheduled, relaxing activity”
—Elana Pruitt’s first Agenda article, “The Leisurely Luxury of Online Browsing”—
Talking Chic’s topics have ranged from cleaning out your closet to finding the right teeny weeny bikini for every sized woman. Elana has managed to make us feel comfortable about our bodies and think outside the box when it comes to fashion. So after almost five years with Agenda, it was my pleasure to put Elana in front of the camera and ask her a few key questions about “Talking Chic,” and the direction she has taken her career.
Elana is also the owner of “Good Girl Gone Shopping,” which is a personal shopping, wardrobe consulting and styling business. She is also the senior editor of PlasticSurgery.com and Beautychatblog.com. In addition to being a fashion blogger, Elana has a website, which is an extension of “Good Girl Gone Shopping,” formerly known as “Diary of a Personal Shopper.”
How did you get started?
I actually got started with fashion writing . . . you (Kaylene Peoples, editor in chief of Agenda Magazine) invited me on when I was in college. I was at Nordstrom in the TBD and Savvy department. And I started building up a clientele of women who were looking for trendy and modern fashion. So inkeeping contact with her, it just started. So five years I’ve been with Agenda Magazine and that really branched off into other opportunities with various online publications. I felt confident enough to start my own blog, which is an extension of “Good Girl Gone Shopping.” I then moved on to PlasticSurgery.com, where I am the senior editor and writer. I say moved on, but I am still doing various projects at once. So really it started off with Agenda Magazine .
How did you know you had a special eye for fashion?
I don’t know if I ever knew I had a special eye. I just love color! I loved playing dress-up. My mom always tells me that when I was a child, I put a skirt on my head because it was pink and I just wanted to go out in public and feel fabulous, and she let me. I was about five then. Because fashion really expresses your personality, I’ve never seen a limit to that. I never thought there were boundaries and I always believed there shouldn’t be. So it just innately developed.
Tell me about “Good Girl Gone Shopping.”
It’s still a personal venture and is still growing, but it started off by helping girls in the office. At PlasticSurgery.com I always played around with footwear, and gradually girls would come up to me and say, “Elana, I’m going to a wedding. What do you think I should wear?” And I’d throw something out like, “Wear a black dress, wear colored shoes, but throw a clutch on.” Word started to spread, and on our breaks I offered to go with my co-workers to Target and Macy’s. It was then that I started realizing that not only was I helping them, but we did it within an hour, under their budget. Everything we found was on sale. I started to realize that women desired my services. Instead of just helping them in the store, I started going into their rooms and their closets. My biggest focus now is helping them stylize with what they already have, and they don’t need to spend a penny. It’s very exciting now because they now realize that all of their clothes are versatile. Basically go into your closet and play dress up. “Good Girl Gone Shopping” is really to bring out the inner fashionista with no limits.
Let’s say I’m a woman slightly overweight, 185 lbs., and 5’4″. I’m going to a class reunion, haven’t seen my fellow classmates in 10 years. And I’m nervous because I put on this weight. What can I wear that is going to make me look fabulous?
I think for a woman who could be self-conscious about being overweight and she’s going to her reunion, black (to me) is always everyone’s best friend because it is slimming. Of course, it matters what she’s wearing. I would suggest a nice slack and some kind of black blouse and then focus color elsewhere—a fabulous shoe, a fabulous clutch, a cardigan, a necklace—something that can bring the eye elsewhere. So if she’s self-conscious abouther stomach or her arms, play around with other parts of the body. Fancy footwear is so exciting because you can play around with it. And again it brings the eyes elsewhere. I would suggest starting with the basics, a black, maybe a charcoal, a chocolate brown. Once she has her basics, then she can play around with accessories. So I would think a woman who is overweight going to her class reunion should focus on the accessories and the outer aspects of fashion.
You always hear people talking about how you might not be accessorizing an outfit correctly. Would you say that color plays a big role in accessorizing an outfit?
Color and accessories depend on the person’s personality. If a woman lives in black and she loves it, that’s her style. However, a great necklace with some turquoise can really make it pop. I think accessories offer a great opportunity to play with color. It’s trial and error. Someone who doesn’t usually wear accessories shouldn’t just wear a bright pink necklace and just throw anything on. It really takes a lot to find pieces that match who a person really is.
What do you term yourself as?
I call myself a fashion writer because of my perspective of fashion. From that perspective, I have thoughts and opinions, and that’s when I express them.
Fashion Week 2006, interviewing a designer backstage. There were a few different situations where I was interviewing Kevan Hall and his closet of clothes before the show started, being on the runway afterwards and speaking to the designer of Single [Galina Sobolev], and when I realized I was among other professionals who are doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I realized it couldn’t get much better than this. I am now speaking to those who also have a passion. Sitting at the shows, sitting in the 2 nd row—I remember there was a time when I was sitting behind Wesley Snipes. He turned around and I gave him my card. I remember thinking to myself, “In college I never would have dreamt that I’d be in a situation where I would be just as important as the A-listers, as the celebrities.” My role was needed there. A writer was needed, and I was there to serve that purpose. I believe Fashion Week during that year was my highest high.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years from now I would love to eventually have “Good Girl Gone Shopping” as a corporation. I live in the Inland Empire in Upland, California. I would love to be the “go-to” person for all women’s needs and men’s needs. I have helped some male clients look for suits and look for sweaters. I really want to build that business. That would be my goal to make it thrive. Eventually branch off into the LA and Orange County area. But I’m always going to be a writer. I would like to have a book out where I notate all of my experiences thus far. I have grown quite a lot.
You said you help men with their fashion, too. What’s that like?
Women are a little more self-conscious and a little more insecure with their bodies. One male client I had was leaving for an unexpected trip and told me what he wanted, suits and casual jackets. He gave me the color scheme. I went to JC Penny, found everything within an hour or two. It is an easier purchase because men don’t like to fuss. With women, you have to pay a little more attention to what they’re feeling inside.
What do you do when people are stuck on one color? What advice could you give to help them choose more of a variety?
To really convince a person that a color isn’t that flattering, or maybe they’re always wearing the same color and it’s in all their pictures, I would ask what is it about the color they like? For instance, purple. If someone is wearing that a lot, I’d like to know what is it about that color that appeals to them? How does it make them feel? They can still wear that color by wearing accents of that same color.
At seven years old, I always had a journal. Talking Chic is me talking, but talking about it in a chic manner. That’s where the name came from. I’m assuming everyone’s listening, but it’s more of me getting my thoughts out because I am sure it’s something people can relate to.
I’ve learned to always do my research before I go to events, interview anyone, or write anything. One time I went to an event and I wasn’t the most appropriately dressed and I actually didn’t know who would be there. I once was interviewing one celebrity and there was a celebrity next to that person and I didn’t know her name. I knew she was a fan of that designer, but I should have researched all the celebs that were fans. Doing your research is number one because you want to show people that you know what you’re doing. You need to make sure that you are doing your all to prove that you deserve to be there. So doing your research is number one.
Interviewed by Kaylene Peoples