If you have ever struggled with having “nothing to wear”, or had trouble defining your personal style, click over to The Tiny Closet, a personal style blog by Natalie Live, and you’re guaranteed to be inspired. Natalie not only has an enviably cool style of her own (which earned her a feature in Redbook!) she tells you how to define your style by creating your version of a tiny closet—or a wardrobe pared down to the basics that fit your lifestyle. In our COCOBlogger of the Month interview, Natalie breaks down the basics of a tiny closet, details the products in her Ultimate Beauty Arsenal, and shares what’s next for The Tiny Closet.
In 3-5 sentences, please tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I’m Natalie and I write a personal style blog called The Tiny Closet. I live in L.A. with my husband and while assisting him in shoots and productions; I also chronicle my adventures in minimalist, versatile style and fashion through my little wardrobe. On the side, I also design and make clothing locally, dabble in creating a house wares line and work a few days a week at one of my neighborhood restaurants. Life is simple. Just like my blog 🙂
What was the inspiration behind your blog, The Tiny Closet?
I created The Tiny Closet for myself, initially. I had lost my job and didn’t really have anything to do during the day. Blogging definitely started out as a personal journey into finding the fun in having a small wardrobe and not being able to shop all the time like I had grown used to doing. After a while though, I was fascinated and charged by the amount of women interested in my concept and wanting to (or needing to) pare down their own wardrobes as well. I started getting very creative in stretching my closet over a whole year, realizing that incessant shopping was unnecessary and could easily pull one away from personal style. The more creative I got, the more my own personal style began to stand out and I started to seeing myself in my clothes instead of my clothes wearing me. So basically, losing my job and not being able to shop inspired what I still write about today.
What exactly is a tiny closet? What are the key/staple pieces that should be in one?
A Tiny closet is a small wardrobe where most of the pieces can be worn every season and almost everything can go together. After that guideline, it’s all up to you. Your Tiny closet is yours. It’s versatile, personal and completely tailored to YOU. I don’t believe in staple pieces for all women. Or key pieces that every woman should have… You make the rules. Not your Vogue or Lucky magazine telling you what you should wear. If we’re talking about personal style, there is no general staple. I have around 10 pairs of harem pants, spanning from denim to linen to leather. Why? Because I adore harem pants. They are a staple for my closet but I would never tell another woman that they are a staple for hers. I have a girlfriend who owns and wears all 11 pairs of denim and she rocks them all year long. I have no need or interest in that many pairs of jeans so I own 3 pairs and that is all. I also have a tutu and 9 men’s buttons ups. But that’s me and my closet reflects me. I think your closet should be all about you and what you love to wear. Forget the rules.
We are all familiar with the ‘too many clothes, but nothing to wear’ syndrome. How do you get inspired when you’re feeling “blah” about your closet?
This is something I had to battle frequently during the 1st year of my blog but now they’re kind of a thing of the past. I had been used to buying new clothes weekly! So going from weekly shopping to no shopping at all was seriously depressing. But because I was chronicling my adventures in less-is-more wardrobing, I finally asked myself, “Why don’t I have anything to wear?? Why did I buy all these clothes when I don’t even like wearing them??” Answering that question solved the problem. The reasons? For one, I was buying clothes that were “in” rather than clothes I really liked. Two, I had no sense of personal style so my outfits were unstyled and generic looking. And three, I was putting importance in pieces that were all the rage in magazines and media but didn’t fit my body or tastes. So the inspiration out of that slump was really focusing on building and identifying my personal tastes. If I hadn’t worn something in an entire year, I got rid of it. If a piece was ill fitting, I got it tailored. I also learned to style things differently, which transformed a lot of blah clothing in my closet at the time. Also, ignoring the rules of what I should or shouldn’t like really set me free in expressing myself and never having a nothing-to-wear day.
What has been your go-to trend or article of clothing this summer?
High waist shorts and pants and men’s button ups!! I cannot stop wearing these kinds of outfits. I feel so effortlessly chic in both.
Your hair is absolutely beautiful! Tell us about your summer hair routine.
Thank you! Well, I wash my hair, style it with the shingling method using lots of Morrocanoil deep conditioner and then sit under my helmet dryer for an hour. I do this once a week. I don’t care to sleep with a bonnet or scarf so I don’t for better or worse. Probably worse. I am a wash and go gal and even though I require my hair to look nice, I can’t stand doing it so my once a week maintenance is enough.
What beauty products are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal–those items you just can’t live without, and why?
Concealer!!!!!! I have both my mom and dad’s hereditary dark under eyes so concealer makes the difference between me looking tired or even ill to looking fresh and normal. I use Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick. The next must-have-or-die products are mascara and false lashes. I used to get extensions but they are a bit too costly to maintain so I love Maybelline’s Colossal Volume Express and for falsies I like Andrea and Kiss. I also need blush, which I love both Bobbi Brown and Milani. Milani has fabulous lipsticks. When going to work, I never miss a spritz of my signature scent, Bond #9 Central Park West.
What has been the best moment you’ve had, or most amazing accolade you’ve received since you started blogging?
When Redbook magazine gave me a full page in their March issue of 2014, I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of my blog or of Theo for his amazing photography. I also enjoyed speaking at the Style Bloggers of Color Conference and sharing my techniques for flawless blog photos. I was received so well there and it made me appreciate my work a lot. I was proud that day too.
What advice would you give to other creative / stylish women who want to start a blog, but are afraid or unsure how to begin?
I get this question a lot actually. I always say just do it. A lot of people are worried or scared of just starting because they think it has to be perfect or the concept has to be perfect or the photos or whatever… I guarantee you though, unless you’re a celebrity, ain’t nobody gonna be reading those first 10 blog posts except your family and friends (and maybe not even them LOL). So there’s nothing to really be embarrassed about since you don’t really have an audience anyway. Just start writing and posting and taking photos are whatever you want to do. You won’t be able to fine-tune your vision or direction until you really start and everything is live and real. Also, one tip I often give is to blog about a subject that is as specific as possible. Lifestyle blogs fall by the waaaaaaayside, as they’re typically boring–because they’re general and never really dive too deep. Being general doesn’t tend to hold attention as opposed to someone who has narrowed his or her topic of discussion down to a very specific matter. People go online looking for specific things. Help those people who are searching for what you’re talking about find your blog.
What’s next for The Tiny Closet?
Wellllll, coincidentally, I actually DO have something big coming up for my blog. I am in the process of relaunching The Tiny Closet for it’s brand new debut on September 8th. It’s going to be a new look, new style and an evolved concept of the adventures in having a small wardrobe. My small team and I are very excited to unveil everything in September so please please visit, browse and drop me a line to let me know what you think!