Blogger Spotlight: Stephanie of The Haute Meal

Our style crush on Stephanie began the moment she uploaded her first #XOQ photo on Instagram. Teal + orange stripes + kelly green? We’d be so lucky to be that imaginative! Her style exudes confidence and sophistication, while still being attainable. She’s got mega sartorial skills! Stephanie chatted with us about her blog, The Haute Meal, her personal style & so much more!

ELOQUII: Tell us about your blog, The Haute Meal

Stephanie: When I first started blogging, it was all about food and recipes. I’m one of those people that’s always posting pictures of her cooking escapades, and at some point I felt like it was time to just start my own blog already. After about a year of food blogging, though, I felt like I wanted to share more than just recipes, and the addition of personal style posts felt natural. Partially because I’m a total shopaholic and full-time shoe lover. But, more than that, I think a big part of blogging is sharing your individual interests and what you love to do. Part of who I am includes my need to put my own spin on things, whether it’s my outfit, the meal I’m cooking, or how I decorate my living space. At first I thought it might be a little jarring, switching over from a straight-forward food blog to one that also incorporates fashion posts. But I love talking about food, and I love talking about fashion, and if I can do that all in one place, then why not at least give it a try?

I was definitely nervous about putting myself out there at first. To be frank (can I be frank?) I hate taking pictures. I mean, I hate it. You can’t point a camera at me without me ducking my head and holding up my hand as a shield like I’m dodging paparazzi. I take all of my own photos remotely because I’m too uncomfortable having someone else take them, even though I’d probably get better photographs that way. I suppose it feels less threatening when there’s no one standing behind the camera judging how I look from shot to shot, which is pretty ironic considering that as soon as I post a photo it’s available for all the world to judge. But I’m glad that I took the leap, because the reaction has been really positive across the board from everyone I know, and from plenty of people that I don’t. I really enjoy what I’m doing with the blog, and although it takes far more time than I ever would have expected it would when I first began, it never feels like hard work.

E: Your personal style is so unique. How did you develop it?

S: I probably got most of my sense of style from my mom. As a child, I loved watching her get ready for work, or to go out someplace special. She always took such care with her appearance, and even when it was a casual occasion she had to look just right. She really ingrained in me the idea that no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, part of feeling good is looking the part. If you look sloppy, you’ll feel sloppy. Over the years, I’ve tried plenty of trends and styles, testing what I like, and finding what works for my body. I like to describe the current results as, “classic with an edge.” By which I mean that I prefer timeless shapes and pieces, but they happen to have a little something extra that makes them feel vibrant or luxurious: a slim pencil skirt in metallic leather; a well-fitting blazer in an interesting print; or a vintage eelskin clutch. I mix and match things like that with other everyday pieces to create outfits that I could wear now, or probably still wear 40 years from now, but that never feel boring - at least, not to me!

E: Let’s chat summer trends! What are you most looking forward to wearing? 

S: When it’s hot and sticky in Chicago, the last thing I want to wear is anything close-fitting, so when I’m not at work I pretty much live in gauzy cotton fabrics all summer: airy maxi dresses and breezy, off-the-shoulder tops, things like that. I’m also having a real love affair with sunglasses right now, from embellished round-rims to mirrored aviators; I already have the Essential Aviator Sunglasses. A fun pair of sunglasses is not only functional, but it’s a really versatile accessory that you can wear with all your summer outfits. And did I mention that they always fit?

E: What’s your favorite piece in your closet?

S: That’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is! If I had to pick one right now, it would be my ponte blazer. I got it in black, and loved the fit and comfort so much that I immediately bought another one in white so I could alternate. It’s so classic, and perfect with everything from a pencil skirt to artfully ripped jeans. I can wear it to work, or out to dinner or drinks. Push up the sleeves, pop the collar, and you’re golden.

E: Blogger/vlogger shoutout – who do you love to read/watch & why? 

S: There are so many that I enjoy – I swear if Bloglovin’ didn’t aggregate them for me, I could never keep up. 3 that I love right now:

A Keene Sense of Style is high on my list. Her outfits are gorgeously coordinated, and there are always so many feminine little details to what she wears. If I could have someone dress me every day, it would be her.

I also have a total girl crush on Nadia Aboulhosn. Her style is so fierce it hurts; that lady is definitely not afraid to take chances with her gear. And no matter what she wears, it always fits her figure perfectly. That’s probably what I love most: she dresses her unique shape to an ever-lovin’ T. The look is always flawlessly fitted.

Last, but not least, Tiffany Battle at The Werk! Place is so funky and artistic. Her creativity in combining pieces always makes me want to run to my closet, eager to try and put together something even half as cool. I’m telling you, my girl is working it over there. You better recognize the skills!