Express Yourself – Again

During the year of the sweatshirt, many of us forgot that fashion can be an outlet for self-expression, choosing comfort over creativity in our daily wardrobe. To ignite fall fashion inspiration, we called on Triangle influencers to remind us that personal style is about looking good, feeling great and having fun … and maybe slightly fewer pairs of sweatpants.

Browse your closet with new eyes this fall, revisiting old favorites in different combinations. These style bloggers show us how.

Editor’s note: Unless otherwise noted, clothing and accessories are the models’ personal wardrobe.

Special thanks to The Mayton in downtown Cary for location.

Chelsea Jennette

Transition to fall with an easy and breezy babydoll dress. On trend details include a smocked bodice and gathering at wrists. Dress available at CharleyMadelyn boutique.

Instagram: @afashionablebeliever

Followers: 20,700

Owner: CharleyMadelyn boutique in Raleigh (named after her twin daughters)


Signature style: Anything pink, especially dresses and statement pieces

This statement blouse brings the spice with metallic animal-print flare sleeves. Blouse available at CharleyMadelyn boutique.

Jennette’s fashion advice:

Let your outfit do the work for you.

Choose statement pieces with interesting details, such as smocking, ruffles or a beautiful print. Add accessories and you’re done!

Dresses are a mom’s best friend.

As a business owner and mom of twin 2-year-olds, Jennette has limited time most mornings. A dress (plus accessories) is a one-and-done outfit that looks polished and feminine.

Be bold.

“We have one walk — go boldly and confidently,” Jennette said. Find something you love that makes you feel your best.

Anna Crollman

A sweater and jeans sounds basic, but unique details — balloon sleeves, bright pink and sophisticated accessories — are anything but.

Instagram: @mycancerchic

Followers: 14,700


Inspiring story: Diagnosed with breast cancer at 27, Crollman felt isolated and unsure of how to dress her now unfamiliar body. She founded her blog, My Cancer Chic, to connect with and inspire all women to thrive through adversity, sharing personal style as a cornerstone of her own self-confidence and joy.

Shimmery fabric makes this dress a showstopper, and the trendy babydoll silhouette is flattering and forgiving.

Crollman’s Top Tips:

Dress for yourself.

“Fashion is not about how you look to other people, it’s about looking polished for you,” she said.

Fashion is an experiment.

You don’t have to get it right every time.

Give yourself grace.

As we transition back to “outward fashion,” start small, with attainable looks that make you feel confident.

Ashley Herndon

Return to business attire with a classic shirtdress, a timeless style that dances between casual and professional.

Instagram: @Ashleyb17

Followers: 4,150

Signature Style: Combat boots & distressed denim

Fashion connection: Nearly two years ago, Herndon and her husband made a “cold move” to Cary from Indianapolis. They didn’t know anyone, so she began sharing her love of clothes and connecting with North Carolina residents on Instagram. “I have met incredible people, and now I have a community in N.C.”

Herndon’s fall must have: a cozy cardigan — “I live in them.” Choose a chunky knit and long length to update a closet staple.

Hints from Herndon:

Find your sweet spot.

Chasing trends can be fickle, but dipping a toe into a trend keeps you youthful, Herndon says. Some of her current favorites: oversized graphic T-shirts and crossbody belt bags. Pair these with your favorite jeans and fall boots for a current-meets-classic vibe.

Mental health is whole-body health.

“When I’m feeling my best, I’ve taken a minute to put myself together,” Herndon said. “Dressing helps for self-care.”

As a marriage and family therapist, Herndon understands that looking good contributes to feeling good, which has a huge impact on how you present yourself to the outside world.

Embrace what you have, where you are.

“We have all gone through a lot,” Herndon said, and for many that means shifts in our bodies. Use fashion to feel comfortable and look good now, she says. Approach those changes — mental and physical — with compassion.

Allison Vrhovac

Vrhovac encourages women to stop seeing age as a limitation on their style. Fall’s favorite accessories — boots and a hat — are chic at every age.

Instagram: @allisonvrhovac

Followers: 13,4000

TikTok: @allisonvrhovac

Followers: 67,300

Modeling authenticity: “The internet can be so cruel,” said Vrhovac, “In my corner, I’m just being real.” As a mother of three, including two teenage daughters, Vrhovac strives to be a role model sharing kindness and positivity, knowing her audience includes her daughters and their friends.

Trading sweats for silk joggers pumps up the polish for a day of casual errands.

Vrhovac’s style handbook:

The age-limit does not exist.

In the digital world of style blogging, finding representation over the age of 40 is tough. Vrhovac, 41, wants to break down barriers surrounding fashion and age. “Wear what makes you feel good,” she said.

Casual is still cool.

“We’ve all been wearing tie-dye pajamas for a year,” Vrhovac said. “Take parts of that casual style and kick it up with a bag, cute shoe or a jacket. Keep that casual feel, but dress it up.”

Seek something special.

A pop of vibrant color, surprising material (like casual joggers in silk) or unique fabric elevates basic to statement. A dash of the unexpected acts like an exclamation point for your outfit, capping off the whole look with a bang.

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