Alison Coglianese pretty much has a story like this about every piece in her closet (This post could also be called “Cog, Bargain Hunter.”) There are those who impulse buy (*cough* me), and then there are those who think carefully and rationalize how each purchase will fit into their wardrobe— Coglianese is enviably part of the latter group. She can tell you where to find the perfect blouse, staple skirt, and statement necklace and pull off basics with effortless chic. We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon with the blogger behind Chainstrap Purse chatting up how to look chic in a wedding dress (when it’s well below freezing outside), balancing a “grown up job” with fashion, homemade limoncello, and why husbands who love photography are awesome.
Name: Alison Coglianese
Blog Name: Chain Strap Purse
Blogging Since: September 2010
Hometown: Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania
Occupation/Hobbies: By day I work for a national news organization, but I also love being a wife, exploring D.C., shopping and, of course, blogging!
What motivated you to start Chain Strap Purse and what is it all about?
I have been reading fashion magazines for as long as I can remember and have always considered shopping and style to be my favorite hobbies. I also love to write. But when I went to college I took a different route and double majored in Political Science and Communication. Essentially, this is one of those “if I knew then what I know now” scenarios. After college, I started Chain Strap Purse as both a creative outlet so that I could keep writing and as a way to stay current and involved in fashion even though my day job had nothing to do with it. It’s funny to look back at those early posts, which were mostly “newsy” pieces, and see how much the direction has changed, but my blog has always been about my personal style and what I love.
Some shots around Coglianese’s bedroom— she had to wear a fur coat at her outdoor wedding because it was so cold! Her brides maids weren’t so lucky.
What (if any) challenges have you had to overcome as a blogger?/Any interesting blogging stories?
I think most bloggers reach a point – maybe even more than once – where they have to make decisions about the direction they want to take their site. This can be a challenge because you always want to strike the balance between maintaining your original identity and intent and giving your readers what they’re interested in. It’s also hard to not compare yourself to other bloggers and feel like you’re being pulled in a hundred different directions. For me, I just have to remind myself that people aren’t reading because they have to, they want to. They’re interested in my unique perspective and continue to come back for what I have to say. Keeping that in mind always helps me focus, reminds me why I love what I do and provides the motivation I need to keep writing.
The Daybook, Gal Meets Glam, Cupcakes and Cashmere, This Time Tomorrow, Refinery29, The Cut, Capitol Hill Style, A Lacey Perspective, WhippedSTYLE and District of Chic. I could list dozens more. My Google Reader is ridiculous!
Favorite shops/online stores/brands:
There are so many! But I’d have to say my go-tos are Topshop, Forever 21, Zara, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Yes Style, Loehmann’s, H&M and ASOS. Sample sale sites like Ideeli and Gilt Groupe are also favorites.
Favorite DC spots?
I have a serious soft spot for the Jefferson Memorial because that’s where I got engaged! I also love Georgetown as a whole. Great atmosphere and, obviously, great shopping! In terms of restaurants, I kind of have a thing for Italian. Paper Moon in Georgetown and Trattoria Alberto on 8th Street near the Navy Yard are the best! But I still consider myself new to D.C., so I’m always taking suggestions and looking to try something different!
From top left: Blazer: Alfani, Silk blouse: Ann Taylor, Pleated skirt: French Connection, Shoes: Steven by Steve Madden, Maxi: Max and Cleo, Dress: Babe (a boutique) via the District Sample Sale, White blazer: YesStyle.com, Sequin clutch: Francesca’s Collections, Plaid shirt: Forever 21
If you could only pick one outfit to wear for the next 3 months what would it be?
A black blazer, comfy t-shirt, skinny jeans and heels.
Her husband made this! Now that’s talent…
Where do you see Chain Strap Purse going in the future?
I honestly don’t know if I can even predict where or how far Chain Strap Purse will go. It has already far exceeded my expectations and I’m constantly surprised and thankful for the opportunities it’s made possible. Sometimes I feel like I’m just along for the ride! Ultimately, I would love to see the blog continue to grow and evolve. I consider my style to be a constant journey and I hope my readers will be as enthusiastic about following along as I am in sharing it with them.
The view from Alison’s apartment
What else should we know about you?
At 4’10″ I’m an inch taller than Snooki, a hairdresser once accused me of lying about my hair color (I swear it’s real), and taking outfit pictures still makes me feel awkward (I’m working on that one)