I first heard about Megan Collins and Style Girlfriend from my brother-in-law, and from the minute I checked out stylegirlfriend.com, I was hooked!
What started out as a simple favor for a pal several years ago has now blossomed into a popular style and lifestyle resource for men. With her funny, easygoing approach, wide range of topics and killer eye for what looks good on a guy (and, thankfully, what doesn't), Megan has created a full-service resource of sorts for men looking for advice on anything from fashion to fitness to grooming.
Wondering how to pull off a turtleneck? She's got your back. Thinking of taking up Pilates? She has some tips. Can't figure out why the heck you really need to use conditioner? Just check with Style GF!
What's even cooler? While, yes, her tips and advice are primarily geared toward men, that doesn't mean Megan doesn't connect with a female audience as well. Check out the Borrowed From the Boys section of her site to see for yourself!
I recently caught up with Style GF to discuss how she became -- and how she feels about being -- an expert on men's style and lifestyle.
You mention on your site that you started Style Girlfriend as a favor to a friend. How did you position yourself as the authority in men’s lifestyle, and how did Style GF evolve into the site it is today?
Completely by accident! When Style Girlfriend got its start, I was in the middle of leaving a career in advertising, taking on any freelance writing gigs I could get. At the time, a friend was starting a custom suiting business and asked me to write a weekly column just to help him get more content on his site.
“Totally! But I don’t know anything about men’s fashion...is that okay?” I asked.
“Sure, just write about what women like to see guys wearing,” he replied.
Just like that, I realized that, yep, I had strong opinions about that and could definitely write about them. It was a huge light bulb moment for me, and really informed the Style Girlfriend perspective -- that of a girl who just wants to see guys dress well, not necessarily a “fashion expert.” I don’t think most guys care about “fashion” anyway. They simply want to leave the house each morning dressed to impress. Which is perfect, because that’s how I feel about clothes, too.
Of course, now I feel more comfortable identifying myself as a style resource (if not “expert”) but that’s how a chick with zero experience in the fashion industry was able to start a blog about men’s fashion.
From those humble beginnings, SG really took off -- the column became syndicated nationally, and I eventually spun it off into its own website, stylegirlfriend.com, which is where it still lives today.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? How do you keep your content and ideas fresh and interesting?
I live in New York City, where just walking down the street gives me enough ideas to fill a month’s worth of stories. On one block alone, you’ll see examples of guys with amazing personal style, and also plenty of “What was he thinking?!” looks that inspire me to write about what not to wear (nicely, of course).
It’s funny, but I also get a lot of inspiration from women’s fashion magazines. They usually nail the “high/low” mix of aspirational pieces along with affordable options in a way that men’s magazines don’t always tackle.
For me, that’s how I shop -- an investment bag, with a top from Target, and jeans from a department store at the mall - and it’s how plenty of guys shop too. It’s not realistic to think that everything you buy for your wardrobe can break the bank. So to keep a guy’s shopping budget in mind helps me come up with outfit ideas and inspiration that are accessible to the audience.
We think that one of the main attractions of Style GF is that while it’s geared mainly toward men, it’s also super appealing to women. How did you build your audience, and what’s your secret to remaining relatable to everyone?
The secret (that’s not really a secret) is that I’m shopping the way my readers shop. I’m saving up for a splurge item, checking out the clearance racks, and building a wardrobe piece by piece, not in huge, movie-montage-set-to-a-pop-song shopping sprees. That puts me in a great position of being able to help guide readers as they build a wardrobe in the same, step by step, way.
Also, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m exploring my own personal style and encountering the same shopping obstacles my readers are. I’m just more willing to talk about it than a lot of fashion editors or bloggers out there who want to seem like they already know it all. Grousing about trying on jeans, or showing off a recent sale find -- that’s relatable to both guys and girls.
Speaking of which, what kind of response has Style GF gotten from women? We bet so many girlfriends out there are absolutely loving you!
Women love Style Girlfriend! I hear from so many female readers who are 1) passing along articles to the men in their lives, and 2) getting inspiration for their own wardrobes, which is so awesome. SG isn’t about trends or the latest sneaker drop or bragging about a perfect closet (and life), it’s about acknowledging that we can all try a little harder, and providing the shortcuts, tips, and tricks to getting there. That’s useful for men and women alike.
You released an e-book this summer, which is a new and different challenge! What was it like to transition Style GF from a blog to a book?
It was daunting, but ultimately really satisfying! Some of the book’s contents were pulled from existing pieces on Style Girlfriend -- articles on fit, grooming, accessories; and essays on my own personal style evolution. Thankfully, I’m a pretty organized person -- I was never the student cramming for a test or finishing an essay the night before -- so I just broke up the rest of the work into really small (like, teeny-tiny) tasks to keep things manageable. If I had thought too much about the fact that I was WRITING A BOOK, I probably never would have finished it!
We love your hilarious presence on Twitter! What kind of impact has social media had on Style GF? Does your audience influence your content?
Oh wow, thank you! Social media is definitely a continuing education for me. Obviously a lot of the stuff I’m putting out there is followers to check out the latest and greatest on Style Girlfriend -- “Today on SG, 5 fall coats you’ve gotta try on…” -- that kind of thing.
But I have found that followers love hearing more about my life, and the day to day of running Style Girlfriend, so things like what I’m wearing, or where I’m traveling -- or yes, what I’m thinking -- inevitably find their way into the mix.
Which other women in the industry inspire you? Who are your professional role models?
There’s of course some amazing female editors out there -- Nic Screws, previously with Esquire and now at Bloomberg, Sandra Nygaard at Men’s Health -- and I look to them for inspiration in how to gracefully make it as a woman in a “boys only” kind of club.
Further, as an entrepreneur running her own business (because that’s exactly what Style Girlfriend is at this point!), I also really find myself drawn to learning from those who have grown successful businesses for themselves -- Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal, Brit Morin of Brit + Co. But I also just read Ben Horowitz (from vc firm Andreesen Horowitz)’s book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and was totally inspired. I’m an equal opportunity admirer.
So, what’s next for Style Girlfriend? (Beyond the e-book, of course!)
Plenty! I’m hiring on staff and looking to really grow the verticals on Style Girlfriend this year. “Personal Style” is actually this huge umbrella topic, and so much more goes into it than just what you wear. It’s how you decorate your home, the effort you put into your fitness, it’s knowing how to pair wine with food. It’s everything! Stepping up your style game is really a 360-degree process, and I want SG to be the one-stop shop for guys looking to do just that.
BY REBECCA BRYAN
Visit Style Girlfriend for yourself: http://www.stylegirlfriend.com
Follow Style Girlfriend on Twitter: @StyleGF