Blogger/stylist/journalist and eternal optimist Belle Bakst talks heritage and fashion in the Big Apple.
Hi Belle, can you tell us a little about yourself and your upbringing?
I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I have always adored fashion. My mother always dressed well and was (and still very much is!) an enormous influence on me. She taught me that every day was an occasion to get dressed up. If she bought a new dress, she would wear it to the grocery store. I loved waking up and instantly feeling the desire to put on a dress. I first visited NYC when I was eight and to say I fell in love might be an understatement. I just knew I belonged in New York. Growing up I poured myself into library copies of Teen Vogue and Seventeen. My husband and I moved here in 2015 after graduating from college and we never looked back.
How did your career path take you to your current role, and is this something you always aspired to?
Originally, I wasn’t working towards my current path in fashion. When I lived in North Carolina, I was studying to be a nurse! It was kind a theatrical moment when I realized I wanted to work in fashion. I was sitting on the couch thumbing through Teen Vogue, and I said out loud “I love fashion—I wish this could be my life.” My boyfriend (now husband) told me I should just go for it. Honestly, it never occurred to me that fashion could be something I could do for work. I had never known a single person to work in fashion (or even art for that matter) and I started researching everything I could about working in fashion. I took four internships that summer and the moment I graduated from college, I packed up and headed straight for Manhattan. Funnily enough, there was never a moment of uncertainty or fear. I just had so much excitement about the journey. It sounds so simple, but of course the biggest thing I’ve learned is that hard work is always necessary. There were a lot of moments where I just had to jump right in and learn along the way. I never knew until I was older how deeply complex fashion is. My mother will tell you that from the very first moment she put me in a dress, I wouldn’t stop twirling around to watch the fabric spin. I loved every aspect of getting dressed as long as I can remember. Passion is what drives me. Ultimately, it’s what led me to choosing my career in fashion. I think the best thing about my work is that it has never felt like work. Every day I spring out of bed, and I feel thrilled with every aspect of the work I do.
Belle is pictured with our Lana Crossbody in Chambray and Layla Block Heels in Rose Gold
What are your favorite topics to cover on your site?
Every day I’m inspired by something different, but I love covering fashion and beauty. I love learning new things and discovering the vastness of the fashion and beauty world. Right now, I’m interviewing a seamstress who has been working in the garment district for over 40 years, and tomorrow I’m covering a cryotherapy treatment for your legs. The thing I love most about blogging is the ability to discuss virtually anything, and I never feel like I run out of things to talk about.
At EA, we are all about building on our classic heritage and expertise in craftsmanship. How do you use your experience and skill set to create your own unique brand that sets you apart in the fashion industry?
I embrace what makes me different. And I talk about it. I experienced the loss of an eye at a very young age, and instead of hiding that about myself, I openly discuss it. I’ve even incorporated it into my style. The best way to set yourself apart is to embrace what makes you different.
What advice would you give to someone looking to take an entrepreneurial step in their career towards media or fashion, particularly women?
Just take the first step. It may be tough or scary, but you need to take that leap if it’s what you truly want. It’s so easy to talk yourself down or out of something you’re nervous about starting. But once you take that very first step, every step after becomes a little easier. One night after I skipped a party I was afraid to go to my best friend said something to me that really changed my perspective. She said, “If you don’t go, someone else will.” I didn’t want anyone to take my spot. Don’t let your fear stop you from your dreams. Everything is on the other side of fear.
Belle is wearing our Wade Platform Espadrilles and holding our Dylan Tote in Cognac.
What’s the feedback that helped you grow the most in your career?
The best piece of advice that I received was to always say yes. Saying yes to going to that party, saying yes to that showroom visit. By saying yes, you will come across more opportunities and meet more people than ever before. Being genuinely nice never hurts either!
Can you describe your style ethos? Must haves/must dos?
My style is what I like to think of as visual optimism, and a little bit glamourous. I always reach for pieces that make me feel joyful. My biggest hope is that when someone sees me, my outfit makes them smile. My must haves are versatile sunglasses and a beautiful shoe. There’s something to be said about taking a “step” in the right direction. I’ve always been very feminine—a romantic aesthetic has always appealed to me. It surprises many people that most of my pieces are also comfortable. Between being an assistant, a stylist, and a blogger, I’m always on the go. Every piece in my wardrobe is beautiful and comfortable.
Belle is kicking back with our Layla Block Heels in Rose Gold with the Dylan Tote in Cognac
How do you think a heritage brand like EA can honor our deep-rooted history, but still remain relevant and innovative? What would make you, for instance, buy our bag from the myriad of other options?
What I love most about EA is the commitment to heritage. Classic pieces in the modern world are not just strikingly beautiful, but necessary, too. I have a few pieces from the late ‘70s. Keeping heritage a part of a brand doesn’t just feel nostalgic; it’s imperative to remember our past.
When do you feel your most beautiful?
Nothing compares to stepping out of my Dominican salon for my weekly blow-out. Fresh curls and a bold red lipstick make me feel timeless and elegant.
Why did you choose the EA products you did? Any tips on how to make these your own?
I love the adjustable chain on the Lana crossbody bag in chambray. It’s so fun to play with the length of the purse. I tend to like to carry it cross body. Make it your own by having fun with the color. Experiment with color blocking and incorporate a pop of blue. The Layla sandals in gold feel so glamourous to me. I love them with my favorite high-waisted denim for a big night out. The heel is the most perfect height, and I can wear it all day without discomfort.
Belle is holding our Lana Crossbody in Chambray with our Layla Block Heels in Rose Gold.
In addition to working on the editorial and styling side of fashion, Belle has her own blog, too!
Check out littlefashionstylist.com for an insider’s take on the world of fashion, beauty and all things colorful!