Story by Christina Amano Dolan
Photos by Trysten Evans
Dee and Sarah, dynamic duo fashion bloggers of Live Among Chic, revealed their inspiring and surprisingly relatable stories of young adulthood and their navigation through demanding college classes, job loss, juggling work, and – most significantly – struggling with confidence. No matter what phase in their lives, Dee and Sarah remain grounded by both each other and their common passion: fashion!
They pour their zeal and creativity into Live Among Chic, sharing their love of clothing with their many followers, seasonally pairing together whatever unique style they have been most recently inspired by. Without fashion, they wouldn’t have found their anchor in life and their true confidence. Fashion, as Dee and Sarah reveal through their life stories, can transform lives for the better.
Of course, Dee and Sarah weren’t always fashion bloggers. Both began as two Virginia Commonwealth University undergraduate students, leading two very different lives. Sarah began studying for her undergrad at VCU and is currently working towards her masters in Business and Branding and Experience Design. Dee, on the other hand, graduated a year ago from VCU with her masters in environmental science. She had moved from Saudi Arabia when she was only 13 years old and has lived in Richmond for 7 years, falling in love with the city and its kaleidoscope of diverse fashion. Both had been living such dissimilar lives, pursuing very different career paths, but their love of fashion drew them together.
Dee and Sarah had both worked for VCU Globe during their undergraduate years, never really crossing paths, yet suddenly had been tasked with picking up 25 Iraqi exchange students! Thrown on a train together to New York City, the two girls were uncomfortable at best, as they had to share a single hotel room, in the hectic city of the Big Apple, with a complete stranger. Their jobs were hectic in different ways, as Dee and Sarah ran on very different schedules and rarely saw each other during the day. But to Dee’s surprise, “We packed almost identical outfits!… We would meet later for lunch and we’d be matching!”
It was the start of a perfect friendship: the same fashion sense! The two have been inseparable ever since, combining both their eye for aesthetically charming outfit collaborations and Sarah’s expertise in graphic design to craft Live Among Chic. It is a fairly new website, as they had just celebrated their one-year anniversary this past August, yet already creating waves in the blogger community, inspiring fashionistas throughout Richmond and more. They also devote their blog to collaborating with local artists, consulting start-up brands, social media advertising, makeup designing, and styling for a transformative look.
“It can be difficult to keep up with the blog sometimes,” Sarah admits. “I mean, we’re human,” Dee pointed out. That’s why it can be so rewarding to have a partner in crime. The two best friends constantly nudge each other to update the blog, staying attentive to their passions even when their work life can be overbearing. But fashion cannot simply be left behind, no matter how cluttered their schedules may get. “It’s not just a hobby,” Dee expressed for the two of them. “It’s a part of who I am.”
But of course, fashion, especially for Dee and Sarah, is not merely a piece of who they are – it is what fully transformed them, allowing them to feel comfortable enough to express themselves completely. Confidence is a constant uphill battle, waking up some days feeling a burst of energy to work a tight-fit dress, or waking up other days avoiding mirrors and feeling uneasy in one’s own skin.
Dee and Sarah have fought for their confidence in different yet very similar ways. In Sarah’s case, she has always been a petite girl, shaving off even more weight after a major surgery. She found it very difficult to fully love her small body type, growing frustrated with awkwardly loose clothes or frustratingly long-fitted pants. But with Live Among Chic, as she constantly experiments with new looks that perfectly frame her figure, she has become much more confident with her body type. “I’m trying to use fashion as a way to show other small girls that you can be small but can still look really good in a lot of stuff,” Sarah explained. “I’m just trying to show other petite or bigger girls that it doesn’t matter what your body size is – you can always look good in anything.”
Dee’s struggle with confidence is a bit different. Dee seemed to be born with a flare of confidence, adoring the camera as a very extroverted young girl, as she began modelling and walking runways overseas when she was only twelve years old. But as young girls grow older, of course, confidence always falters. She battled with finding her true body type most of her young life, whether it was growing mildly overweight or unhealthily underweight. She constantly strove to achieve what she thought could be the perfect body weight, but like far too many young girls think, “perfection” is unclear and never quite reachable.
I’m sure many young girls have asked themselves: “Should I really wear this tight of a dress?” or “Do my legs look too big/small in this skirt?” I’m sure many have marveled at the cutest pair of jeans, but when excitedly reaching the dressing room, sighing in disappointment as they definitely looked better on the rack. I’m sure many young girls have experienced frustration and even defeat trying to conquer their insecurities, never feeling fully comfortable in what they wear and how it shapes their bodies. I’m sure many wonder how models, so poised and flawless, rock anything and everything they wear, and they simply assume it is because they have achieved the “perfect” body type – but this isn’t where confidence breeds at all.
Dee revealed her most valuable secret to how she eventually found her confidence: “I’ve tried this trick and it works: fake it ‘till you make it!” Something so simple yet so brilliant, and something many young girls far-too-often overlook. “Whether you feel awful or amazing, you stand up in front of that camera, you stand up in front of people, and you fake it. You think, ‘you know what? I’m beautiful and i’m just gonna work it!’ And in the end you think ‘Oh wow, I actually do look really good!’”
It is plain to see Dee and Sarah rocking their confidence in their newest winter lookbook. We asked Dee and Sarah to piece together their winter must-haves and what newest looks they’ll individually be playing with this season. Their style is constantly evolving with every season, and according to Sarah: “This fall and winter we’re playing with colors a bit more.”
Both explored within their own distinct style preferences this season. Dee loves walking the cold, wintery streets with dark, edgy autumn colors and a chic pair of black boots. “I pick my favorite colors and tend to stick to them,” she admitted. Her first look was a burnt orange sweater (a $20 deal from Target), paired with a simple black skirt (thrifted from a random thrift store for $4), fishnet tights and black booties (both from Target). Dee’s expertise seems to be finding quality clothing for amazing deals, even from your everyday store like Target!
Her second look was a darker ensemble, shifting a bit further away from fall-toned colors and into the colder winter shades. She wore a dark grayish-olive green cozy sweater (Zara), a simple black skirt, black knee-high suede boots with a pop of gold at the lining (Asos), and of course, a giant olive green fur hooded coat to keep her stylishly warm (bought from a European brand overseas: Vero Moda). Both outfits were paired with a simple, layered gold necklace to add a little pop of gold and sparkle to the darker shades.
Sarah seemed to experiment with colors from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. This winter, she loves pairing together softer, more delicate girlish colors with a pop of metallic. “I really like neutrals with a pop of pink, lavender, grays…” Her first look was a grayish-pink bomber jacket (thrifted from Goodwill), a pink sparkly low-collared turtle neck (H&M), a popping metallic tight skirt (Primark), gorgeous and cute pink faux-leather and gold-heeled booties (AMIClubwear), and of course, a grey knit hat, as it is a must-have accessory of Sarah’s during the colder months.
Her second look was a white low-collared turtle neck sweater (H&M), paired with a plush white vest (Macy’s), light-gray cuffed faux leather pants (Forever21), her signature pink booties again, and a pop of metallic blue sunglasses to tie together the look (Topshop). Both looks were paired perfectly with a bulky, pink marble necklace (Francesca’s) – a lovely addition to her metallic outfits.
Their winter lookbook perfectly highlighted the pair’s individual styles, exemplifying how Live Among Chic offers different variations of styles for their followers to take inspiration from. Dee and Sarah truly are a dynamic duo, as they are both unique and bold in their own ways – as evident from their winter looks – yet work together to pursue their common love of fashion. Fashion is what brought the two best friends together, inspired the creation of a blog that expresses their passion, and flourished confidence that every young girl endlessly searches for. As Dee so insightfully pointed out, fashion isn’t merely a hobby but it is simply a part of an identity. Follow the inspiring blog of Live Among Chic as Dee and Sarah will continue to share their love of the art of fashion, both influential and simply glamorous, and reveal their tips for confidence, passion, and winter fashion to keep you both beautiful and warm during the holiday season!