Meet Ashley of Fancy Fine! Ashley is one over-the-top, loud, eccentric character – and one of my favourite ever bloggers! Seriously, this lady couldn’t possibly be more charming. Oh, and did I mention successful too? Ashley has recently made a massive move – shifting her entire life from San Francisco all the way to Philadelphia, after scoring a job at the highly-enviable fashion giant Anthropologie. If that’s not enough to make you read about this truly wonderful lady, how about the fact that she has probably the most AMAZING collection of vintage you’ve ever seen. Yes, seriously. To find out more about Ashley, just keep on a-readin’…!
Let’s start with your larger-than-life personality! Between your on-the-spot dancing and face-pulling, you are clearly not afraid to be yourself (which is the best!) Have you always been so kooky, or has it happened more as you’ve gotten older?
Oh, I’ve always been a kook! It used to be the reason I was teased on the playground, but fortunately I never let go of it because in many ways it has shaped my world. I think growing older means growing more comfortable with myself at every stage, embracing all the silly bits. I’ve never been on to take myself to seriously, what’s the fun in that?
You’ve gone from a vintage seller on Etsy, to now working for the ever-incredible Anthropologie. What are some of the biggest changes in your life, and how are you dealing with the big adventure?
Moving across the country all by myself, to a city I’d never visited before, was an adventurous thing to do. I was given the opportunity to work for a dream brand, Anthropologie, and there was no choice but to pack up all my dresses and start a new chapter. It was heartbreaking to leave Northern California behind, especially my family and friends. But I came to Philadelphia for an excellent reason and I’ve made so many lovely new friends and discovered some incredible places I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I’m still adjusting to being in a corporate world with 9 to 5 hours, but it helps that I’m surrounded by creative, inspiring folks who also love fashion.
You have an uncanny knack for thrift some seriously incredible vintage pieces! Do you have any tips you would consider essentials for vintage-hunting?
Why thank you! I think my favorite ‘tip’ is to buy whatever you fall in love with, regardless of whether or not you have someplace special to wear it or think you can pull it off. I think once you become comfortable dressing to make only yourself happy then you’ve got something. Also, making time to do some serious scavenging is how you find the treasures. Go to flea markets, thrift stores, antique malls, estate sales, everywhere. And buy a whole lot of Woolite to soak everything in, you will break your dry cleaner’s heart but save yourself a few doll hairs!
Recently you made the big move from San Francisco to Philadelphia. What have been some of your favourite parts about a big ol’ city swap?
My favorite part is having an entirely new city to explore! I had never visited Philadelphia before moving my life out here (aside from a 48 hour jaunt that was filled with interviews) so I was eager to find the best spots. I’ve definitely eaten my way through a good portion of Philly at this point, and my verdict is that the food here is delicious, especially the burgers. I also love being an East Coast Girl now because I’m closer to all my lady loves in New York!
..And of course, moving cities also means moving into a sweet new abode! Are you enjoying your new place, and how do you go about making it feel more ‘you’?
I really lucked out with my apartment, it’s in a really old building and has all the charming elements I’m drawn to: super high ceilings, built-in bookshelves, hardwood floors. I have filled it up, of course, with my crazy vintage collection, and I’ve acquired quite a bit of new furniture now that my space has doubled. I approach decorating the same way I approach dressing, which means I have fun with both and try to keep things silly and light but also romantic and personal. Oh, and there’s a giant framed photograph of Gene Wilder involved.
I love seeing glimpses of your cheeky little kitty cat, Donut. Is she every bit as mischievous as she looks?
She is as cheeky as they come! She is currently curled up next to me sleeping and making tiny snoring noises. She has her mischievous moments but she is actually a really cool cat. She wears that perpetually sassy look on her face but she’s just a cuddly sweetheart that follows me around like a lap dog. She even waits for me at door when I get home from work because she can hear me clomping up the stairs.
I always think of you as ‘the pro’ when it comes to layers of lace. Could you share some of your biggest tips for layering up with textures and floaty fabrics?
Well, that’s quite a compliment! I think Layers of Lace should be the title of my memoir, eh? I usually throw together my layering in a haphazardly intuitive way, leaving myself only a few minutes to get dressed before dashing out the door. Maybe this forces me to be creative and not so painfully particular. Usually I’m mindful of proportions when the fabrics are floaty and layers are involved, sticking with shorter shapes for balance. And when mixing laces together I love when they are different types and colors, for instance a pale mauve pencil skirt in a more structured lace paired with a soft ruffled white lace blouse. Just try everything and see what sticks!
Lastly – what’s next for Fancy Fine?
Fancy Fine will be around for a long time, I hope! Things have been a bit slower on the blogging front these days due to my newly packed schedule, but I’m hoping to change that soon and devote more time on the weekends to keeping things updated. I’m feeling constantly inspired by my new surroundings and I want to share all of it with my readers, especially all the amazing bits and pieces I have found during my vintage hunts. So stick around, there are lovely things planned!