Fashion journalist, style guru, and founder of the Webby award winning fashion and beauty blog The Blonde and The Brunette, NJ Goldston is taking the creative world by storm. Named a style guru by Louis Vuitton, Goldston is a runway show regular who spends her time writing and managing her hairspray and footwear lines—all while traveling the world in the name of fashion and inspiration. The NYU graduate and entrepreneur took a break from writing articles and jetting across the globe to talk style icons, holographic bags, apprenticeships, and more—even leaving us with 15 style tips that will change the way you look at your wardrobe.
Cliché: Where did your love for fashion begin and how would you describe your personal style?
NJ Goldston: From the earliest age, my mother, who was a graduate of Parsons School of Design, truly fostered my love of fashion while giving me a deep understanding of the industry. She was also deeply influenced by a cousin of hers who is one of the top fashion photographers in the world and a pioneer of street style photography. Hence, the two of us were people-watching and getting inspiration on the streets of New York City long before the current Instagram era. Most importantly, she fostered the environment to let me express myself through what I wore. What a gift.
Who are your style icons?
My mother, of course, as well as Audrey Hepburn. They were both fashion-forward, yet embraced a signature style. Of course, this all ties together as I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn’s famous motto, “I just do my (own) thing.” It’s the foundation for all my personal choices.
What is one essential that you could never live without?
I have to go with a great, well-tailored pair of black skinny jeans or a statement coat. Either one goes with almost anything, along with my Athletic Propulsion Labs kicks.
What’s a trend that will never go out of style?
Statement tops and power sleeves. With our new casual lifestyles, they’re both here to stay.
What’s your favorite brand of all time?
It’s our footwear and apparel brand, Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), which seamlessly blends fashion and performance. We strive to create products that let the materials, colors, technology, and design tell the story—not big emblazoned logos. Our goal has always been to create products we love and have felt are missing from the market.
What pieces excite you the most?
I always love a great bag that is highly unusual. Current favorites are any Louis Vuitton Petite Malle and the almost impossible to get LV Hologram City Trunk bag. I also love a great sweater that has special detailing, embellishment, or a mid-calf dramatic sweep. They’re investment pieces that can be worn year-round.
Can you tell us about your hairspray line?
My hairspray line is The Blonde and The Brunette X JAMES KENDALL, which was inspired by my need for a product that worked better for long days, especially when I am on the road. I feel better when my hair looks great. We developed a regular and signature travel size, “Secret Weapon by NJ,” as a strong-hold shaping and finishing spray that would leave my hair looking natural while adding the strength and volume to last all day long. I’ve also started to consider designing my own line. Stay tuned.
Any advice for future fashionistas trying to break into the fashion industry?
One of the best ways to start is with an apprenticeship. It builds knowledge, connections, and your resume. The other thing I always did was tell anyone who would listen that I was looking for a job. That’s how I got my first job in L.A.
If you could only shop one store, what would it be?
Just one? It’s a tie between Net-A-Porter online and Louis Vuitton.
NJ’s 15 Style Tips
- Fit is everything. Find a good seamstress because great tailoring polishes a look.
- Go for the unique. When everyone zigs, you zag.
- Find the perfect pair of black pumps. They go with everything.
- Invest in good jewelry. Save up for pieces you will always cherish.
- Buy something because you love it and it will be ready to go when the moment arrives. It’s a great way to live your fashion life. It leaves you open to all sorts of possibilities as opposed to being tied to specific events.
- Find your personal style and stick with it. When you have a signature style, it’s a sign of confidence that reflects your identity inside and out. I always go for clean, modern lines with a touch of the unexpected. I’ve dubbed myself a “graphic minimalist” with my signature black and white look complimented by my long dark hair, dramatic eyes, and pale lip. However, you will often see me add a pop of color with soft pastels, a bold pink, or red.
- Don’t be afraid to add some sparkle. What can I say? I love a bit of embellishment. Life is short. Have fun and don’t save it for nights out.
- It doesn’t all have to be designer. Feel free to mix special vintage pieces with your designer favorites. The key is sometimes a favorite piece needs a rest and then you can pull it back out again.
- When in doubt, wear black. It doesn’t have to be basic.
- It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. It’s an easier apology than vice-versa.
- You can’t go wrong with white nail polish. It goes with everything.
- Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is more. Layering and adding accessories can be just the right touch for just the right situation.
- When in doubt, go for the statement coat or bag. Don’t forget to drape your coat over your shoulders. It’s a classic look that adds tons of drama.
- Don’t buy something with an occasion in mind. Buy something because you love it.
- Always match your bag to your shoes. This is one of my go-to musts that stands the test of time.
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15 Style Tips From NJ Goldston That Stand the Test of Time: Photographed by Trina Yin