the oliviers

FBFF: Inspiration

I recently joined a great google group called Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, run by Katy of the blog Modly Chic (discovered through the always lovely Casee of The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower). Most of the people in this community are fashion bloggers and although isn’t classified as a fashion blog, I thought the weekly sets of questions Katy posts in the group were really great, and knew I wanted to be part of it. FBFF is a weekly thing, but I decided I would participate when the questions were more relevant to blogging in general rather than strictly fashion. Hopefully it will allow readers to get a more personal glimpse of the girl behind

1. Which celebrity (celebrities) do you look to for fashion inspiration?
I don’t think I’ve ever tried to emulate a particular celebrity with my personal style. Rather, my fashion has always been shaped by the territory.  This still holds true, even in London. In fact, my mom shipped over my favorite pair of Rainbow sandals just this week! I tend to look at celebrities not for fashion inspiration, but with admiration for their personal style. Vivien Leigh has always been the big one for me. I love the vintage look (modcloth is one of my favorite websites to buy clothes from) and she pulled it off to perfection. You can see what I’m talking about in the recent guest post I did about Vivien Leigh as a style icon over at The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower. I wish everyone still dressed like this on a daily basis.

2. When it comes to your own personal style, what inspires you?

(Left) Winter wear. Coat: ASOS, Boots: Hunter, Scarf: H&M | (Center) Dolled up for the Blitz Party. Dress: Vivien of Holloway, tights: Miss Selfridge, Brogues: Miss Selfridge | (Right) Casual. Dress: Zara, Headband: Primark, Tights: H&M

Like I said, my personal style has been shaped by the territory. I grew up in California and have always felt most at home in beachy-casual wear, whether it’s sun dresses and sandals, skinny jeans and jumpers, etc. Since moving to London I think my style has adapted somewhat to London street style. I wear a lot of dresses with leggings or tights, jumpers and pea coats. My favorite shoes range from black Hunter riding wellies to brogues, lace-up Topshop boots to mary janes. Comfort is key in my opinion, and although I don’t consider myself the epitome of fashion, I think there are a lot of ways to make a casual look more chic.

When it comes to make-up, I’ve always preferred a more natural look. I have a lot of freckles and I’m not one to try and cover them up. My usual make-up routine consists of tinted moisturizer with SPF and pressed powder foundation (MAC), eye shadow (I’m a big fan of Urban Decay’s Naked palette. Nudes and browns suit me best, I think, because they bring out the color in my eyes and work best with my skin tone), +/- black liquid eye liner, and black mascara. My lips tend to get really dry so I always have a tube of Burt’s Bees chapstick handy and some lip gloss. As with eye shadow, nude colors suit me best but lately I’ve been experimenting with red lipstick, as well.

3. How do you hope to inspire your readers?
I don’t think I inspire anyone with my fashion sense, nor do I strive to. If people take any inspiration from, I hope it’s in the way of learning more about Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, to consider and appreciate classic films. As far as personal inspiration, I really encourage everyone to follow their passions. This is something I’ve always strived to do. It’s the reason I moved to London, the reason I went to grad school to study film and the reason I’m working on various side projects. Find something you’re passionate about and pursue it, and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Sometimes working toward your goals can be scary–moving to a new country, going away to college, making new friends, etc, it can seem daunting–and it’s definitely not always easy. But I’m learning that nothing comes easily. You can’t just expect things to fall into your lap; you have to go out and find a way to make it happen.

4. Outside the realm of fashion who/what inspires you?

Vivien Leigh inspires me in so many ways. I also find inspiration in nature, simple but beautiful things, films, literature, and people who are passionate about the things they love.

5. And since Idol is ending… Which songs inspire you?

One of my favorite bands is Arcade Fire, and Tunnels from the first album, Funeral, is so beautiful. I can listen to this song for ever.

Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (24)

  1. You remind me a lot of myself. Except I haven’t had the money or courage to fulfill my dream of moving to England. What brought you over there? I know your love for Viv and Larry was part of it but what do you do over there? Just curious about anything that would help me on my quest to live in London.

    1. It can be scary moving far away from home, but it’s worth it if you’re pursuing what you want to be pursuing. I came over here for grad school. I’m currently working toward my MA in Film Studies at King’s College and I’m loving it. I figured if I ever wanted to work as a film historian, I probably needed a higher degree. I actually took 4 years off after graduating from my BA to figure out what I wanted to do, decided to apply, received a couple scholarships, and here I am! You can totally do it if you set your mind to it.

      1. You’ve made the move and you’ve got the film historian thing down. Now you just need and wonderful man with a sexy English accent and you’ve accomplished all the dreams I’ve had since I was fifteen. I’m sitting here with nothing on my bucket list checked off feeling completely jealous. i guess it’s time to get to work.

        1. I don’t know if you’re in college but one thing I did to sort of “spread my wings” was study abroad. Recommended if you get the chance. It’s true though, if you want to make things happen, you have to go out and do it. Go for it!

  2. Fantastic post, girly, and I’m so glad you joined FBFF! (Thanks for the shoutout, by the way!) It’s such a fun group and the questions always get me thinking. I think it’s a great way to incorporate more of “the girl behind the curtain” and even to see how you might incorporate Viv and Larry into the series as well!

    And I’ve said it a million times probably, but I love your style! I’ve browsed the Miss Selfridge website a bunch of times before, it seems adorable. And everyone seems to love Zara but we don’t have any around here. I’m not sure if there are even any in the States?

    1. It does seem really fun and people have left some lovely comments! I’m glad I discovered it through your blog!

      I don’t know if Zara exists in the US, maybe in bigger cities? They definitely have a website. I’d say it’s about the equivalent of American Eagle mixed with J Crew. I like Miss Selfridge but to be honest, some of their things are kind of cheaply made. I bought a really cute little purse about a month ago, and the strap snapped right off after only wearing it out two times. Booo, I didn’t keep the receipt, either 🙁

  3. Point 3 truly resonates with me as well. This is what I try to install in my two children – the courage to do what they really want to/follow their passions & dreams/ to never expect things to fall into their laps/and to set goals and it doesn’t matter if you fail and how many times you long as you give it your best shot and keep trying.

    Kendra Bean I’m sharing this to spread the dream.

    1. Thanks, Shiroma! I know, it’s really hard to stay focused when there’s noise coming from all directions in life, but I really do feel that if you’re passionate about something, it’s important to follow that dream and at least give it your best shot, as you said.

  4. Kendra, I know very little about fashion and style, but I enjoyed this post and the recent one you did about Vivien as a “style icon” very much. Your personal style with regard to clothes, fashion, etc, may be different than Vivien’s, but I think you emulate what is REALLY important about her in the fearless, courageous, passionate way you live your life. Like Vivien, you know what you want, you set your goals, and you go after them and make them happen (you’ve even traveled half-way across the world to follow your dream, as she did, at about the same young age)! And you have Vivien’s gift for “serendipity”, as she was fond of saying. Like her, your interests are broad and well-rounded, and quite sophisticated for one so young. Whether Vivien has “inspired” you, or you’re just attracted to her because you’re like her in the basic ways I noted, it’s hard to say … probably both! Either way, you’re definitely going places with your life, and it’s fascinating to watch. So thanks for sharing a little more personal information about yourself … it’s interesting as always. And by the way, you’re a lovely young woman and look absolutely charming in every photo of yourself that you post. Your fashion sense suits you perfectly, but what you wear or how you do your hair or makeup matters very little, because it’s your beautiful spirit that shines through in each photo. You’re enjoying your life — doing something meaningful & constructive — and it seems to give you so much joy that you cannot help but share it with others. Now THAT is personal “style” that I can really admire!

    1. Thanks, David! Things aren’t always easy, and there are strong moments of self-doubt and anxiety, but I know that if I want to make things happen, I have to keep at them, and right now, I’m happy with what I’m working toward!

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