Founder, Fash Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
“A well-turned-out Brooks Brothers ensemble was the linchpin in one of the most memorable moments in my career—and one that changed the course of my life.”
The founder of the inspirational and aspirational lifestyle blog Fash Boulevard, Anna James is a style editor, a merchandiser, a brand consultant, and a firm believer in the power of a carefully curated outfit. Her career has been marked by a series of sartorially motivated leaps of faith—and a particularly fetching grey, wool skirt that may have been the key to landing her the job of her dreams. Her modish mantra on the path to stylish success: work hard and they will notice.
“Growing up in the South, there’s always an occasion to get dolled up. Like most little girls, gazing up at my mom as she was getting ready for a night out was a common source of entertainment. And naturally, the second after she would leave, without a moment’s hesitation, I would dive into her makeup and her wardrobe. One of my earliest memories was stumbling around in my dad’s gigantic knit sweater and my mom’s green heels and pearl necklace. (It was always all about those pearls.) My love for heels and statement’ ensembles hasn’t wavered since.
That moment from my childhood is a stellar example of the fashion credo I’ve held fast to my entire life: when in doubt, overdress. It is far worse to arrive someplace looking like you didn’t give a second thought to what clothes you put on than to take the extra time to be put together and professional. My career has been a road of pure unpredictability, and my saving grace has always been preparation: confidence for me comes from having a plan. I’m apprehensive by nature, so I like to stock my closet with outfits that I feel comfortable in—and not necessarily fashion that is au courant. Wardrobe essentials for me are, in no particular order: a great shirtdress (because they are the perfect base for an outfit and can be worn with flat sandals for a dressed-down look or belted with a printed blazer for a dressier outfit); Brooks Brothers crewneck sweaters and pencil skirts because these classic styles endure season after season (making them the perfect investment pieces to wear with a tailored blazer and statement necklace); and, as someone who detests ironing, the Brooks Brothers non-iron dress shirts, which really take the cake.
In fact, a well-turned-out ensemble was the linchpin in one of the most memorable moments in my career—and one that changed the course of my life. It was the gorgeous, grey wool Brooks Brothers pencil skirt and black cashmere sweater that I donned for my college internship interview. Every year, a well-known designer picks one intern from thousands of applicants across the country. It’s truly the opportunity of a lifetime for someone interested in fashion, and when I found out that the scout was coming to Auburn my senior year, I knew I needed an outfit that was professional, stylish, and possessed a classic, universal appeal—and one that would help me feel confident, which was crucial. When the day of the interview arrived, it was peppered with bad luck: as I anxiously made my way through campus, I heard a strange snap, which was immediately followed by me falling to the pavement where I discovered the heel of my shoe lying two feet away. There are few things more sartorially frustrating than a broken heel, but I didn’t have time to wallow. I jumped up and ran to the campus store, only to discover a freshly turned “Closed” sign on the door. Thankfully, I waved down an employee, who took pity on me and let me in. Five minutes later, I was sprinting back across the quad in a pair of hot-pink sandals with the school logo in glitter and an oversize bow across the toes. When I finally arrived at the interview, I was told that the company had already found their intern. But I was determined; something in my heart told me not to give up, and I found myself chasing down the scout as she hurried to catch a flight. I don’t know if it was my raw emotion or my unbridled moxie at tracking her down—or that fantastic Brooks Brothers skirt—but somehow the impromptu meeting led to the cross-country road-trip I took two months later to start my new internship. Landing that job was a pivotal moment in launching my career, as it gave me the confidence to keep pushing myself to explore what else I was capable of—which led me to launching Fash Boulevard. So, whether it’s been curating a great wardrobe or building what has been an incredible career (so far), I am a strong believer in the idea that the best things come from following your heart … and the power of a chic, well-tailored skirt.