Street Style Tips From Berkeley
The founder of street style blog Work It, Berk dishes on nabbing pics of Berkeley’s most fashionable, a new designer you need to check out, and how to achieve snap-worthy street style.
Photos courtesy of Work It, Berk
Street style blogs like The Sartorialist and Stockholm Streetstyle have made it possible to peep looks from across the globe (some of my favorites have been shot on the streets of Rome and Paris). But you don’t have to look far to get a healthy dose of sartorial inspiration. Work it Berk, created by Brittany Curran, chronicled Berkeley’s most stylish during her time as an undergrad at Cal.
Although Curran has since returned to her native L.A., the blog still thrives with fresh street style inspiration, and remains as evidence that Berkeley’s denizens are just as likely to sport sleek ankle boots and camel-hair cardigans as they are Tevas and hemp knits. Keep reading to learn more about the inspiration behind the blog, the difference between Bay Area and Los Angeles street style, and the looks that manage to capture a photographer’s eye.
What was the inspiration behind starting Work It, Berk?
I started Work It, Berk after following fashion blogs, especially street style blogs, for a few years. After seeing several well-dressed people at Cal, I thought, “Why can’t they be my subjects?!”
Since 2009, how has the blog changed and grown?
The blog has gotten a lot more sophisticated. After several layout changes and post templates, I’ve finally settled on the ones I’m using now. I’ve also become a lot more selective in terms of the people I choose to photograph. Oftentimes, I can be too picky and I don’t end up taking any photos at all.
What did you love most about Berkeley?
Although it was definitely a culture shock moving from L.A. to the Bay Area, it was a nice change of pace. Being in Berkeley was nice because the city has its own values and culture, especially in terms of the larger food movement and more casual attitude towards dressing.
What do you miss most about Berkeley/the Bay Area?
I definitely miss the close friends I’ve made in school. In terms of the blog, I miss being able to just walk around campus or in downtown San Francisco and spot at least a couple of potential subjects. It’s harder to do in LA since so few people walk on the street.
What’s your background? Do you have experience working in the fashion industry, or just a personal interest?
I have some experience working in the fashion industry, but it’s mostly a result of my blog. I’ve been able to take street style photos for major outlets like ELLE magazine, Refinery29, and Racked LA, for example. I was also involved with Bare Magazine, Cal’s award-winning fashion magazine.
What are the elements that make snap-worthy street style? What makes you stop and take notice?
Overall, I look for a unique, put-together look. I want to make sure that all of the elements go together. For instance, if a girl is wearing a gorgeous dress, her shoes should complement it; flip-flops don’t exactly make the cut. I’m definitely interested in seeing more color in a look. I do stumble upon potential subjects that have created an interesting silhouette of layers of black, but since it can be hard for all the detail to come out in a photo, I might skip over that person entirely. I’m really just looking for subjects who deliberately show their personal style through their outfit choices.
What advice would you give to people hoping to turn heads, or maybe land on a street style blog?
This might sound like it is right out of an after-school special, but I think it’s best to just be yourself and be comfortable in whatever you’re wearing. Wear things that make you feel good about yourself, show off your personal style, and are appropriate for the occasion.
What are some of the most unusual or striking looks you’ve stumbled upon?
When I was at a flea market in Hollywood, I saw a guy wearing this crazy necklace with all these weird plastic pieces on it. They almost looked like toy parts.
One of the most striking looks I’ve stumbled upon is also one of my favorites. It’s a photo of this lady wearing a chunky necklace, maroon lace-up boots before they were popular, and some loose black pants. She just oozed cool.
Any emerging or underground designers you’re really excited about?
In terms of emerging designers, I love the cuts of the work-wear dresses and pants by Jill Aiko Yee, a women’s wear designer based in Los Angeles. I’m really excited to see her new line, which will feature beautiful dip-dyed pieces. From the tidbits I’ve seen from the new collection, I can tell it’s going to be really good.
What new trends are you eager to see?
I’m not sure if this is a new or a pretty established trend, but I love how looks seem to be getting more tailored. I like when people can combine seemingly simple elements that are both polished and refined.
You have a whole series on fashionable people and their bikes (and appear to be a big bike fan yourself). What do you think the key is to looking put-together while biking around?
I think the key is to find something that is a happy medium between being functional and bike friendly, and incorporating your own personal style. You can put together a look that is cute, but also is practical enough to bike around in. Unless you can bike in heels, find a pair of stylish oxfords or just carry the heels in a backpack.
What are some of your favorite street style blogs? Other blogs you frequent?
My favorite street style blogs are Stil in Berlin, Dapper Lou, The Locals, Glamcanyon, Streetgeist, Hel Looks, and STREETFSN. I follow tons of other blogs, especially food and art/design blogs. Some of my favorites include Thought Catalog, Colossal, Spoon Fork Bacon, and, of course, Suri’s Burn Book.
What’s been the most rewarding part of running the blog?
The most rewarding part of running the blog has definitely been being able to photograph for major fashion outlets that I admire and follow myself, such as ELLE magazine and Refinery29. It’s still mind-boggling for me to comprehend that my photos have been published on the website of one of the best fashion magazines in the country. Who knew you could do this without being a pro and still being in college?