Fashion Blogger Q&A: Jenn McNaughton of Ethics of Style
Still in her early twenties, Toronto blogger Jenn McNaughton of Ethics of Style already looks like a fashion editor. From her perfectly coiffed black bob to the cutting-edge shoes on her feet, you can tell that this is a girl who takes fashion seriously. She experiments freely with her style, though she rarely strays from a black, white and grey colour palette. Her makeup says “industry insider” – dramatic cat eyes, often paired with a deep-coloured lip.
We chatted with Jenn about her blog, what inspires her and her biggest fashion faux-pas:
Pink Martini: What made you decide to start a blog?
Jenn McNaughton: I first started blogging during the year following high school, when I had left university to be at home while my family was battling a difficult time. Having to take a step backwards in order to move forward is sometimes excruciating and I wanted to make the most of my time at home, thus starting my own blog as a means to remain creative. After moving to Toronto again and further developing myself and my personal aesthetic, I closed that previous blog, rebranded and created Ethics of Style. Ethics of Style was designed specifically to adapt with me as I transform within the industry.
PM: What would you say sets your blog apart from the rest?
JM: Given that I’m studying journalism and first fell in love with telling stories, I always try to add some editorial context to my posts—be it conversational bits, personal stories, trend reports, etc. I find a lot of bloggers rely on their images too much; visuals win in many cases but personally, I enjoy getting to know their curation process and their morals and motifs alongside the exterior aesthetics.
PM: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion bloggers?
JM: Find what makes you unique prior to investing. If you’re thinking about starting a blog but aren’t sure where to start, chances are the time isn’t now. When you’ve got yourself, your style and your aspirations constructed, then I would take the plunge. I think a lot of the reason why “blogging” is almost becoming a wearying term is because it’s oversaturated. Don’t let that discourage you but ensure you aren’t just adding to the problem by executing your niche and building a brand at large.
PM: Who do you think are the most fashionable celebrities, current or past?
JM: Past: Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin. Classic and refined. Current: Diane Keaton, because no woman can rock a pant-suit quite like her and at 69, I’d cop her style. Otherwise, it’s Rihanna and Alexa Chung. No other two celebrities continue to deliver time and time again. These two could be front row at Dior or going for coffee and their ensembles would be awe-inspiring.
JM: Is it sad that I had to go back into Netflix to answer this? Clearly I don’t watch a lot of TV. Mad Men would be the only TV show I watch consistently that has a wardrobe department that inspires me within a greater context, not necessarily as a means to my own personal expression. I love delving into the workwear wardrobes of generations past and am nostalgic for a time and place I couldn’t experience myself but wish, as a culture, we would still embrace. As for movies, anything Tarantino. Be it Mia Wallace’s precise bob and pressed collared shirt, or O-Ren’s angelic kimono—contradictory at best—Tarantino fashions his femme fatales inside and out.
PM: Which blogs do you read?
JM: I read a lot of blogs-turned-digital publications, such as Man Repeller and The Business of Fashion. Those are my daily reads for top stories and to gather inspiration for future posts. For style inspiration, I’m always looking towards Ivania Carpio of Love Aesthetics, Evangelie Smyriotaki of Style Heroine, Courtney Trop of Always Judging and Elin Kling. I probably follow hundreds of fellow blogs but those four seem to always be on my radar.
PM: How would you describe your personal style?
JM: My personal style at its root is modern. Whether I teeter back and forth between minimal, casual, edgy and/or feminine, I emphasize remaining true to its chic base. Sometimes I’m more willing to experiment, such as my most recent purchase of a blue and black dress from & Other Stories, however, I find myself becoming bored of those fast-fashion purchases easily and have learned to invest in items that will serve me season after season.
PM: What was your worst-ever fashion faux-pas?
JM: Let’s just say anything pre-dating the last five years. When I was quite young, I was victim of the “what is minimalism?” mentality, piling on as many different colours and prints as I could. Graduating into my high school years, things got a little more subdued and I succumbed to the Hollister train that everyone and their moms were jumping aboard in my small town. Thankfully, towards the end I started venturing out and became engrossed in finding unique yet practical pieces to fine-tune my very own look. I haven’t looked back since.
PM: What’s your number one style commandment?
JM: Dress for yourself. A lot of people ask me, “Oh, I’m dressing for such and such occasion,” or, “I’m going on a date tonight, what do I wear?” Rarely do I dress for an actual event. Whether that consists of meeting a person for coffee or attending a preview for work, my style remains consistent and is more so adapted to how I’m feeling that day. Never ever dress for anybody but yourself—not boys, not your parents, not your friends—or you’ll wind up more uncomfortable than you would be if you stood out in something you deemed “different” in the first place.
PM: Which spring trend are you most excited to wear?
JM: Choosing just one would be far too challenging. Floor-length trench coats, wrap-style gilets, and neutral leathers (dare I say it), are on the top of my list.
PM: Which three Pink Martini pieces would you recommend to our readers?
JM: 1) The Stone Cold Black Jacket – Outerwear will always take precedence in my wardrobe. I cannot seem to satisfy the need for more pieces for layering—they elevate the entire look and are incredibly easy to wear if you opt for simple garments underneath. This black Pink Martini jacket adds some subtle texture, giving that faux-fur vibe that is especially coveted as we merge from winter into spring.
2) Lost In London Black Dress – What I particularly love about this LBD is its shape, bridging the line between a-line and skater skirts. Around this time of year, I love pairing turtlenecks or cropped knits atop dresses, again, for layering. Worn on its own, it would be perfect with a leather jacket and black leather booties for a night out—or if you’re like me, a trip to Metro.
3) The Riot Dress Charcoal – This dress is minimal with its streamlined silhouette, hugging the body just so. I’m not a fan of body-con dresses but this adds the right amount of curve, while looking quite elegant via its floor-sweeping length. A must!