It’s taken me a while to find my personal style when it comes to fashion, friends. But on this journey that was likely sparked by piercing my nose on my 30th birthday, my 30s have been my prime years for figuring out who I am, both style-wise and in life.
I recently met Maren Jensen, a fashion + lifestyle blogger and working mama living right here in Sioux Falls. Throughout our conversation, Maren showed me that finding your voice as a writer is similar to finding your personal style. Through her work as a marketer, Maren thinks of personal style like a brand. This idea is REVOLUTIONARY, friends – read on for more. I’m SO pleased to share Maren’s words with you all today!
Introduce yourself! What stories do you tell through your style? How do a woman’s fashion choices or her home design tell her story?
I’m Maren (MAR-en) Jensen, a fashion, home decor and lifestyle blogger. I spend my days working in marketing for a health system, and I blog once a week at Midwest In Style, though I share outfits and glimpses of my home and my life on Instagram far more frequently.
As a marketer, I view style and dress as a person’s first impression. Without saying anything, your clothing communicates how you want to be treated. I’m a big believer in the old adage of “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” but I think that people should dress for the PERSON they want to be, too. Whenever I make fashion choices in terms of what trends to follow or even as simple as what to wear each day, I look at my style as my personal brand. I describe my style as classic, relatable, versatile and practical. When I am making fashion choices at the store or as I look in my closet, I ask myself if that choice reflects my personal brand, and if not, I don’t put it on my body. The same is true for my approach to designing our home.
What have you learned thus far about business that you’d like readers to know? Do you think you’ll ever pursue a full-time blogging career?
Midwest In Style began in February of 2015 as a way to answer the question that I was always being asked, which was, “Tell me about your outfit!” As a woman, a working professional and a mom, I value classic, versatile and practical fashion choices that can work in a variety of weather conditions. When I started the blog, I realized that there was really no style resource for women like me in Sioux Falls or in the state of South Dakota, and I wanted to empower and connect with other women and foster a place online where we could learn from each other.
I want Midwest In Style to be, first and always, a resource for women. I want to collaborate and showcase small businesses here in the Midwest, and I’ve had the opportunity to work together with local brands as well as nationwide partners. Before I work with a company, I need to believe in their brand, in the way that they’re serving their clients. I have always been committed to collaborating or connecting with brands or people or ideas that I believe in, that sound fun. If I don’t believe in a brand’s value to the average woman who, like me, doesn’t have it all together and is a real mess at times, I won’t work with them.
Collaborating is just not about the money for me; it’s about who I believe in and who I want to work with. And that’s a big reason why it isn’t a passion or a goal for me to take my blog full-time; personally, I’m concerned that doing this full-time would stop feeling fun. I know the hustle that’s involved with doing this, even part-time, and I don’t want to ever have to make choices to collaborate with a brand or to post about something based on a need to provide for my family. I don’t want blogging to have that pressure; for me, blogging is still fun, and I don’t want that to change. I also HATE modeling outfits, so the idea of doing that more often does not interest me.
What upcoming projects are you excited to share with readers?
As for what’s next, I’m working with a few brands on my upcoming kitchen renovation. People are always interested in home design, and I’d love to showcase more of that in the future on Midwest In Style. We live in a home that was built in 1931, and we’re slowing renovating it to work for us. By sharing my kitchen project, I want my readers to realize that you can achieve a kitchen redesign without breaking the bank. For instance, I chose a piece of furniture as my kitchen island, an inexpensive choice that allowed me to make more expensive choices elsewhere in the kitchen. And just like with fashion trends, you can incorporate design trends in key places that aren’t as permanent, such as paint or lighting choices. When it comes to choosing a color for a cabinet or a handbag, always think of resale – lean more classic, even if you think you’ll never sell that home or that great bag!
A bonus question, just for fun: What three items must a woman have in her CLOSET? What about three must-haves for a woman’s MAKE-UP routine?
Three closet must-haves:
- A great leather handbag;
- A pair of black skinny jeans;
- A white button-down shirt – I love Banana Republic’s version of this classic!
For make-up, I have to sing the praises of Beautycounter – my skin can be so red at times, and I just love the way that their products, especially their tinted moisturizer, feels on my skin!
- Tinted moisturizer;
- Mascara (I haven’t found a brand that I just love yet);
- Nude lipstick (try Mac’s Velvet Teddy!)
How can readers connect with you?