CULTURE FRONT: At last, a style blog for smart women

By on December 2, 2014
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Shown above is a page from Jackson-based writer Katy Niner’s new blog. WEAR-HERE.COM

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Jackson-based arts writer Katy Niner’s latest endeavor, the blog “Wear + Here,” mixes a love of fashion, travel and art with a quick-witted, poetic writing style to create a travelogue of wondrous places and wearables. Reading her blog is like being in the hands of an expert deejay that engineers mood and pacing to transport an audience to unexpected delights.

We chatted with Katy recently about the inspiration for her blog and the role of fantasy in travel and fashion.

Planet Jackson Hole: Where did the idea for “Wear + Here” originate?
Katy Niner: As a freelance writer, I write descriptive content for a sweep of projects within my self-identified field of arts writing and beyond. In building my career beyond newspaper articles, I started to feel a disconnect between my resume and my interests in travel, art, fashion, and culture. Last January, Ira Glass gave me the gumption to grow my portfolio on my own: during his Jackson appearance, he described the modern media landscape as a place where anyone could stake a flag and manifest his or her dream gig. So after sitting with his salient advice, one March morning I ignored the world and sat down with WordPress. Fast forward nine months: I love the discipline of delivering small doses on a regular basis, though recently, I have fallen off a bit as I try to strike a better balance between my work and my blog. Ultimately, I’d love to fuse the two.

PJH: What is your personal relationship to fashion and travel?
KN: I’ll sketch my sartorial bildungsroman: I wore a uniform through high school, a wardrobe routine that hindered my ability to dress from the waist down (in college, I lived in jeans, still do generally). It wasn’t until my post-grad journalism fellowship in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, that I truly started to explore my personal style (part and parcel of forging an adult identity). As a lousy packer too tall for most ready-to-wear VN clothes, I would tear pictures from magazines (treasured to the point of tattered) and have pieces tailored for upcoming excursions: a trip to the mountains in Sa Pa required a rugged coat, while a southern stint called for flowy tops. I lived two blocks away from a fabric market (trouble), which meant free moments found me wide-eyed in patterns, guided by my Vietnamese friends. Cho Hom market gave me a taste of bespoke styling and cultural assimilation. In Viet Nam, my style became inextricably linked to travel.

Fashion has always been an observational exercise for me, growing up close to NYC, living and traveling abroad. My most recent move from Brooklyn to Jackson made me miss the visual feast of urban life and turn to street-style strutting online, in print. Similarly, my travel scheming hit high gear when I landed in Wyoming and became a frequent flyer to weddings and family events. My online resting state has become browsing fashion blogs and boutiques or tagging travel destinations and art happenings. Wear + Here has become my catch-all outlet for my web-wandering. Chronically verbose, I wanted to challenge myself by wrangling the random, seemingly disparate bits I find fascinating, into concise pairings\relationships\distillations.

PJH: Where do your ideas for blog posts come from?
KN: Generally, I pick a place first, though my Pinterest page and a desktop folder teem with items that make me swoon. Then, I study the image: What makes the picture interesting? An architectural aspect? A historical element? A striking color? A compelling form? Having identified a word or concept, I then troll the interwebs for a fashion piece as riff. I find inspiration everywhere — trite, I know, but truly, I sponge ideas from the full spectrum of sources: from beloved channels like John McPhee and Joan Didion to the inky style pages of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and innovation buffets like Designboom and Cool Hunting.

PJH: Why do you think we like to fantasize about what we might wear in a desired cultural setting? What’s the role of fantasy in your blog?
KN: Wear + Here + Fantasy: A new trifecta for me. I love your suggestion. Imagination is crucial as is suspension of disbelief. More than one reader (my brother included) have taken my posts as reporting, wondering what kind of jetsetter life I am leading. So maybe I should cultivate the fantasy aspect more explicitly. Although, perhaps in vain, I see a vein of reality: to me, Wear + Here is a way to express my polyglot engagement with the world, a mouthful sublimely articulated by Italo Calvino in Invisible Cities: “At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue of two passerby meeting in the crowd, and I think that, setting out from there, I will put together, piece by piece, the perfect city, made from fragments mixed with the rest, of instants separated by intervals, of signals one sends out, not knowing who receives them. If I tell you that the city toward which my journey tends is discontinuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed, you must not believe the search for it can stop.”

Read Katy Niner’s blog at wear-here.com.

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About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

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