Ashley Nielson's Expressive Style

Mesa native Ashley Nielson enjoys showing off her personal creativity with the clothes on her back.


The 22-year-old works in retail and writes about her daily life and outfits on her blog, I Believe In Unicorns.

Her colorful and quirky style was one of the first things that caught our eye while browsing through her collection, but her sweet disposition was a close second.

"As much as we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, we're humans and we're going to get a general idea about what the book might be about," Nielson says. "That being said, I realize some people have totally different ways of expressing themselves or their creativity, but for me this has always been an obvious way."

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What are you wearing?
Today I'm wearing a blush colored maxi dress and green leather belt that i got on sale at j.crew, with a bangly necklace and gladiators from forever21, and a flower I made myself. Comfort was the goal of today's outfit. It was my day off and I planned on lounging around all day. I love when loungewear that you can still feel pretty in.

Can you tell us a little bit about your style?
I have such a hard time describing my style because it changes everyday! Some days I feel like being classic and a bit preppy and then other days I'm all about a drapey, flowy, bohemien look. Then it's 1950s, and then the 80s hit me. I've always been obsessed with costumes and dressing up, so I guess that's where it stems from. I get dressed up in characters. My dream would be a costume designer for movies or plays--I think I could be really successful at that.

What are some of your favorite places to shop?
I like to buy a lot of clothes and so I like to shop places that allow me to do that on a minimal budget. Some of my favorites are Forever21, H&M, thrift & antique shops, and jcrew sale racks. I've also found some gorgeous things from ASOS online.

Ashley Nielson's Expressive Style
Courtesy of Ashley Nielson.

What was the last clothing purchase you made?
I splurged on this gorgeous navy and green plaid button-up that I had been dreaming about from J.Crew for too long. I do not regret that purchase. It's a classic piece that is extremely versatile and it fits like a dream!

What are your favorite trends for the fall?
I've noticed that along with some of the more traditional fall colors, there are some very untraditional ones as well this season, like teal, purple, and navy and I am diggin' it for sure. I love when Tradition gets it feathers ruffled!

What item of clothing do you covet at the moment?
Well, for the past year or so I've been coveting the EmersonMade High-Wasted Bluebells. Bell-bottoms have made a huge come-back this fall with the 1970s trend and now I want them even more. Unfortunately $200 for a pair of jeans is just more than I can imagine spending at this point in my life. If anyone feels the urge to gift them to me, I won't complain a bit!

Give us a childhood memory of you and clothing.
I've always loved fashion. My mother is an amazing seamstress and we always had yards and yards of fabric at my house, so i used to sneak into the sewing room, get all the shiny, stretch, colorful stuff out and wrap it around my me, tie it in knots and bows and then get my mom's heels on. Once I had my couture look completed I'd model it for my very surprised, but encouraging mother. As I got older my passion for fashion and design never died. I kept sketching up ideas and my mom kept helping me create them.

What do you like to accessorize with?
I've a big fan of interesting belts. I think they really polish an outfit and create shape when needed. I love the little details in fashion. Necklaces are also a favorite of mine, and shoes, and earrings, tights, pins, glasses...I guess the only thing I don't accessorize with are bags. Not because I don't love them, it's just that it takes too much effort to switch everything out everyday. I usually use two bags a year. Then I switch.

Where would you love to have a shopping spree?
Kate Spade would be fun, wouldn't it? Did you know she's related to David Spade? I just found this out and was totally shocked! Ha!

Name five things every woman should have in their closet?
1. a great pair of jeans
2. a high-waist pencil skirt
3. a midi skirt
4. a classic button-up top
5. a waist-cincher belt

What is your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix?
Be true to yourself. Throw trends out the window if you don't personally like them. Style is about expressing yourself--YOU, not some model in a magazine who had some stylist fashioning her. If it speaks to you and helps others know a bit more about you, then don't be afraid to don it with confidence. I believe confidence is really the key to great style.


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