Getting To Know: Nicole Seligman of Writes Like a Girl
I had a mega girl crush on Nicole before I had the chance to meet her IRL, and y'all, she's the real deal. Nicole is truly a real life unicorn. She is kind and smart, humble and wise beyond her years, and she seems to do it all making it all feel effortless. As I was writing this, I was trying to remember exactly how we met. I'm sure it must have been during the good ol' days of #atxcoworkingladies. Or maybe it was at some Paper + Craft Pantry event. But the first time I really remember getting to know her was at a brunch at Weather Up when we sat across the table from one another, and the rest is a glorious history of a budding friendship built on mutual admiration.
Fast forward to last fall when she was so kind to take the first Own Your Why Intensive with a small group of other female business owners, and through that work, she discovered the next step for her blog - developing a body positive workbook that will help all self-identifying women identify a personal style for themselves and develop a wardrobe that bucks the fashion industry trends and lets your truest self shine through.
It was an even bigger honor to work with Nicole as she developed this workbook, so I saw firsthand how much love, dedication, time, and energy she put into it. I am beyond proud of what she has accomplished, and feel even more honored to have such an inspiring friend in my corner pushing me to be my best self. Read on, and I dare you not to fall in love with her, too.
You are a woman of many talents and passions. Tell us more about how Writes Like a Girl came to be, and how it’s evolved over the years.
My goodness, thank you for saying that! When I was in high school or early college, I remember my dad answering my question about what he thought I would eventually do for a living with “having as many jobs as you can juggle.” My passions have always been wide-reaching, so I suppose it’s no surprise that I’ve got my hands in one too many pies at all times.
Writes Like a Girl began during my last year of college. Fellow English majors were concerned with whether or not they would get published, but I decided to take that into my own hands. I did not want to wait for someone to give me permission to do what I love. What started as a poor attempt at a feminist comedy blog transformed into a personal style blog with outfits posts and wish lists, which eventually became a place where I write about the intersection between style, body image, and mental health. I am a writer first, and I never let that aspect of my blog get left behind.
What aspect of running your blog is the most life-giving for you?
My goal, at the root of Writes Like a Girl, has always been to inspire other women to use their voices by using my own. I try to talk about the stuff that usually stays behind closed doors because I believe there’s magic in connection and representation. What gives me the most life are the “me too” moments; the magic in sharing something personal and other people relating to it. Whether it’s struggling with last summer’s shorts not fitting or dealing with imposter syndrome, I believe that talking about it helps normalize those experiences.
Was there ever a time when you happily ignored external validation or outside advice about your blog so that you could follow the True North that you created for yourself? If so, how did making that choice to follow Your Why impact not only you, but the work you do?
I think the biggest indirect advice I’ve ignored is the type of blogger I “should” be. While affiliate programs, influencer marketing, and Insta-blogs became the norm, I continued to put my efforts into writing a blog that I would want to read. It’s great if someone wants to purchase something I’ve posted about, but it’s not why I blog. What’s more important to me is my readers’ trust, building a community, and being as genuine as possible online.
Writes Like a Girl is a body positive fashion blog. How do you define body positivity, and how has embracing this philosophy impacted your life?
For me, body positivity is about recognizing that there are no bad bodies; all bodies are good bodies! It’s natural for us to have parts of our bodies we’re less thrilled with, but body positivity is a reminder that your body size and shape does not define your worth. The movement is also about acknowledging that those sometimes unhappy feelings are based in shame created by the society we live in. Loving our bodies is a revolution in and of itself.
Treating my body with kindness is the only way I’ve been able to share photos of myself online for the last six years. There isn’t one right way to have a body! My blog has given me an opportunity to show how clothes look on a body like mine, since retailers and the fashion industry typically do not.
You recently launched the Feel Good, Dress Better workbook, which is a comprehensive guide to transforming your closet to better reflect your personal style using an intuition-based approach to dressing. What was your inspiration for creating this workbook, and what do you ultimately hope it has the capacity to accomplish?
Taking the Own Your Why: Intensive was a major turning point for me. After putting my “why” into words—transforming women’s lives, starting in their closets—I started thinking about what I could do beyond my blog to fulfill that mission. A longtime goal of mine has been to help women more directly with their closets, going from simply inspiring to creating actual, personal change. This is where the workbook came in.
I believe deeply in the power of the right outfit. Wearing clothes that fit our bodies, as well as the occasion, has so much to do with our success because it affects what we feel capable of. When you’re wearing something you feel amazing in, you’re going to be more confident. What I want Feel Good, Dress Better to do is teach women how to create outfits that do even more. We can send messages as much to other people as we do to ourselves with what we wear. The first part of the workbook helps women get their closet ready for next-level dressing by getting rid of anything that holds them back, while the latter part trains their intuition and helps them flex their creativity in putting together outfits based on how they want to feel and the message they want to send.
A big piece of Feel Good, Dress Better is learning how to define your personal style. What is yours? And how did you finally reach your own personal style ID?
I define my personal style as playfully classic. When I look at the retailers I shop, and more specifically the pieces I choose, I notice a trend of seemingly classic pieces with a little something extra. Give me a gingham button down in a fun color, a full skirt in a whimsical print, or ballet flats with a bit of embellishment. I love a good juxtaposition, so I’m all about creating outfits that aren’t “too” one thing or another. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me, but I live for complementing contrast.
Who are your style icons and why?
I most admire women who can make funky pieces look polished. Leslie Schneider of Splendid Rags is my number one style icon. She wears bold prints and vibrant colors like she was born in them. I’m also a big fan of J.Crew’s now-former president Jenna Lyons, who nails juxtaposition in her outfits every time, and Iris Apfel, who wears exactly what she wants every single day.
In addition to Writes Like a Girl, you are also the editor over at Junebug Weddings and you co-host the Breakfast for Dinner podcast with your boyfriend. I’m amazed at how you juggle all of these creative pursuits. How do possibly manage it all?
I wish I had a great answer for you on time management, but I more or less just figured out what works for me because I refuse to give anything up. I believe that if you say you love something, you should do it. I love writing, so I write every day, whether or not someone is paying me to do so. The podcast is a tremendously fun project that I get to do with my partner and I have gained so much joy from it. If any of my pursuits brought me more stress than joy, I’d give them up. At this point, I make the rules, and I’m not afraid to make changes where necessary to be able to do it all. Do I have balance? I don’t know. Am I happy? Truly.
Because your plate is so full, what are your favorite ways to stay inspired and also actively rest?
I am honestly great at staying inspired. I take in nearly as much content as I create because I strive to say what’s not being said (and how do you know if you aren’t aware of what’s out there?). However, since I take in as much content as I create, I don’t really give myself a lot of time to rest. Being someone who has clinical depression, I think I fear rest. I am constantly multi-tasking: writing while bingeing the latest Netflix show, doing blog research while listening to podcasts, catching up on The Bachelor or RuPaul’s Drag Race while reading articles for our next episode. I feel like the monkey covering his eyes emoji writing this, but I don’t know any other way.
While I will always choose finishing up a blog post over reading a chapter in a book, I do make time for friends. Specifically, I gain energy from one-on-one time with my girls, so I keep at least one or two dates on my schedule every week. I have been working to make those interactions as present as possible by keeping them predominately offline, making them just for me.
I admire the way that you are dedicated to setting and achieving goals. Would you share more about your approach to working with goals, and how that has impacted growth in your life both personally and professionally? And if you’re feeling up to it, would you share one big scary dreamy goal with us?
Thank you for saying that! Goal setting started as easy content—I used to post monthly “grown up” goals in the early days of my blog. What I learned from this is that you can only accomplish big goals by taking the little steps along the way. Setting monthly small goals has helped me accomplish some cool things that I wouldn’t have otherwise because I stayed on track. I try to balance my goals by focusing on different areas of my life, which I think keeps me from getting burnt out on any one thing.
My big scary dreamy goal? To have a physical book of Feel Good, Dress Better. The workbook existing in the first place is maybe the biggest goal I’ve ever achieved, so now I feel like I can make anything happen.