Hillary Dixon of Style In a Small Town shows readers how to stay fashionable and worldly on a budget.
Hillary Dixon grew up in Northwestern Illinois, dreaming of big cities and following fashion icons. While pursuing a degree in Fashion, she spent time studying in Paris, igniting a love of travel and influencing her fashion decisions. After working in fashion in Chicago for a few years, she moved to Normal, Illinois, where she works in technology, but uses her blog as a creative outlet and way to inspire others.
“When I look at fashion magazines, I don’t just look at them,” Hillary says. “I use them as inspiration. I study them. I put together mood boards for every season in my room.” Looks from these mood boards usually end up on her blog, where she shows readers how to stay fashionable on a budget, even if they live somewhere where retail isn’t booming.
“I love online shopping and bargain shopping,” says Hillary. “I literally live in the town of Normal, and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes. But like my readers, I like to have a variety of clothing and I like shopping, so I try to get big city trends in a small town.” Hence, the name of her blog.
“For the most part, nothing on my blog is more than $100,” Hillary says. “Unless its an investment piece.” This, she says, is key. Spending money on classic pieces that will last a lifetime, or at least a couple of seasons, is important. Things like shoes, purses, and jackets fall into this category. For trendier items, Hillary shops at Forever 21, Target, and Loft. “I also sign up for a lot of emails,” she says. “And I only buy certain things when there’s free shipping.”
Other advice she gives readers? “Know your measurements! I always have a measuring tape handy.”
Hillary describes her style as “matchy-matchy,” but is inspired by street style. This dichotomy helps her keep things interesting and pushes her beyond her comfort zone. “Sometimes street style just works, even when it’s something that seems like it wouldn’t,” she says. “I don’t know how it does but it does!” This funny, casual, willing to try anything attitude is evident throughout Hillary’s blog, and part of why she loves traveling.
“I love watching people, and I love experiencing different cultures, trying different foods, and immersing myself in a new country,” Hillary says. Within a few weeks of living in Paris she says it felt like home, and she came back sporting styles her friends in the US wouldn’t see for years. “Paris is just seasons ahead of the US,” she says. “I came home wearing leggings in 2006 and all of my friends were like what are you wearing? And now they’re everywhere!”
Though she’ll always have Paris, Hillary’s favorite destination is Kauai, Hawaii. “I am IN LOVE,” she says. “Hands down it is the most beautiful place in the world.” (I can’t disagree!)
When packing for adventures on the beach or weekends in a new city, Hillary says she tries to keep it light. “I try to pack mostly neutrals because they go with lots of different things, I bring things that can be paired with each other, and I always take a jacket or cardigan because no matter what season it is, it can get cold in airplanes and restaurants.”