Natalie Tincher was born and raised in Logansport, Indiana. She holds a degree in English, has worked as an editor, and is a co-founder of BU Style, a NYC-based style consulting company that believes the way a person dresses reflects how they view themselves and affects how other people view them.
When I was little girl, I would spend hours alone in my room playing with my Barbie dolls—although playing is not really the right word; it was more like dressing and redressing them for various events, such as prom, a tea party, a wedding, etc. As I got older, I moved on to dressing myself in my cool older sister’s clothes. I especially loved her prom dresses, complete with big shoulders, sequins, and ruffles—yes, it was the 80s.
My love for fashion and styling only increased as I got older. As I reached those formative teenage years, I appreciated how clothing could convey or influence my mood. Living in small-town Indiana, I liked to set myself apart by buying clothing that I felt represented me at the time. It was during those years that I really started thinking about and developing my style (and beginning my love affair with J. Crew).
I left my small Hoosier town for the big world of college, where I quickly became the go-to stylist in my dorm room. My friends said I was a good stylist because I was sensitive to what looked good on all different body types. And my peers felt comfortable sharing with me their body insecurities and trusting that I would dress them to enhance their assets while camouflaging their “trouble areas.”
When one friend had a date that she was particularly nervous and excited about, I helped her create a head-to-toe look be using the clothing she already had to create an outfit she had never before thought of but looked fabulous on her. Then I added a few of my accessories (one of the best parts of having roommates is sharing clothes and jewelry, right?), and she was ready and looking fabulous! She was already a beautiful girl, but I remember her leaving for the date especially confident, which gave me a great sense of satisfaction. I loved being able to bring this added measure of joy to someone’s life, no matter how small it was.
In school I majored in English. This was a somewhat logical choice because I enjoyed reading—I still do. It was also a practical decision, as I had an eye for editing, and it seemed like it was the easier and safer route to take when thinking about employment after graduation and about a career I could pursue if I became a mother. Simply put – I don’t think I ever felt like a career in fashion was possible, and it always seemed too impractical.
Since college, I have worked as an editor, and while I am a good editor and mostly enjoy the work, I don’t have a passion for it—though I have tried to convince myself that I do. So when an opportunity to move to New York came, I was eager to go. I knew the move was my chance to break into the fashion industry and further develop my expertise—including enrolling in evening classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
About a year after moving to the city, I began seriously considering starting a style consulting business. I had received a lot of encouragement from friends and family to pursue it, but I was scared and overwhelmed by the mechanics of starting a business. I was especially terrified of failing, worried that if my business didn't succeed, I would let down my family, my friends, and myself.
I expressed these fears to my husband, who had been supportive of the idea from the beginning, and he helped me change my perspective. He told me that I would be failing if I didn’t act on my dreams. He was right. I would always be disappointed if didn’t give this business a shot. I temporarily pushed aside my fear of failure—it still rears its ugly head occasionally—and set out to start my business.
Enter my friend and business partner, Casey. She and I met in NYC through our husbands, instantly became great friends, and discovered that we had many shared dreams. Taking on the task of starting a business seemed less scary when doing it with someone else, and Casey was the perfect partner.
We have worked hard to start our style consulting company. Though the business is in its infancy, we are proud of what we've accomplished, and we try to celebrate any success, no matter how small. We have a long way to go, but I feel incredibly fortunate to have the chance to pursue my dream.
Did you love to do something as a little girl, but somehow ended up majoring in or working in an entirely different field?
Can what seems to be a diversion from your dream (in Natalie's case, studying English) ultimately help you achieve your dream? As we saw on the most recent Project Runway, Mondo Guerra, the runner-up, is a brilliant designer who hasn't learned to edit. Albeit a different field, Natalie's brief diversion has taught her to pare things down.
Do you have someone around you to encourage you as you dream? Could partnering with someone give your dreams momentum?
Styling Tip from Natalie and Casey:
Menswear-inspired blazers are versatile and work for any body type, making them a great investment piece. These blazers are cut longer than traditional women’s suiting and can have a boxy silhouette, so make sure you pick a blazer that cuts in at the waist. Most major department stores carry a variety of blazers at various price points. Large specialty stores like J.Crew and the Gap also have some great options.
Here are some tips for making the look work for all occasions.
Instead of the usual cardigan, wear a blazer (with rolled sleeves) over your T-shirts, v-neck sweaters, or camisoles. Pair that with jeans and flats or boots, and you have instantly updated your everyday style without compromising your comfort.
Take a break from your standard work suit by wearing a menswear-inspired blazer with a pencil skirt or trousers. You can further update your work outfits by breaking up your neutrals (e.g., wear a black blazer with gray bottoms). Add interest to the outfit by pairing your blazer with a blouse that has pattern, color, or sheen and adding some jewelry.