#FearlessWoman Feature | Dionne of Styled by Dionne

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing today’s #FearlessWoman on WNJ a time before. Dionne Dean is the brains and beauty behind Styled by Dionne and author of  ‘Make Your Closet Pay‘. Not only is her energy and smile infectious, but her wanderlust nature and passion for life is incredible. I admire her spirit, pay it forward mentality and above all, her tenacious work ethic. This thrift, vintage and “never pay retail” queen should definitely be on your radar, if she isn’t already. Enjoy her interview below; I’m sure you’ll be inspired to travel and live a fabulous life just as Dionne does!

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What’s a typical day for Dionne?

Is there such a thing as a “typical” day in the life of any entrepreneur, LOL! I wake around 4 or 5 to spend time in prayer. I find that if I don’t spend that time in prayer and meditation to get focused and centered on the purpose for my business, I’ll be rocked to and fro by the days events. Once the hubs is out the door, I head into my office and spend about an hour checking emails and social media. I work on getting all my eBay orders and thrift boxes together the night before so that I can be ready to hit the post office when it opens at 9:30. After the post office, I head to 3 or 4 thrift stores and am done by noon or 1 pm. If I have a client, I head to whichever store I’ve chosen for them an hour prior our appointment to set up their fitting room and alert the sales staff that I have a client coming. If not, I head home to upload items in eBay or spend time reaching out to potential clients.

Now, if’s it’s a morning when I have my ‘Good Morning Texas’ beauty segment, the day goes a bit different. I’m still up at 4 or 5, but I usually check on my models, go over my product details (pre-playing the segment in the bathroom mirror LOL) and selecting my outfit. I’ve tried getting my look together the night before, but I’m one of those people who has to see how I feel before I get dressed ;-)

2. What inspired you to create Styled by Dionne & publish Make Your Closet Pay?

My undergraduate is in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising and my goal was to become a buyer and travel the world purchasing beautiful clothing. However, after volunteering at various community agencies in Atlanta, I decided to switch gears. I moved to Chicago, completed an AmeriCorps Year of Service and got my Masters in Cultural and Educational Policy. I spent 6-7 years preparing high school, college-aged and graduate students for entry into the world of work and realized the one thing we didn’t spend enough time on was how to dress when you actually GOT the job. There was so much out there on interviewing skills and dressing for an interview, but nothing on building and maintaining your personal brand AT the job. So, I decided to launch a business styling new graduates, new entrepreneurs and basically anyone looking to re-brand themselves for promotion.

I published ‘Make Your Closet Pay‘ because I want people to help people get rid of the items their not wearing and reinvest that money into themselves, whether it be in paying off debt, going on that dream vacation or purchasing clothing that they WILL wear. I’ve had an eBay store since my early days in Atlanta and now that I use it to sell my thrifted items, I’ve used the profit to pay down debt, go home to London for 2 weeks and buy $45 Jimmy Choos!

Styled By Dionne Dean - Feature

3. Who are your top 3 women inspirations, famous or non-famous, and why?

My mommy. The older I get, the more I realize what an awesome woman my mother is. She was widowed at the age of 25 with 3 young children, in London, thousands of miles away from her family and friends in Jamaica and somehow just made it work. She met my dad in her late thirties and created this fabulosity that you see today ;-) But listening to her hard earned wisdom on life has made me a better wife and one day mother.

Violette Sproul, Founder of Femfessionals. I met her at a conference a few years back and was immediately in awe of her honesty when it came to managing business and life. I asked a question pertaining to timing and when to have children and she flat out told me, “There’s no good time…just do it. You’ll make it work somehow.” She’s been one of my mentors and sounding boards ever since.

My business coach, Kimberly Pitts is my idol. She is operates her business, marriage and motherhood in such excellence and is just an all around phenomenal woman. She is able to look at my business in such a different way and makes sure that I have all the tools necessary to be successful. She goes above and beyond what I pay her for because she believes in me understands that my success is her calling card. When I’m successful, SHE’s successful. Amazing woman

4. One piece of advice you have for women entrepreneurs?

Go for it! I chose this road because I saw something missing in the marketplace. I believe the world is as nuts as it is because the people who are called to make the necessary changes are chained to the wrong job. If you have a desire to something, do it. The world needs your gifts, talents and abilities!

Feature - Styled By Dionne Dean

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I’ll be traveling the world with my husband and babies buying beautiful pieces for my online store. I’ll have a show produced by the Property Brothers where we go to run down stores and smelly thrift stores and turn them into high end boutiques (think the British show ‘Mary Portas-Queen of Shops). Probably have a daytime Emmy and be back home in South Florida with a condo on Biscayne. My heart’s desire is to be an ex-Pat and spend half the year in London or Dusseldorf and the other half in South Florida.

Keep Up With Dionne

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Style | Thrift Tips from the Experts

I’m always ready and willing to share thrift tips with anybody! So when my blogger buddy Jen asked me to join with a few other thrifty bloggers for a thrift tip post, of course I jumped at the opportunity! It’s great to get together with fellow bloggers and talk about style and fashion, but I always get a thrill when we can chat about thrift shopping too! Not everyone is a thrifter, and I get that. But there are some great thrift tips and tricks, very easy to pick up, that will help enhance your wardrobe.

Read on to meet each thrifter, see an outfit from her own closet styled with almost entirely thrifted pieces, and one of her secrets to thrifting success. Stop on over to each of their blogs to find even more of their secrets that land them unbelievable style finds for a fraction of the price and ten-fold the fun.


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Events | Thrift With Nic in 2015

Happy Thrifty Thursday, friends! Just wanted to briefly share a few thrifty things I have coming up for the year. I successfully hosted my 1st Thrift With Nic event last year and I had a ball! I was able to meet and shop with new thrifters, teach a few thrifting tricks and a lot more. I also did my Thrift With Nic tour back in 2013 and that too was a success. I don’t know why I didn’t do more events last year, but onward and upward to 2015! It’s time to gear up for some new Thrift with Nic events! This year I plan to continue teaching and sharing my passion for thrifting with you. I want to thrift with you and I want you to show and tell me the best thrift stores in your area.

thrift with nic events - whitney nic james… 

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Style | Thrift Shopping Tips for the New Year

Happy Thrifty Thursday! Would you believe it if I told you that I have not been hardcore thrifting in months? Well, believe it. It’s a sad reality and I can’t believe it myself. I’m actually seeing the positive effect that it’s having on my bank account, so I won’t complain. ;-) So in making an honest effort to be smart about my thrifting in 2015, I have 5 thrift shopping tips for the new year. Hopefully they’ll be as helpful to you as they’ve been for me over the past few months.

Thrift Shopping Tips

1. Set a budget. Even if you plan to only go thrifting once a season, set a budget. Thrifting can easily become an expensive habit. Most thrifted items are less expensive than retail items, but buying a lot of inexpensive items just because you can isn’t the best idea. You can easily spend way more thrifitng than shopping at retailers. Trust me, I know…LOL! It’s not the smartest thing for your wallet. So my #1 tip is to set a thrifting budget and stick to it.

2. Set a schedule. This has become much easier for me, but it took me awhile to get here. I’m always down for a good shopping trip, especially if it involves a Goodwill or a Value Village. But I’ve had to learn how to plan my thrifting trips. Unless there’s a new location I want to check out or I’m really searching for something specific and can’t find it the first go round, back to back thrifting excursions will be limited. Decide to thrift once a month, two times a month, or even once a season. Whatever your budget and closet allows, start there.

2015 thrift shopping tips

3. Be real with yourself. Do you really need another plaid blazer or another “amazing” statement necklace?  I struggle with this because to me, you always need another statement necklace or another vintage cardigan/topper. But the more I look in my closet I realize that I barley wear the ones I have! I suggest going through your closet and making 3 piles; what you wear, what you can’t fit anymore, and what needs to be fixed. The items that you wear are your keepers, the ones that don’t fit anymore to be given away, and whatever needs to be fixed (or cleaned) needs to go the cleaners/tailor. This method works on all the clothes in your closet, not just the thrifted pieces…. 

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Year in Review + Happy Holidays

Hey friends! There’s only a few days left until Christmas. Are you excited? I know I am. I can’t wait to spend time with my family and of course, eat some good food! ;-) Before I go off and enjoy some holiday festivities, I wanted to pop in and do a brief year in review of the blog.

2015 was a great year for WNJ! The blog has grown so much, thanks to your readership and support. I’ve been able to step outside my comfort zone by hosting a few events and collaborating with like minded bloggers. I’ve also been blessed to contribute my writing to some amazing websites/blogs and cover some pretty amazing events in the DMV area. I’m very grateful to have been able to do all of that in such a short amount of time.

Year in Review

Oprah’s Life You Want DC Tour // Blog Ambassador for Blogger Week // 2014 Greater Washington Goodwill Fashion Show

As I look forward to 2015 I see nothing but continued growth much success. Thank you all for the comments, emails, and messages this year. You’ve helped make this blog what it is – a place where women can learn to live a stylish, budget friendly, and inspiring lifestyle.

Again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I wish you all joyous holiday and a blessed New Year. Until 2015, be blessed and stay safe…xo!


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The Best of 2014 Personal Style Edition | What I’ve Learned About Personal Style

Happy Monday, everyone! This weekend was such a great one. Not only was I able to spend some QT with hubby, but we also got a lot of things done around the house. It’s that time of the year when I start cleaning out closets, drawers and everything in between. So, we did a little bit of that on Saturday and Sunday. By next weekend, we should be done….I hope. ;-)

Today’s post is a recap of my favorite outfits from my Personal Style Monday posts. I started this linkup as a way to express my personal style and of course, I wanted to give you all a chance to do the same. I started out by having just 8 or so links for months and now I have 30+ linkups almost each week. I LOVE it and I thank you all for linking up and sharing my links each week. Check out some of my favorite Personal Style Moments of 2014, as well as some things I’ve learned about my personal style along the way.

Clearly I embraced my curves, wore a lot of dresses, and had no problem showing a little bit of skin earlier this year. I enjoyed experimenting with different looks, hairstyles and trends; all while staying true my personal style. I feel like my style has grown, yet has remained simple with a touch of uniqueness that only I can bring. I’ve “found myself” as far as personal style goes, and I’ve pushed my limits when it comes to what I will and won’t wear. Daring to bare my legs in certain outfits, like the black Jessica Simpson dress (above), was liberating and wearing shoes other than flats and sandals was huge for me.

I enjoyed wearing a bit more color this year and I wasn’t afraid to go bold with my outfits. I also learned the importance of knowing your body type. I know what looks good on me and what works for my body; 2 very important things to know when figuring out where to go with your personal style. Something else that’s important to learn while curating your personal style? Trying different things with makeup. For me this was tedious task, but I must admit that it was fun. Weather it was a lip color or a bit of mascara, I took myself to another level in terms of my day to day beauty routine. From makeup to skin care, I’ve re-learned the importance of taking care of my skin as well.

One of my favorite personal style posts this year involved statement jewelry. It was fun sharing my favorite pieces with you! Wearing statement pieces this year saved a lot of my outfits form being boring and blah. It was rather enjoyable styling different pieces and my collection has grown a lot since I published that post. I’d planned to do a separate post on how to shop for statement pieces on eBay, but I didn’t get around to it. No worries; it’s on the top of my to-blog-about list for the new year.

Of course I’ve stayed true to my love for thrifting. Showcasing different outfits with several of my thrifted purchases has been a personal style highlight. I’ve been able to influence others to try thrifting, as well as teach people how to successfully thrift for certain items. Thrifting is a huge part of my personal style and it will continue to be…forever. From thrifted accessories to sweater coats, I’ve had fun showing how to stay on trend without breaking the bank.

 So tell me, what did you learn about your personal style this year? Are there any your favorite personal style look from 2014 above? Let me know!  

Since this is the last of my Personal Style posts of 2014, I’ve decided to leave today’s linkup open until the last day of the month. Feel free to post as many looks as you’d like from now until then. Thank you all SO much for linking up with me and I look forward to seeing your outfits in the new year. Until tomorrow, be blessed and stay safe…XO!


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Linkups: How I Fall, Style to Inspire, Sophisticated Style, Visible Monday, Let it Shine, Manic Monday

Thrifty Thursday | Holiday Thrifting

Happy Thrifty Thursday, friends! Today’s post is all about holiday thrifting! I’m always excited  when it comes to thrifting, but I especially enjoy holiday thrifting. Not only can you thrift some amazing gifts, but you can also decorate your house with some thrifted holiday finds. The holidays are also a good time to go thrifting for yourself. A lot of people donate their items this time of year and you can score some pretty amazing deals!

Holiday Thrifting

It may take a while to convince you that holiday thrifting is the thing to do, so here’s a video for you. I had the pleasure of chatting with my Thrift Sisters (Ayana, Keren & Wendy) about holiday thrifting the other night. We all shared our thoughts on the topics mentioned above, as well as showed off our recent thrift finds. While some of the thrift sisters didn’t agree with me on thrifting Christmas gifts, lol, we all agreed that this time of year is a thrift shoppers dream! Take a look at the holiday thrifting video for more!

So tell me, are you into holiday thrifting? Would you thrift a gift for someone? Let me know! 

If you want some more tips on what kind of Christmas gifts to thrift, check out my recent post on The Curvy Fashionista. You can also shoot me an email if you have any questions about holiday thrifting, or just thrifting in general. I’d love to help you make the most out of your thrifting trip(s)! Until tomorrow, be blessed and stay safe!

P.S Don’t forget to linkup your recent OOTD to my Personal Style Link Up, HERE


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Personal Style Monday | Sweater Coat & Silver Heels

There’s nothing like wearing a big cozy sweater coat during the fall and winter!  I’m not one for trends, but this one I can work with. Before this trend was popular I already owned at least 3 sweater coats. Does that mean I was ahead of the trend? Mmmm…not sure. Nonetheless, this blue southwestern inspired sweater coat is yet another one of my favorite fall/winter wardrobe items.

Cozy Sweaters - Plus Size OOTD

Sweater Coat: Thrifted // Sunnies: Ivanka Trump, Nordstrom Rack // Denim: Roz & Ali, Dress Barn (Other Options)

Plus Size Sweater Coat

This is one of those outfits where I feel like I’m really owning it. I always feel confident in my clothes, but this look is just so “me”. Owning your outfit and exuding confidence is key to achieving personal style. If you’re not comfortable with a certain trend or clothing item, don’t wear it. It’s that simple. As I always say, do and wear what makes you happy. It may sound cliche, but I wholeheartedly believe in that statement.

Plus Size OOTD - Sweater Coat

Metallic Heels: Kenneth Cole, DSW (Similar) // Purple Sweater: Thrifted // Clutch: Thrifted // Necklace: Thrifted

Thrifted Fall OOTD

Another thing I’ve mentioned here on WNJ is to pick and choose the trends that work for you. The metallic heel trend is one I wanted to try, so I modified the trend to fit my personal style.  I purchased a pair of  lower (kitten) heels and voilà - I made the trend work for me! Same thing with the sweater coat trend. There are several more expensive options I could have gone with, but I decided to thrift this trend. Not only  was I able to save money, but I also found a sweater coat that was unique in design.

Sweater Coat OOTD - Plus Size

When it comes to owning your outfit and personal style, Lauren from Sophisticated in Style does just that. A regular blogger to linkup on Monday’s, I always enjoy seeing which OOTD she’s linked up each week. Her embroidered top and ASOS skirt from last week did it for me. I love it! This semi-vintage inspired look has the perfect twist of sophistication and elegance. Lovely, Lauren!

 So tell me, are you into the sweater coat or metallic heels trend? What do you think about my take on the trends? Let me know! 

Don’t forget to show off your personal style by linking your recent OOTD pots(s) below. Just be sure to link your outfit back to this post. Also, visit the other bloggers who’ve linked up and say hey. Until tomorrow, be blessed and stay safe…XO!

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Linkups: Thrift Sisters, Thrift AnynomousHow I Fall, I Would So Rock That, Mix it Mondays, Let it Shine, Style Me Wednesday, Manic Monday, Style to Inspire, Sophisticated Style, Style Sessions, Trend Spin, Thursday Favorites, LYLS, WIW, GYPO, Three-fer Thursday, Fall Style Linkup, Style ConfessionsLook What I Got, Spotlight Weekly


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