Style Bloggers

Blog Spot: Porttle

Meet Ali Brownrigg, a Pacific Northwest shopping specialist.

By Laura Cassidy February 17, 2012


In episode two of our Blog Spot series we talk to Seattle style blogger Ali Brownrigg, who I met years ago while sitting in a media nook or standing around some press conference. Every once in a while we run into each other near the South End thrift shops and compare scores. When she announced the launch of Porttle, her current blog, I clucked out loud at the cleverness of the title and smartness of the scope, and I’ve been loving it ever since.

WWW: Your personal geography, please. Where were you born, raised, and where are you currently living?
Brownrigg: I was born in Windsor, Ontario, right across the way from Detroit, where my family is from. My parents like to say that it was because if I was a boy, they wouldn’t want me to have to fight in a war like Vietnam, but really it was because they didn’t have any health insurance at the time. I lived in a suburb of Detroit until I was eight and then moved to Mercer Island in the early ‘80’s. I currently live in West Seattle.

Your personal style in three words
Eclectic, quirky and casual.

Assuming your blog doesn’t pay the bills, what do you in order to pay the wireless bill and buy new clothes?
I do PR to pay the bills, mostly for awesome Seattle-area restaurants, small artisan food makers, and high-end hotels in Seattle and Sonoma. I just started working with Kate at Pulp Lab, helping her with PR as well. It’s an awesome gig. I love Kate, what’s she’s doing with Pulp Lab is so innovative and cutting edge.

Your blogging timeline: Is this your first? What, if anything, came before?
I had a blog called Petaline back in 2005-2006 that morphed into an online boutique of the same name which sold locally made clothing, art, and accessories. The recession effectively killed Petaline and by then I was writing for, which lasted until November 2011.

What was the sentence or paragraph that the voice inside your head said as you were first imagining your current blog?
Well, I love Seattle and I love Portland (I have family who lives there and head down there quite a bit). I wanted to provide a resource for shoppers in both cities; [an index of] cool independent businesses to support.

What’s the best thing in terms of blogging about style in Seattle?
Seattle and Portland have great small indie businesses and designers—super people doing thoughtful, creative things. I love to be able to support that and be embraced by a community of neighbors who do the same.

One blog that no one knows about that everyone should read:
I love local artist Jen Ament’s blog Art & Lair. I look forward to her posts because I love her unique perspective and she always turns me on to something new. The Totokaelo blog is super awesome as well. Especially if you love clothes and have always wondered what it’s like to buy directly from the Jil Sander showroom in Milan. Also, I think everyone should read your blog—it’s by far the best one in town. You’re my blog-hero, actually.

Nationally, I love and Refinery29, among others. I’ve got a huge blog-roll that I’m not very good at keeping up with, sadly. I always check HonestlyWTF for DIY projects—I’ve made quite a few of them actually.

What do you want to do more of on your blog? What’s keeping you from doing it?
I would love to have the time to just do more on Porttle in general. I’m always juggling clients, two kids, and a really serious vintage clothing habit, which doesn’t leave much time for blogging most days. I’m toying with the idea of snapping pics of my newest vintage finds and the outfits I create with them, but I’m a little too shy for that. I think Porttle needs a little more Portland content, along with spa and hotel reviews/suggestions. Also, I’d love to be out on the street more, snapping shots of inspiring and stylish outfits.

What would you like to see more of in Seattle in terms of style?
I’d like to see less uniformity and more eclectic, fearless and creative dressing. But that’s my feeling about dressing in general, not just in Seattle.

One favorite designer, one favorite local shop, one favorite Seattle-area place for feeling inspired.
Current favorite designer: Isabel Marant (loving her tunics right now). All time favorite local shops (tie): Totokaelo and Driftwood. Favorite Seattle-area place for feeling inspired (tie): Lincoln Park or sitting around the kitchen table watching my little kids create art—not all that glamorous, but you can’t beat nature for inspiration and I love how unfettered my kids are in their expression right now. I like feeling that creativity can be as limitless as the horizon.

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