Seattle native Brittany Streissguth craves change. Whether it's moving houses, changing hair color, or traveling to the state's most beautiful hideaways, she captures it all on her style blog Pumps and Plaid. The 28-year-old's blog is more than just a feed of pretty shots—each image of her relaxed and chic style comes with a story relatable to any 20-something city dweller. She tells us how the city's style is constantly changing and why it's important to always have something to strive for.
Where were you born and raised and where are you currently living?
I was born and raised in the Seattle area. I grew up in North Bend, went to high school in Bellevue, and I just moved to Ballard from Downtown.
Describe your personal style in three words:
Minimalistic, comfortable, classic. You could say those all mean the same thing, but I think I give each one it’s own life.
What do you do outside of blogging?
I’m trying to incorporate video editing back into my life. It’s what I went to school and originally moved to LA for, so I started a vlog where (roughly) every week I post a video on YouTube of the highlights of my week or weekend. It’s been fun and time consuming in the best way possible. I might be biased, but I think we live in one of the most beautiful states in the country so I try to get out and enjoy what the Pacific Northwest has to offer as much as possible. The hikes in this state are unbelievable. When we have a real winter I try to get up to the mountains to ski.
Your blogging timeline: Is this your first? What, if anything, came before?
This is my first blog! Well, if you search deep in the archives of Wordpress you might find a couple blog posts about my favorite flavor of tea for fall, what songs were in my playlists in 2011, and whatever else I was concerned with when I was 23 and fresh out of college. I’m probably sitting on at least five (ridiculous) domains for Tumblr and Wordpress but who isn’t?
What was your original goal in starting your blog?
I originally had the idea to commit to the blog about a year and a half ago. At the time I was living in LA and working in TV post production. The majority of what I did was sit at a desk all day, make and answer phone calls, and facilitate other people being creative. Sitting in front of my computer one day, stretching my back because I’d been hunched over work orders for the last four hours, I was reminded that the reason I moved to LA in the first place was to create and be passionate about something. Starting the blog was an attempt to get that back. Fast forward one designer, a couple developers, and seven months later, I had quit my job and moved back to Seattle.
What’s the hardest thing in terms of blogging about Seattle style?
The hardest thing is finding ways to take risks and still stay true to my own personal style. In the minds of a lot of other people Seattle and grunge are still synonymous and I think a lot of us are working to give it a different image. Grunge is obviously a huge part of our history and our identity but I think we can have the best of both worlds. At the end of the day I’m still a west coast kid. And let’s be honest, plaid is permanently a part of my blog name, but I want to show that there can be a balance.
What’s the best thing in terms of blogging about Seattle style?
It’s fun to break the mold and stereotypes other people might have. Five or so years ago, I read an article that put Seattle in a list as one of the worst dressed cities in the country. I think that was based on what we wear to the grocery store, which was probably a pretty comical display of fashion, but who doesn’t wear yoga pants to the grocery store? The blogging culture is really helping to put us on the map as a group as far as fashion goes, where before we might’ve been completely looked over. And that’s fun.
One blog/Instagram that you’ve been obsessing over lately:
There are so many! I based my answer to this question mostly on Instagram. It’s become such a great source of inspiration for so many things, and has, in some way, replaced the blog; or taken on a life of it’s own as a photo blog. Honestly, there are very few actual blogs I visit on a daily basis, but I make damn sure that I don’t miss a single picture on my Instagram feed. Lauren Cunningham’s aesthetic in her pictures is so purposeful and clean. It’s what I think mine looks like until I actually look at it and realize that’s a far stretch. But we all need something to strive for. She’s from Nashville and for some reason I have an affinity for people from there. The people I follow on Instagram are mostly from LA, Seattle, or Nashville.
What’s your ultimate, essential wardrobe item?
I think my ultimate essential wardrobe item is a really great white T-shirt. You can pair it with anything and it looks clean and fresh—barring you don’t go to a baseball game and get mustard on it or spill red wine during happy hour with your girls. I think everyone needs a really good leather jacket as an investment piece. I seem to always have mine with me for cool summer nights or chilly fall days. It goes with everything and it’s easy to tote around. Lately, I can’t take off my ripped Joe’s jeans. They stretch in all the right places and the color is the perfect blue. My mom hates them but what fun is dressing if we’re not upsetting mom a little? I realize that’s three essential wardrobe items, but there you go—that’s my one essential outfit.
Give other style bloggers a piece of your own advice.
I will continue to pass on the advice that I was given when I first started my blog: be your authentic self and your readership will come. It’s definitely a process. Readers and followers don’t come overnight and I think we’re all working to grow, no matter how many hits we get on our website or followers we accrue on Instagram. And it’s hard to know what “being yourself” even really means when you first start out. We see bloggers we like and aesthetics we want to emulate and sometimes the lines can get blurred. Continue to try different things until you look at a picture or a blog post you wrote and say confidently, “This is me." You’ll know.
What do you hope to see more of in Seattle’s style future?
People continuing to take risks. Because of Microsoft and Amazon, and the start up culture that has grown exponentially in the last few years, we’re becoming a city of transplants. Having watched the culture and style of the city since I was little, it’s great to see more individual style. It’s becoming more difficult to pinpoint what “Seattle style” means rather than a blanket statement that covers all of us.