We all have those experimental fashion phases, that period of time as a teen when you turned to your parents and declared, “This is me now!” Your new lewk of wildly dyed hair, too much eyeliner, piled-on rings or big bad combat boots was often shortlived before you were off to discover something else that was so you.
But as you thumb through old yearbooks and shudder, “What was I thinking?!” remember you are in good (albeit then-unflatteringly dressed) company. DTK Austin Style blogger and stylist Ashley Hargrove suffered through her share of fashion trial-and-error too. When she was younger, Hargrove loved dressing in her soccer uniform—including cleats—and eschewed fashion norms altogether.
Ultimately, these explorations in personal style shaped, finessed and informed her adult style. Today Hargrove still bends the rules, pairing a formal printed maxi skirt with gladiator sandals one moment, the next layering a strappy backless dress over a contrasting lace bralette, or slipping on a favorite emoji charm bracelet to add an unexpected quirk to a buttoned-up ensemble.
We caught up with Hargrove to learn more about the style icons who influenced her transformation.
When did you start your blog?
I come from a very creative background and worked as an architect when I first moved to Austin after college. I loved the creative side of design but felt that it wasn't really for me, so, after a lot of hard work, I started my own wardrobe styling company. It’s not like I had a ton of free time, but I thought blogging would be a fun side project to jump into. So I spruced up the blog and started blogging again as a fun hobby.
What does the “DTK” stand for?
I'll let all of your readers in on that little secret: DTK stands for Dressed to Kill. Prior to my styling business expanding I would use the full name, Dressed to Kill Austin, and then decided it needed to be shorter for my LLC, so it evolved to DTK Austin Styling. I wanted a catchy name for my styling business and thought that fit it perfectly.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is more on the edgy side, yet very minimal. You wouldn't guess that from my Instagram feed since I try to show a variety of styles, but a formula I love is classic skinny jeans, heels and a statement piece—whether it’s my handbag, jewelry, or shoes.
Who are your style icons?
Cate Blanchett would have to be one of my favorites. She is the epitome of a classic beauty!
Do you have a real-life style icon?
I would have to say my mom. Even though I was a tomboy [when I was a kid], she definitely tried her hardest to get me out of my slacker dressing ways and I’ll always admire her for that. The item that best represents this iconic bond would be her fur jacket she gave me when I was in high school. I even wore it at my wedding.
What shoe or piece of clothing in your closet will you never throw away?
Any of my vintage furs from my mom, classic leather jackets and my Chanel Boy Bag.
If Coco Chanel is synonymous with quilted handbags and tweed jackets, what’s the fashion item that best personifies you?
I would say a fab pair of sunglasses. I am overly obsessed! That's why most of my blog posts include sunnies—also because my eyes are overly sensitive.
Fast and Furious Fashion Quiz
Style advice to your 18 year-old self?
Stop dressing like a tomboy! I didn't dress feminine or wear make-up until college! How the times have changed…
Last song you sang in the shower?
“First” by Cold War Kids.
Last time you laughed until you cried?
At dinner last weekend talking about old AOL screen names! I mean, SpAzZcHiCk14 was totally cool, right!?
Do you have a party trick/secret talent?
Let's see… Most people don't know I played soccer for about 12 years and can play a mean trumpet!
The Bees Knees from Péché in downtown Austin! It's made with gin, lemon and lavender honey.
Favorite hostess gift?
Why did you choose this Vince Camuto Harlin Bootie?
Booties are shoes I don't mind investing in, because I know I will be wearing them on a daily basis with practically every outfit. For the most part I’ll wear these with skinny jeans, a tee and a leather jacket. If I’m going out or needing to dress up a little more, I’ll throw on a cute dress and jacket and be good to go!
A comfy pair of booties is the absolute best! Once I find that one amazing pair you will never see me without them! The tassels add a fun pop to the basic bootie you see around and will accessorize any outfit.