The Brunette One-Samantha McClelland-Well Dressed Creative-Lauren Kelp_04Samantha Peterson, or affectionally known as The Brunette One (the name sake of her blog), is a gal on the go! Samantha moonlights as a freelance stylist and contributes to Juice Magazine and Divine Caroline, Director of Communications for Go Blog Social, and co-founder of Midwest Bloggers. Samantha recently teamed up with Emily Powell to form StyleEsque, an styling company based in Des Moines, Iowa. Ooh yea, that’s in addition to her full time job! Samantha is nothing short of unstoppable and she’s got some fantastic advice on how to own your personal style and get after those career goals.

The Brunette One-Samantha McClelland-Well Dressed Creative-Lauren Kelp_01Full name: Samantha McClelland

Age: 26

Location:  Des Moines, Iowa

Current title/company:  By day I am a Personal Style Advisor for Men’s Style Lab. When I’m not at my nine-to-five job, I am the owner and blogger behind The Brunette One, a fashion and lifestyle blog. I am also one half of StyleEsque, an event & styling company, the Communications Director for Go Blog Social, and Co-Founder of Midwest Bloggers. Additionally I am a freelance stylist/social media consultant and contributor for various online and print publications.

The Brunette One-Samantha McClelland-Well Dressed Creative-Lauren Kelp_07How long have you been a full time Creative?

I started my personal fashion and lifestyle blog four years ago when I graduated college and was searching for a full time job. I landed in the corporate event-planning world and slowly transitioned into becoming a merchandise buyer over the last four years within the same company. I recently left the corporate world to join a fashion tech start up as a personal style advisor and help with their social media and marketing. I call The Brunette One, StyleEsque, Midwest Bloggers, and Go Blog Social my four other part-time, full-time jobs!

What is your day-to-day work routine like?

My work schedule is fairly flexible. I am not a morning person so I am up by 7:30am, catch up on any urgent emails, check social media channels and get ready for the day. I’m in the office by 9am and try to leave around 6 every evening. My day job duties include style interviews with clients, putting together style upgrades, and working on photo shoots and marketing for the company.

After 6pm, my brain changes gears (which, let’s be real, I am constantly checking my email and social media updates to make sure everything is going up when it should, responding to comments, etc. during my lunch break or when time permits).

When I get home, I take our pup, Lola, on a walk and eat dinner. I spend most evenings wearing my entrepreneurial hat and find myself writing and curating upcoming blog posts, sponsor outreach for Go Blog Social, or planning shoots/events for StyleEsque. I try to spend as much time with my husband and pup, so sometimes I have to put a hold on all my side jobs to catch up on the latest Criminal Minds episode!

The Brunette One-Samantha McClelland-Well Dressed Creative-Lauren Kelp_08Best part about being a business owner?

Being my own boss, making the decisions and setting my own schedule (within the boundaries of my full time job). I love being able to put everything into projects or collaborations I’m working on and being able to answer for myself.

 What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?

Knowing when to shut down for the day! I’m a ‘yes’ girl. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to projects and often find myself spread thin when deadlines arise. I think knowing yourself, your schedule, what’s expected of you and the expectations you set for yourself; that in the end, it’s OK to say no to certain projects if they don’t align with your goals.

What is the key to making a fool proof, creative, yet professional outfit?

If you feel confident in what you are wearing, that’s what makes a foolproof outfit in my world. The key is to dress for your body type and finding essential pieces that you LOVE and can easily remix and match within your existing wardrobe. Easy dresses like this one I’m wearing from Splendid is a fall/winter staple for me. It makes me feel put together but can be remixed with a blazer or cardigan over top and swapping out the socks with different colored tights and heels for a dressy look. For spring, I could throw on a pair of flat sandals or even dress it down with my trusty Converse.

I spend a lot of time pulling clothes for shoots and putting together style upgrades for clients, so dresses aren’t always the best option for a full day of running around the office. Finding a happy medium with clothes that are comfortable enough to move with me, yet still maintain my personal style can be a fine line. This outfit is something you can find me in when I have a full day of style interviews and I’m at my desk. If I’m working on inventory or styling a photo shoot, I’m usually in jeans, boots, and a long sweater duster!

The Brunette One-Samantha McClelland-Well Dressed Creative-Lauren Kelp_09Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?

 The past few months I’ve been trying to weed out my closet. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself gravitating to similar silhouettes and colors; I lean towards investing in those items rather than the fast fashion trends. However, I will note that my favorite leather jacket is from Forever 21 that I picked up my senior year of college (there can always be a diamond in the rough). A few essentials for my well-balanced wardrobe would be pair of dark denim skinnies that can easily be dressed up/down and go-to pair of leather boots.

It’s important to have items that mix well with one another and you can re-wear. How often do we find ourselves purchasing an item that you just ‘have to have’ and it just sits in the abyss of your closet? I tend to have a cost per wear mind-set. If you can figure out at least three ways to wear a new item with things already in your closet, it will be worth the investment.

 Love Samantha’s outfit? Find it here!

West Village Dress | Ankle Boots | Knee High Socks | Felt Fedora | Bracelets