Acts To Follow

By / Style & Beauty / March 9, 2017

They say a picture is worth a thousand words — but for social media stars, it’s worth a lot more. Here, a look inside the picture-perfect world of three local style bloggers (photographed in Chicago locales that have spurred a feed-ing frenzy of their own)

 Jennifer Lake

Bragging rights: Senior Vice President of Zapwater Communications and fashion blogger behind Style Charade (

On the spot: NEWCITY (1457 N. Halsted), near Saks OFF 5TH

Instagram/Twitter: @Jenniferlake  Facebook: Style Charade

How do you conceptualize each shoot? Often, the process feels a little bit like, “What came first: the chicken or the egg?” Or, in this case, the outfit or the mural? Some photo shoots have been planned for months, with research to locate walls and identify brands to pull outfits or samples from. Other times, we stumble upon amazing street art and just photograph on the spot.

Walk us through the process of how you post a photo on Instagram. A Color Story (free in the App Store) is my go-to photo-editing app, and Pop, Everyday, Chroma and Gentle are some of my favorite filters. Since every photo is different, I don’t have any presets and manually edit every photo each time.

If you had to commit to one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be? A colorful fit-and-flare cocktail dress, classic Chanel bag and Manolo Blahnik heels.

What was your biggest fashion faux pas? Any outfit I wore in the ’80s. Seriously, pick any of them: scrunchies, slap bracelets, acid wash. So many bad choices.

Which spring fashion trends are you adding to your wardrobe? Statement ruffle skirts. I’ve had my eye on the J.Crew Spring 2017 collection since the presentation last September.

Dress: faille sequin-embroidered ballgown, Carolina Herrera, $8,990, Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan;  Clutch: gingham large zip pouch, $33.50, Banana Republic, 744 N. Michigan;  Earrings: Crispin drops, $48, BaubleBar, Nordstrom, 55 E. Grand,


 Mina Im

Bragging rights: Marketing campaign manager for a technology company and food blogger behind Chicago Food Girl (

On the spot: Public House (400 N. State); pictured: the new Patty Cake Shake, available throughout March

Instagram/Twitter: @Chicagofoodgirl  Facebook: Chicago Food Girl

What is your best tip for photographing food? Natural lighting is paramount. Let’s put it this way: The camera always eats first.

What’s the most “Instagrammable” restaurant in Chicago right now? Check out the chandelier made from wine glasses at The Boarding House (720 N. Wells) — you won’t be disappointed.

What’s your favorite dish to photograph? The tiradito cremoso (a Peruvian scallop sashimi dish) from Tanta Chicago (118 W. Grand) because of its bright colors.

Social media is very saturated today. How do you stand out? I’m true to myself. When you show your personality, you start to connect with your followers. It’s often refreshing to show your insecurities or your vulnerable side. We are human, after all.

How often do you advise posting? This is up to user discretion; however, don’t spam your followers. Excessive posting is a surefire way to lose followers.

If you had to commit to one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be? A fitted BCBG blazer, AG Adriano Goldschmied jeans and Givenchy nude pumps.

What was your biggest fashion faux pas? A bowl haircut in elementary school. Not a pretty look!

Who is your favorite local designer? Jewelry designer Allison Jenetopulos at Avrocomy ( I love her modern and simple designs.

Dress: Entro, $88  Necklace: Virtue, $88  Lariat: Sanem’s, $58  All available: Sanem’s, 134 N. Oak Park, Oak Park;


 Blake Gifford

Bragging rights: Attorney and style blogger behind Blake Von D (

On the spot: Cloud Gate, 201 E. Randolph

Instagram/Twitter: @Blakevond  Facebook: Blake Von D

Walk us through the process of how you post a photo on Instagram. I plan out all of my posts using UNUM (free in the App Store). It’s great for organizing images for the best balance and composition. Unless I’m working with a brand and it’s part of the campaign, I don’t really use hashtags. All of my editing is done in post-production before I upload to Instagram.

How important is branding to you? I don’t really think of myself as a brand. Effective branding requires a fixed promise and concrete consumer expectations. I’m a person — a person who’s constantly growing, changing and evolving. So for that reason, I can’t make my followers any concrete promises about what to expect from me at any given stage of my career. My hope is for that to always change … preferably for the better.

Who photographs you? Rachel Bires ( and Ali Stone (@alialistone).

Who is your biggest social media influence? I don’t really have one go-to person. I’m inspired by women — particularly women of color — who are bold, vocal and create great content and conversation.

Which spring fashion trends do you have your eyes on? I’m excited about the new sheer floral trend. I also love that designers are doing floral prints in edgier, less traditionally feminine palettes, like black and navy.

Skirt: Kaia maxi, $68  Top: Kaia bralette, $19  Both available: Kai Collective;  Purse: Lenox embellished houndstooth clutch, DANNIJO, similar styles $259.99, Saks OFF 5TH, 6 S. State; 

Photos by Ramzi Dreessen

4 more ’gram-worthy Chicago spots 

Pickwick Coffee Roasting Co. (22 E. Jackson): Tucked away at the end of Pickwick Lane, this shop — formerly Asado Coffee — could have come straight off a cobblestoned Roman alleyway.


Stony Island Arts Bank (6760 S. Stony Island): With floor-to-ceiling shelves, this library-within-a-landmark is a book lover’s dream.


Wabash Arts Corridor (635 S. Wabash): You just can’t beat a giant mural of a moose blowing bubble gum.


The Flamingo Rum Club (601 N. Wells): The mural outside and the photo-worthy cocktails inside will have you feeling like you’re partying in Havana. Plus, the name says it all, no?


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