The year was 2009 and Arielle Charnas was going though a breakup. Motivated to get her ex back (and to show him what he was missing), she began posting pictures of her amazing outfits to the internet. He never called back, but by then it didn't matter. Charnas had already fallen in love with the fashion industry and turned social media into a full-time career.
Now the 31-year-old fashion influencer and designer, based in New York, has turned her dating revenge project, Something Navy, into a beloved style destination for her more than one million followers. After designing a capsule collection for Nordstrom that reportedly generated over $1 million in under 24 hours, Charnas launched her collection, Something Navy, in November 2017, proving just how powerful breakups can be.
What piece instantly makes you more confident, and why?
A pump or just a really sexy heel. It doesn't really matter what I'm wearing, even jeans and a T-shirt, if I'm able to throw on a pair of Louboutins, I feel very sexy and feminine and powerful. I always make sure to buy the 100 millimeters [heel height], because the 120 feel is just not possible for me. Even though it looks sexier, I always go for that lower heel.
How do you define your personal style?
Feminine and trendy with a little bit of an edge. I like to incorporate attainable pieces, but also splurge-worthy accessories, so I like to mix high-end and affordable. I'm definitely gravitating more towards classic pieces recently, but always with a feminine twist.
I really get dressed based on my mood, which offers a huge variety of different aesthetics for my Instagram and my followers ...
How long does it take you to get dressed in the morning?
Usually five minutes. I think I just have like an idea based on my mood when I wake up in the morning. Like that's pretty much the first thing I think about is like, "What am I going to wear today?" It sounds crazy, because I have kids and I should think about other things, but that is the first thing that comes to mind when I wake up in the morning.
How has your style played a role in your career? Has it opened or closed doors?
It's made my career. I feel like because I've always been evolving style-wise, it's just I've always been able to offer new and exciting content when it comes to my website and my Instagram. I think since becoming a mom, I gravitate towards more classic pieces rather than super eccentric and trendy items, which I started my blog based off. I really get dressed based on my mood, which offers a huge variety of different aesthetics for my Instagram and my followers, and they kind of just always love going along with it, and they always get inspiration from it, so it's fun to play off my mood.
That's definitely made my whole business. I mean, putting together outfits and sharing them with my followers, finding attainable options, and sharing what pieces I think are worth splurging on and things like that.
Tell me about your daily uniform. What do you wear every day?
In the winter, jeans and a sweater, and boots or pumps. In the summer, I'm always going for those long, feminine dresses. It's usually always comfortable, but I dress up for everything. There's a lot of styling opportunities when it comes to just a simple jean and a shirt, you can always dress it up or make it casual. I guess I just feel sexiest in it. I feel really pretty when I wear jeans and a top and a heel. I also know that my husband likes that a lot, so it's just become my go-to.
What style item do you covet the most?
It's shoes, without a doubt. That's what I'm constantly buying and splurging on. My top designer would be The Row. I just love everything they make, their aesthetic, their style, their quality. I just think that they're so talented, and I love all of their accessories, on top of their clothing. They really make the most classic pieces, so it's very easy to incorporate into my trendy wardrobe, and style my own way, but it's also really chic just styled with their pieces, head to toe. That would be my go-to brand that I just am constantly willing to splurge on.
The first Chanel bag I ever bought for myself. It's horrendous looking but it's the most ... it just, it means so much, so that's definitely a piece that I'll never sell or give away ...
What fashion category do you feel like is lacking currently? What would you like to see more of?
Kids' clothing. Like that is not so cutesy but more like high fashion brought down to kids' clothing. A lot of the things that we're wearing today and what we're wearing now. Trendy items just made for children, I think is definitely lacking.
Can you recall an outfit you've worn that was iconic for you?
I went to the Ralph Lauren 50th anniversary show this year, and I was able to pull a gown from their archives. I just felt so honored to have a chance to wear it. It was like a white gown with a gold lamé top and the sides had cutouts ... It was just, I mean, it was so beautiful. It was so classic and sexy and feminine. I just felt so beautiful in it, so that was definitely an iconic moment for me.
Which item in your closet is your most beloved?
The first Chanel bag I ever bought for myself. It's horrendous looking but it's the most ... it just, it means so much, so that's definitely a piece that I'll never sell or give away. Then I would say a piece that I wear all the time and I still will not get rid of are the Isabel Marant Dicker booties, they're just like a little ankle boot. I bought them in two colors because I wear them so often. I guess that would be like a piece that I have carried through so many seasons and probably won't let go of anytime soon.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.