New Baby & A New Business — Chriselle Lim Discusses Her Whirlwind Year

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Chriselle Lim is expecting — in more ways than one. In addition to the baby girl she’ll be welcoming in a matter of weeks, the veteran influencer is also preparing to give birth to the inaugural Chriselle Lim Collection at Nordstrom, which officially lands in 40 brick-and-mortar locations and online Sept. 13. And while she’s no stranger to gracing the retailer’s aisles with her designs (Lim collaborated with J.O.A earlier this year on an exclusive collection for Nordstrom), this marks her first line as a stand-alone brand — and it’s safe to say she’s pinching herself. “It feels surreal,” says Lim, who we chatted with at her L.A. launch event Sept 5. “Every girl that gets into fashion has the ultimate goal of having her own line, but never realizes that it could be a reality.”

And while Lim’s robust following (which includes 1.1 million Instagram followers and 760,000 subscribers on YouTube) definitely earned her some sartorial street cred, navigating the business of fashion has been a whole other ball game. “I think the label 'blogger' or 'influencer' can be a catch-22,” says Lim. “It puts you in a box and people just assume you take great photos and talk about what gets sent to you. This year, we really focused on Chriselle Lim, the business as a whole, as opposed to Chriselle Lim as a blogger. And I think people are really starting to understand this side of me more, especially with the launch of my production company Cinc Studios, and now clothing line.”

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In addition to the entrepreneurial clout, Lim's debut in the mega retailer also allows her to pay homage to her old stomping grounds. “I grew up shopping at Nordstrom and spending all my paychecks there and shopping the Anniversary sales,” she says. “I remember buying my first Juicy Couture tracksuits there in the early 2000s.”

Now, instead of tracksuits, racks will be filled with Lim’s fall line, which features 20 pieces priced from $59 (for a satin V-neck tank) to $189 (for a belted fleece trench coat). Additionally, you can expect tailored slacks, checked blazers, monochrome pant sets, and classic coat styles. The collection's color palette is also quite seasonal — think rich autumn shades of rust, cocoa, and camel — with splashes of color via dusty blue knits and ditsy floral prints.

It’s clear the collection encompasses Lim’s elevated, cool aesthetic that she’s known for — but there was another muse that led her during the creative process. “I design for the real, working woman,” she says. “It’s for those out on the work field, and not necessarily in an office environment that requires a suit. The collection is for the woman who wants to look powerful but still feel good in her clothes doing whatever she has to do — as a lawyer, artist, whatever.”

Lim also took pains to ensure the collection isn't one-size-fits-most, a major lesson she learned in her previous collaboration with J.O.A. “Clothing can be challenging in that you're designing for different sizes and shapes, and while you can’t please everyone, you do your best to try,” she says. “This time around we were very diligent about that. For instance, a trench coat that fits well on me, at 5’ 9”, would drag on the floor for others. We went out and fit the clothing on different heights, body shapes, and types to make sure the fit was more well-rounded.”

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Well-rounded, indeed. With her successful blog, production company, and namesake fashion brand, Lim has solidified herself as a full-blown multi-hyphenate and triple threat, which is a far cry from the wide-eyed fashion-loving college student the world was first introduced to eight years ago. Since then, her avid followers have watched as Lim fell in love, got married, created a family of her own (which includes three-year-old daughter, Chloe), and took on the business world. And while the journey has had its trials — Lim has been very open about two miscarriages she experienced in past years — it’s her open-book attitude that she credits for keeping her connected to her followers. “Having a story and being real is so important when you’re in the influencer world” says Lim. “Talking about products is great, but your evolution as a person is what people will remember you for.”