Real Style: Annabel Ly, Berkeley

By Emily Long • Oct 5th, 2009 • Category: Style   

Fashion and food are great indulgences on their own, so what could be better than combining them? Annabel Ly is a college student and Berkeley’s resident combo blogger, and she shares her passion for delicious meals and simple yet bold designs on Blushing Ambition, her recently-created site. A lover of tomatoes, Japanese street style, and all things white, Annabel satisfies our cravings for real, accessible looks and mouth-watering meals.

Comparative Literature and Classics student at UC Berkeley.

Describe your style.
Simple without being too boring and still maintaining a different aesthetic. I had this terrible habit of buying things randomly and only wearing them once or twice but now I pay more attention to certain pieces and get as much use out of them as I can. I like quirky items every so often such as crazy florals or kooky scarves, but I try not to overdo it.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Japanese street style and magazines (my haircuts always come from the pages of Vivi!), other fashion blogs, various films, etc. I’ve never been very good at responding to this question!

How does living in Berkeley influence your style?
Is this where I’m supposed to talk about hippies? Just kidding. Actually, the Bay Area has influenced me quite a bit. The ambience here is completely different from the one I was used to growing up in L.A. and it was here that I started to move away from trends and more towards finding my own cozy niche. I mean, trends still run rampant on campus thanks to the easily accessible chain stores off campus (not saying this is a bad thing!) but in a sense I feel more compelled to stray away from head-to-toe trendy looks. I also have to admit that the hills and amount of walking I do around here also contributes to my inclination towards comfortable and easy-to-wear clothing. If I have to constantly adjust myself as I walk it’s a big N-O. I don’t like fussing around with what I’m wearing.

Any eras of fashion that you’re drawn to?
Definitely the 60s, or more specifically, French fashion in the 60s. Lately I’ve been really into the way bold eyeliner looks with shorter bangs. Every time I cut my bangs I get dangerously close to cutting above my eyebrows…

When did you start writing about and photographing food (and why)?
I’d say half a year ago when I started dating my boyfriend. We were discussing the other day about how we’ve been gained a few pounds since we first started dating because we’re “partners in crime” when it comes to indulging in food. He’s also an incredible cook so I get to eat amazing meals without having to step outside the door! I’ve been flip flopping about how much of my blog I want to dedicate to that but the percent may increase once I get a DSLR. I’ve been able to get away with my point-and-shoot up until now but I’m very anal and picky about what I post. I’m never completely satisfied.

Favorite meal?
Basil tomato soup with a grilled havarti cheese sandwich on sourdough bread. Or anything involving tomatoes, really.

How do your dining plans affect your style choices?
Not sure how to answer this one… I guess I wear looser articles of clothing when I know I’m eating a huge meal? This one day I went to Ike’s Place in San Francisco and almost suffocated after finishing a whole sandwich while wearing a tight dress. I had been planning on going downtown that day but had to go home to change and rest after that. Other than that, it’s the usual formal vs. casual question. Fancy restaurant, fancy dress, stuff like that.

What items are you coveting for fall?
Acne ‘Corine” blazer, black straight leg trousers (so bummed I missed out on these wool Helmut Lang ones!), white Repetto lace-up jazz shoes, a simple red wool cardigan, a big leather vintage gladstone bag, and oversized sweaters are the first things that come to mind. Oh, and I’ve been on a huge outerwear kick in anticipation for cooler weather and am looking for pastel-colored trench coats! I love black as much as any fashion blogger out there but something about wearing light-colored layers in the fall really catches my interest. Can I also add that I really need a bicycle? That’s fashion related, right? Preferably a cute red one.

Favorite item(s) you own?
My white Acne button up shirt (it’s been in at least two of my recent posts!). I’ve worn it every way possible: tucked into a skirt, with rolled up jeans, under a strappy dress, etc. I’m convinced that everyone needs a versatile white shirt. White may be my favorite color to wear at the moment.

How has your style evolved since you started Blushing Ambition?
I actually just started it a few months ago so I haven’t seen too much change, but when I look at past Chictopia posts I sometimes wonder why the hell I ever wore whatever the hell it was I was wearing. I suppose now I’m more conscious of how much use an article of clothing will get before I purchase anything. Like I stated earlier, I was stuck in the terrible habit of purchasing things on a whim and would force myself to wear said things without actually loving them 100%. I’m in the process of cleaning out my closet and it’s turned out to be a horrible pain in the butt but I’m getting somewhere.

Check out Annabel’s blog at

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  1. I love her style!
    She’s got a great blog :D


    Click here to go to Malu’s Fashion!

    October 18th, 2009 at 5:58 am

  2. oooh love her style!

    November 4th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

  3. WOW shes so pretty, love her style

    December 2nd, 2009 at 9:10 pm

  4. What a great idea to put food and fashion together!

    December 3rd, 2009 at 6:11 pm

  5. Great interview!

    December 5th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

  6. prettiest head of hair ever :) Oh and adorable outfits too!

    December 10th, 2009 at 2:29 am

  7. I love her blog. And I agree with heart charlie, she has got incredible hair! I’ve got the same situation with having a boyfriend who cooks, I definitely indulge in too much rich cuisine living with him.

    Fashion X K8.blogspot

    January 5th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

  8. I love your blog, you always give me good ideas !!! so…. thank you, thank you and thank you!!!!!!!
    I invite you to visit this website It´s a special spanish fashion brand, I think you’ll like it, they send all around the world. It´ll be a great experience for you.

    January 11th, 2010 at 3:03 am

  9. Shes a great fashion role model. I love it.

    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:31 pm

  10. Ahh! I love Annabel! This is really fantastic


    February 7th, 2010 at 8:15 am

  11. Thanks for sharing this, I have now just discovered a new blog :)
    Her style is amazing and the interview was great!!


    February 14th, 2010 at 4:06 am

  12. Very very cute!
    beautiful pics…
    Have a great week!

    February 28th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

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