With close to 922k and 47k followers on TikTok and Instagram respectively, this 21-year-old New Jerseyan stylist and influencer has gotten many hooked on her creative and visually aesthetic fashion content – garnering 36 million likes on her outfits over the past year. And rightfully so, as Arabella Bartelloni’s content is unlike any typical fashion guru’s on TikTok. Instead of simply flaunting her fits, the stylist positions herself as more of an educator of style as she teaches her audience how to put together outfits according to their preferences.
Though fashion wasn’t always on the cards growing up, Bartelloni found her true calling in the field amidst lockdown. During the lull, Bartelloni grew interested in the art as she learned how to rewear and rework preexisting clothing into a style she now describes as “romantic, mystical, grunge and experimental.” Ultimately, Bartelloni thanks her personal experiences with art, music, and writing as her inspirations for her looks.
“My personal style is heavily influenced by the music I grew up listening to and the books I read,” says Bartelloni. “Reading a lot of older gothic fiction growing up, I always felt very attracted to elements of Romantic Gothicism in my style. I listened to a lot of classic rock from the ‘90s which really had an impact on my entire personality. I grew up pretty shy but as I got older, I stopped seeing style as compensation for being shy, or an expectation to look a certain way, and I started to see it more as expression, addition, and an exaggeration of who I am and what I like.”
With her videos, the influencer focuses on challenging herself to style unconventional pieces in her closet and educate others on how to best rewear items in multiple ways. Our favourite content of hers? Her ‘fits inspired by fictional characters’ series. Think: What Tim Burton characters would wear to a club, outfits inspired by Mean Girls, and more in Bartelloni’s personal style. On top of that, she aims to encourage her viewers to shop sustainably, have fun with their closets, and take risks with their fits.
Below, Bartelloni shares her inspirations, opinions on popular trends, and advice on styling clothing the best way she knows how.
Who are the designers, stylists, or style icons you look up to?
Two of my favourite designers of all time are Robert Wun and Oliver Theyskens. Robert Wun’s take on womenswear is extremely unique and focuses on femininity with interesting silhouettes and a futuristic approach. I also look up to Wun heavily for promoting accountability in the industry and calling out those who tokenize inclusivity and diversity instead of giving individuals their deserved roles in power. His work is absolutely elegant and he’s got one of the most creative minds in the designer realm. Theyskens’ earlier work still inspires things I wear everyday and I’ve worshipped just about everything he’s designed. I’m always referring back to his Fall/Winter ‘98 collection, which was heavily inspired by his studies of anatomy at the time and I recommend everybody to look through it. Vintage McQueen also had a huge impact on my personal style, as well as Iris Van Herpen’s recent work. Two stylists I love right now are Lebani Osmani and Lorenzo Posocco (Dua Lipa’s stylist), and other style inspiration I get digitally is from CandyMakeupArtist on Instagram. I dream of having her couture corsets in my closet.
What’s a popular fashion trend you love and one you despise?
One of my favourite trends right now is Subversive/Elevated basics. A lot of microtrends are usually around a particular piece that everybody has, but with this trend, it’s up to the individual’s creativity. This style is super easy to DIY and get second hand, which is important as the more accessible it is to the general public the better. My favourite thing about DIY trends is that it requires shoppers to style themselves and think of how they’re going to make minimal clothing cutouts into an entire outfit.
One of my least favourite trends is probably patterned colourful pants, only because they can be hard for people to keep in their closet as patterns and different colour schemes go in and out of style. Otherwise, I still love this trend, I just worry where the pants will be a year from now.
What’s your best tip when it comes to styling everyday wear?
When it comes to more eclectic pieces in your closet, I usually try to build my outfits around those. Wherever the most colour and pattern is usually is how I begin to style an outfit and work from there. With more simple clothing, learning to balance proportions and accessorizing (belts, hats, jewellery) goes a long way. Accessories can make any outfit go from a basic to a classic. No matter what you are wearing, remember that you know your body and what makes you feel comfortable more than anybody else. Your clothes are meant to fit you, not the other way around. Not everything is always going to fit perfectly or work well together but that doesn’t make your body any less worthy of confidence, respect, nourishment, or love.
How do you go about deciding what works best for layering and what doesn’t?
I layer my clothes keeping a few different factors in mind. Number one, the most important, is the type of fabric I’m layering. For colder weather, I’ll use heavier fabrics, and for warmer weather, I’ll use lighter fabrics underneath. Generally, for layering, I like to start with my most tight-fitting fabric that fits my body well. Think of it as a second skin. Then, I’ll begin to add other layers, with usually my most loose-fitting last. Sometimes, however, I’ll switch this up and wear a more tight-fitting top over a looser fitting blouse along with a belt or harness. For summer, I’d look for more breathable materials. A nice quality lightweight cotton allows air to circulate and move freely which is why so many of our “summer clothes” are made out of it. Linen is also great since it’s loosely woven for warmer weather. For winter, I’d look for wool, faux leather, fleece, and faux fur to keep you warm, always putting your lightest layer first and your heaviest layer last.
What should people keep in mind when shopping for new outfits?
Whenever I’m shopping for new outfits, I try to look at each individual piece and come up with at least 5 different ways I can style it and wear it in my everyday life. This way, I know the item has good use and will serve me throughout the years and won’t automatically be thrown to the bottom of my closet floor. In the media, we’re taught to overconsume products constantly, especially clothing. When in fact, every individual piece in your wardrobe should hold actual value to you. Like many others, I used to have a bad habit of overconsuming, even if it were in a sustainable way (such as thrift shopping, etc.) and got more enticed by the quantity of the product more than the quality I was actually buying into. I try my best to make smart decisions when I’m shopping, and only buy things that I could see myself wearing over and over again.
What’s your best advice to someone who’s struggling to find their sense of style?
My first tip is to experiment with what you already own. Before you go out and buy a new wardrobe, try to resist the urge to buy anything for a while. This way, you’ll be forced to be friends with your closet and work with items you already own. Keep track of what you keep going back to in your closet, and think to yourself, “Why do I like this piece?” Do you like the piece because it fits well, do you like the fabric, do you like the colours, or do you like the pattern? The more specific the better. My second tip is whenever you see an outfit you like on somebody else, ask yourself why you like it. For example, if you’re looking at a picture of somebody in a plaid dress and you now, suddenly, have the urge to get that same dress, ask yourself why you like it. Do you like the colours of the plaid, do you like the plaid pattern, do you like the fit of the dress, do you like the length of the dress, or do you like the comfort of it? Asking yourself deeper questions like this can help you choose items that will make you understand your wardrobe better. Another random tip that I always give out to people questioning their style is to try to find their style influences starting from childhood. Style influences growing up don’t always have to be specifically about fashion, they can involve things such as art you enjoyed growing up, movies you grew up watching, music you’ve been listening to for years that you just can’t seem to stop hitting replay. These are all indicators of who you are and what you like. I try to find clothing that makes me feel the same way that the other creative origins of my life always made me feel. For example, somebody who always connected with Renaissance-style art might enjoy softer neutral colours, more romantic fabrics, and flowy pieces.
Lastly, have any of this season’s fashion shows stood out to you? If so, what are they and what did you like about them?
BluMarine was one of my favourite shows since this brand was at its peak in the early 2000s; it’s interesting to see their creative director Nicola Brogano (and others) capitalize off the resurgence of Y2K fashion. The collection had a modern twist and felt very casual – like there was an outfit for every occasion and I definitely can see a lot of younger celebrities rocking some of these looks soon. I also loved the idea behind Courreges’ show, combining ‘60s fashion and retro-futurism in one. I loved the vinyl detailing and the colour palette felt spot on to what we’ll be seeing all over our Pinterest boards a year from now. Adding on to this season’s nostalgia, I also loved the heart-shaped buttoned suit dresses from Moschino’s show in New York. I also have to mention that the Shushu/Tong jewellery from their new collection is absolutely stunning. Some other honourable mentions would be Balmain, Peter Do, Givenchy, Simone Rocha, and Miu Miu.