Cover Story | Dani Sauter Talks Size Acceptance & Creativity

All Images Photographed By JOVANNA REYES; Clothing Provided By ELOQUII; Modeled By DANI SAUTER OF BLONDE IN THE DISTRICT

What led you to start the blog Blonde in the District? Was there a specific event that occurred?

I had been in a job that left me feeling uninspired and really down on myself. I was working in Business Development and Marketing in the DoD industry for a newer company that didn’t understand the need for marketing. Every idea I had, I was told no. My thoughts in meetings were always shot down, and I generally was discouraged. I felt stripped of my creativity and was constantly upset with myself. The one thing that got me through the job, was style. Even though my confidence was really low at the time in the workplace, I would live for getting dressed every morning. I got through the days by knowing I looked good, which made me feel good, and it helped boost my confidence by wearing clothes I loved. Eventually the company went through layoffs and I was included. When this happened, I was actually relieved. I decided to take this time to focus on myself and feed my creative side that I had lost during this job. I wanted to take this negative experience and turn it into a positive, so I turned to blogging to get my creativity flowing again, with the aim to reach other women and show how confidence can be built through style. I took a negative an turned it into a positive, and three years later I’m so happy that I did. I’m celebrating 3 years of BITD this October!

How did you come up with the name?

I’ve been blonde for years and it has become my staple. Since the District of Columbia is my home city, I wanted to create a name that incorporated the city I love with something about myself. So, I came up with Blonde in the District.

What’s your blogs focus and what are you passionate about?

My blogs focus is primarily style, with entries on travel, lifestyle, and beauty as well. My main passion is encouraging women to feel confident about themselves – primarily by way of style. I want people to come to my site and feel inspired- whether it’s deciding to try a new outfit or travel to a location they’ve always wanted to go. I love writing about style, but my Travel Diary entries are also close to my heart as I love traveling and seeing how other people live.

How do you determine what to write about or what to feature on the blog?

It all depends- sometimes I have my content calendar packed and sometimes I don’t. I am inspired by anything and everything and sometimes I get an idea on the bus to work and start typing it out in the notes section of my phone and then post it that day or within a few days. Other times, I may have a slight idea of what I want a post to be, and it’s not until I sit down to write it that the full idea comes to me. With sponsored content, I will only accept sponsored posts of product I actually like and would buy for myself, and that fit within my brand.

Since starting the blog in 2014, have you noticed any major changes in plus size fashion? If so, what are they?

When I started in 2014, I actually didn’t identify as a plus blogger. It was after about a year or so in, that I started to see other plus bloggers and brands. Before, it was really slim pickings with plus brands that I knew of and the plus sections in stores like Macys or Nordstrom did not fit my style, so since I was on the cusp, I stuck to straight sized stores. Then, as I started to see the plus movement gain traction, I identified with it. I started to see new retailers and existing retailers start offering curve and plus sizing. I started to shop plus, and between finding clothing that actually fit me well, and my original aim of reaching other women to build confidence through style, it just made sense. In the three years of starting BITD, I have seen huge growth for the plus industry and I’m excited to see it continue to move forward.

What do you say to people that feel like there’s only room for a handful of plus size fashion bloggers?

I say there is room at the table for everyone and it’s important to bring new faces to the mix. With the plus movement continuing forward and retailers actually starting to listen to the need for better plus selections, I anticipate there is going to be a lot more brands reaching out to influencers to get their brand noticed.

Tell me about Bubbles and Bloggers.

Bubbles and Bloggers is a monthly meet up for DC area bloggers and influencers I created in February 2016. I created this group, as I felt the DC community was lacking in terms of social and networking groups for bloggers. The monthly meet ups range in activities and I try to plan something new for the group monthly to keep it fresh and exciting.

Why was it important for you to expand your focus and launch that event?

It was important for me to create B&B, because I wanted to have a place to go, to identify and meet with other bloggers in a welcoming and inclusive environment. I had felt out of place at the few blogger events I’d attended in the past, and I wanted to create something that everyone could come to and feel like they belonged.

How much of your personal life do you share with your readers?

I share only as much as what I feel comfortable sharing. While part of blogging is sharing your life with others, I think there is a fine line. There is also over sharing, some people share everything about themselves, and if that works for you, that’s cool, but for me, I still want to keep some things private. You may notice I don’t talk a great deal about my husband or family life, because these relationships aren’t ones that I feel need to be shared with the internet. I want those relationships to be just for me. I do occasionally talk about my mom who has passed, because as I get older I continue to see her as a true inspiration in my life and I want to share her story with the world, since her life was ended too soon.

Why do you think plus size blogs are in such demand and what do you bring to the plus size fashion industry.

I think plus blogs are in high demand in part due to the plus movement in the fashion industry. I love seeing how the industry is shifting to be more inclusive and brands are relying on influencers to help spread the word. As a newer blogger in the plus industry, I feel I bring a good perspective when it comes to all inclusive sizing, as I was on the cusp of straight/plus for so long.

What sets your blog apart from others blogs?

I’d like to say I inspire others to follow their goals and help build women’s confidence. I am a huge believer in positivity and I hope that if anything, I’m making women feel great about themselves, no matter if you’re a size 2 or 20. While I identify as plus, I think the straight vs plus line needs to be blurred, and we all need to support one another as women no matter of size.

Read more about Dani Sauter at BlondeInTheDistrict.com

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