Style Spy Girl blogger offers fashion lessons, savings tips
Tanya Carnahan, the woman behind the inspiring Style Spy Girl blog, shops for a living. Seriously. She is a fashion stylist and bargain hunter. But that’s not the only reason she makes us green with envy. Her devotion to her clients and readers as she helps them embrace their inner beauty and empowers them with confidence is a trait we can’t help but appreciate. Meet Tanya …
Where I’m based: Boise, Idaho
How long I’ve been blogging: About three years
Blog/business basics: Style Spy Girl is about offering fashion and beauty advice to real women on real budgets. I love to help women find their own unique style and balance bargain shopping with knowing when to invest in long-term pieces.
Other blogs I love: Ammophotog, Stiletto Siren, Simply Grove, Aunie Sauce, YuliConversations, FashionKellie, TheUnlost, Jessica Wyman Wellness and Rustic Living. You could say I am a huge supporter of my fellow local bloggeristas!
Guilty pleasure: Leggings and boots. I own way too many of each, but when the weather in this town turns cold, I wear the heck out of them.
Last thing I bought: A gold studded rocker necklace on sale for $7.99 at Nordstrom Rack, along with matching Juicy Couture earrings in the clearance section for $25.
What are your favorite places to shop? Everywhere! I’m such a hands-on shopper, I haven’t gotten into online purchasing too much. I love our local boutiques, like Piece Unique downtown, with their upper level consignment section. The bargain huntress in me can spend hours in there. I also love Express; their styles suit my body and fashion sense to a T. Aldo, DSW and Nordstrom Rack for shoes; Francesca’s, Apricot Lane and H&M for dresses. And I love finding treasures at Bricolage in downtown Boise. With vintage fashions and designs by Elise Vaughn, it’s one of the most unique little shops in this town.
What are your best shopping secrets? Some of my shopping secrets I learned while on a two-week trip to Beijing, China. You have to negotiate fiercely for everything, which was hard at first. But then it was nice to know I paid what I felt was fair to me, and I appreciated more those things I had to barter for! It was very empowering.
If you love something, but can’t pay the price, just wait. Be patient. The price will drop, or what you want will get bought by someone else, and you have to accept that. But if something isn’t selling for a long time, despite markdowns, don’t be afraid to negotiate. If it’s on the shelf for more than six months, most reasonable managers will work with you to cut some kind of deal. Try asking for a “been on the rack too long discount.” It might not work every time, but it’s worth a try. Be polite, above all else.
As a stylist, how do you determine what is best for your clients? By listening. I always sit down with my clients before we work, and ask them lots of questions. Body shape and measurements are important, but so are lifestyle, favorite colors, insecurities, health goals, family and relationships. All of these elements are part of every woman, and it’s my job to fine-tune the needs and goals, while encouraging her inner beauty and positive attributes!
What’s your greatest makeover story? Last year, I had an idea to launch a makeover show, where the focus was on finding women who give so much of their time and energy to others that they don’t focus so much on themselves. For the pilot episode, we found Shelley Burrus, an amazing woman who has fought cancer for 10 years, along with a host of other medical problems. Throughout her journey, she has kept a smile on her face, and poured herself into the lives of her children and grandchildren. We made her over with clothes from Nordstrom Rack and Urban Exchange, gave her a spa massage and took her to Azure salon for a complete hair and makeup redo. It was an amazing experience for everyone involved, loving on and blessing this woman who so truly deserved her moment in the spotlight. I will never forget it.
Do you love TLC’s What Not to Wear as much as we do? I do! Oh goodness, I have learned so much from that show. My goal and dream is to launch my own fashion and makeover show in the near future, like I mentioned. It would be about honoring women, and teaching them how their outer appearance can be a reflection of their inner beauty and the strength and bravery that lies deep within them. It’s not just about clothes and makeup; it’s about seeing the true and unique beauty that already exists within the heart of every woman.