IN AN AGE WHERE FASHION BLOGGING HAS BECOME UBIQUITOUS, KATIE STURINO REFRESHINGLY DISRUPTS STATUS QUO. There has, after all, been a paradigm shift in social media and glossy magazines alike where our role models now feature powerful women with real bodies and personas to match. And Sturino might just be their poster girl. With her cult blog The 12ish Style, Sturino has set out to break glass ceilings by co-opting the latest looks and making them entirely her own–and not without a little panache. “I come in with my own perspective,” explains Sturino who launched her site a little over a year ago and has already attracted a league of devoutly loyal fangirls that reach nearly 40K on Instagram. “Smaller women have different options available to them but I thought, why can’t I adapt the styles to suit myself?” Cases in point: A monochrome Outdoor Voices ensemble or the latest velvet jumpsuit–both exercises in uber-alpha dressing. When she’s not putting the fashion industry on alert, Sturino is busy playing dogager for her pup-turned-social media superstar, Toast Meets World. Self-described as the “Kris Jenner of the dog world,” Sturino has brokered canine coups including a book deal and a coveted TV spot for the recent Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Over a plate of Klossies cookies, we chatted with Sturino about body-acceptance, self-care and the secret to taking the perfect photograph.
Photos by Kerri Brewer
You have such a loyal following. Do you like to interact with your followers?
Absolutely. Even today, I posted about my facial.Everyone needs to know my facialist. She is the best. I have been with her for seven years. Her name is Keran at Sia’s Spa in Soho and her number is ( 347) 247-6381. Something I always got frustrated when I wasn’t blogging with other bloggers is that it can be hard to obtain the information. I want to know where you get your hair done or where your sweater is from. So if someone asks me a question, I answer them because they are here for inspiration and shopping. If you want to know where my sweater is from, I’ll tell you.
Is there one question or comment you get the most?
I get a fair amount of emails that say they are inspired to wear something they haven’t worn in a very long time or ever. A two-piece bathing suit or a pair of jeans. Shorts was a big one in the summer. Social media makes it so easy because you can just DM someone and just let them know that you appreciate what they’re doing. It’s so nice to hear that people are connecting with what you’re doing.
Where do you get your style inspo?
From other bloggers. I follow Man Repeller. And Elle Strauss. She’s like a zero but I love her style. She wore an overall outfit the other day and I recreated it for myself. You have to look at Maria Louise Scio, the owner of Il Pelicano. She’s the chicest woman. She’ll be in head to toe print with a turban and look amazing. I love the Italian girls.
So many women struggle with positive body image. What do you attribute your own inner confidence to?
One of the key steps with body acceptance is the girl who’s a 0 or a 2 has terrible fat days where she doesn’t want to leave the house. She might have those more often than I’m having them. Insecurity does not discriminate with size and that’s when I realize it connected for me. It just connected that it has to come from within. Once I realized that everyone wasn’t perfect, was when I stopped comparing myself to people.
Easier said than done. How do you do that?
I saw enough behind the curtain and I think that comes with being in your early 20s and being insecure and lower on the totem pole. You look at everyone in awe and then you get a little further in life and you’re like “Hey, this girl doesn’t have it together like I thought.” It’s not to say you’re knocking people down to bring yourself up but it’s less of a comparison. That thought that everyone is perfect but me. No one is perfect. Stop comparing.
Has that philosophy translated to things you do for yourself physically?
I think that has been a huge factor in my confidence is paying attention to myself. I’m pretty good at self-care. Self-care is so trendy right now but it’s actually true that we, especially women, really think that all your happiness is supposed to come from a partner and we don’t realize that our happiness is supposed to come from within. That’s been a real learning curve for me. It’s just little things. I love to walk and talk on the phone. Self-care should make you happy. I love baking.
Approach to wellness?
I’m working with this company called Path Nutrition. They are based in Austin. They talk about your relationship with food. It’s not just health focused in terms of what you can and can’t eat. It’s more what time did you eat and why. It’s more about the why not just the what.
Has that holistic approach to your health affected your results?
I gained a fair amount of weight in the past year and that doesn’t bother me but I’m at a number in the scale where there is potential for health risks. So for that reason, I need to get things under control and I don’t know how to fix that other than doing what I always do, which is go on a delivery food service and do the whole thing. I want to break that cycle where I can feed myself and take care of myself in a way that is healthy.
How would you describe your fitness regimen?
Carlos Leon is my trainer. His whole thing is a 30 minute workout, which works well for me.
Do you have one health practice that you adhere to everyday?
I’m back into smoothies that I make with my Vitamix. Carlos has me on a new smoothie routine. It’s coconut water, spinach, hemp protein, and chia seeds. I’m allowed to put blueberries and pineapple in it–and a fuck ton of greens.
When do you feel your best?
When I’m exercising.
What do you do to stay grounded?
I meditate. David Ji is my man. I found him through the Deepak Chopra Center. He has his own mediation series. I listen to it on my iPod. It’s not fancy. I do it in the morning or if I’m feeling really crazy. Running all my social media accounts. I swear, it makes you feel crazy.
Do you ever disconnect?
No. Only when I’m meditating.
How do you relax?
I love hanging out with friends on their couches. That’s my best time– couch time. When the TV is or isn’t on but we’re just goss-ing. Because even when you’re out to dinner, it’s hard to really shut it down because it’s stimulating and crowded. When you’re just with friends and hanging out. I love gossip. Not bad gossip. I love to know what’s going on.
At this point you’re pro at taking the best Insta pics. What are some tips to taking a flattering photo?
Everyone feels they look best when they’re doing a certain thing but you’re usually wrong. It’s like your mirror face. One thing you always do is keep your chin down. It elongates your neck. Also, everyone has a better side of their face. Everyone’s face is asymmetrical except for Kate Moss. Figure out which one is yours.
You mean like how Mariah only shoots one side of her face?
Yes. I’m Mariah. That is exactly what I do. I start to get nervous if I see someone come the other way. I’m like, “Nope!”
I’m having serious brow envy. Where do you get your eyebrows done?
A woman named Lara comes to my house. Her number is 402 679 2235.
What are some of your favorite brands and designers?
I go to Iro every season and buy a few pieces. Tory Burch makes a size 14. I love AYR, their sweaters fit me well. And I’m obsessed with the plus-size label Eloquii. Their stuff is so cute. For the first time a size 6 can’t buy what I’m wearing. I also love Marina Rinaldi, they’re a plus-size only Italian brand owned by MaxMara. They’re so chic.
What’s your most recent addition to your wardrobe?
I just bought a pair of men’s Saint Laurent boots. I buy men’s shoes a lot because I have a size 12 shoe.
What’s your favorite health treat?
I love Karlie Kloss’ Klossies cookies that she did with Milkbar because the ingredients are healthy and you don’t feel as bad if you have a couple. They don’t make you feel weird the way other regular chocolate chip cookies make you feel because they don’t have the same type of sugar and flour.
What are your favorite restaurants in the city?
I love Café Clover. If I’m going to eat there, I know I’m going to eat healthy. I also love By Chloe, which is not healthy but it’s so good because I don’t eat meat.
Why don’t you eat meat?
For animal rights reasons. I eat fish but I never have chicken or lamb. Never ever. Pork was the last thing to go and that was six years ago.I went to Blue Hill at Stone Barns and they have the animals out back and I was out there and I connected with a pig. I was eye to eye with a pig and I was like I can’t do this anymore and I never ate pig again. It’s hard when someone’s eating a well done piece of bacon. like oh god I want that with a syrup on it because that’s good.
You do a lot of work to help puppy mill awareness. What’s the most important thing people should know about puppy mills?
I work with Friends Of Finn, which is part of the Humane Society and helps shut down puppy mills. One of the biggest misconceptions is that people are like puppy mills are bad but then they walk by the pet store on Christopher Street and they’re like, “These dogs are so cute!” Puppy mills are factory farms for dogs. They are kept in wire crates like chickens and they’re bred continuously at every heat cycle until they can no longer produce puppies. These are companion animals. When I walk by a pet store and I see those puppies, of course they’re cute but you’re not saving the dog. You’re not helping the situation. That puppy is going to be fine.
What about buying dogs from breeders?
If you buy from a breeder who ships you the dog, it’s a puppy mill. It’s all fake. Because a real breeder would never put a dog on an airplane and ship it without seeing you. A real breeder would make you fly to them, meet you and make sure you’re ok.
What’s the best way for people to adopt dogs?
Petfinder is basically dog shopping. It’s a really great resource. You can search by breed, age, size, weight, everything.
You mentioned your favorite facialist. What do you love about her facials?
I’ve been seeing Keren for six years and she is my everything. She just opened her first spa in Soho called Sia’s Beauty. She takes 90 minutes on my face and it’s half the price of fancy facialists. Extractions can be really harsh on your face but I walk away with nothing but she’s cleaned my whole face. She’s so careful. I love her.
Do you ever get massages?
I see a Polish woman named Yvonne at Red and White Spa on Broome Street. She is a Buddhist with a shaved head. She gets into your soul. She’ll hit a point on your back and say, “What are you hanging onto?” Isn’t that the key with everything? It’s all about when someone can tap in emotionally.