Kelly Framel works hard. Very hard. She posts five days a week, infallibly and religiously. And to relax she works some more. Her vacations consist of sponsored trips – her most recent one was a 10-day tour of Sao Paulo where she was shooting a campaign and being taken around to various local design studios – or flying to Las Vegas to help out a friend at a trade show, or drives up to the Brimfield antiques fair in Massachusetts to hang out with the Beckerman sisters in their vintage empire. And just when you think she has some time to plop down on the couch, take off her heels and put up her feet, she retreats to the basement office of her ground floor apartment in Williamsburg and works on her jewelry line.
She started her incredibly successful blog, The Glamourai – even she can’t believe how fast and hard it’s taken off – in 2008 when she was designing gowns at Naeem Kahn. She saw blogs emerging everywhere and got inspired to use the same kind of outlet as a platform for her own creativity and ideas, which had much more to do with daily life and street style than evening wear. She has since secured a cozy and lucrative little niche and supports herself solely with blogging. “For the longest time I didn’t tell anyone I worked with about it,” she winces. “I thought it was sort of cheesy, and I’d never work in fashion again if people found out I wrote this silly website! My name wasn’t even on it then. (One day when another blogger published it, I seriously cried!) The mindset within the industry was so different just a couple years ago. It’s changed a lot, but I’m still surprised that it’s now possible to get into fashion from a blog.”
Kelly is a beautiful girl, just two weeks shy of her 28th birthday. She has the radiant composure of a popular TV star, with a big, bright smile and clear, inquisitive eyes, ready to tackle any topic with breezy conversation. But what strikes me most is the ease with which she dresses. She has perfect proportions and legs that go for miles. Anything she throws on looks and fits snappy. On her blog she mostly shows new designers she’s been asked to promote, but today she’s pulled a nice selection of vintage; some pieces she didn’t even remember she had. She owes her love for the disposed and inexpensive to her parents. “I grew up wearing uniforms to school, with little access to or awareness of the fashion world. My mom kept a big chest of vintage clothes in the house. My girlfriends and I would dress up, buy black & white disposable cameras and stage elaborate photo shoots (which I would meticulously art direct, complete with ridiculous sets). Honestly though, they were more inspired by the photo booths at Six Flags than the pages of Vogue.” While her mom was determined to instill an appreciation for the value of money in her kids, her dad desperately wanted them to embrace being individuals. “They’d send us to thrift shops with $20 as a challenge, to put together something cheaper and more unique than what our friends were buying at the mall. Over time, these trips not only served my parents’ purposes, but also instilled a deep love in me for ‘the hunt.’ I love finding some vintage gem that no one else has, and that usually ends up being the piece I really treasure.”
Kelly’s personal style is constantly evolving. At the moment she likes to characterize it as “more classic than ever”. She loves things “that seem basic at first, but surprise you with some unexpected twist.” She has a natural ability to layer. She’ll use little jackets, different color belts, necklaces, sunglasses and shoes to dress any look up or down. She’ll never wear slogan T-shirts and is iffy about shooting fur. And though her background in designing embroideries, accessories and evening wear has shaped her into “a girl who loves the glamorous things in life”, she hopes to show her readers “that a wonderful life can be achieved no matter your budget or lifestyle. I want to inspire people to invest in themselves, because I do believe that a great fitting dress or a new hairstyle can make you stand more confidently, smile more easily, and thus set a tone for your entire day.”