She is: Cayleigh James

Cayleigh James is the force behind Of Style and Substance Blog. Hailing from Adelaide in Australia's south, Cayleigh has always been drawn toward fashion. However, this blog is style with a twist - it has substance. I chat to this lovely up-and-coming fashion blogger to find out a little bit more about her style and what it's like to climb the ladder of the fashion industry without losing your shine.

Tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Adelaide?

I was actually born and raised in Durban, South Africa. It is a beautiful country and I cherish the memories I have there. My family decided to make the big move over to Australia when I was about 14 years old, in the hopes to gain a better quality of life as the crime and corruption was worsening in South Africa. Having grown up in a third world country, I am so grateful to now be living in beautiful Australia, where it is easy to take for granted the many blessings we have here.

Describe your style. 

I don’t think I have one particular style. Someone once told me that I am like a fashion chameleon…one day I will be dressed like a tomboy in sneakers and ripped jeans and another day I might be wearing a feminine floral dress. This isn’t reflected in my blog as much, as most of my ‘OOTD’ shots are from planned shoots (and often not my clothes), which don’t really capture my spontaneous, day-to-day outfits. I am hoping that I can start introducing this more into my blog, or even through another platform, such as Snapchat. I find my style is always changing and is often dependent on my mood. I love that about fashion…you can be as expressive and creative with it as you like!

Where did the idea for Of Style and Substance come about? Has fashion always been an interest of yours?

I have always loved fashion and art. My mum owned a fashion boutique in South Africa, and I would go and help out every Saturday. I loved looking at the beautiful clothes and would often try on the amazing formal and wedding dresses (even though they were way too big for me!). It was always the highlight of my week.

Fast forward a few years, and I am now working at the Australian Fashion Labels flagship store, Fashion BNKR, surrounded by beautiful Adelaide designs. I am also studying Marketing and Communications.

Starting up a blog is something I had wanted to do for a long time, but I struggled to find the courage to believe in myself and make it a reality. I found this courage during a recent overseas trip to Europe. My eyes were opened to the beautiful world that we live in, the creativity of its people and the significance of its history, and I realised that it would be a wasted opportunity not to pursue my dream.

It's more than just attending fashion shows, collection previews and standing in front of a camera, isn't it? What kind of work goes on in the background?

Creating a blog is very time consuming! You need to be passionate about it and have a drive to succeed.

Doing photoshoots is the most time consuming, and certainly isn’t as glamorous as it may appear. Most of the time I shoot about four outfits in one session, which means I have to change in the car! I also have to reduce all my files and edit them if necessary. My boyfriend takes my photos and works full time, so it is often difficult to tee up the time where both of us are free! It’s also quite hard to always be looking out for new content and be taking lots of new images.

There is a lot of responding to emails, filtering through junk mail and also choosing collaborations that fit with my style. A lot of computer/tech time is involved, especially as I am currently in the process of creating my website. It’s important to remember to sometimes just put my phone down and enjoy the moments.

What opportunities have you had so far?

I have been extremely blessed with many invitations to incredible events, which has blown me away considering how young my blog is! I have been to numerous menu tastings at some top restaurants and cafes. I have also been invited to fashion shows and style challenges, where I have had the opportunity to photograph new designer collections before they have even been released! I have also been involved in some incredible collaborations with other blogs, magazines and products.

There’s so much more to Of Style and Substance than wearing beautiful clothes (swoon!) and posting pictures of pretty flat lays. Tell me about your vision.

My blog is mainly fashion and style, however it reflects a way of style through many aspects of life, not only fashion. I love to incorporate beauty, food, home inspiration, travel as well as fun things to do in my city. This forms the ‘style’ aspect of my blog.

The ‘substance’ extends further than these things. While it is lovely to enjoy good food, fashion and beautiful things, there is so much more to it. I never want to become caught up in materialistic possessions that I lose the essence of who I am in Him and who I was created to be. I want my blog to reflect this in the way I write and use words of encouragement and life! That is something I LOVE about She Is Light!

The fashion world is filled with perfect pictures and a whole lot of glamour, but it can also be a breeding ground for unrealistically high expectations and fierce competition. How do you navigate the ups and downs and keep yourself in a positive mindset? 

That is so true, and it is something that I am faced with and struggle with all the time. It is very easy to get pulled into comparison and self-doubt. Whenever I start to find myself experiencing this, I have to take myself away and do something to build me up, such as spending time with family or close friends, reading encouraging books or most importantly being encouraged by the Word.

I have to remind myself that my worth isn’t found in how many followers I have or whether or not I have a Gucci handbag. You also have to remember that you are just seeing the highlights of someone’s life and many of the shots are staged. I often reflect back to my own blog and think of the times where I was sitting at home in my pajamas with no make up and messy hair, creating picture-perfect glamorous flat lays. You can’t take it too seriously, you need to have fun and be able to laugh at yourself.

It is also so important to be able to celebrate in other people’s successes. I think many bloggers, and fashion bloggers in particular, are too competitive and take it too seriously. It is so refreshing when women can cheer each other on and encourage and support each other. We should be coming together to help each other succeed, rather than comparing ourselves.

What are your top three fashion tips for Autumn?

The 70’s are still so big at the moment and I think Autumn is the perfect time to embrace burnt oranges, nudes and khaki, as well as bold floral and geometric prints! Bell sleeves and flares are a fun way to add a little bit of 70’s to any outfit.

I love the all-white sneaker trend at the moment, because who doesn’t love a trend that is super comfy and practical! They are so versatile as they can be worn with a casual outfit such as shorts and a tee, or can even look fun with a summery dress.

My top fashion tip at the moment is ‘quality over quantity’. I am trying to invest in good-quality staples, such as a pair of jeans, boots, leather jacket etc. that form the foundation to an outfit. These pieces will last you through the seasons, so quality is important!

Where can we expect to see Of Style and Substance in five years time?

Good question! In short, I would love to make a career out of blogging. I hope to be a familiar name to many and collaborating with some amazing brands.

Wasn't it so lovely to hear about Cayleigh and the wonderful work she's doing with her blog? I've personally loved getting to know Cayleigh over the last few months. We connected through the She is Light Instagram account, and I'm so grateful for her friendship! She's an incredible girl and I am sure that we will be seeing so many amazing things from her in the near future.

Follow her on Instagram: @ofstyleandsubstance_blog

At She is Light, we're all about cheering other women on in their pursuits. If you'd like to share your story, contact us.