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During the day, Sarah Moreland Byrne works full-time as a digital media specialist with Kiwanis International, which is a global community of clubs dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. By night, she’s the owner and curator of IndyDressed, a blog devoted to Indy’s artists in fashion, interior design, cuisine, and entertainment.
“A lot of what I consider my strengths come from writing and telling other people’s stories,” she says. “When I looked to see within our local fashion industry how other bloggers were communicating the things they were sharing, one of the things I noticed was a lack of storytelling of good people behind the fashion industry. This was a way for me to use my journalistic strengths and fill a need that I felt wasn’t being fulfilled.”
IndyDressed was founded in July 2013 and has been run entirely on the side from her full-time job. She describes her life-long interest in fashion as “more of a serious hobby,” and is content with it being her passion project for now.
“I just love being able to be a part of the local fashion industry, support and be a cheerleader for so many of the entrepreneurs, designers, makeup artists, photographers,” she says. “So many people who are so talented and are part of this industry, but I don’t think they get as much recognition as they deserve.”
We got Sarah’s take on the Indy fashion scene, what items we should add to our fall wardrobes, and the New York Fashion Week purchase she’s still drooling over three years later.
Maven superpower: Connecting people. I’m able to meet someone, hear what they’re interested in, and instantly know someone who I can introduce them to in order to allow them to explore that interest.
Describe your job at Kiwanis International as if we’re strangers that just met at a dinner party.
What I do sounds like a Millennial or Gen Z dream: getting paid to post on social media, design emails, and work on mobile apps, all for a nonprofit whose cause (helping kids) I believe in.
Of course, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes that people don’t see, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. Technology changes so incredibly fast, so I have to stay up to date on what’s new—and I train a team. Like any social media manager, I spend a lot of time monitoring what people are tagging us in, what people are saying. But one of the highlights of my job is seeing all of these posts or tweets from schools and parents about the good work a Kiwanis club did like food drives or reading aloud to kids or scholarships. Not everyone gets to see the direct impact of the work their company is doing, so that’s exciting, and I feel privileged to see it.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
Well, I will definitely be dating myself here, but I have had a blog in some shape or form since the turn of the millennium. When I was younger, it was more like a public diary where it felt very anonymous. By the time I was in my mid-20s, I hadn’t originally thought of creating a blog related to fashion, even though I loved it so much and considered it a very strong hobby of mine. I spent a couple of years modeling in local bridal shows and got to see all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the shows, meet these amazing, talented people that we have in our city and that’s essentially where IndyDressed came from.
Tell us about your earliest fashion memory.
My biggest fashion inspiration since early on is my mom. She loves fashion. She follows all the trends, and she has just always had such enthusiasm for dressing up—even when I was little. That enthusiasm rubbed off on me, just like how little kids try on their parents’ clothing. When I graduated from college, I came back to Indianapolis and started getting back into the the fashion scene. She is always my buddy whenever I go. I credit a lot of my fashion sense to her.
Describe some of your favorite clothing purchases.
Some of my favorite purchases would be this gold lamé long sleeve blouse with a connected bow that I bought when I went to New York Fashion Week in 2018. I was able to check out sample sales from regional and local New York City artists. One of my other favorites is a sheer maxi skirt, beige-colored, with fake pearls adorning it all over. It’s an easy way to instantly dress up just a regular cocktail dress.
Who are some fashion icons you admire?
Blake Lively, Audrey Hepburn, and Zendaya.
What fall trends should we be incorporating into our wardrobes and what are some of your go-to fall pieces?
I try not to follow trends too closely, but I’m loving the reimagining of athleisure and sporty fashion we’ve been seeing. Like the less preppy, edgier glam takes on varsity jackets from Monse on the new season of Gossip Girl or this year’s winning collection from Indiana Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition (Meli International by Monty Matuka). And I enjoyed the pops of bright pinks and yellows during the Emmys this year — like Michaela Coel’s neon two-piece set. After spending so much time at home, it’s great to emerge with fashion that’s bright and fun.
My go-to pieces for fall: plaid blazers, silk scarves, and a pair of black riding boots I bought for my honeymoon in Europe five years ago.
How would you describe your style? What advice do you have for those trying to define their own style?
I’m usually that person wearing an outfit of contrasts: traditionally “feminine” pieces with so-called “masculine” ones, both soft and metallic elements, maybe a bunch of patterns. It keeps things unexpected, and I get to express more aspects of my personality at once. If you’re trying to figure out your fashion style, honestly the most important thing is to not limit yourself to a particular “box.” Give yourself the freedom to love different styles. Who says you can’t wear a romantic, ruffled dress with a studded leather jacket and sneakers? Wear what you like.
Name some local places you like to shop at.
Rebel Vintage; Lesley Jane Boutique; French Pharmacie Flea; Pen and Pink Vintage; Haus Love; Silver in the City. And one of my new favorites is Monon Toys and Crafts.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I love to cook and bake, but I actually only started cooking and baking about four years ago. Before that, I could maybe make spaghetti and not much else. Then I realized I wanted to get better at this, be able to make my own food, and so in 2017, I set up a challenge for myself to try and cook 52 new dishes, so basically one new one a week.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.