I recently had the pleasure of interviewing lifestyle blogger and body-positivity activist E.M. Ricchini. E.M.’s fashion and lifestyle blog, Lark & Lace, has been one of my favorites since I first discovered it a few years ago. Her incredible sense of style and her willingness to take fashion risks are a force to be reckoned with. Check out her interview below!
Name: E.M. Ricchini
Age: 25
Location: Philadelphia

 Q1. What was the driving force behind creating Lark & Lace? Can you tell me the story behind the name?

E.M.: When I first started my blog, I just wanted a place to document my favorite recipes, some outfits, and my day-to-day life. I was very casual and very ME. I’ve always loved birds, vintage dresses used to be the only thing I wore, and I’m a huge fan of alliteration. I still love the name though I have to admit that not a lot of thought went into it. I still try to keep the blog very true to myself. I don’t want it to be “just” a style blog— I want it to read like a journal.

Q2. When did you first get into fashion?

E.M.: Even when I was young, I was always into fashion as a form of expression. I was homeschooled and my parents would always encourage me to express myself. (As long as I wasn’t doing anything *too* weird.) When I turned 15, they sent me to a private Christian school where I had to wear a polo shirt and slacks every day. I don’t know how to put this nicely so I’ll just say it: being a curvy lady in a Baptist school pretty much killed all of my individuality and destroyed my self-esteem for years. I was basically told it was a sin to have my body so I spent time worrying about how to hide it. Mens’ golf tees and thrift store chinos became my best friends but adhering to these uber-modest standards, each time I’d try to add in some of my own personal flair, I’d get sent to the office and have to change into something a little more… boring? It took a while to recover. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I came to terms with my body and realized that I’m going to have it for the rest of my life. Once I got my confidence back, dressing myself became more of an art again and less of a chore.

Q3. What inspires you and influences your work?

E.M.: I’ve always been a fan of whatever magic was going on in France in the 60’s and 70’s. My favorite outfits are the ones that are somewhere between the effortless tomboy style of Francoise Hardy and the timeless sexiness of Brigitte Bardot. I find everything from that era to be so inspiring: the music, the films, the art, the fashion— it’s all très fantastique.

Q4. What has been the most rewarding experience since you starting Lark and Lace?

E.M.: One of the things that sets my blog apart from the myriad of other style blogs is that I try to keep it real. For me, this means being candid about my struggles with mental illness. I’ll often pepper personal anecdotes in among my regular outfit posts because mental health is something that’s important to me. Bipolar is misunderstood. It’s stigmatized. I’ve lost friends because of it so I want to be as open as possible as to sort of “normalize” it. The most rewarding moments are when I get emails and letters from other women who struggle with mental illness or love somebody who struggles with mental illness. I feel like each and every one means the walls are being torn down a tiny bit more.

Q5. What’s the toughest lesson you’ve learned since launching Lark and Lace?
E.M.: I’ve learned the importance of saying “NO.” I’m prone to extreme social anxiety but see public events as a “necessary evil” to becoming an influencer. A little while ago, I was attending every event I possibly could, even if it didn’t have anything to do with my blog. I got burned out quickly and went a few months without going out. Now I choose which events I attend and limit myself to one or two every couple of weeks. 
Q6. What words do you live by? 
E.M.: I have two. Immanuel Kant said, “have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.” Elaine Benes (yes, from Seinfeld) said, “here’s to those who wish us well, and those who don’t can go to hell.”
ur creatives e.m. ricchini lark and lace interview
Q7. What are 5 things you’d tell your 20 year old self?
E.M.: Life will get hard. You’ll hate your job. You’ll be unbelievably poor. Your closest friends will betray (like literally, BETRAY) you. It sucks. But you’re strong and you’ll get through it somehow. You can’t let the fear of these things keep you from living your best life. You’ll be so tempted to keep everyone at an arm’s length but you have to remain compassionate and vulnerable. Oh, also buy Bitcoin.
Q8. Have you experienced the quarter-life crisis? If so, explain:
E.M.: I think I might be in the midst of it right now. I think everyone has constructed this arbitrary list of goals they hope to achieve by the time they’re 25. None of them have happened for me. I actually ended up quitting my “dream job” last year and I’m nowhere close to owning a home. I even vowed to not get married before I turned 25 and, of course, I did. I think that’s okay though. The way I see it at this point is that I can either beat myself up for not doing something that 19-year-old me would think is mad cool or I can keep moving forward. Life rarely does what we want it to do.

Q9. What’s the best piece of advice you could give other millennials who wants to pursue their creative endeavors?
E.M.: It will NOT be easy but it will be worth it. Sometimes you have to accept that doing what makes you happy means you won’t have the funds to travel to exotic places or eat at fancy restaurants. (Or even pay your bills some months.) Everybody has different priorities so find what yours are and run with them. At the end of the day, you just gotta do what makes you happy.

Q10. You have a no photoshop promise on Lark and Lace, where you promise to never publish photoshopped images of yourself. I find it incredibly refreshing and inspiring! What made you choose to do that?
E.M.: Growing up as a slightly chubby, very hairy, and super tomboyish girl in an affluent New Jersey town meant I got bullied for my appearance a LOT. To make matters worse, there were no women on TV or in magazines who looked like me so in my pre-pubescent mind, I figured I’d never be considered “attractive.” When I started blogging, I was the skinniest I’d ever been. I was eating under 500 calories and running at least three miles a day. Once I finally got help and got back to a healthy weight, people would tell me “you used to look so good! Have you thought about losing weight again?” That’s when I realized the system was broken— not me. I realized that far more women look like me than the ones in magazines and on TV. I want to be a role model to all those thick girls out there who are insecure about their thick calves and jiggly arms.
Q11. Who’s your fashion icon and why?
E.M.: To me, Anna Karina is the perfect woman and the ultimate style icon. She rocked some timeless looks that included playful peter pan collars, colorblocking with neutrals, and bold plaids. And that fringe? TO DIE FOR.

Q12. Are they any style rules you live by? 

E.M.: Disregard all rules. Don’t dress for your body type: dress how you want. You can never wear too much black. Carry a nice bag.

Q13. What are 3 items every Millennial Woman should have in her closet?
E.M.: A long camel-colored blazer will make anything look chic and put together. Black loafers will go with anything from a pencil skirt and blouse to a band tee and ripped jeans. A large felt hat will complete any look. (I swear by all three of these.)

Q14. What are your favorite things about living in Philadephia?
E.M.: Philadelphia gets a bad reputation but it’s got some really charming spots. There are many farmers markets and other events almost every weekend. I also love that there are coffee shops with so much character on every corner. The best part though? It’s gotta have some of the best vegan food in the entire country.
Q15. What are 5 places everyone should check out when visiting Philadephia for the first time?
E.M.: As with any other destination, you gotta try your best to do Philly like a local. I’d start the day in Northern Liberties where I’d grab breakfast at One Shot. Then I’d head over to Rittenhouse to walk around the park and do some shopping on Walnut Street before grabbing a mid afternoon coffee at Double Knot in The Gayborhood. For dinner, I’d hit up V-Street for a more upscale experience or Blackbird Pizzeria for some more casual fare. I’d end the night with a walk around Old City, some ice cream from Franklin Fountain, and people-watching on Race Street Pier.
Be sure to check out Lark&Lace! You can also keep up with E.M. on Instagram and Twitter! Know someone who should be featured in our #URCREATIVES series? Email me: danasia@theurbanrealist.com!
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