Before she was the blogger with a cult following known as Fashion Toast, Rumi Neely was a typical unassuming fashion lover, living in Mission Beach and selling vintage clothing on eBay. She launched her blog in 2007, envisioning it as an obscure personal style diary. “I didn’t tell my friends about it because I knew they would make fun of me,” she says. “I never really thought anyone would read my blog — thus the random name.” Today her site receives over a million hits a month from a loyal following that looks to her for styling and shopping inspiration. Despite a recent spate of highly publicized modeling gigs for Forever 21, Free People, Rebecca Minkoff, and more, Neely still seems surprised by her newfound fame. “I try not to keep numbers in mind when doing some simple blog-related activity like getting dressed or taking a photo on the street,” she says. “It really isn’t too natural to have something that mundane actually matter. I think I’m pretty boring.” Coming up this fall, the blogger-slash-stylist is launching a five-piece jewelry collection with Dannijo and Tobi and is styling a shoot for Revolve Clothing in Venice Beach. We caught up with her between shoots to talk about her most coveted fashion items, her own style icon, and her upcoming jewelry collaboration.
How has Fashion Toast evolved over the years?
My style has changed; I’m pickier about what I wear now. There’s definitely a stronger emphasis on the photography, as both my boyfriend Colin and I have gotten pretty into it. He’s been a huge support from the day he caught me trotting back and forth from a tripod in Jessica Simpson boots outside our place. But it’s still the same simple idea it started out as: personal style and the things that inspire me.
What’s the best and worst part of your increased exposure?
The best part is getting to work with brands that I really connect with and traveling to new places. So many opportunities that I wouldn’t have dreamed up have come my way. Getting to go to Japan a few times this year was massively fun. There isn’t really something horrible enough to be classified as the worst part — maybe overthinking blog posts and being scared of my in-box. People recognize me, but most of the time it isn’t in awkward places and they’re always really, really nice.
Who are your favorite designers?
My ideal wardrobe would consist of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Vanessa Bruno, Lover, The Row, Acne, Chanel, and Alexander Wang, all mixed up with vintage and cheaper items. I loved Michael Kors’s spring collection too; they’re pieces you can actually see yourself reaching for day in and day out.
What’s the first designer item you ever bought?
I think the moment I knew I was insane was when I bought my Givenchy Nightingale from Barneys. I still take it with me on every trip that I go on, though, so it was worth it in the end.
Where do you like to shop?
I like Opening Ceremony in New York, but I think I prefer going shopping in L.A. when I have more time to agonize over things. Mostly I just shop online or at thrift stores.
How would you describe your personal style?
Undone, simple, and pulled from everywhere — with really high shoes. It’s sort of Pixel from Happy Campers meets Melanie Huynh.
What trends are you appreciating right now?
Mixed metals, mohair knits, Lindsay Thornburg cloaks, leather dresses, high and low hems, and velvet.
What trends are you ready to see retired?
Jeggings, bib necklaces, camel, whiskering, and not having your heart in it.
What’s one item you’re saving to buy?
If I’m delusional, Isabel Marant’s cropped red leather pants and that Julien Macdonald dress on Net-a-Porter that looks like a slip on crack. It’s not gonna happen, but it’s fun to dream.
What should every woman have in her closet?
Ivory silk blouses in varying sizes and opacities, and signature jewelry.
What’s something you never leave the house without?