18 of Charlotte’s fashion influencers to follow on Instagram

Photo by Luke Calvin
E! Style contributor and wardrobe stylist Stacee Michelle

My wardrobe alludes to my 9-5 job, with “work-chic” looks that make me feel confident in the office. However, my non-work style could use help, so I turn to Charlotte’s trendy women for weekend-worthy looks. Follow these style-savvy females on Instagram for outfit inspiration:

(1) Rachel Brown


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Fashion and lifestyle blogger Rachel knows where to shop local, whether you’re in need of a trendy evening outfit or Charlotte-centric gear.

Follow her for: casual-chic styles in the city’s hot spots
Her style inspiration: “I’ve especially loved fashion since I started going to visit my family in L.A. back when I was in middle school. I’ve always loved following trends. My inspiration comes from celebrities, other style influencers and brands I look up to, mostly based in bigger cities like Los Angeles and New York City. I like to see what’s ‘in’ through them and make it my own style in an affordable way.”
Her fashion advice: “Wear whatever you feel comfortable in so you still feel confident, but also don’t be afraid to take risks and try new styles too! Something you may think you can’t pull off, you totally can! You just have to go for it.”

(2) Melissa Cantey


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Lifestyle and fashion blogger Melissa blends fitness fashion and evening attire for an Instagram feed suited for any time of the week.

Follow her for: date night style
Her style inspiration: “I love Rihanna’s style mostly because she can be super feminine, but loves to mix sneakers into her personal style! I love the risks she takes with fashion as well and she owns it!”
Her fashion advice: “Always shop the clearance first. You never know what you may find! Fashion has no rules — try different styles, new colors, and push yourself out of your comfort zone! Shop your closet! We always forget what we have because we’re always shopping for new pieces. Shop your closet before the getting the urge to go out and spend money.”

(3) Jan Correll


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Named a “Glamorous Grandma of Instagram” by the New York Times, Jan shares bold, timeless styles to inspire age-positivity for women over 50.

Follow her for: ageless style
Her style inspiration: “I tend to lean toward sophisticated chic.”
Her fashion advice: “Wear what you want … just wear it with confidence and be authentically you.”

(4) Anna De Leon


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Even while mothering two boys, fashion blogger Anna finds time to share style inspiration and affordable fashion.

Follow her for: chic seasonal outfits and beauty tips
Her style inspiration: “I get my style inspirations from Instagram, as of late. I love looking through other people’s styles and pick out my favorite element from their outfit, be it a color combination or the way they layer pieces, and I apply it to my style and what I already own. If I’m stumped on how to wear an article of clothing and need inspiration, I search by hashtags and see how others wear it.”
Her fashion advice: “My fashion advice would be to dress for yourself and not others. If it feels right to you, then wear it. That confidence will show through and confidence is one of the most attractive things in any person.”

(5) Taylor-Rae Drake


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Influenced by her Southern upbringing and stylish mother, Taylor-Rae combines femininity with an air of elegance for the ideal outfit.

Follow her for: classic Southern style
Her style inspiration: “I definitely take inspiration from runway trends but also throughout my travels, Pinterest and editorial features. I’m inspired by classic styles from the past and love being put together from head to toe. Even though most people don’t get that formal every day, I think it’s good motivation to take that extra step.”
Her fashion advice: “Dress for your body type and always tailor when necessary.”

(6) Laura Leigh Elliott


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Life and style blogger Laura Leigh pairs classic style (think: denim) with a feminine touch, for outfits that will make you feel confident during everyday tasks.

Follow her for: casual feminine looks
Her style inspiration: “My style inspiration comes from a variety of people, places, and things. I’m inspired by old photos of my grandmother and items of hers that I have. She was such a fashionista and is absolutely where my love for fashion came from. So I love seeing what she chose to wear and looks she put together. If only we could go shopping together! Some serious damage would be done but we would be looking fabulous! I also receive style inspiration from women I see around Charlotte and on my travels. Seeing what women wear in different cities is my absolute favorite. So much of what we choose to wear reflects our environment, so seeing what someone may wear in New York City or Charleston or a variety of other places may be so different than what the ladies in Charlotte are wearing.”
Her fashion advice: “Find your personal style. What/who inspires you, what you feel comfortable in, and what you are drawn to time and time again. Describe your style in three to five words (this will help you put a label on your personal style). Then work on embracing your personal style, refine it by finding what you like and don’t like within the style of your three to five style words, and stay true to it!”

(7) Ashlen Fulton


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Lover of wine, bulldogs and all things fashion, Ashlen pairs style favorites with comfort to complete her looks.

Follow her for: affordable and relatable style
Her style inspiration: “My style inspiration is Blake Lively. She always looks so chic, classy, and put together, which I admire about her.”
Her fashion advice: “My fashion advice is to wear whatever will make you feel confident. For example, I tend to be in a better mood when I dress up and love my outfit, as opposed to dressing down and not feeling cute. Wear whatever will make you happy and your confidence will definitely show through because of it.”

(8) Vidya Gopalan


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Fashion, lifestyle and beauty blogger and mother of two, Vidya uses her fashion blog as a creative outlet to share affordable looks and seasonal styles.

Follow her for: trendy, budget-friendly looks
Her style inspiration: “I find my inspiration anywhere I travel to, celebrities and of course Instagram. If I had to pick one person it would be Kristin Cavallari. Her style is so effortless, chic and she wears a lot of neutrals and basics which I naturally gravitate towards. Instagram fashion bloggers are also another big source of style inspiration for me. This is such a big channel but I find that looking at real people of all different shapes, sizes and races really defines what fashion is all about.”
Her fashion advice: “Don’t be nervous to step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to style. Often times, I find my friends, family and followers saying ‘Oh, I can never pull off that look.’ We all sometimes have to take a leap towards things in our career, life, family so why can’t we do the same with style? If you are not someone that likes to experiment with fashion, create a capsule wardrobe and invest in pieces that you can wear over and over again but styled differently each time.”

(9) Whitley Adkins Hamlin


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Whitley attributes her love of style to her late great-grandmother and grandmother, who acted as buyers for an upscale luxury boutique. Their fashion pursuits were the catalyst for Whitley’s blog, which has since grown into a career in personal and commercial styling.

Follow her for: eclectic pieces and unique combinations
Her style inspiration: In terms of people, my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother were both stylists and buyers for an up scale luxury boutique in Eastern North Carolina during their working years.  Both of them were stylish ahead of their time, and as a young girl, they (and their amazing wardrobes) served as my earliest and now foremost inspiration for fashion forward style.  People aside, I am constantly inspired by all that is around me. I style and produce a lot of photo shoots. My most recent fashion editorial project– for the February issue of SouthPark Magazine–takes place at Kate’s Roller Skating Rink!  My two boys and I love going there on a snow day, and so upon a recent trip with friends I was totally spellbound by the energy, excitement, joy and fun all around us. My immediate thought we must have high fashion at the roller ink!
Her fashion advice: Impeccable style is all encompassing; intriguing fashion, a kind heart and excellent manners will always be en vogue.  And, this above all: to thine own self be true!

(10) Jessica Hodnett


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Fashionista and food blogger Jessica brings NYC style to the Queen City.

Follow her for: bold looks with leather and chic boots
Her style inspiration: “My style inspiration comes from everything — from walking the streets of New York when I lived in the city, seeing my favorite fashion designer’s collections, to my favorite style icons growing up like Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta. I’ve always loved fashion and how it is always evolving.”
Her fashion advice: “Wear whatever makes you feel sexy and confident. I’ve always stuck by the words of Coco Chanel ‘Fashion fades, only style remains the same.’ Anyone can buy trendy clothes and be called ‘fashionable’, but having your own sense of style shows your own individuality.”

(11) Vanessa Krombeen


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A passion for fashion, fitness, and travel led Vanessa to start her blog for the fashion-focused female.

Follow her for: classic and feminine with a touch of athleisure
Her style inspiration: “My style inspiration comes from many sources! Often times it’s all about how I feel that particular day and pairing my clothing based off my emotions and moods. If I had to describe my style inspiration via specific categories, I’d say it’s a mix between trendy and cozy + classic and feminine. I love mixing high and low priced items to create sophisticated yet functional looks that make me feel good. At the end of the day, that’s always my goal with styling outfits. Look good, feel good!”
Her fashion advice: “Find pieces you can cycle through your closet for years. Your goal with your closet should always be to invest in classic versatile pieces that you can pair in multiple ways season after season. Tailor your wardrobe to what works best for you. If you’re a busy mom and don’t have a ton of time to spend pairing outfits together, look for classic one and done items like jumpers, dresses, and blazers you can throw on over both. A prime example for me personally are Spanx leggings. I wear them year after year and never have to buy a new pair because the quality of their leggings lasts. Yes, they were somewhat of an investment at around $100 in the beginning, but when you look at it long term, that investment makes sense.”

(12) Laura Long


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Native Southerner and mother Laura provides style inspiration to women in their 30s and 40s who want to pursue fashion on a budget.

Follow her for: affordable chic style for any age
Her style inspiration: “I am inspired to live a fashionable life without breaking the bank, and hope I inspire others to do the same.  I firmly believe you can have great style on any budget. I love to find great deals and share those with my readers on Smart Southern Style.”
Her fashion advice: “My number one piece of advice is not to let your age or busy phase of life be excuses not be stylish. One of the reasons I created Smart Southern Style was because I did not see many fashion bloggers in my stage of life as a busy working mom over the age of 35.  Additionally, I would encourage ladies to find some versatile pieces that you love and use those to create different outfits. And when creating those outfits, don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and patterns, as you never know what you’ll love until you try it!”

(13) Stacee Michelle


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E! Style contributor and wardrobe stylist Stacee knows what makes or breaks a look and is always up-to-date on seasonal “must-haves.”

Follow her for: current, in-the-know fashion
Her style inspiration: “The key is to embrace your individuality by acknowledging the characteristics and qualities that mold your personality and finding unique ways to incorporate those into your wardrobe. What message do you want to convey as a first impression? What is your lifestyle? Answering these questions will give you the tools to begin discovering your signature style. Keep in mind that confidence is your best accessory. Without it, nothing looks good.”
Her fashion advice: “I’m inspired by many things, but what inspires me most is street style. I love to observe unique people and cultural behaviors when I travel. I find inspiration in the posh woman rocking killer snakeskin Chloe boots on Rodeo Drive to the grunge-chic street vendor on the streets of Milan! I see through a style lens! I take the good and the not so good and create unique looks that match my personality and lifestyle.”

(14) Lauren Schwaiger


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Realtor Lauren shares versatile fashion in her Clients to Cocktails series on her blog, which pairs casual chic workwear that can be worn through an evening affair.

Follow her for: polished business-casual outfits perfect for client meetings and evening outings
Her style inspiration: “My style inspiration comes from a variety of places! I am most inspired by travel — I always enjoying seeing how people dress and put together an outfit in different cities and countries. Various style magazines and websites, Pinterest and Instagram, of course, are full of endless inspiration. I love pulling inspiration/outfit ideas from different people and places that have a similar style and making it my own.
Her fashion advice: “My number one fashion advice is to find your personal style and wear what makes you feel comfortable and above all, confident! I am all about versatile style staples that can be put together in different ways, giving you a few different outfits/looks. I am definitely a jeans and T-shirt girl at heart but love to jazz up an outfit with a great pair of shoes, a fabulous bag and cute accessories. I am a major sale shopper … keep an eye out for sales from your favorite brands so you can shop without breaking the bank. I tend to stay away from pieces that are super trendy — stick with the classics and you’ll always be in style.”

(15) Bailey Schwartz


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Born and raised in Charlotte, Bailey blends her love for fashion and design as a personal stylist.

Follow her for: cute + cozy fashion
Her style inspiration: “Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor. I’m a huge fan of decade fashion, and love that these trends show up over and over again in different ways across generations. Each of these style icons tested the limits of fashion expectations of their time, and weren’t afraid to take risks. From high-waist swimsuits to cat eye sunglasses, bold lipstick and accessory glam, you’ll often see me rocking some of their most famous trends around town.”
Her fashion advice: “People often tell me they love specific trends, but don’t think they can pull them off. Personal style should not have limitations. I believe anyone can pull off any trend they wish. It just takes thinking about it in a creative way and putting your own spin on it. Mesh the trend with your current style, mix in classic pieces and wear something you feel good in. If you step out of the house in confidence, no one will even know you took a risk.”

(16) Kristen Shaeffer


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Combining her love for fashion and decor, Kristen is a firm believer that you can add a bit of “chic” to any part of your life.

Follow her for: unique jewelry paired with upscale fashion
Her style inspiration: “I tend gravitate towards more feminine, classic, effortless looks. I pull a lot of inspiration from magazines, social media and old movies. My preference is to always be overdressed than underdressed!”
Her fashion advice: “I believe that you should invest in classic pieces that will stand the test of time not on trendy pieces that will only last one season. Since fashion is so personal, I think that you should wear what makes you feel beautiful!”

(17) Jami Svay


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An acclaimed celebrity makeup artist, Jami lives by her personal philosophy: “Everyone has something beautiful, just enhance it.” Her ecelectic personal style is a reflection of her upbeat personality, with bright pops of color and unique combinations.

Follow her for: diverse, bold looks for all occasions
Her style inspiration: My style inspiration are everyday women who aren’t afraid to be different, express themselves and try something new. Following the trends is ok but making them your own is amazing.
Her fashion advice: Know your body type…we all have things we don’t like about our bodies. Well, now it’s time to celebrate what we love about ourselves. Accentuate your best features and rock confidence.

(18) Erika Taylor


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Erika blends comfort with style for everyday chic looks, and offers personal stylist services to revamp your closet.

Follow her for: stylish comfort
Her style inspiration: “That’s a hard one to pinpoint! So many people and styles have inspired me over the years, including Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Lauren Conrad and a few others, but I would say recently I have been inspired by Kathleen Barnes with Carrie Bradshaw Lied blog. Her style is sort of like a street style meets chic + classic and I am loving that type of look lately.”
Her fashion advice: “Take pride in what you wear! It’s okay to have your own style. It’s okay to dress cute and for your body type. Wear what makes you feel confident because the better you feel about yourself, the better your day is going to be!”


  1. It’s not often that men could be considered forgotten, but noticeably absent is the presence of any men. Have you seen the work of William Wilson (@theclothier)…?

  2. I recently left Instagram seeing as how it has become a cesspool of advertisements, selfies, and all these so-called “influencers” and I am having none of it.

    That said, men’s fashion does exist in Charlotte. You wouldn’t know it from this though.

  3. How is Katy Harrell aka mumuandmacaroons not featured?? Much respect to those that are but y’all definitely missed the mark on this.

  4. Did they influence their followers to shop at Palessi and/or attend the Fyre Festival?

    If one have to be influenced by an Instagram influencer, worse, from a Z-list social media from a 51st-tier city, then you’re just a mindless sheeple.

    Instagram influencers are just about the number of likes and followers and thoughtless leaders — with no expertise and knowledge about the products they’re trying to influence; they don’t care about their niche and industry; and they don’t spend time and invest money in becoming experts. More importantly, they don’t make it a point to generate quality and authentic content. They influence for their own profit not someone else’s profit including the brand they’re trying to influence. It’s all about them and vanity. Me, me, me,…look at meeeeeee, I’m an Instagram influencer.

    CLT5 trying to influence their readers to follow and be influenced by these self-entitled, wanting everything for nothing, nobodies, is just example of yet another lazy , insubstantial, biased, and highfaluting post from this site, much like most of the restaurants, craft breweries, stores and events they (were paid to) “write” about.


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