A constant source of inspiration for the hush team, her fuss-free outfit shots are plastered all over Pinterest - for good reason. Paulien’s daily style consists of monochrome separates and an enviable muted palette – making her the perfect minimalist ambassador.
Now the minimalist muse in our 'Style Personality' campaign (take the quiz here to find out your style!), she's flying over to the UK to do a style workshop on 'mastering the art of minimal dressing' at our pop-in event next week. We caught up with Paulien to find out where it all started...
What inspired you to start POLIENNE – tell us the story behind it?
Writing and creating is something that I already enjoyed as a kid. At 14-years-old I started a small website where I wrote about funny things that happened in my life, and posted random photos. I had about 3 readers: my mum, my friend and my neighbour. When I turned 16, I started modelling and got more into fashion. That’s when I discovered several fashion blogs and figured that this was something I could do too: show people a peek behind the modelling life and of course share my outfits with them! That’s how POLIENNE was born.
What’s the secret to your success?
I try to stay as authentic as possible when creating my content, and that's something my readers seem to appreciate. Whenever I work with a brand, my audience knows that the connection is genuine, which immediately gives the content an extra natural feel. Next to that, I think that my outfits are very accessible and affordable for anyone!
What did you do beforehand?
Blogging started out as a hobby while I was still in high school and working as a model, but I never could have dreamt this would become my actual job. After high school and a few years of full time modelling, I continued to work part time while studying Dutch and English literature at University. When I graduated, I got a part time job as a copywriter and social media manager that I then combined with, again, modelling and blogging. After about a year I felt that the time had come to finally go for it and take my blog to the next business level.
What was your plan B?
I didn’t really have a plan B in mind, everything kind of happened very organically. Although there’s a certain “age” limit to modelling, I’ve been doing it for almost 10 years now so it has been a great back-up so far! But I always felt like I should be working and writing online. So with my graduation in mind, I would have maybe opted for a position as an online magazine editor.
Who's your style inspiration?
I’m still very fond of the Olsen sisters, because these days they look very cool and laid-back, while still being comfortable. I also still read a few, mostly Scandinavian blogs and I’m a huge Pinterest fan. I can find all kinds of style inspiration without having actively look for it.
How would you define your style?
My style can be very eclectic, but I will always opt for a few good basics with a tomboy touch. The most important thing for me is to feel comfortable, you won’t see me biking around in Antwerp in a structured mini skirt and overknee boots.
Which style essentials couldn’t you live without?
A pair of boyfriend jeans, white sneakers and a classic knit. These are super basic, but they’re the essentials that I feel comfortable and strong in.
What do you wear to feel dressed up?
That’s a difficult question! Because I’m such a casual gal, I always find it hard to dress up. Styling a dress with heels feels very unnatural to me, so I’d prefer a black suit and some big hoop earrings for a night out. Or a long sleeve maxi dress with an open back, if I’d had to attend a very fancy event.
Is there something you would never wear?
A bodycon dress probably. I’ll just stay with the suits, thank you.
Any fashion regrets?
I remember a particular outfit from when I was 13... a pair of bright orange trackpants, a yellow crop top, orange plastic hoop earrings and a pair of striped orange Converse. But then again, at that time I felt really cool in that early 2000s look, so why regret? The choices and experiments I made back then, helped me to find my current style.
What’s your favourite season for fashion?
Autumn! Still warm enough to wear white sneakers and bare ankles, but finally chilly enough to pull out the trench coats and knits to layer. I also feel like my favourite neutral palette of grey, black, blue and camel looks best in Autumn.
What’s your favourite item from the hush spring 17 collection?
I feel like the Amalfi jumpsuit is a magnificent piece to wear both off-duty and to work, but I’m crushing hard on those leopard print ballerinas too. And I’m not even a ballerina kind of person!
Who is your role model, and why?
I don’t have a specific role model, but of course I look up to my parents. My mum has taught me to trust my gut feeling and always stay down to earth, while my dad always challenges me to go the extra mile business-wise.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Probably that you at least have to try and chase your dreams! If you’ll never try, you’ll never know…
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Even though you think you’ve experienced it all, there’s a lot more (and a lot more fun!) to life than you know now. So stop taking your life and work so seriously, and go out with your student friends more often!
Fantasy Girls’ Night Out. You get to choose six women to spend the evening with. Who? And where do you go?
Six women, that sounds like an intense night out! I wouldn’t mind going bowling and to a concert with model Cara Delevigne, singer Bibi Bourelly, singer Syd the Kid from The Internet, actress Rooney Mara, reality star Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore and model Freja Beha. I’m not sure if they would all like each other, but the crazy but laid-back attitude of these chicks would definitely contribute to an unforgettable night!
We think female friendships are something that should be treasured and celebrated. What quality do all your friends share?
My friends are all very different, but they have a huge creativity in common. They are very passionate about what they do and what they still want to achieve, and that’s always super inspiring for me.
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
You’d expect that modelling and fashion blogging makes you a vain person, but I’m usually waaaaaay too lazy to put on make-up or wash my hair. Sunglasses will do.
How do you unwind?
I love taking an afternoon off for coffee with friends and watching bad reality TV on my sofa. And going on a trip with the boyfriend is always super relaxing too: even a long car ride together calms me down.
Since I just took a two week holiday, I’ll be focussing on getting the blog back on track and creating new exciting content for my readers. On a personal level, I’m very much looking forward to summer because my boyfriend’s bands will be playing at nearly every Belgian and Dutch festival this season. I can’t wait to join him and root for him!
Antwerp, the one city I never get tired of.
Night in or night out?
Night in, preferably with the boyfriend, Netflix and pizza.
I keep going back to Josefin Dahlberg’s and Isabella Thordsen’s blogs.
Book you wish you’d written?
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.
Film you’d like to see a sequel of?
Cinderella (the original Disney one, of course).
Song that always gets you dancing?
Lights by Hurts.
(I have no clue what a tipple is...)
Best holiday destination?
Sandal 33 by Le Labo. Or fresh bread.
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
Ordering drinks on the beach without having to walk to the bar.
Do epic shit.
Frayed Denim Dress, Amalfi Jumpsuit, Stripe Jumper.
Meet Paulien at our Pop-in Shop for a style workshop (sign up here!), follow her on Instagram @pielaunio for her Pinterest-worthy pared-down style or shop her minimalist edit here!