In Bed with the Woman Behind Corporate Catwalk
Corporate America is known for many things. Finding the next budding fashionista walking down its hallway is not usually one of them. But Olivia Trewatha of the Corporate Catwalk wanted to change that. Trewatha, who grew up in the Midwest, always had a knack for fashion. She built a successful career in the technology industry (where it’s notoriously acceptable to wear a hoodie to work), and she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her fashion sense for a career in an industry that she loved.
Instead, Trewatha started a blog as an inspiration to herself and other women who loved fashion, but worked in a corporate environment. What began as a passion project for Trewatha has grown into full-time job. Betting on herself, Trewatha has taken the leap of faith to commit herself fully to the Corporate Catwalk, and with a special delivery on the way (a baby boy!), she’s never been readier to take on new adventures.
Refinery: Tell us a little bit about the Corporate Catwalk and how you started the blog and the inspiration behind it.
Olivia: When I started out my career, I was working in Corporate America. I worked in an office with all men and everyone wore gray suits. I wanted to feel inspired going to work every day. I wanted to wear something different that women my age in the corporate world want to wear. So, I started Corporate Catwalk as a hobby, as a place to write and post pictures, and to gather inspirations from myself. That was the concept behind starting the blog. It was a hobby about bringing inspiration to other women in the corporate world.
Have you always liked to write?
No. I don’t like writing very much actually (laughs). Writing has been something that I’ve had to learn. I enjoy writing, but I wouldn’t say I’m an excellent writer, even though that’s what I should say. I wasn’t getting A+ on my papers in school. My husband, Matt, is the editor of the blog.
What does Fashion and Style mean to you?
Coming from the Midwest, the idea of fashion was different. For me, it was this idea of a woman in NYC who wore high heels and a nice suit or the latest trends. She was always wearing high-end designers. With the rise of social media, fashion has changed so much. Fashion has become more about the person and how they translate clothing and pieces into an actual wardrobe and personal style.
I moved to San Francisco when I was older, and it seemed like everyone went to work in either a grey suit or a hoodie. When I moved to NYC, it was great to see street-style fashion everyday fashion from the runways. It’s been great to see how people have embraced the change. It’s not all about high end designers anymore. It’s about more than that.
What has been the progression of your personal style, from the Midwest to San Francisco to NYC?
I think I’ve always dressed the same. I was looking back at pictures of my senior year in high school recently, and I was wearing pieces that I would still wear right now! I wear a lot of blazers, black and white pieces, more feminine, and tailored pieces. I have a very clean aesthetic to my style.
Did your personal style ever affect your career in the corporate world?
My style has definitely affected my career in a good way. People always say, “Dress for the job you want,” which as cliché as it sounds, is very important. You want to wake up every morning and look put together. It’s not about having the nicest outfit in the office either, it’s about presently yourself well.
Who is your style icon and why?
Olivia Palermo. If I go back to the other question “What is Fashion?” Fashion five or ten years ago wasn’t the reality TV star or socialite in NYC. It was Cindy Crawford, Chanel or Vogue, so it’s cool to see someone like Olivia Palermo, who, to me, really defines fashion in New York. Palermo is who she is and she doesn’t apologize for it. She is a really cool person to look up to here in NYC.
How would you describe your style in three words?
Classic, clean and tailored.
On Corporate Catwalk you talk about a lot of different topics. You’re not only discussing fashion, but you’re talking about finance, career advice, beauty and more. Can you tell us about your creative process when creating content for the blog?
Most of the content around my blog is relative to what’s going on in my life. If I read a really good article about finance, I might feel inspired to write about it. I also get ideas from friends or blog readers asking questions. I’ll think ‘that’s actually a good article or content that I can put on the blog.’
Do you have a favorite topic to write about?
My family. I know it’s completely opposite of what Corporate Catwalk is about, but my family is my absolute favorite topic to write about.
Any words of wisdom or advice for someone who is just starting their blog and is also in the corporate world?
Just do it. Sometimes you have to take risks. My husband and I have always lived by “high risk, high reward” motto. You should also have a plan in place. Your job is always going to be there. You can always go back into your career. It’s important for people, especially when they are young, to do what they want to do. You have to take chances. Especially when you don’t have a family. It’s kind of now or never, right?
When did you leave your corporate job to fully focus on Corporate Catwalk?
March 2016. One day I woke up and thought, ‘Tomorrow is my last day of work.’ I know myself well enough to know I would be fine either way. I didn’t burn any bridges on my way out. If the blog wasn’t successful or if I changed my mind, I knew that I could always go back. I left a few doors wide open. The corporate world is all about leaving opportunities open.
I think with my blog there was an opportunity, and it was knocking. I was either going to go down this corporate career path, and put my head down and commit to it. Or, I was going to try to do something that I really loved, which was my blog. When I started Corporate Catwalk, the goal was to start a blog and when we wanted to have a family, it would potentially allow me to have the freedom to not work. I created the opportunity to work on my blog and watch that grow. Maybe I’ll produce a fashion line in the future. I’ve always wanted to do something with tech and fashion. I have so many ideas!
We read on your blog that you wanted to take some time off to travel the world. How are those plans coming along?
Not as well (laughs). My husband and I used to travel a lot, but we haven’t as much lately because time flies and every time we turn around there’s something to do here or we have to get the nursery ready or have a baby shower. I think when we have the little one, we’ll start to travel a bit more.
Do you have any travel tips?
Less is more. My husband and I are all about traveling light. You’ll have less to worry about. We’re also big public transportation people. I’d rather spend a hundred bucks on a really nice meal and not on Uber rides.
Do you have any exciting upcoming plans for Corporate Catwalk?
We have some really exciting things coming up. We’re transitioning the blog to focus more on lifestyle content and not solely on fashion. We will incorporate more about living in NYC and family topics, although there will still be lots of fashion on the blog. It will be nice to talk about something else other than just my top five favorite blazers!