Olga Montserrat, Blogger, 12:04
Today we have the pleasure of introducing Olga Montserrat! Olga is the local talent behind 12:04 - your new go-to blog for refined style paired with heartfelt substance. She is not only an online resource for visual inspiration and fashion tips but an in-demand Art Director of the highest regard! This badass Bay Area career lady has worked with everyone from The SF Giants to our favorite feminist fashion mouthpiece - Man Repeller! We grabbed a drink with Olga at the ever-so-elegant Trou Normand to hear what she has to say about building her blog and now we're in serious awe! Read on and you will be too! Enjoy!
LSG: Hi Olga!! Tell us a little bit about your life outside the blog.
During the day, I’m a Senior Art Director in advertising with an expertise and emphasis on social media. By night, I’m a freelancer in the East Bay, a blogger, an owner of a giant cat named Suitcase, and occasionally a painter.
LSG: What sparked the idea for your blog?
In my professional life, I act as the gatekeeper for brands to curate and maintain what their message and look is on social media — which is essentially a never-ending exercise in restraint. All that discipline left me with a yearning to let loose and be creative in my own way. So one late night in 2006 I signed up for my blog and just started posting.
LSG: How did you pick the name?
Ha! I put 12:04 down as a placeholder until I came up with something else brilliant. Of course that never happened, so the original name stuck. 12:04 is my birthday, December 4th.
LSG: How long did you roll the idea around before getting started?
About 2 seconds. To me, style is a personal form of branding that can be experimental, fun, or uniform. It's a practice that deserves the same editing and discipline I apply as an Art Director to brands I work with. So, my decision to start a blog was almost instant because my interest in fashion aligned with what I love doing in my professional life.
LSG: What have you seen result in the most growth?
Two things, mainly: I believe my personal style is a never-ending process that grows and evolves throughout the years, so my own personal style has resulted in the most growth. When I first started out I would chase trends listlessly, which was fun, but now I know my body and what really works for it. When I incorporate a trend into my wardrobe now, it’s done in a more edited way that still feels unique.
Blogging is something I do in my free time, so for me the other area of most growth has been my ability to appreciate my family and friends. I’m a very lucky girl in that my friends and family are die hard supporters and have been kind enough to take my photos when my husband can't. I’m married to my best friend, photographer, and partner in crime, Nick, and together we collaborate on a lot of creative projects, including my blog. I’ve also met a lot of talented people through blogging and have received a lot of emails and comments throughout the years of people supporting what I’m doing. Those comments from readers and my personal relationships have been the most rewarding.
LSG: Biggest lessons in the first year?
I’ve been blogging for way more than a year, but the biggest lesson I've learned from blogging is to be authentic. Honestly, just do you. it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing because blogging and social media is all about pretty visuals and #goals. I think blogging is most fun when you can ignore all that and just be yourself. I used to be so worried about being relevant in so many things that it sucked all the energy and fun out of blogging. I let go of all that and I just focus on posting whatever I want, whenever I want. Blogging isn’t my business and doesn’t pay my bills, and I really like the independence and the freedom that comes with that. I can focus on keeping 12:04 about my style and my creativity.
LSG: What kind of advice would you give people thinking about starting a blog? Mistakes to avoid?
First of all, don’t overthink starting a blog. Just do it! There are so many platforms right now that make it easy to sign up and start posting to a beautiful template. So go for it! My second piece of advice is going to make me sound like a broken record, but it is so important: just be freaking authentic. These days blogging can seem so business-oriented and at times homogenized. My personal favorite blogs are the ones that are creating cool and unique content, like mixing and matching fashion in a really novel way — kind of like street style used to be in the heyday of Tommy Ton.
LSG: Tell us about your LSG shop picks! Why did you select what you did, and where would you wear this outfit? What do you love about each piece?
I chose a couple pieces that I felt would enhance my endless pursuit of Gamine style. I really liked the whimsical bows on Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Button Up balanced by the severity and dressiness of the structure. That combination of hard and soft appeals to me as a self-proclaimed tomboy.
I am obsessed with the cut of the Nude Label Bodysuit paired with the full Demy Lee Skirt. I’m surprised I went for it because it’s just so unapologetically girly, which is unexpected for me. The balance of the tight bodysuit and the lady-like skirt is just such a classic combination, it reminds me of graceful ballerinas in Degas paintings and Audrey Hepburn. Who wouldn’t want to try that?
I also picked out the Martiniano Glove Flats. They’re incredible - the equivalent of high-waisted jeans in the way that they cover most of your toes. I can totally see myself wearing those with practically anything in my closet, from boyfriend jeans to mini dresses. Finally, that delicate Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Silk Dress is just the most beautiful shade of green - it's perfect all on its own as a minimalist piece, but I liked toughening it up with a ton of intricate necklaces stacked on top of each other. Again, that balance of feminine and tough is what I love to aim for.