DRESSED in a bright orange skirt, matching shrug and killer heels, Sophie Ranson certainly puts the drab public-servant stereotype to rest.
For more than two years, the Gungahlin-based fashion blogger and Government IT consultant has offered Canberrans a glimpse into her every-day wardrobe on her personal style blog, Happy Schnapper – and there’s not a beige shirt or lanyard in sight.
“I’ve always loved being colourful at work, I think it improves your mood and it will always draw compliments because it’s a little bit different,” the 30 year old says.
Happy Schnapper is devoted to showcasing, through several photos per week, Sophie’s every outfit and accessory itemised, and is aimed for fashionistas on a budget.
Sophie originally started the blog “just for friends” but it is now part tutorial, part sartorial voyeurism for the masses, reaching around 40,000 hits per month.
“Initially I wanted to do the blog because work colleagues would say: ‘Oh you always look so good, how do you do it?’ So I wanted to show people that dressing for work can be easy on a budget,” Sophie says.
“When I first started I posted what I was actually wearing every day, but it just resulted in not-so-great photographs and I couldn’t write that much, so I started to post slightly less but put a bit more time into the photography and putting the outfits together, so it was higher quality.”
And although her wardrobe is to-die-for – she has a spare room at home for her shoe collection alone – Sophie says her outfits usually cost no more than $150.
“I’m usually pretty thrifty, so I’ll go shopping usually every fortnight and just pick up two or three items, with brands ranging from mid-range to the more affordable, such as Target, Cotton On, or second-hand clothing on ebay,” she says.
“I do have a rule though, if I get a new garment, I have to throw something out. It’s about understanding your wardrobe, if you’ve got lots of pairs of jeans you don’t really need another pair – it’s about getting leverage off your items.”
Sophie’s blog includes the popular “tight-ass Tuesdays”, where she will put together an outfit for under $100, while outfits on other days are usually under $200.
Husband Michael acts as her personal photographer – “I bribe him,” she laughs – using the backdrop of Canberra’s picturesque streets and greenery.
Sophie believes the rise of self-style blogs is due to “relatability”, and what might appear as narcissism is actually an exchange of ideas about fashion, bodies and consumerism.
“I think everyone goes through days where they just want to wear flat shoes, and I definitely go through those where I just wear flat shoes, pants, a basic top. It’s about being real; people can relate to me,” she says.
Sophie says her readers often recognise her on the street and tell her they “love” the blog.
“My worst fear though is if I run into a reader and I’m at the supermarket wearing trackies… I’ve got a fashion reputation to uphold!” she laughs.
Visit Sophie’s blog at happyschnapper.com
Main photo: Gary Schafer
All photos in gallery are from Sophie’s blog.