Madison is a local fashion blogger and model, her most recent modeling job saw her rocking some of pieces from Highway Robbery’s fall collection.  She was born and raised in Pittsburgh and talks ever so fondly of her home town, particularly of the city’s close-knit community and supportive creative scene.  If you’ve read any of my other interviews you’ll know that this is a recurring comment!

Madison’s style has a chic rock ‘n’ roll vibe, she teams classic wardrobe staples with leather and band tees and it works SO well!  Read on to find out more about her blog, Chic and Chai and to see what Madison has to say about Pittsburgh’s style!

Photo courtesy of Madison Taylor

First off, tell me a little about yourself.
My name is Madison Taylor. I’m a local model and blogger, and I run my own style website called Chic & Chai. I’m a senior journalism student at Point Park University, and I recently attended Teen Vogue Fashion University in New York City as an editorial/pr/social major. My hobbies include collecting every NYLON magazine I’ve ever received and attempting to wake up my rescued coonhound named Lila. Seriously- she’s always sleeping!

How long have you been in Pittsburgh and what do you think makes it a great city to live in?
I was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, so I have a lot of great memories here. One of my favorite aspects of Pittsburgh is how close-knit it is, particularly in the fashion community. There are so many creative people here, and the majority of them are eager to support one another. Modeling really introduced me to a wonderful network of business owners, bloggers, photographers, stylists, and makeup artists. It’s been amazing to see these people supporting my endeavors with Chic & Chai as well. Many of these professional ties have even developed into very close friendships.

Where are your go to places when you’re shopping for clothes? Do you tend to shop in malls or are there a selection of local boutiques that you head to again and again?

I’m actually really into thrifting and shopping local. My favorite Pittsburgh-based boutique is Highway Robbery Vintage in the South Side. In fact, one of the highlights of my modeling career was walking in their runway show at the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer a few years ago. Kate Colussy (the owner) has an incredible eye for styling vintage pieces in a modern way, resulting in killer looks that you won’t find anywhere else!

And while secondhand clothing holds a special place in my heart, I still occasionally make room in my closet for Free People, Forever 21, and H&M.

What do you think about Pittsburgh’s style and how would you describe it?

We’re a small city, so it takes a bit longer for big city trends to catch on here. I think a lot of the bad fashion reputation that Pittsburgh has stems from people being afraid to step out of tradition for whatever reason. But the thing with fashion is that you can’t escape it. The business women wearing dresses with sneakers to the bus stop are actually subscribing to a trend, even if they aren’t totally aware of it. That’s why I love that Pittsburgh is currently booming with street style photographers and bloggers: there ARE stylish people here. Fashion is more than high heels and extravagant gowns. It’s simply about being confident in what you’re wearing. It’s great to see more and more people taking pride in their appearances.  If I had to describe Pittsburgh’s style, I would say it’s classic with an urban twist.

Describe your own personal style and why it works for you.

My personal style is essentially a rock ‘n’ roll approach to minimalism. I try not to overthink my outfits or clutter them with too many accessories. I live for band tees, jeans, and boots. I think it works for me because I’m quite short, so it’s fun to look a bit tougher than I actually am!

Photo courtesy of Madison Taylor

What or who inspires your style?

My style is very inspired by music and movies. I grew up on classic rock and pop punk, and I love showing that side of me in little ways. Sometimes I do this by adding a leather jacket. Other times, I wear studded shoes or jewelry. Films like The Virgin Suicides have also left me gravitating toward bohemian pieces. I love channeling characters like Lux Lisbon with muted colors and timeless textures, like knits and lace.

What’s your most treasured item in your closet?

That’s a tough one! I guess it would have to be my custom David Bowie purse, which was made using an actual Aladdin Sane record from the ’70s. It’s a great statement bag because the front panel is the album cover with Bowie’s signature lightning bolt makeup and the back panel is the vintage RCA vinyl, complete with the Side B track listing. It never fails to be a conversation piece!

Tell me a little about your blog and what inspired you to start it.

Chic & Chai captures my sugar and spice style through a combination of creative text and photos.

After starting a style column at my performing arts high school in 2012, I quickly realized that fashion writing and photography allowed me to express myself in so many different ways. While I loved modeling, I also really wanted to get behind the lens rather than in front of it. When I finished my year-long internship at College Fashionista, I decided it was time for me to take control with a blog of my own.

I started Chic & Chai because I really wanted to show people that fashion isn’t exclusive. It can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of budget or location.

Time really does fly when you’re having fun- I’m now approaching my one-year blogiversary, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!


If you’d like to check out the other stylish Pittsburghers I’ve
interviewed, and find out more about #stylishpittsburgh campaign then
head over here!

if you’re a local boutique or style-obsessed Pittsburgher and would
like to be featured, or maybe you know someone who you think deserves to
be featured?  Get in touch!!