Profiles of Dress with Ashley Rector | Corporate Attorney & Founder of Harness Magazine

By: Kadiyah Lodge

Profiles of Dress is a journey through the lives of fascinating people who believe in the power of dress and who let their clothing speak for themselves.

Q: Who is Ashley Rector? Tell us about who you are and what you do.

A: I am from Columbus, Ohio. I live there currently. Originally…I am from Cleveland. I moved to Columbus for law school. So right now, I am an attorney, full-time, and I am also the founder of Harness Magazine. Harness is a digital and print publication that publishes articles, artwork poetry, really any creative expression from women around the world. Our jam is real stories, real women, real life because we really want women to share these experiences they’re going through and…the knowledge they’ve obtained with other women.


Q: When you get dressed every morning, what types of thoughts and questions go through your head when deciding what to wear?

A: I think the most boring thought that goes through my head is: “functional.” What does my day look like today? Am I going to be inside all day? Am I going to be up all day? Functionally, what does that look like? Second, who am I meeting and am I going to feel confident in the clothes that I’m wearing based on my meetings for that day? It’s hard because I have to switch back and forth between a very traditional legal job. Then, as the founder of Harness Magazine, which is more creative and artsy, I try to bring a little edge [to] my outfits every morning.


Q: How do you believe clothing can help change one’s perception of themselves and others?

A: Personal style is powerful. It is a reflection of ourselves and I think that what we wear conveys confidence sometimes and what we wear can also make us feel self-conscious….If I’m feeling confident going into a meeting…that all came from me waking up in the morning and putting on this banging dress that I thought: ‘Hey, I look really good, I’m gonna kill it.’ And I think that people perceive you differently based on what you dress in and there’s good and bad that comes with that….it conveys a message. So, it’s almost like communicating to other people–it’s interesting.


Q: If you could go back in time, what style advice would you give your younger self and why?

A: I think I would tell my younger self…don’t feel like you have to blend in with the masses. In the big picture of life, wear what you feel comfortable in and wear what you like and don’t feel like you have to go along with trends. I definitely felt like before I found out who I was I kind of just conformed to what everyone else [was] doing and that doesn’t always feel good.


Q: What is the best piece of fashion and style advice you’ve received that’s too good not to share with the world?

A: I read somewhere and forgive me, I don’t know who said the quote, but it went along the lines of: ‘Don’t be afraid to be an individual and express that individuality in what you wear.’ That’s invaluable advice…Caring too much about what people think, I think, hinders our ability to do things. I think if you could start with fashion and just kick ass and wear whatever the hell you want, then you can kick ass in all other aspects of your life.

This Q&A interview has been shortened.

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