Hillary Dixon of “Style in Small Town” Talks Her Favorite Pieces and Layering For Winter


The stereotype around fashion in Middle America and small towns is that there is none. Sure, there many be less boutiques and celebrity style may not be as near to inspire your wardrobe, but with online shopping, now anyone anywhere can purchase the style they want to have.

We talked to Hillary Dixon of Style in a Small Town. She shares with us how she stays trendy and, most importantly, on budget in her small town of Normal, Illinois. As she lives in a part of the U.S. where she experiences all kinds of weather, she gives us great advice on layering and staying chic this winter.



Q&A with Hillary Dixon

How would you describe your sense of style?

​My style is a little trendy, but mostly classic​.


Per your namesake “Style in a Small Town”, is it hard to be stylish when you have limited options? Where do you shop?

When I can’t find something that I’m looking for in a store, I always go to the internet. I like to shop the sites that offer free shipping and free returns, like Nordstrom. If I’m not sure if something is going to fit or not, I will buy two sizes and return whichever one doesn’t work for me. I do most of my shopping at or online with Old Navy and Target. TJMaxx is another great store for awesome deals and designer pieces that you might not find elsewhere. I’ve also been doing a lot of shopping at Loft. They have the best sales!​


You are known for providing “big city trends” on a “small town budget”. Which pieces would you advise people to splurge vs. save? What do you splurge on?

I usually try to keep the pieces that I feature on my blog under $100, but there are definitely those pieces that I believe are an investment and I don’t mind spending a little more money on for good quality. Whenever I’m deciding to spend a little more on an item, I use the cost-per-wear analysis. If I’m going to wear something 10 times and it costs $100, then the cost-per-wear is low and therefore worth spending the money.​DSC_0317

Pieces that I believe are [worth the] investment are a great handbag in a neutral color like black, brown, or tan. Also, a fitted blazer. I have broad shoulders and therefore struggle with finding a well-fitting blazer. When I come across one that fits I don’t mind spending a little more because I know I’ll wear it to work with trousers or with jeans for a going out look. Jeans may also be hard to find that fit you really well. But, think about the number of times you wear jeans. You want ones that aren’t going to turn your shoes or your legs blue when it rains, and ones that hold their shape and will last.


As Illinois DEFINITELY experiences every season, how does your style change per season? What additions or changes will you make for the winter?

I’m definitely a skirt girl. I love any and all styles of skirts because the styling possibilities are endless. They are also one of the best transitional pieces in a wardrobe because when it gets cold all you have to do is add tights and boots or booties work too, maybe with a heel, for a little more dressed-up​ look. Also, when it gets cold, I love to layer. I usually start out with a simple top and then layer a jacket, blazer, or leather jacket over it, then add a blanket scarf to keep me warm.


DSC_0203What is your favorite piece in your closet?

Oh man, this is hard. It’s like asking me to choose my favorite kid (which I don’t have any of, yet!) At the moment it has to be my new BlankNYC flare jeans. I honestly think I could sleep in them. They are so soft, with a little bit of stretch and BONUS: high-waisted so there’s no muffin top​! They are also the perfect length (for me). I’m 5’9 and like to wear heels, but there are also days that I want to be a little casual too, so I can wear both sneakers and heels with them.


Who/what are your style influences? Are they certain people, designers, or decades?

I can’t figure it out, but Olivia Palermo has hand-down THE best style. She never looks bad. I get style inspiration everywhere. I follow a lot of blogs myself, Pinterest, and good ‘ole fashion magazines are where I get the most inspiration, but it has to be the print copies. I like to tear out pages and create mood boards every season. Then I hang them in my room so if I need some inspiration I just look at those.​


DSC_0079What are your must-have pieces for this winter?

Must haves…as mentioned before, tights! I’m not talking nylons, I mean black or whatever color you like, opaque, a little thicker than normal, tights. They will keep you warm when you want to transition any skirt to winter. Scarves, the blanket kind. When I wear them to work, I wouldn’t mind taking a nap and using it as a blanket sometimes, but not only are they fashionable and totally in this year, but they are functional and will definitely keep you warm. There are some great colors and patterns out there too. My favorite piece for winter would have to be sweaters. Pretty much any kind of sweater, but I prefer ones with the big cowl necks and a little oversized that can be worn with a great pair of faux leather leggings (another must-have) or skinny jeans and cute furry boots, or as we like to call them in the Midwest, snow boots! 




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