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The Job Interview: New Hampshire’s own fashionista

Alana Finnie, a "style setter" for the Mall at Rockingham Park, poses for a portrait in Salem on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff

Alana Finnie, a "style setter" for the Mall at Rockingham Park, poses for a portrait in Salem on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff

Fashion-challenged residents of New Hampshire, rejoice. Alana Finnie is here to help you find the perfect shoes to match your favorite dress and the ideal lipstick to complement your skin tone.

Finnie, a Concord freelance writer, was recently selected as a “Simon style setter” for the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem.

Simon Property Group, which owns the mall and hundreds of others across the country, implemented the nationwide style-setter program this year as a way for shoppers to receive localized fashion tips on store products. Finnie was selected in April after Simon representatives encouraged her to apply when they found her blog, Sassy Fashionista, which she began in 2007.

In her new position, Finnie will provide shoppers with beauty, fashion and style advice via her own page on the program’s blog,

Despite her small-town upbringing in Belmont, Finnie said she has a horde of style knowledge to bring to New Hampshire residents from when she attended college in Boston and studied abroad in Italy. She recently spoke with the Monitor about her passion for fashion.

How did your interest in fashion begin? When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to get out of Belmont. It was the sticks, honestly. I was deciding what pair of dungarees to put on. When I graduated, I knew I had to go to a city, and just walking around on the streets (of Boston) was amazing. And then going to Italy, of course; I was in Rome, so it was like the fashion capital of the world. Prior to all that, I didn’t really have any fashion knowledge.

What are some of your duties as a style setter? I am writing a minimum of five posts per month, but I like to do a lot more than that. And I have at least one appearance as an actual model (at a Simon mall event) each month. And I’m always available for someone to come up to me and ask me questions about

style. I always feel everyone has the ability to look fabulous and they just need advice.

With so many posts per month, where do you get the inspiration for post ideas? Is it from things you’ll just stumble across while shopping, or do you set out looking for something you can write about? I definitely do a lot of shopping around. I go online shopping and I spend a little too much money, but I’ll really like what I see. I’ll see a product, like a shirt, a plain T-shirt, and I’ll think to myself, what can I do to dress this up or dress this down? And I’ll try to find accessories or other items to go with it. I like the challenge of that.

What are some topics you have covered in your blog so far? I like to keep my blogs classic, so things that don’t go out of style. I just wrote a post about nautical fashion. . . . I wrote about the top five things all girls should have in their wardrobe, and I focused on pearls, a little black dress, that type of thing. I’ve written a nice summer blog about Sephora and their waterproof products. I really do cover everything.

You will hold your style setter position for six months. Will you continue working in the fashion writing field after? I plan on continuing my blog, and I plan on still doing what I’m doing now, a lot of freelance writing on the topic. Writing is my passion and I love doing it, so I’m just grateful for this opportunity to take it to the next level.

(Mel Flanagan can be reached at 369-3321 or mflanagan

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