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Editor: Rebecca Kaplan

Designer: Shira Chung

Production Manager: Anet Sirna-Bruder

Library of Congress Control Number: 2018944557

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3336-9
eISBN: 978-1-68335-419-2

Text and photographs copyright © 2018 Aimee Song, except as listed on this page

Cover © 2018 Abrams

Published in 2018 by Abrams Image, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

Abrams Image books are available at special discounts when purchased in quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or educational use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For details, contact specialsales@abramsbooks.com or the address below.

Abrams Image® is a registered trademark of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

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INTRODUCTION

Ten years ago, in October 2008, I was living in a small student apartment in San Francisco that faced a parking lot while studying interior architecture, which I was able to do after three years at a reception desk job and saving enough money for tuition. I was active on MySpace and Xanga—one of the earliest blogging platforms—and thought it would be cool to start a blog on Blogspot that shared my love of the perfectly appointed Kelly Wearstler rooms and majestic Victorian row houses that dotted my adopted city—aka the very things I was planning on making my living on one day very soon.

My first post was a video of an Adele performance on Saturday Night Live (non-interiors related, I realize, but never mind that), followed by some inspirational interior design photos. And then, as I was taking photos of myself in an outfit to see if it looked appropriate for an after-class job interview (on a point-and-shoot camera set up on a tripod, no less), I decided to do something different: post one of the outfit photos on my blog.

The picture was blurry and looked like it had a yellow filter. But people within the Blogspot community found it and responded—favorably, in fact. And I realized how much fun it was to create content that people seemed to like.

No matter how busy I was with my two jobs and full-time class load, I always made time to tend to my blog—hosting images on a third-party hosting service, journaling, writing random thoughts about school, and, yes, posting photos of the outfits I was actually wearing to work and class (with sensible school flats sometimes swapped out for platforms that were not S.F.-friendly in the least). I made it a mission to post five times per week; even on days when everything seemed to be going wrong and I didn’t want to emerge from under the covers I would still take an outfit shot and post something new. Soon, other bloggers started reposting my photos. And before long Song of Style had an ever-growing following and some referral traffic.

Then, more people followed. And more referral traffic came my way. About a year after I began blogging it hit me that my words and photos were reaching thousands of people every month (150,000 people a month to be exact, according to Google Analytics). People started recognizing me at school, and complete strangers came up to me on the streets of San Francisco to say that they were a fan of my posts. More than once I was on the floor stacking boxes at the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse where I worked and customers who were trying on shoes acknowledged me and my blog. It was incredible. So incredible that I decided to invest in a better DSLR camera.

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When Song of Style hit its two-year mark, small brands began reaching out and asking for my address so they could send me products, and I took the lead from other bloggers I followed and added small banner ads on my site so I could dip my toe in the advertising game. I had no idea what I was doing, but as they say, fake it till you make it. And I faked it hard.

Soon bigger brands began getting in touch with bigger opportunities. In 2010 Fossil flew me to Dallas so I could style and model pieces for a holiday campaign. It was my first paid partnership job that came as a result of Song of Style, and it still rates as one of the most important and meaningful moments in my professional life. I couldn’t believe that I was able to get paid for doing something that I genuinely enjoyed so much.

After Fossil even more paid opportunities began to pop up. Then, around the time Song of Style turned three, I began getting invited to trips. And everything changed.

I grew up in Los Angeles and spent some time living in Japan and Korea as a child, not to mention we visited my grandma in Korea as a family. My parents split up when I was ten, so our family trips ended around that time, too (the family part being my favorite reason for traveling in the first place). Not to mention that my parents struggled financially, which meant that dreamy vacations were never a big part of our lives to begin with. When my classmates would come back from school breaks with tans and stories of their faraway adventures, I remember wishing to explore the world with my family and to make travel memories of my own.

Song of Style kept growing, and soon I was heading to New York with Charlotte Russe, and to Chicago, Florida, and Minnesota with Macy’s. In 2012 famed Italian boutique Luisaviaroma invited me to Florence to partake in Firenze4Ever, the company’s annual tech, fashion, music, and art festival. It was my first international trip that happened because of my blog, and I honestly couldn’t believe that I was considered a big enough name to be included among the like of The Blonde Salad helmer Chiara Ferragni, an OG fashion blogger with an insanely huge following who I respected (and still respect) so much. After that trip it was official: I had caught the travel bug, and it wasn’t going away anytime soon.

At that point Song of Style still felt like a hobby—an insanely fun and creative endeavor that I was incredibly passionate about working on as much as I could, even though I was still working at an architecture firm and moving toward my goal of becoming a full-time interior designer. But in 2011 I joined a new, small emerging platform called Instagram (you may have heard if it?) and things began to take off in a way that I never, ever in my wildest dreams could have expected.

Instagram opened my world up to a global audience, and I was getting comments and follows from people in countries that I’d only ever seen on a map. As my follower and engagement count went up, so did the amount of pinch-me opportunities that came my way. Luxury fashion and beauty brands, airlines, and even tourism boards wanted to work with me, and I got invitations to Morocco, Brazil, and others—again, places I’d only seen on a map and dreamed about visiting one day.

Today, with global fashion month happening twice a year, cruise shows in different cities each season, and photo shoots and partnership duties in places such as Dubai and Manila, I end up being on the road about eight months of the year. And I’m so incredibly fortunate to get to travel with people I love: my sister Dani, for one (who always makes everything better just by bringing her energy into a room), and my boyfriend Jacopo Moschin, one of the most talented photographers and smartest businessmen I know, who I met on a fateful trip to Morocco in 2014. While Jacopo has his own incredibly busy and burgeoning business and studio in New York, we try to collaborate as much as we can on shoots—which means many of our work trips to faraway locales end up being incredibly rich adventures that we get to share together. He’s curious and takes the lead when we travel, and because of him I get to see a slice of the world that I never even knew existed.

I’ve met so many wonderful people that mean so much to me because of my travels, and I can truly say I have people I care about in every corner of the globe. Each trip I embark on ends up being an opportunity to learn about new cultures, ideas, and viewpoints. And I always come home feeing surer of myself, having a broader knowledge about a bevy of topics and a feeling of being more aware of my place on this planet—not to mention a heart full of immense appreciation for every opportunity I have been afforded.

I decided to organize this book—which at its heart is a tenth anniversary celebration of my blog—by the places I’ve visited as a result of it, because the perspective that global exploration has given me is one of the most invaluable rewards of Song of Style. Today, more than ever, it’s so important to realize and understand the different angles and cultures that comprise our world, and I wanted to acknowledge that in this book.

You don’t have to travel like a blogger or a baller to reap the benefits of leaving your comfort zone. You can do something as simple as taking a drive to a neighborhood in your city that you’ve never before explored, because if you do it with a curiosity and an open mind (two vital components of travel success) you’ll come home richer and more fulfilled than when you left. I’ve never gone on a trip or adventure that I’ve regretted; even trips that have turned out completely different from what I had hoped still taught me unforgettable lessons and caused me to grow.

When I took my first outfit photo in my San Francisco apartment ten years ago, I never expected it to lead me to where I am today (travel pro tip #2,976: expect and embrace the unexpected). I wanted to work at an architecture firm, save enough money to buy a condo one day, and hopefully travel once a year when I was much, much older and settled. I couldn’t afford to study abroad in college, so travel was something that always felt unattainable. Now I realize that absolutely nothing in this world is inaccessible with the right amount of hard work and an unwavering belief in yourself.

I have new dreams and plans today that include continuing to explore the world (Istanbul, Australia, and Sri Lanka are three places at the top of the current bucket list) and transforming my global brand into a media company that gives readers a new perspective and broader knowledge of our world. I wouldn’t mind having a home to call my own in Italy, where my family can spend time creating cherished memories. And I want my Jacopo by my side for it all, of course.

Most importantly, I want you by my side, too—my readers and fans who have stayed with me as I’ve learned and grown throughout this process of turning a hobby into a business (complete with an ever-growing office and incredible team who make everything possible). We’ve all come up together, and so much of the joy I’ve been lucky enough to experience from Song of Style has happened as a direct result of you. There have been so many times that the hard work felt like too much and I didn’t want to continue, but having you all with me for the journey has always been the guiding light that moves me forward.

A lot has changed in the last ten years, but my gratitude remains unwavering. It’s a big, bold World of Style out there. I’m so excited to keep exploring it together.

Love,
Aimee

AMERICA

Austin

Chicago

Dallas

The Hamptons

Los Angeles

Miami

New York

Palm Springs

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Getting ice cream—one of the best activities in the world. Privacy Please dress; Isabel Marant boots.

AUSTIN

I went to Austin for the first time in April 2016 with Revolve for South by Southwest (SXSW). I’d never heard a bad thing about the city and had always wanted to go, and that trip—which I went on with my sister Dani and one of my closest friends Camila (the first trip Camila and I ever took together!)—didn’t disappoint. (How could a trip with your BFFs to an amazing, culturally progressive city with killer food ever be bad?) Think insane, creative comfort food, like cauliflower and mussels at a cool spot called Launderette, and roasted-beet-and-mint ice cream at Lick Honest Ice Creams, a parlor that my Instagram community recommended; amazing shopping (cowboy boots, anyone?); and a really trendy design and boutique hotel scene that feels upmarket but comfortable and unpretentious, aka my favorite aesthetic in the world.

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At our house. Privacy Please dress.

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When I saw these perfect Emmanuelle (peacock) rattan chairs in front of a hotel, I knew I had to have them for my house. I’ve since scored a very cool mini version that I found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, but I’m still searching for the perfect original. Fun fact: Right after this, I saw Anthony Bourdain, one of my actual on-earth idols, sitting inside the hotel. I totally stared at him and didn’t say hi and it was still one of the coolest celebrity sightings that has ever happened. L’Academie blouse; Tularosa skirt.

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L’Academie blouse; Tularosa skirt; Isabel Marant boots

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Dani (far right) in her new cowboy boots, which I bought her as a gift on this trip. This was our twinning (tripleting?) moment with Camila. All wearing Lovers and Friends; Dior sunglasses

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After eating at Jacoby’s, a famous local spot where we didn’t have a single bad meal. I bought the cowboy hat on this trip. Yee-haw. Privacy Please dress; Isabel Marant shoes.

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Everyone was taking photos in front of this wall. When in Austin . . . NBD dress; Chanel bag.

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Tibi jumpsuit and sandals.

CHICAGO

The first time I went to Chicago was in 2012 for a job with Macy’s and its house line, Bar III. I instantly fell in love with the city—people had incredible midwestern manners and charm and were very nice. The weather happened to be perfect, which doesn’t always happen in Chicago, and I went to the Randolph Street Flea Market, one of the best I’ve ever been to (think reasonably priced mid-century Herman Miller chairs that I still kick myself for leaving behind).

The second time I visited the Windy City was three years later, with my friend Jenny to help celebrate a Virgin Hotels opening. I took that trip to Instagram and started hitting up interesting people with great Chicago feeds—some of whom I still keep in touch with (that midwestern charm goes a long way in my book).

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I got a blowout at a salon that was, uh, not great. I showed a picture of what I wanted based on how my usual stylist, Anh Co Tran, does my hair. I got very big, very round beauty pageant curls—very not me. Like, not at all. Despite having an SOS FaceTime with Anh, I still had trouble taming the blown-out beast. This is me exploring (and trying to flatten my hair). Chloé sunglasses; IRO jacket; Celine bag; Teva sandals.

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Laer leather jacket; Wildfox Couture jeans; Isabel Marant shoes.

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Laer leather jacket; Tibi jumpsuit; Tibi sandals.

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IRO boots; Dior sunglasses.

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Local Celebrity dress; Tibi shoes.

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Laer jacket; Two Songs sweatshirt; Keepsake skirt

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Bar III sweater; Levi’s; Botkier bag; Chanel espadrilles

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At the Macy’s Bar III flea-market pop-up event. Bar III romper and jacket; Sigerson Morrison shoes.

DALLAS

True story: The very first time I went to Dallas, I was in my mom’s womb. My dad and his family ended up in Texas after they immigrated to the United States from South Korea, and my dad’s sister (who we call “the Dallas aunt”) lives there now. After that very early visit, I didn’t go back to Dallas until 2010, when I was invited by Fossil to style and star in a holiday shoot, which ended up being my very first paid blogging job. (Kind of crazy, considering I used to wear Fossil watches growing up.)