Vanidy Fair Fashion Spotlight: Shelby Hart’s Cool Girl Fall

An Interview with Instagram Dreamgirl Shelby Hart on Style and Body Positivity

Hot Girl Summer is over, and with temperatures finally dropping in Nashville, it felt like the right time to turn to girls who keep it cool for inspiration.  No one embodies Cool Girl Fall more than Vanderbilt Sophomore and Instagram dreamgirl Shelby Hart, whose effortlessly chic style and filter-less, yet curated feed are an impressive balance of perfection without trying.  I sat down with Shelby to get the scoop on her closet staples, social media philosophy, and the key to body positivity.

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To learn more about the secrets behind Shelby’s iconic mirror selfies, favorite pieces, and her radiant confidence, read her interview below.

After weeks of phone tag and mixed up schedules, Shelby and I finally sat down on a chilly Tuesday night in my apartment to talk fashion, confidence, and Instagram.  Radiating confidence and poise, I was struck instantly by the maturity of the twenty year old woman.  Shelby is currently a sophomore double majoring in French and Cognitive Studies.  Clad in biker shorts, a UPenn sweatshirt, and her favorite doc marten boots, she lounged in my apartment living room while we chatted.  Echoing wisdom beyond her years, Shelby opened up about her closet staples and personal philosophy on tackling the weird world of Instagram.

On Fashion:

Favorite brand: AreYouAmI

Favorite places to shop: Shopbop and Ssense

Favorite five pieces in her closet: an AreYouAmI backless turtleneck dress, a bell-sleeved sweatshirt from activewear line Kushni, her UNIF safety pin skirt, Orseund Iris tank top, and the best fitting pair of ripped, light wash Cotton Citizen jeans.

Favorite influencers: @MVB, @TylynnNguyen, @SamiMiro, @kristennoelcrawley

Wishlist: Mackage reversible Zinnia jacket in Cobalt, Jacquemus le Chiquito purse, YSL Billy platform boots

Go to Lazy Outfit: AreYouAmI biker shorts, crop top or boyfriend sweatshirt, doc martens

Her style in her own words: minimalist, trendy when it’s worth it, and “anything tight, black, and little”

Strategy for getting dressed: Putting on music in the morning and letting it dictate her vibe for that day.

On Everything Else:

What fashion and getting dressed means to Shelby:

To Shelby, fashion is her most important form of self expression.  Getting dressed is her way of deciding how she presents herself to the world.  When she is feeling better about herself, she will be more expressive and confident about what she wears.  When that is the case, Shelby describes her style as “quirky”— she noted, though, that some people view her “quirky” as “risque.”  A huge advocate of dressing based on mood, evident in the way she starts every morning with music, getting dressed to Shelby is a major way to set the tone for her day.

How she stays authentic on Instagram:

If you have ever come across @shelbzhart on Instagram, you have been graced with a collection of effortless mirror selfies of Shelby’s incredibly well styled outfits.  When asked about her mindset in using the major platform, Shelby simply said, “No one can stop me.  No one can stop me from wearing what I want, saying what I want, and posting what I want.”  A huge part of this, according to Shelby, is overcoming what people think or say about her because at the end of the day, it does not matter all that much.  In the words of Shelby: “Why worry about something you can’t control?”

Shelby has healthy habits in using social media along with her confident, laissez-faire mindset.  As much as she enjoys the app, Shelby notes she tries to limit her time on there.  Pointing out what may seem obvious— “no one is going to fall in love with you because you use the best filter”— and actually living by it is how Shelby is able to use the social media platform without obsessing over it.  Her confidence in herself and ability to stay present in her actual life are the two most important components to having a social media presence that accurately depicts her true self.

Her thoughts on body positivity:

When asked about how she stays so positive, Shelby was able to collect her thoughts into a very simple sentiment: “If you look good, you look good.  It doesn’t matter what people say.”  Body positivity is more about treating your body well than focusing on the physical aspects of it.  She learned this at an early age, when she said she saw “thinspiration” blogs on Tumblr and was completely disgusted.  Turning away from looking at and comparing her own body to others, Shelby says she focuses on her own wellness.  A huge part of this is appreciating what she was born with and expressing herself in a way that feels best, which, in her case, is through fashion.  In Shelby’s eyes, “Physical beauty is not real beauty, in truth.  And it doesn’t matter what the person next to you looks like because she is not you.”  No matter what your age or sense of style is, we all have a lot to learn from the incredible poise and confidence of Vanidy Fair’s own Shelby Hart.


Thank you so much to Shelby for participating in this interview.  You can check her out at @shelbzhart on Instagram or see her walking around campus in her always amazing outfits.

By Maddy Nadelman, Assistant Fashion Editor, Class of 2020