“Passion for fashion”: 10 years on, STU alum reflects on her time at STU

Portrait of St. Thomas University Alumna Emma Chapple, creator of the blog 'Elevate with Emma.' (Submitted: Emily Collins)

“On the outside, Chapple seems unflappable.” 

This is a quote from a 2014 The Aquinian article titled “Passion for fashion” — a story about St. Thomas University alum Emma Chapple. At the time, she was in second year and juggling her job at College Hill Social Club, managing the STU Her Campus chapter and running between school and the doctor due to her chronic illness.

Nearly 10 years later, Chapple admits she was “completely flappable.”

“I think that just getting older and figuring out what’s actually important to you is a big thing.”

For Chapple, writing has always been important to her. Since middle school, she has been blogging. As a journalism student at STU, she was encouraged to blog to build a writing portfolio. 

This resulted in Chapple starting a Her Campus chapter at STU: a female-focused university magazine that has chapters across North-America. She managed the first chapter in Atlantic Canada. 

“I am really proud of what we did, even though it didn’t last very long,” she said. “I would love for somebody to pick it back up, but it is a lot of work.”

Between uploading all of the magazine content herself, coordinating with Her Campus headquarters and running campus events, Chapple mentioned feeling burnt out for much of her time at university.

“I was just getting tired of trying to keep up this image of being this person who can do it all, who doesn’t have any problems,” she said. 

Now, Chapple lives in Toronto and works as a lawyer. While it is demanding, she has learned to prioritize the importance of her mental and physical health. Part of this is doing things she enjoys, such as going to the Toronto International Film Festival or working on her current blog, Elevate With Emma, which she started in May.

Elevate With Emma is fashion-focused, specifically towards women like Chapple who are lawyers and dress in business clothes for work. In a male-dominated field like hers, she noticed a lack of personality in professional clothing. With her blog, she aims to Elle Woods-ify the courtroom.

“You need to be able to add your own personal style to it or else you’re not going to feel confident,” she said. “You’re going to feel like you’re dressing up in an old person’s outfit.”

For Chapple, injecting personality into her work outfits is something she loves. Suits do not have to be boring.

“Just because you’re working this job doesn’t mean you have to lose your own sense of style.”

Her “passion for fashion” originates from her childhood dolls, the well-known Barbie, and the lesser known British doll Sindy. Chapple was born in the United Kingdom and has a fond nostalgia for Sindy — a feeling which gave her the opportunity to be featured in a Wall Street Journal article back in summer at the height of the Barbie Movie hype.

Aside from being interviewed for the Wall Street Journal, Chapple has also met actress Julia Fox, known by many for her pronunciation of “Uncut Gems”. Chapple, who dressed up as Fox for Halloween, writes about this fondly on her blog.

“It’s been quite a week,” she wrote in her blog post. 

Chapple’s blog is not only an aide to those looking for outfit guidance, it is her passion. Although one day she hopes for it to become a source of income, she is happy keeping it as a hobby. Her goal is to always find joy in her blog, which was not always the case previously.

“I started doing this again, because I felt really inspired to do it. And I don’t want to lose that.”