People Connected By Similar Obsessions

Lillian Babaian

Meet the fashion designer who took her love of clothing to the blogosphere

Lillian Babaian, the blogger behind Studs and Sapphires, was working as an assistant designer for Guess—a job that required her to study magazines, Pinterest and the very first round of Instagram influencers for inspiration—when it hit her: She should start her own site. “I always wanted something of my own,” she says. “Friends and family used to come to me for consulting advice and style ideas all the time. Simultaneously, I was growing in the industry with my design career. All of that combined made me want to build out my personal brand.”

What began as a creative outlet and hobby slowly began to turn into much more. A few years after starting her blog, she switched jobs and was working for a private label, designing for department stores, when one of her pieces was featured in the September issue of Vogue. “It was a dream come true, but also a moment that drove me to break out on my own and put my whole heart into my blog,” she says.

Now, coming up on five years since she first launched, she describes Studs and Sapphires as sophisticated and classic with a little bit of edge. In addition to fashion, her followers are interested in travel and beauty—both categories she'll be exploring more in the year ahead. “As my blog grows, what’s most important to me is that I stay authentic to myself,” she says. “There’s a lot more to come.”

On her advice for always looking photogenic. “It’s all about posing with confidence. If you feel good, you’ll look good in the picture. It also helps to move around and shake it off right before you’re about to take a picture. Sometimes, I’m moving 90 percent of the time the camera is snapping. Doing something with my hair, moving my upper body, laughing—the goal is to capture as candid a pose as possible.”

On three pieces of clothing that should be in every woman’s closet. “A classic black pump, a classic white shirt and a blazer. You’re set! Zara is a great place to shop for basics at a more affordable price.”

On her favorite styling trick. “I’m all about a fun bag. I have multiple options, but I always go back to five favorites—all different colors. I have a camel-colored bag, two black bags, one red bag and the other one is a leopard print. Rotating your bag is a simple way to keep outfits feeling fresh.”

On something no one knows about you. “I’m Armenian, but I was raised in Sweden, and now I live in California. So, I can speak Armenian, Swedish and English. My culture is known for having, like, 300 family members. When I was in Sweden, I didn’t have much family there, but now that I’m in L.A., I have a really big community. A casual birthday gathering includes 70 people. It’s so fun.”