Fashion, Family, Fitness: The 3 Guiding Principles of 'MC' Editor-in-Chief Nikki Ogunnaike and How They Intersect in Her Life

Nikki Ogunnaike
(Image credit: Nikki Ogunnaike)

Three tenets currently guide my life as I know it: fashion, family, and fitness. It’s not by design that these core topics all start with the letter F, but it does sort of roll off the tongue, right? They’re the three loves I always come back to, the passions I pour my time into, and in turn they center me. It’s not easy to balance all three—fashion and my job as editor-in-chief of Marie Claire can take up an outsize chunk of my time—but investing in family and friends, plus my fitness regimen, specifically running, brings immense joy to my life.

I’m by no means perfect at getting it all done, but I do have a few tips to share when it comes to finding your personal style, rethinking friendship and familial obligations, and sticking to a running routine.


Google “personal style” and 7,070,000,000 results will pop up. It’s also a popular topic on social media; I can’t scroll for longer than three minutes without coming across the exact items I need to nail a certain trend or whatever-core is popular that week.

But you can’t buy your way to the kind of personal style everyone envies. That, I think, comes with time, trial, and error. Since I started working in this industry more than 15 years ago, I’ve tracked patterns in my wardrobe, taking mental notes on the items I always come back to (wide-leg trousers, button-down shirts) and things I think are cute in theory but are probably not for me (tights as pants, miniature bags). I prefer low-lift but high-impact items—pieces that wow, but aren’t too complicated or fussy in nature. When I’m shopping, I ask questions like: Does this actually work in my everyday life, or is this for a lifestyle that is a figment of my imagination? Will I feel comfortable and at ease in these pieces, or will they be a source of agitation? Am I simply bored, or do I actually need to buy this? Do I already own multiple versions of this piece, or does this really fill a gap in my closet?

Slowing down to really think about these things has shone a light on my shopping habits and cut down on regrets. It’s also illuminated how accessories and personal jewelry—pieces I put on and rarely remove—can take an outfit to the next level. They’re like an exclamation point at the end of a great sentence.

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I recently saw a post on social media pointing out that as loved ones get older, rather than thinking about how many years you have left with them, you should consider the number of times you’ll get to see that person. For example: If you usually only spend holidays with loved ones, instead of thinking, I have five years with this person, you’d think, I’ll see them 10 more times. It’s a small tweak in mindset, but really underscores the importance of carving out space to spend with family—both the one I was born into and my chosen family.

Nikki Ogunnaike

(Image credit: Nikki Ogunnaike)

A lot of the time I spend with family is around special holidays, so we do those big: hours-long gatherings complete with tons of food, drinks, gifts, and laughs. My best friends are always invited—whoever is in town gathers at my sister’s place. As I get older, my idea of family continues to expand: more of a tribe, less nuclear. While extravagant gift-giving is usually not on the docket, I can’t help but give my parents some sort of luxury item. Accessories are usually a surefire win, especially with my mom, who is a lover of all things jewelry.

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2024 marks my 10-year runniversary—a word I made up to commemorate when I started running on a regular basis. In my late 20s, I decided to run my first half marathon because I wanted to accomplish a goal that had nothing to do with work. Since then, I’ve run 10 half marathons, the New York City marathon, and Hood to Coast, a 200-mile relay race in Portland, Oregon. Receiving medals is always a nice perk, but what I’ve really loved is the little life lessons I’ve learned from committing to this sport. I prefer to work out in the morning, so I view that time as an opportunity to do something for myself before I give myself over to a hectic job and whatever else the day has in store for me. Another thing I’ve learned is that each run is a new opportunity to put in some effort—and you should never diminish any effort you give to anything. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s okay to try.

Nikki Ogunnaike

(Image credit: Nikki Ogunnaike)

Finally, “run your own race” is a common refrain in the running community. It quite literally means: focus on the ground ahead of you, trust your training, and go at your own pace. But that mindset can also be applied to everyday life. Running has reinforced that I can’t get caught up in what others are doing around me. It’s not easy to avoid comparing myself to others, but it’s an active practice that’s incredibly important.

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Nikki Ogunnaike

Nikki Ogunnaike is the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire US. She has previously held roles at Harper's Bazaar, GQ, ELLE, Glamour, InStyle, and Vanity Fair. You may also recognize Nikki from her time as the host of Snapchat’s Online, IRL and IGTV's The Run Through. Based in Brooklyn, New York, in her free time Nikki enjoys running half marathons, learning about wine, and watching reality TV without an ounce of shame. You can follow her at @nikkiogun.