From fashion influencer to teacher

From fashion influencer to teacher

By Adan Villa, Reporter

Mary Fremeau is a well-known English teacher at West Chicago Community High School, but many do not know she has a passion for fashion as well. When I sat down with Fremeau in mid-October, the question on my mind was has she always wanted to be a teacher? Or did she, at one point, want to be a fashion influencer? 

Fremeau has worked at West Chicago Community High School for six years. Before starting her teaching career, Fremeau attended St. Mary’s College, across from the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in English and minored in secondary education. She graduated in 2009 and began working for Chicago Public Schools before subbing-long term. In 2012, she got her first full-time teaching job at St. Charles East High School while completing her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University, a process which took two years.

Fremeau worked at East for a year, then went to teach at West Aurora High School for another year, before making Community High School her home base. It is evident she is highly esteemed by students and staff.

“She is a nice teacher, and I like being in her class. It is very fun!” said Daniel Zlataric, a senior at WEGO who has class with Fremeau this year.

Senior Daniel Canda added, “Mrs. Fremeau is a caring, dedicated, and passionate teacher who is committed to her students and role as a teacher. Her leadership and guidance have helped prepare me for the next steps in my educational career.”

“Mrs. Fremeau is a great teacher, she’s always fun and passionate about teaching! She also takes time to talk to her students, to get to know everyone and is so understanding. Her class is one of my favorites, especially our Monday debates,” added senior Satindar Grewal.

English teacher Tara Deleon said, “Mary is a joy to work with! I am so grateful that she has been on the English 2 Team with me for the last few years. To our team meetings, she brings a much-needed light-hearted spirit and a genuine desire to help all students succeed.”

Fremeau on a walk with son, Sebastian.

In addition to teaching, and enjoying time with her family, which includes her husband, and children, Bernadette, age five months, and Sebastian, age 3, Fremeau works out at Pure Barre, located in downtown Geneva. She is approaching 900 classes at the studio.

“I have been doing it for years now. A ton of reps, Pilates, and yoga all put in together,” said Fremeau about Pure Barre.

She also enjoys going on long walks, usually up to 4 miles, with her family. She also loves to walk her dog, Bentley, an 8-year-old Yorkie Bichon (adopted back in 2017). While Fremeau can be found strolling through any of the parks in Geneva, she is particularly keen on Sunset Park and splash pad.

A surprising fact about Fremeau is that one of her favorite things to do is mow the lawn. “The GPS on my watch always looks so crazy, but I swear I’m doing it well!” she exclaimed. 

The GPS report following Fremeau’s lawn-mowing efforts. (Photo by Mary Fremeau)

She also enjoys visiting Villa Verone, which “has the best Italian ever!” According to Fremeau, the owner is fresh off the boat from Italy.

Now the real question is… what happened to Belle On Trend! For those who do not know, Belle On Trend was a fashion blog created by Fremeau to talk about new clothing she purchased and her thoughts on the outfits. While blogging, she would also get sent free clothes – yes, free – by designers so that she could review the items and they could find potential customers. Up-and-coming photographers took Fremeau’s pictures so that they could also get their name out there.

Senior Zuleika Mendoza said, “She wears bright, experimental outfits, and never repeats an outfit.”

But what happened to the blog – which originated in 2015 – after she got married? 

While teaching at West Aurora as a sub, Fremeau was able to focus on the blog, which did very with readers in terms of content. When she found out she was pregnant with Sebastian in 2017, Fremeau did not want the blog to focus on maternity wear or turn into a mommy blog. “I wanted it to be strictly just fashion,” she said.

Daughter Bernadette smiles with Fremeau. (Photo by Mary Fremeau)

The blog began to fall off between 2017-18. Fremeau would blog once a week and earn a decent amount of money, but more importantly, she found blogging to be a lot of fun. Will Belle on Trend ever come back? Fortunately, Fremeau has plans to return to blogging: “I would love to! Once Sebastian is in kindergarten and once Bernadette is in pre-school, it would be so much more manageable, so yes, the blog will make a comeback.”

In the meantime, Fremeau has many places she enjoys shopping for the newest clothes. Her favorite has to be J.Crew because “I am someone who loves colors and patterns. Plus, they always have great sales.”

She did not always shop at J.Crew, though. Fremeau grew up shopping at teen staples American Eagle, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Old Navy. Her journey into fashion came into prominence toward the end of middle school; in fact, was voted best dressed in her high school!

Fremeau’s favorite designer “has to be Camilyn Beth, I found her randomly and she designs all dresses. I got my engagement pictures dress from her. She is-up-and-coming. But super responsive on Instagram.”

Fremeau also has two dream items that she hopes to one day obtain: the first one is a Gucci belt with the two Gs, “but a real one. I contemplated getting a fake one for a while, but I am a grown woman, so I need to pay for real things.” There is also a Givenchy bag that Fremeau has her eyes set on. 

Another brand Fremeau would love to collaborate with is “Hill House. They are the creators of the Nap Dress. It blew up during COVID and looks flattering on everyone. It is 125 dollars. It’s stupid but it’s gorgeous. There are so many styles and season drops. So if someone from Hill House wants to hit me up, I am 100 percent on board.” 

Fremeau with her husband at an event. (Photo by Mary Fremeau)

There are many recent styles of fashion now, from streetwear to thrifting. Today’s designs offer something, for everyone, but for those who do not know, vintage clothes have made a comeback in recent years. When asked about vintage, Fremeau replied,  “This is funny you ask: a girl in class the other day was wearing a Niagara Falls shirt, and I said, ‘Oh, your shirt is so nice. Have you been there before?’ And she said, ‘No, I got it from this vintage shop online.’”

Although Depop and additional third-party websites have impacted the market, providing spaces to sell vintage clothes, do not expect this belle to hop on the 90s trend anytime soon: “The ’90s were such a hideous time in fashion: stir-up leggings, big Doc Martens and mom jeans. I think it’s kind of ugly!”  

Many people have mixed emotions on vintage making a comeback: what do you think? Make sure to email us or take the poll below.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VINTAGE CLOTHING'S COMEBACK?

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