How to mix vintage with trends – a style interview with Carelia

by Sylvia

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Carelia is a super creative dresser who likes to mix things up and rarely wears the same outfit. Find out more about her love of vintage and styling trends her own way and be inspired by her unique style!

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m originally from Honduras and I’m a mother of two sons. I’ve worked for a global automotive company for the past 16 years. I got divorced 17 years ago and I have not remarried yet. However, I’m in a very good relationship with a wonderful man for the past five years.

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As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

Numerical-wise, I’ll be 44 this February… spiritually-wise, I will turn 29 next month.

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Can you tell us a bit more about your blog My Small Wardrobe and why you created it?

I’ve always enjoyed anything that has to do with fashion, however for the longest time I had to put more focus on other things such as my sons and their needs.
Now that I’m in my 40s and my sons are more independent, I find myself with more free time to think about fashion.
I always thought my wardrobe was too small to be able to start a fashion blog, but then later I realized THAT was actually a good reason why I should start my own fashion blog. Blogging about spontaneous outfits that I could come up with, using a limited wardrobe, became a tempting idea and actually a personal challenge…so, I started my blog a couple years ago.

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The pictures on your blog are stunning! Can you tell me who takes them and which camera and lense you use? Perhaps you have some tips for the photography-challenged among us? Do you use any filters in post-processing?

Thanks Sylvia, I’m glad you like them.
We shoot with a Nikon D5100 (crop sensor/semi-pro) and with a 35mm 1.8 Nikkor lens.
I took a few photography classes online, so I learned how to use the settings in my camera. My sweet boyfriend is my photographer. I taught him a little bit about settings in the camera and he is very creative about the locations for the photographs. He is also very good at finding my best angles. I must confess, sometimes he is even a little demanding…lol.

To process my pictures I use Adobe Photoshop Elements and I perform any editing if needed. When I feel like adding an extra kick to my pictures or to make them look more like magazine editorials, I download my pictures to my phone and use an app called VSCOcam. I find the right filter for whatever look I want to create, then I save them to my camera roll. iCloud is very helpful keeping things less complicated, because I have the files in all my devices.

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You call your blog My Small Wardrobe and you mentioned that you did not have many clothes when you started out. Yet there seems to be a huge variety of outfits on your blog. Do you still have a small wardrobe? Or have you since expanded?

My wardrobe remains the same size (small to me), however, I have a strategy in order to keep it constantly changing. My rule is, one in one out. This way my wardrobe stays the same size, yet it can give people the impression that I have a huge wardrobe.

For example, this month I brought 4 new denim pieces into my wardrobe, but at the same time, 4 old pieces were sent to a consignment shop. I do the same thing with the rest of the items. I only keep timeless and classic pieces and one-of-a-kind vintage finds.
I have a regular walk-in closet in my bedroom and keep it organized. I believe when you are able to see what you have, you have more control of your purchases and you can easily identify the items that you don’t need anymore.
Here is a video of my closet I posted on Instagram a while back and you are welcome to share it with this interview.

Some people think my wardrobe isn’t really that small, but when I put it next to most bloggers’ wardrobes or many of the ladies I know, I think mine is very small and I like it that way, because it challenges me to be creative.

How would you describe your style?

Versatile and emotional. I feel like a fashion chameleon, because my looks are different almost every day. For example, there are days that I feel like getting into a lady-like look and some days I wake up super-confident about my body, so I add more sass or, I could call it a “sexy touch” to my ensemble. I never know what I’m going to wear the next day, because I don’t know how my mood is going to be, depending on the weather, health or even unexpected situations that sometimes sneak up on me.

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What would you consider the most important components of your style?

Confidence! Nothing will look great or feel great if I don’t feel confident about what I’m wearing. Maybe that is why my style is like a chameleon; I could never feel confident wearing the same type of look everyday, because my mood isn’t always the same everyday.

Now, if we talk about tangible things, I firmly can say that vintage finds, play a very important role in my wardrobe. I also love patterns, so I have to have patterned garments as well. I also consider great sunglasses with full UV protection, well-made shoes and a bright colored lipstick important components of my style.

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Where do you live and how does that influence your style?

I live in North Carolina. I can say that moving to the United States, in general, has influenced my style. I grew up in a country where most of the women tend to dress more provocative. Sneakers are only for working out and the hair has to be styled all the time. When I moved to the United States in the early 90’s, I noticed a more casual and conservative style everywhere, so I immediately understood that dressing provocatively was being perceived the wrong way.

I’ve never compromised with my personal style. I always stayed true to myself, even when I knew that I was wearing something that wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, as I got older I realized that the choices that made me feel confident about myself a year ago, became less appealing to me. Nowadays, I no longer feel the need to show cleavage or wear high heels everywhere in order to feel confident. Perhaps this is because I get older in an area with a more laid-back sense of style.

Do you feel you have a signature style?

Diverse, if you can call that a signature style.

What inspires your outfit choices the most?

To me, inspiration comes from many types of sources. I can get inspired by mother nature, by someone else’s look in the street, by magazines, blogs, by interior decor…etc, but regardless of where my inspiration comes from, I always follow my emotions and guts and I must confess that I can be very gutsy at times.

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Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?

Yes, absolutely! At my age, I’ve learned through trial and error what looks flattering on me (at least in my opinion). Actually, when I began sharing my looks online, I started learning even more about my body type and what colors and shapes are most flattering on me. Pictures can’t lie, and it doesn’t matter if my pictures are taken from the best angle; if I’m wearing something unflattering on my body, it will show.

When I go shopping, I try to take a picture of me in front of the mirror and if I’m with a shopping companion I’ll ask him or her to take a picture of my front and back. If I don’t like what I see in the picture, I don’t purchase it.

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

I believe so, I’ve toned down the sexiness part. However, I remain as spontaneous and playful with it as I was when I was 20.

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Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

I feel that “age appropriate” can mean different things for different women, especially when you consider their backgrounds, culture, religion and environment. I personally wear what makes me feel confident (Carelia appropriate), of course, depending of where I’m and with who I am.

Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

I started my blog at 41…that pretty much tells you how much more interested I am now. Besides my family and my love life, fashion has become a passion.

Why is the way you look important to you?

I like to be true to myself and that leads to self-respect. The way I look is a tangible or visual way to express my personality and I’m not shy.

Which of the outfits on your blog are personal favorites and why?

The ones where I’m combining vintage with new trends and anything with mixed patterns. There is more uniqueness in my looks when I add vintage pieces to my modern looks and vice versa.
Mixing patterns has always been a passion of mine. Even when I do it in small doses, I get a huge satisfaction wearing them. I don’t know, maybe it’s because they are simply fun.

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Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?

I embrace certain trends but I style them in my own way.
At the moment I’m very into the denim trend, but this is because my denim stash needed to be updated. I’m acquiring new and vintage denim to be able to combine it with all my dressy pieces.

Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?

I think most women over 40 (interested in fashion), including me, have pretty much heard and read every tip and advice about fashion, so there’s not much for me say, other than to continue being true to yourself by wearing what makes you feel confident and happy.

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What are your plans for your blog and how do you see it develop over the coming years?

I’ve been thinking about adding more variety to my blog, perhaps sharing a little bit more about my sources of inspiration. I also want to do more local networking. Maintaining the support of my local followers is very important to my blog.

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Anything further you would like to add?

I want to thank you for welcoming me into your inspiring website and giving me the opportunity to share a little about myself and my style with your readers in such an influencing series.

There are many more outfits at Carelia’s fabulous blog My Small Wardrobe. Be sure to check it out!

Which of Carelia’s outfits is your favorite?

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Accidental Icon

I really love the sentiment expressed in this interview and Carelia’s creative and open approach to styling. She seems not to be bound by any rules except for a sense of who she is and how she wants to express herself creatively through her clothes. I love the variety of the looks: shapes, colors, textures and even the different ways she styles her hair to compliment the mode of the outfit. I like the idea of one in and one out to keep your wardrobe manageable.

Accidental Icon
http://www.accidentalicon.com

Suzanne

I do love her quirky eclectic style and the fact that she often wears vintage.

Great choice and interview Sylvia!

bisous
Suzanne

Patti

I love her style and her philosophy! xo

The Style Crone

Another great interview Sylvia! Carelia is vibrant and creative, with a warm spirit. I love how she mixes vintage into her compositions.

Greetje Kamminga

Very difficult to choose. She is one heck of a stylist. I would choose… uhm… the distressed jeans with the white jacket with black dots. Mostly because it is very much my style haha. The black dress looks very good on her too.
Greetje

PJSowers

Totally love these looks – So love every single one – an cool to know that although we are in our 40’s plus, we can still have fun with vintage without looking like we are trying to hard.. 🙂 xoxo -More please – excellent job!

kay kerns

What great style and fun too! I like the one with the black combat boots and the camel coat
mainly because I would wear that myself, but all the outfits looked great on her.

Natalie

Terrific interview. Carelia’s mix and match choices are colorful, creative and inspiring. I’m heading to my closet to play.

Sabina @Oceanblue Style

This is really amazing, find her very inspiring and thanks for such a great interview. Liked the colorful first one the best but was hard to choose 🙂 I bought a lace skirt vintage in Berlin ages ago but now its the look du jour all of a sudden and I have found the right patent leather jacket to wear it with. Before never had had any ideas….so it pays to wait for some inspiration…Have a great day. Sabina | Oceanblue Style

Sabina @Oceanblue Style

Btw I am linking back to your fab post on my Vintage #OOTD for my readers!

Anja van der Vorst

Wow, what a beautiful and stylish lady. I love her style, her looks and her pictures. Very inspiring!

Mary Byrd

Love her style and the emotion behind it ! What an awesome interview

Mary

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