Today I’d like to introduce you to Cynthia.
She is a former model and fashion stylist to the stars and is sure to inspire you in your style choices. Let’s find out a little bit more about her.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m from Los Angeles and Miami but living between San Sebastian, Spain and Morocco with my two daughters and husband. I was a model in my early years (17-22) and got to work and travel throughout Asia particularly. I’m also a former fashion stylist and magazine editor. I’ve worked with many movie stars and the majority of major famous fashion models and fashion designers.
Yes, I got paid to shop for and dress people like Jennifer Lopez, Isabella Rossellini and Reese Witherspoon. I also had the tough task of telling an iconic designer like Donna Karan, as nicely as possible, that her collection of 150 pieces needs to be narrowed down to 40 cohesive items.
My husband is a Berber desert nomad from the Sahara. I knew he was the one when he said I can bring as many shoes as I want to the desert and he had a “fashion valet” camel loaded with two large baskets ready for all my stuff. I also knew he was the one when I saw he was wearing Ralph Lauren and Prada clothes under his traditional caftan.
As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?
Just turned 45.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I’m a hybrid. My style is definitely minimalist and contemporary. I prefer simple clothes. But in the past year I’ve been spending so much time in the Sahara and Marrakech that my style has become a bit more ornamental and evolved into casual, modern nomad chic.
What would you consider the most important components of your style?
Splash of color. Clean lines. Layers.
Where do you live and how does that influence your style?
I live in San Sebastian, Spain. I walk a lot and ride my bike, so my style is unfussy. I love a good heel but it’s just not practical in Spain with all the cobblestone streets and walking. When in Morocco, I cover up more and definitely dress more casually. I spend most of my days there in long, colorful caftans. They’re beautiful, feminine and easy to wear.
Do you feel you have a signature style?
Definitely. Like I mentioned, it’s currently modern nomad chic. It’s a mix of modern tailored clothing in greys and blacks with a splash of bold color, caftans, turbans and beautifully printed and detailed accessories as the cherry on top. Sometimes red lips is all the splash of color I need.
What inspires your outfit choices the most?
My daily mood. And my activities for the day. Clothing helps me elevate the persona I want to be, so when I need more power or to command a space or situation, I wear a sharp jacket and heels that help me stand tall.
When I feel low-energy or it’s cloudy outside, I add some color to compensate. Often, I just want to feel like a kid again and run around, steal my daughter’s scooter to race her or be silly so I go for skinny jeans, t-shirt and Converse sneakers.
Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?
Certainly. Nothing will save a woman’s look more than being aware of body type and dressing strategically for it.
I’m naturally very thin and have always been self-conscious. There are parts of me I don’t like. Particularly my skinny little arms. So I tend to cover them up or wear flowy things like a maxi dress with a cardigan to mitigate my “boniness”. But I’m learning to embrace my little arms.
What is your current body type and height and what are your best tips for dressing for these?
I laugh and tell people I’m shaped like a 12 year old boy. But seriously, I’m 1.73 (a little over 5’8”) and I would say I’m a skinny rectangle. With a very short waist that makes me look like I’m all legs. My childhood nickname was flamingo.
I like to wear form-fitting dresses that accentuate the few curves I have. I try to enhance my long legs which I do like by wearing shorter skirts or skinny jeans/tailored trousers that call attention to them while downplaying my lack of upper-body curves.
Do you have any favorite brands?
So many! It really depends on the season and collection. I fall in and out of love with brands, depending on what they’re doing.
Has your style changed at all after turning 40?
Yes. I was always in such a hurry to grow up and look more sophisticated, to fit in somehow.
I’m far more accepting of my body and who I am as a woman now that I tend to follow my own style, regardless of what others may think and focus on taking more risks and having more fun with my wardrobe choices. I’m owning womanhood more and trying to be a bit sexier, too sometimes.
Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?
Ha! It’s a fine line. I don’t believe in age appropriate so long as a woman puts some effort into what she’s wearing. I think we should sometimes break all the rules of age and what’s appropriate so long as we make the choice and conscious effort.
Want to wear a mini and knee-high boots when you’re 55? Go for it and rock it! Want to wear a t-shirt and flip flops? Well, how are you going to make it special? Personally, any effort to self-express supersedes all fashion and age rules.
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?
More interested than ever. And that’s saying a lot, because fashion has been a life long passion. But I dress to the beat of my own drum.
Why is the way you look important to you?
The way I look has a powerful effect on how I carry myself and how I feel. Style is my own personal journey and experience. The reality is that my husband may find me most beautiful with no makeup and in jeans. He doesn’t understand all the fussing and planning we girls deal with to get ready.
I tell him that I don’t dress up for him or for any man’s approval. I dress up for myself. And for my girlfriends. My girlfriends love my style and appreciate it. This makes me feel good. You all probably feel the same.
What is your beauty routine and what are your favorite beauty products?
My beauty routine is kind of like my modern nomad chic style. I’m literally a world nomad that lives between cosmopolitan city life and a world of ancient nomads, camels, no electricity or running water and bedouin tents in the middle of the Sahara.
Beauty has to be no fuss. I like sensitive skin or minimal chemical formulations. I wash with a Japanese carbon clay soap when I can. I love using micellar water which doesn’t dry my skin out and I can clean my skin with a cotton ball when I’m far from civilization. I think I should do an article on it – it’s amazing.
I use pure Barbary Fig oil I buy in Morocco to moisturize my hair, face and skin. It’s incredible – even more nutrients than Argan oil and lighter. It’s dirt cheap where I get it in Morocco; in Europe an ounce can cost 40 euros! A friend calls it botox in a bottle.
I top this all off with sunscreen. My favorite one is the Clarins 50 UV tint that claims to also block pollutants. There’s a reason the men cover their faces up in the Sahara. Sand, harsh sun, wind; I’d be in trouble without a good sunscreen and the micellar water to get rid of the fine sand that sticks to my skin. And that’s nothing compared to the junk that our skin is subjected to in the city!
3-4 nights per week I use Paula’s Choice Retinol which has really cleared my skin up. Occasionally it will burn more than normal on application so I oil my skin 10 minutes after application and put on a layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline or the nicer 8 Hour Cream on the sensitive spots before sleeping. This sounds crazy to use Vaseline on my face but petroleum jelly is too big molecularly to clog your pores and it’s an occlusive, which means it will hold moisture in all night so I don’t wake up red and peeling the next day. Tyra Banks taught me that one!
I keep makeup to a minimum. Emphasis on a darker eye and some lip gloss. The Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is great because it’s multipurpose as lip gloss, chapped skin or to sooth my face when the Retinol feels harsh. I love little buckets or chunky products I can throw in my pocket or bag. I add concealer and cream blush (lasts longer) on the less than perfect days. There are shopping links below to the products I mention.
Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?
I love trends. But I often relegate them to accessories. I invest in classic wardrobe pieces and leave the trends for the cheap and chic accents. I always get excited about summer because mixing fuchsia, turquoise, green and orange is always a summer trend. Which means I’m on trend once per year!
Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?
My biggest tip to all is to make an effort on being a more beautiful you. It’s a personal journey of self discovery. Learn about what works for you and your body and how to look your best. You, Sylvia are doing a great job of this!
Making an effort in how you look is important and not superficial for many reasons. Most importantly, because many of us are wives and moms and our needs end up on the back burner as we nurture and care for those we love.
To me, having a fashion routine is the simplest and most satisfying self-care I can do daily.
Also, you’re an example to your kids. I always think I want my girls to see their mom as a strong, independent and beautiful person inside and out.
And lastly, how you look and carry yourself makes a huge difference in how you personally feel and how you influence others. Why not add some sunshine and put a smile on someone’s face simply because you walk down the street looking and feeling amazing?
Some of Cynthia’s favorite beauty products:
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