Carol Markel is one of the ladies who is frequently featured on the popular Advanced Style blog. She is known for her colorful graphical outfits which often feature hats that she creates herself. I visited her in her New York apartment and asked her about her fabulous style!

You may like to start with the 4 minute interview where we talked about how her style has changed over the years and why she feels more free in terms of style now than ever before.

Hi Carol. Thanks for taking the time out to answer a few questions for 40PlusStyle.com. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I am a 71-year-old artist, designer and writer, living in New York City. I am married to an artist.

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Can you tell us a bit more about your blog Femme et Fleur and why you created it?

My blog reflects my lifestyle. I post about wonderful things that I have done with friends and family. There has to be either a beautiful, elegant, humorous, adventurous or heart-warming aspect to the post. My tagline is Fashiony, Frenchified and Funny, which sums it up neatly.

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Carol’s apartment that she shares with her husband.

You are known for your colourful hats but have now gone into designing clothing too. Can you tell us a bit more about your creative business?

I would not call what I do a business because it is my art. I create one-of-a-kind pieces such as dresses, hats and jewelry. It would get boring fast to go into production. So far I have sold out of my open studios and at small boutiques in New York. I hope to have a more comprehensive pop-up show in the next year.

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Carol’s inspiration wall

How would you describe your own style?

I would describe my style as artful, inventive and using color to its maximum effect. This is my signature style.

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

Color is the major component, but I love a good print. I love accessories like hats, gloves and jewelry. It’s like putting a painting together when getting dressed.

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

I live in the dynamic, fast-paced city of New York. You never know what you will see on the street. A fantastic outfit or a crazy outfit. That is food for creating.

What inspires your outfit choices the most?

I get inspiration from art, the energy of the street, great designers like Chanel, an artist like Sonia Delaunay and magazine like Elle Decor, which is actually one of my favorites. and Shape is important too.

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

I always take my body type into account. I love caftans and tunics, as they are forgiving to the figure.I like my legs covered whether in hose or by pants.

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Carol’s hat shop in a box (see below)

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

My style has intensified after 40 as I have realized how much I love color and unique clothing. I have learned alot about fashion and style by collecting great fashion books and seeing wonderful shows at the Metropolitan’s Costume Institute. But even when I worked in business, I dressed with a unique style.

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Carol’s hat collecction

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

Dressing age appropriately is dressing to show yourself at your best. I don’t wear short skirts or heels and I never wear shorts.

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 am more interested in clothes and style now because I have grown in my own sense of style and my knowledge of fashion.

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Why is the way you look important to you?

The way I look is important to me for my physical and mental health and my sense of happiness. I take the effort to dress creatively and stylishly to feel my best for my own well being and the enjoyment of others. Just like I take the effort to go to the gym and to learn French. It’s all to extend a good life in to my 90s.

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

I am not a big trend follower. I buy clothes that I love, from whatever era.

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

  • Wear clothes that show your figure to its best advantage, not clothes that you think will make you look younger.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with color. It will make you look and feel vibrant and pretty.
  • Buy simple basics through a catalog like Talbots. A good pair of black pants, a long black skirt, and some black tops. I love turtle necks for obvious reasons. Then throw on color with abandon.
  • Definitely have fun with dressing. Explore different sources: thrift, vintage, catalog and fast fashion like Zara. Unless your an heiress (and even then) you don’t have to spend a ton of money for great clothes.

Be sure to visit Carol’s blog Femme et Fleur for more inspiration!

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A style interview with Carol | 40plusstyle.com

Photos of outfit with colored hat by Denton Taylor

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