TFIO: A Valentine Anniversary!

This month marks the second anniversary of Turning Fashion Inside Out, and what better day to celebrate than Valentine’s Day! Thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for tuning in, commenting, and getting the dialogue going. Because there is a connection between fashion and self-esteem, fashion and wellness. And nothing is more joyful than telling these stories … your stories, our stories. I feel the love!

Video by Eric Guarino/favorite Valentine’s Day sweater Dolce & Gabbana

 

 

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Where winter white means something completely different

New Year's Eve - Cartagena, Colombia

New Year’s Eve – Cartagena, Colombia

Did you know that in Colombia, South America, it is a tradition to wear white on New Year’s Eve? Wearing white symbolizes purity and a fresh start to the new year. So, while I was (and still am) trying to figure out how to properly wear winter white in sub-zero temperatures, Colombians were ringing in the New Year in white while turning up the heat to 80 degrees. Another fun fashion trend in Colombia? Wearing loud, colorful pants with bold prints.

Who told me? Caroline Misan Alvo, founder and leader behind Gambita, an online shopping destination for the petite woman (5’4″ and under), who recently spent 10 days in Colombia: Medellin, Santa Marta and Cartagena.  And I am especially curious, because…? Because my birth father is Colombian, and I am interested in the Colombian people and culture.

Caroline says that the people of Colombia are very warm and friendly. They love their families and are a fun, party-loving people. Medellin is one of the largest cities in Colombia (Bogota is the largest) and home of Colombia’s national flower, the orchid. It has a definite urban feel. Santa Marta is a coastal city, with a small-town vibe. It borders a preserved park and is an up-and-coming city. And Cartagena? The very chic destination for the ‘who’s who’ of Colombia, with beautiful colonial architecture, great fashion and shopping. A very European city, Cartagena is home to the well-dressed.

Thank you, Caroline, for helping me learn more about my heritage.

 

 

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Fashion Rule #1: It’s the fit, the fit, the fit!

IMGP9724I found these pants at Gambita, the company exclusive to the petite woman (5’4″ and under) created by Caroline Misan Alvo. I am a bit over 5’4″ but the pants were perfect and my eyes flew open when I tried them on and I was reminded of the most important rule of fashion: it’s the fit, the fit, the fit! There was something wildly different about the way these pants fit me; everything hit where it was supposed to – the inseam, the knees, the length – the proportion was flawless. Why is that so important? Because I think many of us are walking around wearing the wrong sizes and in turn, feeling bad about ourselves. Wearing the wrong size can make us feel larger than we actually are. Continue reading

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Conversing with Caroline

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Caroline Misan Alvo

Caroline Misan Alvo

A few weeks ago I spoke with Alicia Jay, who at 6’6″ lives every day by her personal mantra: “Tall is beautiful!” But beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes. Today I sat down with Caroline Misan Alvo, who talks about what it has been like to be 4’9″ and how that affected how she shopped for clothes and her feelings about herself. Caroline wanted to help other petite women (anyone under 5’4″) by giving them their own community and opportunity to find fashion-forward clothing and personal shoppers who truly understood what it means to be petite – and in January 2013, she launched her on-line shopping website called Gambita. When I spoke with Caroline, height be gone; in fact, there was nothing small about her or her vision. She is a true role model.

We are all fashion relevant, don’t you think? Comment below and check out my other weekly audio podcasts here on Turning Fashion Inside Out and on iTunes.

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Fashion for all

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"Tall is beautiful" ... from the Alicia Jay TallSWAG t-shirt line

“Tall is beautiful” … from the Alicia Jay TallSWAG t-shirt line                                                                  Photo credit: YBowyer Photography

This podcast, Episode Six, is called “Fashion for all.” I met two remarkable women recently, Alicia Jay and Caroline Misan Alvo, who have inspired me and reminded me that fashion is for everyone – not just the insiders, not just the ones who look a certain way or can afford a certain label – but for all of us. And we are no less fashionable or relevant than the fashion insiders. Let me tell you about them …

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Carolina: “It’s not just me!’

Caroline Misan Alvo

Carolina Misan Alvo

Carolina Misan Alvo is a woman with a mission: to create a movement for petite women to feel better about their size and themselves while giving them a chance to shop for fashion-forward clothing, specifically designed for the petite woman. The name of Carolina’s business is Gambita, which means literally “little shrimp” in Spanish: it was a nickname her husband gave to her as a joke. At 4’9″ herself Carolina had heard every short joke but when it came time to name her business “Gambita was original.”

Launched in January 2013, Gambita is just a few months old. But I feel that women will respond enthusiastically. Here is Carolina’s story …

I was born in The United States but have had an international upbringing. Born to Brazilian parents, I lived in Ecuador for two years, Mexico City for nine years, and then my parents and I settled in the suburbs of New York City (Westchester). From my early college experience and career choices I have been interested in international relations and development. Before launching Gambita I worked for VisionSpring, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable eyeglasses in the developing world … Continue reading

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