Italy is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s home to wonderful things like the rustic Tuscan countryside, the most delicious pasta and wine and a 40-year-old blogger who’s fast becoming known for her fabulous style.
Meet Valentina ( Vale) the Italian fashionista behind the blog, Fashion and Cookies.
Vale lives by the sea, has an office job by day and blogs in her spare time. She’s a self-confessed shopaholic with a bright, fun and expressive style that her fans just adore.
I recently got the chance to chat with Vale about her creative and elegant way of dressing and find out more about what makes her a Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: On your blog you say that to you, “Fashion is a game.” Can you explain?
Vale: Fashion is a way to express myself and to bring out my fun side. Through different styles, colorful clothes and statement accessories, I can be whoever I want, and stay true to myself at same time. This fashion game makes me feel free and it is also a way to relieve stress and escape from my daily routine.
Deb: How would you describe your style?
Vale: My style is very versatile. I am surely not a minimalist, I actually have the tendency to overdress sometimes, but I like both casual and elegant looks: one day I am dressed as lady, the other day I bring out the teenager in me. All my looks have something in them that makes a statement, something that stands out.
Deb: How do Italian women like to dress compared to American women? How is your style influenced by your culture?
Vale: I think Italian women are more likely to dress up “for formal occasions” and are pretty impulsive buyers. I love the way American women are more practical and it seems they plan their purchases in advance, with more attention. I see American women often know the best ways to wear a dress from daytime to nighttime only by changing a couple of accessories, and look fabulous. Plus, I have always admired American women for their makeup skills: a natural looking, flawless makeup that doesn’t look too cakey or “fake”!
As an Italian woman, I am really attracted to the quality of leathers and fabrics and sartorial pieces that are in our great fashion tradition. I feel that the differences between Italian and American women are becoming less and less evident. I opened the blog with the intent of having an international audience, after all the first blogs I fell in love with were American. Also, visiting blogs from other countries is a way to travel on a budget!
Deb: You’ve said you like to change your style frequently. What styles/trends are you most enjoying at the moment?
Vale: I am a huge midi skirts fan, and I can’t get enough of them, they are classy and perfect for my frame. Full circle midi skirts can be so elegant and they are appropriate for many occasions, from daytime to nighttime. I am also a lover of slingback shoes and stiletto heels, and I have a huge shoe collection. On the other hand, I got hooked by the adidas Supercolor sneakers trend, and I am enjoying my casual outfits with those shoes that remind me of my teen years. Also, the comeback of 70s inspired fashion made me buy two pairs of bell bottom jeans a little while ago!
Deb: What’s out there that you haven’t tried yet that’s currently on your fashion wish list?
Vale: Gingham print is a big hit right now. I am still looking for the perfect gingham dress for summer to feel a bit like Brigitte Bardot in Saint Tropez ;-).
Deb: You certainly don’t shy away from color. How does color fit into your overall style philosophy?
Vale: Colors have a huge impact on my mood. After my teenage years, when I used to wear too much black, I found out that I felt more beautiful when I wore color. So I started to slowly add different colors in my looks, and I felt I was pretty good at it. It all came naturally and quickly. My favorite colors are red, royal blue and fuchsia, but I am not too picky when it comes to colors! My shoe closet looks like a rainbow! I still indulge in a total black look occasionally.
Deb: The way you put together outfits shows a lot of imagination and some playfulness. Where do you get your inspiration?
Vale: I am inspired by everyday life and having a good sense of humor is really important to me, in fashion and in life in general. I don’t take myself too seriously, I am also pretty shy in real life, and probably wearing something unexpected and fun is my way to scream out loud that – no matter if someone is going to stare at me.
I like the individual I have become over the years. I grew up when I started caring less about what the others thought. After years spent trying to look like anybody else, or trying to go unnoticed, here I am – I am not afraid to dare, and by being whoever I want to be I feel I am finally expressing my true self. I am a very creative person and I feel I should have been an artist, yet I have studied Economics…so I express my artistic personality with my clothes, I suppose!
Deb: Nothing is perfect. What’s your biggest fashion challenge and how do you get around it?
Vale: There are clothes that I know don’t look that good on me, and therefore I do not wear them. Extremely low waisted jeans do not look good on me. As a woman with curvy hips and a small waist, I would end up showing my underwear and I do not want that !. Some other trends are not appealing to me are the comeback of overalls – maybe I have worn too many of them when I was a kid, but that is my mother’s fault ! I have been wearing culottes pants, another hot trend. They were a challenge for me but I have found out I love them, so I won this one !
Deb: What’s the best compliment you have ever received about your style?
Vale: My best compliments always come from other women. They like the way I mix and match pieces that at first glance may not have looked like they would have worked together. The best compliment is when they say, “You look classy no matter what you are wearing.”
Deb: What 5 pieces would you suggest women over 40 have in their wardrobes at all times?
Vale: Only 5 ? Ok ! A well tailored blazer, a white shirt, a colorful midi skirt, stiletto pumps and a beautiful, timeless bag.
Deb: What is the most important shopping tip you can offer Fabulous After 40 readers?
Vale: I love it-bags and quality shoes. I’d rather spend more money on my accessories: bags and shoes. If there is a really fickle trend, I go low cost (Zara and other shops are useful for that) or wait for sales. My most treasured bag is my 2.55 Chanel classic flap and my Valentino rockstud heels are beautiful yet super comfortable.
Another good shopping tip is to find some good vintage pieces to spice up your looks, and I know in the USA there are more interesting vintage shops compared to Italy! Some bloggers I admire are masters at thrifting. This is something I envy and would like to experience more.
Deb: What do you hope your readers take away from your blog?
Vale: I like to think my readers can get inspired by my blog and by my sense of fashion, and also understand my blog is real, with my real everyday outfits. Fashion is a journey and I have decided to embrace it in your company. I am learning new things everyday and therefore, my readers will take something from my blog, but I will also take something from my readers. It is an exchange of information and feedback, one of the greatest things of blogging.
Deb: Best piece of advice you could give a woman 40+ struggling to find her style?
Vale: Be yourself, love yourself and do not be afraid to dare. Most of us were probably afraid to show our real selves as teens. No that we are adult women we should embrace who we are. I think style comes from confidence. Start with a few well tailored clothes and add some statement pieces. Let your mirror be your friend. Try some small changes and build up your looks from there.
Also, I think a woman 40+ should find some time to pamper herself and remember that age is just a number !
Deb: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Vale: Fashion and Cookies would not exist without the encouragement of my lovely husband. He is the one taking my pictures and since we first met he got very curious and fascinated by my fun outfits, so I can say fashion was part of our love story. So, I would like to thank him and also to thank each one of my readers, old and new – you make this journey so interesting, worthy and amusing. Thank you also to Fabulous After 40 for honoring me with this amazing interview and feature. I’ll wait for you on my blog!
Deb: Thanks so much Vale for sharing your fun and colorful sense of fashion with us. You are Fabulous!! Ladies, be sure to visit Vale at her beautiful blog, Fashion and Cookies.