She’s an exotic beauty with a vibrant, feminine style. Meet fashion blogger Mary Byrd. Mary is the creator of Curlybyrdie Chirps – a 40+ blog with a focus on affordable fashion.
In just two short years, this perky 43- year-old mom from Fort Wayne, Indiana, has showcased dozens of colorful, pretty outfits and gained a loyal following.
I recently had a chance to chat with Mary about her passion for fashion and her current favorite looks. Here’s my interview with this Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: How did you get into blogging, and how did you come up with the unusual name for your blog?
Mary: I have always had a passion for fashion, and I turned 40. I felt like I needed a creative outlet. I need something in my life that wasn’t my full-time job or kid related. I needed a voice. I also wanted a catchy name that identified me, so I used Curly – for my curly hair and Byrdie because of my last name – the two things I didn’t like about myself growing up, which I think is pretty ironic.
Deb: How would you describe the way you like to dress?
Mary: I view my style as classy, tasteful, and a little bit of a glamour girl.
Deb: If you could play around in anyone’s closet for a day, who would it be and why?
Mary: It would be Jennifer Lopez’s closet. I love her style. She is in her 40’s and is still very much on-trend, and she reinvents herself time and time again with her fashion. She is not afraid to take risks, and she gets it right almost all the time.
Deb: You’re a curvy gal. How does that affect what you like to wear? How have you learned to dress your curves?
Mary: Being a curvy girl, I have learned that I can’t wear everything that comes down the runway. I have been curvy all my life. I learned to enhance the things I like most about my body. I am pear-shaped, so I gravitate towards things that bring attention to my waistline and my neckline. I am very thankful for celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Serena Williams, who have broken the stereotype of what’s beautiful and encouraged women to embrace their curves.
Deb: Staying stylish on a budget is a goal of yours. How do you achieve that?
Mary: Being a single mom, I have learned how to use coupons, watch for sales, thrift shop. I’ve found that you can find fashion anywhere from Walmart to Nordstrom. I love to take one essential item and style it in various ways. This makes a much larger wardrobe.
I would advise women on a budget to shop for classic pieces such as blazers, pencil skirts and use that as the base to your fashion look and shop the clearance rack to add those fun tops and accessories to change up your look. Shop at stores like JCPenney and Kohl’s get to know when they have the best deals and always look for a coupon. Also, shop Goodwill for those staple pieces such as jackets and button-downs that you can get for a little of nothing.
Deb: It’s obvious you love the current 70s trend. Why? Any other fall trends you like, and why?
Mary: I love the 70’s looks the chic boho style of that era is romantic and free. Since I have gotten older, I have started to become a huge fan of the boho style. I especially love the flared jeans and wrap dresses. I feel they are flattering to this pear-shaped body. I love plaid for the fall season, especially when it comes in a skirt. I think it takes me back to my childhood “Back to School time,” I also just love sweater dresses. They are some warm and cozy and look so chic with boots.
Deb: Any trends that you just can’t wrap your head around?
Mary: The skirts and dresses that are see-through and your undergarments are in plain view. Leave something to the imagination, please.
Deb: How has your wardrobe changed since you’ve become a forty-something?
Mary: My skirts have gotten longer, and I am way more conservative. I will not do a mini skirt I just don’t have the legs for it. I also find myself taking more fashion risks like pattern mixing and adding more color to my wardrobe.
Deb: While many women over 40 are struggling with thinning/graying hair, you have lush, dark locks. What is your hair care regimen? Any favorite products you use for styling?
Mary: After years of relaxing and coloring my hair, I decided just to embrace my naturally curly hair, and it has been liberating. I can only wash and condition my hair and put leave-in conditioner and styling products, and I either sit under a hooded dryer or let it air dry. I usually deep condition my hair once a week and cover the gray with semi-permanent color every couple of months. I like to switch off my products, but some of my favorites are Shea Moisture line and Cantu, both geared for naturally curly hair.
Deb: You talk on your blog about your love for ethnic clothing. Where does that come from, and can you tell us about some of your favorite ethnic pieces?
Mary: I think my love for ethnic clothing stems from my diverse background. I am a mixture of Native American, African-American, and Caucasian, so I love it when I can represent diversity because it is who I am. I would have to say the skirt that I wore from Stylenspire was my favorite look. It was a custom-made skirt that was African and Asian inspired. The colors were vibrant, and I feel like it captured my personality.
Deb: What have you learned about your style from writing this blog that you can pass onto other moms?
Mary: I have learned that it’s o.k. to experiment and try new things with fashion and that fashion is is a way to express your artistic side. Moms, an experiment in the dressing room. You may surprise yourself by discovering you love an item you thought would be a no.
Deb: Mary, Anything else you would like to add?
Mary: I was selected as JCPenney Muse for their Spring 2015, where I was flown to New York City and was given model treatment for a weekend with five other fashion bloggers. That’s the moment that I felt validated that what I was doing with Curlybyrdie Chirps mattered to more women than just me.
Deb: Congrats, Mary, and thanks for sharing your vibrant, feminine style. You are Fabulous!! Ladies, be sure to visit Mary at her blog Curlybyrdie Chirps.