In her 40+ years, Nina Papaioannou has seen many styles come and go, and through it all she has been a Trend Survivor!
Born in Germany, this world-class fashionista now resides in both Athens, Greece and in La Jolla, California where she blogs about her daily style and global perspective on fashion. Nina always looks Fabulous! Fans love her way of dressing that proves age is no barrier to style. I got a chance to talk to Nina about her flair for fashion and learn what makes her a Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: Your mantra is “If it suits you and feels good, wear it”. What kind of clothes do you think suit you and what do you feel best wearing?
Nina: I don’t take my outfits too seriously. I follow my heart, enjoy the ride and try to have more hits than misses. I feel comfortable wearing skinny jeans, confident wearing high heels and I believe I still look good in short skirts. However, I never thought in my 30s I would still be wearing almost whatever I felt like. I try to keep my weight under control that helps me get away with various styles. Even though I am not so constantly careful with what I eat, I eat healthy and when I gain weight I go on a diet. I can go from boho chic to conservative depending on my mood.
Deb: How would you sum up your style?
Nina: My style is trendy, glamorous with attention to details. I love accessories. I guess having survived the 80’s and the 90’s has marked my aesthetic forever. I am a designer bag and shoe addict.
I follow the trends I like because it’s refreshing! I bought the Charlotte Olympia kitten flats because they made me smile every time I wore them.
I mix vintage clothes with fashionable items. I mix expensive designer clothes and accessories with high street fast fashion pieces.
It’s all about a glam, trendy, expensive, inexpensive fashionable mix!
Deb: You love making a fresh start each season and embracing the latest trends. What trends do you love right now? Why? How are you wearing them?
Nina: For Spring Summer 2015 I love white lace dresses, especially broderie Anglaise. I will wear them with flat sandals, sneakers, and high heels.
Lace up ballerina flats and sandals- I will wear them with jeans and boho style dresses and tops.
Totally obsessed with rompers and jumpsuits- I wear them with sneakers and stilettos.
High waist jeans … OMG ! I am so over low cut… I am following the very ripped jeans trend too. Glam it up as usual with Chanel and Louboutins.
I am planing on wearing print maxi dresses to summer parties with flips flops… Such a Greek Island vacation essential!
Deb: Do you enjoy color? What colors do you think suits you best? Any colors you stay away from?
Nina: I love white, black and blue. I believe as you grow older you realize what colors suit you best. But, I wouldn’t say I stay away of any color because it depends on the shade and how you combine it with other colors.
Deb: What’s your fashion weakness.. the thing you can never say no to and buy over and over?
Nina: I have a big collection of designer handbags and shoes. Sometimes I feel I need to stop, but it’s what makes an outfit look glamorous and stylish. I can not have get enough white blouses and leather jackets. I love shopping on sales.
Deb: In general, how has you style evolved from your 20’s to your 40’s?
Nina: I read recently … more wrinkles yet fewer doubts, looser skin yet firmer confidence, grayer hair yet more colorful, older mind yet younger spirit. I don’t remember how I felt in my 20s I think I was relatively confident, I was a yuppie and a mother but I look at my gorgeous daughter, and I feel this makes sense.
Deb: Where did the inspiration for the way you like to dress originally come from?
Nina: My mother and my father have influenced my style. They are both super stylish not only in the way they dress but in the way they live. My mom was considered and probably still is a style icon. She was extremely pretty and very eclectic with her purchases. Each addition to her wardrobe was a carefully thought investment. She has given me some amazing vintage designer clothes including Chanel.
I would buy something from a fast fashion store just because it’s cool, and I can wear it with my expensive accessories. My mother can’t understand why someone needs a lot of clothes. She would wear her outfits over and over.
So, I learned to love fashion and appreciate quality from a very young age. My style keeps evolving.
Deb: When you are 40+ you’ve tried a lot of looks over the years. Any looks you loved at the time and look back now and wonder what you were thinking?
Nina: Hahaha there are a few … recently tights with sandals… why did I ever do that? I am sure I will regret wearing ugly shoes like Birkenstocks soon… I am full on board this trend … Ugly shoes are in my wardrobe staples since last year.
Deb: Most of your pictures feature you wearing heels. Many women over 40 shy away from heels on an everyday basis. Can you offer some advice for incorporating heels into an everyday look?
Nina: I feel more confident wearing heels. Shopping high heels is so much more fun than flats. It’s worth the pain. However, when I get tired, I change to flats. I usually have a pair with me… Plus, my latest love is kitten heels. They look like high heels and feel like flats! I splurged on the Valentino kitten heel rock studs and I do not regret it.
Deb: You’ve lived both in the US and in Europe. How do you think women’s attitudes about fashion and style differ between the countries where you’ve lived?
Nina: In the States or should I say in California women have a more casual relaxed style that is very similar to the Greek way of dressing. However, if you compare New York to London, it’s a totally different story. Even though, I see women following the same trends globally. However, each city has it’s own secret rules.
Deb: Advice for women struggling to dress not too old, but not too young either? (Thoughts on age appropriate dressing as well)
Nina: It depends on the person. If they look good in a colorful dress or distressed skinny jeans they shouldn’t think that they are too old for that. It is more about confidence and less about rules. It will sound cliche but listen to your gut feeling and follow some blogs. Be inspired.
A stylish haircut makes a huge difference, too. By the way, I like the new gray hair trend.
Deb: Finish this sentence. Fashion is a way for me to ______.
Nina: to enjoy my life! It’s about shopping, styling and blogging. My goal is to use my passion for style and fashion to inspire my readers. I try to offer shopping and styling advice in a fun interesting way. I try to do the work for them. Where and what to shop… Sometimes treasures might be inside your closet.. I am sure you have your high waist jeans somewhere…. rolling them up and wearing your heels will update them…
Deb: What I have learned about my style or about style in general since starting your blog?
Nina: Style in general … you either have it, or you don’t. It’s more about personality and less about outfits. However, following fashion and lifestyle blogs is inspiring. Seeing yourself in a picture helps you dress better. I would give this advice. Even a selfie in the mirror helps.
Deb: Thanks so much Nina for that great advice and for your sharing your personal style philosophy. Ladies, be sure to visit Nina’s blog, Trend Survivor and say hello.