My interview with SunBloomFashion

Meet Carmen

Every now and then we feature a “SunBloomer”. A SunBloomer is someone we come across either on social media or in person that we feel is interesting, unique, or inspirational in some way. Sticking to our model of “make a statement” we want to share the feature SunBloomer’s passion and views as a positive statement for our followers.

Today’s SunBloomer is Carmen. She is a dancer and fashion blogger from Germany with a focus on fashion over 50.

SunBloom: Hi Carmen, please introduce yourself and background. Where are you from? Where you grew up? What do you do? Etc. (Feel free to share as much as you are comfortable).

Carmen: I was born in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up in Toronto, Canada since I was five years old, a Canadian citizen at the age of ten. I’m a dance instructor, living in Southern Ontario and enjoying life one day at a time. Married when I was eighteen and we have three grown children. I’m 66, every day is an adventure and I feel as energetic as in my 20s. It’s a wonderful life!

SunBloom: What made you start creating content on social media? Where did your inspiration to create your blog and content come from?

Carmen: My daughter Jean has a big influence on me (she’s vegan and has an eco Boutique in Seattle). When she started her fashion and lifestyle blog in 2011, she invited me to be a guest on her blog and I thought it would be a fun hobby for me to do. Being vegan and my interest in fashion gave me something to write about. I love photography and finding interesting backdrops for my fashion outfits. We love day trips and I hope that my readers enjoy seeing my little corner of the world.

SunBloom: If you can share one or two tips for someone who also wants to start creating content on social media, what would it be?

Carmen: I would suggest to anyone interested in social media and starting a blog to choose something you are passionate about and would be of interest to others.

SunBloom: What’s your biggest goal as a content creator/blogger?

Carmen: My biggest goal is to inspire others and to be an example of living a compassionate lifestyle

SunBloom: Dancing is a large part of your blog. How long have you danced and what got you interested in dancing? Do you have a favorite style?

Carmen: I’ve danced all my life and have been teaching dance since 1985. I’m also a certified fitness instructor and know how important it is for us to keep moving. An active lifestyle is good for our health. I teach line dancing, ballroom and social, and folk dancing. I go to square dances, round dances, and ceilis, but my favorite dance is praise dance, which I choreograph to Gospel songs: dances of joy, thanksgiving, and celebration. Over the years I have led a dance troupe and we presented dances at churches, especially for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

SunBloom: In your blog, it says you are vegan. What was your journey to being a vegan like? What motivated you to change your diet? How does your vegan lifestyle affect your outfit choices?

Carmen: As a child, my mother could not get me to eat meat. I knew it was an animal because I lived for a year on a farm in Germany when I was 4 and my father was a hunter. I always ate eggs and dairy (believing it didn’t harm animals). My daughter became vegan and gave me a book by John Robbins “Diet for a New America” which opened my eyes to the reality of the dairy industry. Since then I have watched documentaries such as “Forks Over Knives” which have confirmed what I know in my heart.

Being vegan affects my choice in clothes. I would never in my life wear fur but I did buy leather. Fur and leather production uses so many chemicals and pollutes the environment. It is not Eco-friendly as they would like to pretend. The leather is now the same as fur to me: the skin of dead animals and it is making me very sad to wear it. I am finding quality faux leather and canvas shoes that are comfortable, stylish and cruelty-free. I have not given away my leather shoes yet, but I still feel sad when I wear them.

SunBloom: There are a lot of different fashion and outfit posts on your blog. What does fashion mean to you? How do you use fashion to express your personality? How has your view of fashion changed as you got older and in what way?

Carmen: Fashion is a way for us to express our personalities; our likes, our moods. It also reflects our attitudes and values. I buy more clothes from second-hand shops than when I was younger. I never thought about garment workers years ago and now it matters to me that what I buy is supporting ethical and fair-trade companies where garment workers have good working conditions and a living wage.

My mom had a profound influence on me, she always looked her best whether she was going to church on Sunday or grocery shopping. She dressed with dignity. She inspired me in my appreciation of fashion and taking care of myself.

SunBloom: As a fashion blogger, do you have any easy rule of thumb for those who are trying to put together an outfit but don’t really know where to start? What are some absolute “No-No’s” when it comes to putting together an outfit?

Carmen: I would suggest to start by choosing colors and clothes that make you feel happy and confident. Take a look at your wardrobe and donate anything that makes you feel frumpy. As a fashion blogger, I hope to inspire, especially women over 50, to look our best. It’s easy to be lazy, and it takes some effort to put things together in a way that makes a person feel pleased with the results. Once you get into a habit of thoughtfully choosing an outfit for the day or occasion—whether casual or dressy—it is fun. Get fashion inspiration from bloggers, Pinterest, Instagram etc.

I normally break fashion rules so I don’t want to make any for others. However, if there’s one thing that I don’t think is flattering, it’s wearing leggings with a short top. Longer jumpers and tunics worn over leggings look so much better.
Have fun with fashion! Fashion with compassion!

Connect with Carmen: