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Share your story with Carla Rockmore

A Conversation With Designer Carla Rockmore

A converstation With the real-life Carrie Bradshaw, Carla Rockmore.

It is no secret that society has an extremely linear view of the role of women when they become ” a woman of a certain age”, a term that is both outdated and offensive. To push past the many limiting beliefs and unrealistic expectations attached to life in midlife to redefine aging on your term is both revolutionary and requires a sisterhood that will stand in the many gaps found in the foundation of what aging is, and what it’s not.

When I stumbled upon Carla Rockmore’s Tiktok videos, I knew if ever I am asked to create a blueprint for living and thriving in your fifties and beyond, Carla’s style and infectiously charming personality would be included in what aging can look like if you give yourself the freedom and grace to grow in spite of unrealistic societal expectations and societies disdain of aging. Dubbed the real-life Carrie Bradshaw by her 1.3 million followers on TikTok, I sat down with Carla to discuss all things aging, fashion, and living out loud.

Alexis – Thank you so much, Carla! When I reached out to you, you were so gracious and agreed immediately to sit down for a chat, thank you for that. Positive representation is so important for women our age. It’s important that women over fifty not only see women like you living on your terms, but it is a great reminder that aging is not a death sentence. So tell us a bit about yourself.

Carla – Not only is it fine, it’s a blessing. I never considered age a thing personally. I remember my younger sister got married a decade before I did, and at the wedding, at her wedding, everybody was like, oh, you’re next. And I was kind of like, what, why is this an issue? I got married late in life. I had kids late in life.

My career was important to me from day one, but not so much as in, you know, go get them and rule the world with your brilliance, but to find something that is an extension of my many gifts and talents. To tell you the truth, I have to thank my mother, a very brilliant woman who taught me from the time I could listen that the best gift you can give to your girls is teaching them that nobody is going to make you happy, but you.

Alexis – Absolutely. Absolutely! Not your work, not your husband, not your kids. Happiness starts within, I am of the same mindset.

Carla – And as long as you know that, then you have the room, the time, and the energy to feed everybody else. Absolutely. And then you don’t go through the crisis of, oh my God, my kids are leaving. What am I going to do? Because you’ve already been doing it.

Alexis – Yes, you have to have your own identity. And that’s another thing that, you know, is so important to talk about. We are more than mothers. We are more than wives, right? We have so much more to give to the world. We are going to change gears for a minute, your fashion style is so refreshing, how different is your style today in comparison to your younger years?

Carla – Oh, there’s a big difference. You see, I when I was younger, and that’s why I wouldn’t trade my age now for then; you know, people say, I’d love to be twenty again. Look, I would love to have more than two glasses of wine and be able to get up the next day smiling and happy. I would like that, but that’s not in the cards for me anymore. But what is, or what I don’t have to carry anymore is the insecurity that the young girls have because they’re young. To feel the anxiety of needing to follow trends and belong is not something I would want to experience again.

Alexis – What role do you think social media plays in how we see ourselves and how we feel about our image, our body image, and our identity? Do you think social media plays a role at all?

Carla – I think it’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s a blessing and a curse for all ages. For the young, because they are sexualized too young and feel the need to, you know, have the perfect physique, causing anxiety and stress. And for our age, more mature women, we are often put in a box. It’s important to build a community of like-minded women who support each other.

Alexis – Is there a trend you can’t wait to disappear? Do you have a trend that you’re like, okay, this needs to end now?

Carla – That’s a good question. You know, I’m a very visual person, I know that fashion is cyclical. It’s always going to come back. It might take eight years to return, but it’s coming back. And so I don’t see it like, oh my God, that was so last year. I can’t, my brain doesn’t work that way. If I’m tired of it, I’ll put it aside for a while, if it was a good piece, an investment piece, I’ll put it in a box. I won’t get rid of it. And then inevitably, it’s back, you know? But I’m so fickle, do you know what I get tired of, and I love and the same time? color. I also love black and white, but I get tired of color after I’ve seen it too much.

Alexis – So how would you describe your style? If you were asked to describe your style, what would you call it?

Carla – I don’t know what my style is. I know it’s eclectic and I know there’s a London girl in there at some point. I believe that I have always enjoyed theatrics. Once I found my voice, it took me a little while to find my voice. In my high school years, I didn’t speak. So once I started finding my voice, I started really experimenting. I think my style is really, whoever I decide I want to show to the world that day. You know, I love a good floral on certain days. And then on other days, I just want to go austere, Japanese, clean-cut, architectural lines. I don’t think anybody should box any woman or man in a category.

Alexis – Who’s your fashion inspiration, then and now? Where do you get your inspiration from?

Carla – I don’t think about it that much, but I know for sure that in the 80s, Addy Lennox to me was a goddess. In fact, I shaved my head at the time. Today, I think style-wise, I don’t know if she’s a stylist, but I really do feel that she definitely has a say in it because everything she chooses, she wears. It doesn’t wear her. And that’s Kate Winslet. I love her. I just love her body type. And I love how she carries her body type so, so very well. And she dressed her type, her body type very, very well.

Alexis – What would you tell someone who is now trying to put together their own style? Where should they start?

Carla – I think the first thing I would tell them is to take a good look at yourself in the mirror, just the parts of you that you feel good about. That’s the first thing. Forget trends, forget colors, forget stuff. Choose if you like your shoulders, right? Then let’s concentrate on, you know, bringing your shoulders into a good life. If it’s your booty, do that. But pick and choose areas of you that you love and then find clothing that complements those areas.

Alexis – I love that!

Carla – Now, a really good trick I find is that I like to think of fashion as a triangle or style as a triangle. If you’re going to accentuate your upper area, make the lower area a little quieter. If you’re going to accentuate your lower area, then make the upper area a little quieter. So if you’re wearing a mini dress because you have fantastic legs, then make that mini dress a long sleeve because it doesn’t matter that you might have gorgeous arms. You want to still look classy and chic.

Alexis – I love that, that’s what a great tip. So, how did you get started in the fashion industry?

Carla – I graduated from fashion school and then worked the gamut in the garment trade from European high fashion. I started in Amsterdam, in European high fashion and Canada. I worked for a phenomenal company there. It was actually a fashion house called Pukkenhans extremely famous back in the day. I was lucky enough to get a job there, I started on the sales floor and worked my way up.

I came back to North America in Canada and started working for various garment companies from dresses, and occasion dresses to jeans. I had this club moment in my late 20s and early 30s. And then I worked for various companies until I had kids. When my kids were younger I thought I’d go right back to the showroom, I thought I’d be selling the line, popping my son back and forth, and going right back to business. Well, that didn’t happen as planned, I learned pretty quickly that I couldn’t do it all.

The biggest gift you can give youself is to no your limits and accept them without guilt.

Alexis – What’s your favorite, more affordable brand?

Carla – My favorite, most affordable brand right now is the Frankie Shop. I think they do phenomenal stuff out of New York. I’m loving, very minimalist, very architectural, but really reasonable in terms of pricing. And who else do I love? Oh, goodness. Let’s see. I have to give a shout-out to Essie Studios. I don’t know how reasonable a price point that is. I think it’s sort of mid, they’re out of Australia, but I love what they do.

Alexis – What inspires you to get up in the morning?

Carla– Outside of my family, knowing that aging is a gift and it’s up to me to make it the best out.

You can follow Carla’s journey on Instagram @carla.rockmore and Tiktok @carlarockmore for daily doses of fashion on your terms.

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