Today we are lucky enough to be joined by ex- department store buyer and self-proclaimed design and style connoisseur Cara Downs. Cara and her family currently lives in St. Louis. Take a read through her interview and then be sure to check out her site and Instagram!
When did you Caradise Found and what made you decide to get into fashion blogging?
I started my blog, www.caradisefound.com about two years ago. I had just joined Instagram as a means of keeping in touch with my brother who was living in London. It was my first foray into social media of any kind … yes, I am one of those rare people who don’t even have a Facebook account. As part of the Instagram algorithm, I would get bloggers in my “Suggested Follow” list. I honestly didn’t even know blogging was a thing until I started scrolling thru their feeds. But I was hooked. Blogging appealed to both my background in fashion and my love of photography. Plus, I has just read Mindy Kaling’s book, Why Not Me? and I guess you could say I was inspired to give it a try!
How would you describe your personal style?
“Bohemiam Prep” is that a thing?! Admittedly, my style is all over the board, but I try not to be boring. I embrace color in my closet and have never met a print I don’t like. I’m as likely to buy an Ulla Johnson blouse as much as I am a J. Crew gingham pant. I love mixing high and low price points and love, love, LOVE mixing prints. Now that I shoot photos for my blog, I take into a lot of consideration how an outfit compliments the shoot location. For example, a busy background might need a simple, monochromatic outfit, or conversely, maybe my outfit needs to be brighter to stand out and give the photo interest. Ultimately, I think fashion should be fun — it’s an art form and a means of self-expression.
How have you developed your style over time?
When I was younger I was more likely to follow a trend even at the expense of not flattering my figure. I remember wearing denim cut offs with hiking boots in high school and, while there is no picture to prove such a thing, I can imagine that look wasn’t particularly flattering to my 27″ inseam legs. Nowadays, I have embraced my body (and age!) and know what works. I wear a lot of midi skirts to hide my less -than -stellar legs, but will rock a crop top because my waist is one of my best assets.
How do you stay current with what’s new or in style at the moment?
Well, the internet has definitely made the world a lot smaller. I can watch runway shows in Milan live as they happen and thanks to Instagram, it’s easy to stay connected to lots of brands and street style around the globe. I love following bloggers in Europe and Asia, to see what they’re wearing and stores they’re shopping. And I don’t discount the value of a good old fashioned glossy magazine. I subscribe to a bunch and read thru them like textbooks!
Tell me about one item that you bought this year that you just can’t live without?
That’s a weighty question since it’s only March!! But I’d have to say a Clare V. simple tote. It’s camel suede with a navy stripe. I have three little kids and for a while I was lugging around a big Marc Jacobs quilted bag, mostly to haul around all of their toys and food and well… crap. But now that my kids are a little older, I have reclaimed my everyday bag as something for me, something that is functional and stylish. Clare V bags always fit the bill and this one is classic, neutral and just the right size.
What’s most important to you in choosing an outfit for the day?
Comfort! I am not a full time blogger, but instead have a really real life as a mom of three little kids. On days when I’m not shooting, my uniform is a pair of distressed Frame denim, a great white tee maybe topped by my favorite All Saints sweater and always, always fun sneakers.
What is your favorite social platform and why?
How many times have you tried a new restaurant or coffee shop because a friend posted a great picture of it on Instagram? I am so guilty of doing that. But it’s also exactly why Instagram is my favorite social platform. It is such a visual medium. The colors, depth and detail that people can cram into that tiny square continue to amaze me.
What daily tools and platforms do you use in your blogging routine, for research, promotion, sharing and other?
I try to connect a lot with local (I live in St. Louis) businesses, artists and other bloggers. Whether it be sharing my favorite Spring finds from a local boutique or taking my readers inside a local artist’s studio, those collaborations are probably my biggest marketing tools and the ones that I value the most. By far the most rewarding outcome from blogging has been the cool people I’ve met along the way.
What are your 5 essential travel items?
A good hat would top that list, for hiding bad hair days or just days where you’d rather explore than spend time under a dryer. I just got a navy straw hat from The Gap that I am loving. Also, a face spray, like the one from Juice Beauty- it moisturizes and refreshes and is perfect to wake up my skin after a long flight. A cashmere wrap or big shawl. I always get cold on planes and this serves as my own personal blanket. A good book (I’m currently reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and can’t put it down). And finally, I’d bring one pair of statement earrings to dress up any basics that are in my luggage.
What are your goals for 2017?
I want to try to reach more people with my writing. Whether it be writing for a local newspaper, print magazine or submitting articles to an online fashion hub, I need to get better about marketing myself in that way. For the first year writing my blog, I was trying to figure out my voice and what I wanted to write about, I spent the second year fine-tuning that message and getting the word out about my blog. Now I’d like to take my writing skills to another platform or third party resource.