No, Carlina Harris isn’t actually allergic to vanilla; rather, she has made it her style mission to incorporate doses of cherry color, and bold looks, into her fashion repertoire. “I was over wearing a uniform and my off-the-clock looks felt more me,” Harris admits. “Prints, pattern, color, fur, sequins—I like to have fun with fashion. That is ‘allergic to vanilla.’”
Her blog with the same name (Allergic to Vanilla), and her fashionable Instagram account show a woman not afraid to dress up, and stand out. Being based in San Francisco, you would think that it would be difficult to be so bold with style, sticking out in a sea of T-shirts, hoodies, and jeans. “Not at all!,” Carlina assures me. “I dress for myself and don’t really like to conform to someone else’s standard of a uniform. It all goes back to my first job out of college, wearing a literal uniform,” she explains. “For the most part, I wear what I like, and that is unapologetic and super fashion forward. Ask anyone in my office (Carlina is also a marketing manager at ShopStyle), and they’ll tell you I dress up every day. Casual isn’t in my arsenal.”
Being Latina definitely factors into Carlina’s overall fashion equation. “I think to an extent it definitely does probably more subconsciously than consciously,” she explains. “I dress for myself, and being part Latina allows me to tap into that part of me that is drawn to color, fun silhouettes and is more often than not wearing hoops!” She also cites her mom as a Latina who influences her and her style. She was so chic in her heyday,” says Harris. “She made her own clothing, as did her mom before her. When she came to the U.S. (from Nicaragua), I’d like to think she was the most fabulous woman in any room. Even with homemade clothes, and not a big budget, she always was well-dressed. I think I get that from her.” Carlina also looks up to fellow Latina bloggers Sincerely Jules, and Collage Vintage.
Although she is inspired by others, Carlina says that fashion and/or style “is relative and different to every single person. For me,” she says, “fashion is the concept of having fun with what I wear, and showing who I am to the world without having to speak—my outfit choice does it for me. I consider myself an introvert around people I don’t really know, and my fashion display shares much more about my personality.”
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