Images via Style Gallery user Marlen
Introducing Marlen, the 25-year-old Style Gallery star we can’t help but crush on! Besides ‘penning’ the blog, Messages on a Napkin, and mastering the art of thrifting, she’s creating a legacy of spontaneous traveling! It’s not just her eclectic style that has captured our attention, Marlen’s heartfelt words inspire us to take on new adventures. Check out our interview with the soon-to-be author of Long Roads to Never, below:
ModCloth: Three words. Quick, describe your style!
Marlen: Vintage, feminine, eclectic
Now that the summer solstice is here, what’s your favorite wardrobe staple for the season?
Jumpsuits! I can’t seem to get enough of them this summer, especially if they’re bell-bottomed. There’s just something so effortless and ridiculously feminine about the way those bell bottoms play around your ankles as you walk through city blocks under the summer sun. I always feel like such a babe in them.
We love how your style is a mix of modern and vintage! What requirements do you have when choosing a piece?
I wish I can say I have rules, but I really just pick out whatever catches my eye! Sometimes there are kitschy-er, crazier pieces that I snag, but the nice thing about those is that there will always be an article of clothing that can help balance them out. Like a loud maxi skirt can be paired with a neutral chambray shirt. That or I pair it with modern accessories to make the outfit feel more current – like pairing an ’80s tropical print dress with wooden clogs and a wide-brimmed hat. It immediately feels more young and fresh. I also keep in mind that vintage pieces can be easily altered – so if a dress looks too matronly I can just raise the hem to mid-thigh, or if it’s shapeless I add a belt. As long as I like the prints and colors, there won’t be much that will deter me!
Being wanderlusterers, we love all the travel-talk on your blog! How have your travels affected your style?
It made me not want to hide behind my clothes as much. When you’re traveling – or more specifically, when you’re backpacking – comfort goes out the window. I’d sleep sitting up on twenty-four hour trains … I started choosing pieces that would make me feel something as I’d slip them on – I’d have to feel a little zing before bringing it home with me. A floral dress is always pretty, but the floral dress will make you feel unstoppable while wearing it.
What are your rules for packing for an international trip?
Don’t. Bring. All. That … just pick five outfits and stick to them! You’ll want to buy stuff in the countries you visit anyway, so don’t over burden yourself. You’ll be too swept up with adventures to worry about what’s on your back.
Ok, dish! What was your best, most favorite, travel moment to date?
… My favorite part was on the last day [hiking the Himalayas] … a little four year old boy and his sister were playing, and he was using this big red flower to beat her up (haha!) I passed by him and smiled, and he froze in a way that made me stop walking, too. For a second we just stood there staring at each other, him curiously taking in my western looks, me laughing over his moment of wonderment. And then he broke into this shy smile, and without hesitation, brought his pudgy little arm up and offered me the flower. I literally felt my heart do a slow spin in my chest and fall. It was the most simple, naked, pure act of kindness I have ever experienced.
Can you tell us about your journey finding your voice?
Haha, oh God no, it definitely has taken me some time to get to where I am … The consensus that I get from people my age is that it’s truly terrifying doing what we do, just being out there in the real world. And that feeling of being scared makes you want to take the easy, safe roads. And I did that for a couple of years myself because of it. But that’s just silly, I think … In the end, I discovered that even when you fail, and fail hard, nothing really happens. The ground doesn’t quake, the stars don’t fall off their strings, your knees barely scrape. Because, it would seem, we’re so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.