In a way Carrie Colbert was living the dream. The small-town Texas girl had built a lucrative big-city career in the oil and gas industry, earning her MBA and eventually owning a small share of the private Houston corporation she worked for. She punched in for nearly two decades before a realization dawned: The O&G world was black-and-white, and she wanted to color outside the lines. So, four years ago she took early retirement and never looked back.
Always a creative—in the early 2000s she had a side gig as a contributing editor for a Better Homes and Gardens ancillary publication called Scrapbooks Etc.—Colbert decided to start blogging about fashion and travel, approaching the new venture as analytically as you’d imagine a former oil exec would. Her content has expanded along with her audience, but one thing has always been there: color.
On being drawn to color:
There was a long period in fashion when it was just neutrals, and it was hard to find anything colorful, but I was always rocking it. Now rainbow stuff is trending. Some of the scrapbooking ladies from 10 or 15 years ago still follow me, and they’ll comment and say, “Your fashion now is very much like your scrapbooks were back then.” I won’t say I’m the original rainbow chick, but it’s very much a part of who I am.
On making it her trademark:
I worked with a branding expert to look at all the data and analytics for what performs well for me online. He was like, “Carrie, it doesn’t matter what you post about—it’s not the topic that matters: The more colorful it is, the better it does.” What’s obvious now wasn’t so obvious then, but that is the unifying factor of everything we do, whether it’s literally in terms of adding more color or figuratively by living boldly with more passion and joy and energy.
On her “a-ha” moment:
There’s a book called Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Her research shows there are eight different design aesthetics that bring us joy. Number one, and of course the one that resonates with me, is color. It was like, “Oh yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing.” It’s not frivolous; it actually has the power to bring more good energy in our lives. You can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re wearing a rainbow sweater.
On the amount of black in her wardrobe:
None—hardly. I have a beautiful black dress that I wore to an event in Paris, and that’s about it. I don’t even have a plain white button-down shirt. I do have a basic black sheath dress for business, but then I’ll wear colorful accessories.
On why she won’t call herself a fashion blogger:
I think the typical fashion blogger is more of a “shopping” blogger. They’re finding things that the masses want to buy and linking to them and selling a bunch of them. I actually like being different, so that doesn’t translate to lots of sales. I don’t want to wear the same thing as everyone else.
On the “influencer” phenomenon:
There are only so many pretty pictures and pretty faces you can look at. It’s like, Great, you’re going on another dream vacation and your pictures are pretty. We all like pretty things, but I think there is a yearning for more—more meaning, more depth, more value. There was such a level of perfectionism that Instagram brought, much like Pinterest in the early days, and maybe there’s some pushback on that now.
Carrie’s Favorite Things
- Color: Pink. “I’m a girly-girl at heart.”
- Item in her closet: A pink and blue Chanel boy bag. “When your initials are CC, Chanel is the natural choice to carry. I got it in Vegas for my 40th birthday as a gift to myself.”
- Recent purchase: A pair of Carrie Bradshaw–style Manolo Blahnik heels. “They’re actually really comfortable and go with a lot.”
- Place to shop in Houston: Tootsies.
- Brands right now:
- J. Crew, MDS Stripes, La Vie Style House, Olivia Rubin, Stine Goya.
- Local artists: Mr. D, Shelbi Nicole, Ruben Rojas.
- Artists to collect: Gray Malin, Ashley Longshore, Hunt Slonem.
- Color combinations: Sky blue and soft pink; lavender and mint green. “I’ve been seeing a lot of pastels. I’ve been really into mixing and matching the softer tones.”
Follow Carrie Colbert on Instagram, @carriec.