top of page

Manhattan's Own fashion Guru Caroline Vazzana

A fashion editor turned New York Fashion Week staple celebrity, Caroline Vazzana made the scary jump from working full-time at InStyle to focusing on her own creative brand. With over 350,000 Instagram followers, features in top glossies, and a must-read book “Making It in Manhattan” and now recently launching the podcast adaptation. It’s safe to say she has made it. And while her colorful approach to style certainly stands out, what makes Caroline truly unique in a sea of influencers is how eager she is to share her success. In this exclusive interview she gets candid on surviving and thriving in the world of fashion.

Photographer: Reef Turner @reefturner


Wardrobe credits:

Dress – H+M Collection

Shoes – Gucci

Gloves – Cynthia Rowley

Glasses – Zenni

Necklace – Vivienne Westwood

Earrings - MiuMiu

Describe your style in 3 words?

Eclectic, obviously colorful, but then also ever changing. I’m really not afraid to take risks and embrace new things, but to always put my spin on it. I think it’s always just important to still put your spin on trends no matter what it. I say ever changing because my style is always evolving and I'm always willing to trying new things. I'm especially into vintage and unique pieces.

If you could only wear one designer for the rest of your life. Who would it be?

Oh, my goodness, that is so hard. I wear a lot of vintage. I’ll say the first designer that jumps into my mind because I love going in their store and window shopping is Miu Miu. I feel like they’re very feminine and fun. You could style their pieces in really different and cool ways and they do embellishments and sparkles really well. I visit the Miu Miu store a lot and I'm always inspired. I have so many shoes from them. Fendi is a great option as well, thats my second choice.

You’ve conquered everything from wardrobe styling to fashion publishing. We’d like to ask what prompted your subsequently foray into the fashion industry.

I always loved fashion. I joke that when I was younger, my mom would try to dress me but I would always insist on dressing myself. So it was kind of in my DNA. When I was younger I thought I wanted to be an artist for a long time, I love to draw and paint and I was always just a more creative minded person. It wasn’t until I went to college, I decided I’m going to study fashion. But like most people, I went in studying fashion design, because I feel like when you’re younger, you only know about a being a designer or a buyer like those are the two career paths. So I went in as a fashion design major, thankfully, I went to a small liberal arts school. So it gave me the opportunity to shift my major a bit. So I ended up changing my major to a double major of design and merchandising, because I realized after taking one sewing class, maybe design isn’t for me. Yet I knew it was still a career in fashion I wanted. So when I broaden my major, it allowed me to, try out a little bit of, the business side of things. And that’s when I learned a little bit more about editorial and styling, while still also learning a about design at my school. But it wasn’t really until I did internships was that I really learned what I wanted to do, and the ins and outs of the industry. I really say hands on experience and interning, that’s when you’re going to learn everything, that’s when you’re going to really figure out that this is for you. So my first internship ever was after my sophomore year of college, it was with fashion designer, Anna Sui, and it was an amazing experience. I interned in her production department. The summer after that, I went on to intern for Marie Claire, and that was my first foot into editorial. I realized, wow, you can work with a ton of different brands rather than working with just one brand. And that’s what I loved about the magazine world and about editorial.

So speaking of internships and real work experience, we know persistence is key in the fashion industry. Do you remember the moment when you decided you wanted to branch off and become your own boss? How many internships or jobs did it take for you to build that confidence to say, Hey, I’m going to do my own thing?

I remember it being a scary feeling. Because growing up, I knew I wanted to work in fashion, and then I knew I wanted to work at a fashion magazine. So to think about leaving that behind to become my own boss was such a big and scary risk. The idea to do my own thing came while working at InStyle, the wheels started turning a little bit and I started thinking to myself, I wonder if I could be my own boss. I wonder what that would be like. It was also a time when the word "influencer" didn’t exist and bloggers and social media was kind of just starting to take off. But I’d see these women online who were working for themselves because of social media. And it was very intriguing. I wondered how does this work? How do they make money? I just thought it was very interesting. So it was after, you know, having worked at InStyle for a bit that I realized I can do it to. I started posting on Instagram more frequently sharing my daily outfits and a visual of my day to day in the city at InStyle and what I was doing, and then I also started writing my book Making it in Manhattan. At the time I also launched a website called Making it in Manhattan. So I was putting in all the groundwork and setting things up before I just quit and took that risk.

So you took the leap of faith to branch out on your own. How did you navigate decision making as a new entrepreneur? Did you face any hurdles in the beginning of your first few years?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, in the beginning, it’s hard. I feel like in the beginning, it was just months and months of kind of re educating all of my contacts and the people that I had worked with previously and being like, Hey, I’m now working for myself. If you have any jobs or you have any work you need done. In the first three to five months, it was all coffee meetings, letting my network know I’m working for myself. Reminding them, now I’m freelancing, I can write and I can style. I can do social media, I can do all these different things. Do you need help with anything? Do you need anybody for any projects? So really, that was the biggest hurdle at first, because even though I sent a huge mass email telling everybody that I was leaving, and you know, pursuing working for myself, I would take people out to coffee, who I knew very well and they’d be like, Oh, I had no idea. You never know what is going to lead to your next job or next paycheck. So kind of just getting my name back out there almost was a hurdle but not a big challenge because I at least had contacts now, but I had to figure out how to build myself back up. You learn as you grow.

So what would you say has been the most challenging aspect of your career so far?

It’s definitely challenging at all times. Because I think you always need to be reinventing yourself and keeping yourself up on the newest trends and on top with what’s going on. And you never want to feel stagnant. So if there’s a new platform coming out, or there’s a new medium that’s getting popular, making sure that you’re at the forefront of those things, and keeping yourself and your brand fresh, new and interesting. You can get comfortable in what you’re doing and what’s working for you. But I think it’s always so important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to keep growing and to keep changing and evolving.

So on the other hand, what would you say is the most rewarding part of your job so far?

I love the creative freedom of it. It’s just so incredible to get to work with so many brands that I’ve admired for years. Inaddition, being given by those brands, the freedom that they trust me to put the outfits together or to shoot the content or create the content thet way that I want to create it. I'll never take that for granted. So I think the creative freedom that comes with working for yourself and being able to work with so many people and brands that have inspired you over the years, like it’s just so rewarding, and it’s so exciting. No day is the same for me.

So via your social media, we see that your closet, AKA your office is a fashion girls fantasy. The ultimate work from home space but if you had to raid any celebrity’s closet who would it be and why?

Okay, so I’m gonna say this, because I know she has a lot of the pieces. Sarah Jessica Parker, because she has a ton of the Sex and the City archive pieces. She was allowed to keep a ton of the pieces from the show. So I feel like if I got to raid her closet, I would probably pass out of excitement because she has amazing style. I'm sure it would be like walking into an exhibit of some of the best outfits of “Sex and the City. The outfits from the show and movies are still impacting and still influencing this generation .

Wardrobe styling has become such a popular career, but it’s never been just about putting outfits together. So for someone who wants to become an aspiring stylist, what skills must they also possess to become a great fashion stylist?

I think something that people don’t realize is how much work it actually is behind the scenes. So it can look very glamorous when the clients are all done up on the red carpet or when the magazine comes out and you see the work, your editorial spread, and you’re posting it online, it looks very glamorous. But being a stylist takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hard work and persistence. You have to be willing to put in the hours to schlep the bags around the city yourself, and get down on your hands and knees. You're tying clients shoes, you're handling returns and coordinating pickups. Being able to be dedicated to multitasking, it’s really the work that makes a good stylist. It’s those nitty gritty little details. So I think being very detail oriented, and then also being really persistent. One you realize that it’s not just glamorous day to day, it’s fulfilling work but can also be hard work. Passion, dedication and consistency will carry you along way.

So you’ve mentioned before that fashion is the ultimate armor for you? Do you have a specific philosophy when it comes to styling your clients or getting yourself dressed daily?

I think at the end of the day, you know, fashion is my armor. Fashion should make you feel good and protect you. When you’re walking into a room, I always say if you know nobody walking in with a really fun and fabulous outfit its the perfect conversation starter, because people instantly want to come up to you and ask you about your look. And it’ll just help break down your walls. If you’re feeling nervous. If you’re feeling anxious, if you might not be having the best day fashion is the way to help you look and feel your best even on your lowest days. So I think my philosophy is always what do I feel good in? How am I feeling today, I always say that I’m an emotional dresser. And I always project that on people I’m working with as well. Because if you’re in a bad mood, and you’re just feeling really depressed and down, putting on a really colorful, bold, sparkly outfit instantly boosts your mood. Getting all dressed up doing your hair makeup, I sometimes say getting ready is more fun than the actual event. So I believe in making sure people feel and look their best through fashion. If you look good on the outside, you’ll feel good on the inside, because it’ll just make you more confident.

Let’s talk Making it in Manhattan. You started off with a blog, a book and now a podcast. First and foremost, let’s talk the book. So if I am an aspiring fashion enthusiast, just in general, what are three takeaways that someone can take away from reading your book?

There’s so many. I talk a lot about interning. I think interning is so important if you’re trying to break into the industry. And I talk all about, how to get internships, how to reach out to people, I have literally, pre written little sample emails and messages that you could send to people when you’re reaching out. So I think number one, that is super helpful. I also talked about being persistent not giving up, and that you really have to love the industry. Because fashion is a 24/7 job. You don’t just turn your laptop off at five o’clock, and the day is done in fashion. It’s 24/7. It’s part of your life. And I think making sure people are aware of that when going into it. I always say in a joking, not joking way, fake it till you make it when you’re starting out. I knew nobody starting out. You got to be willing to grind put in the time, but then act like you know what you’re doing until you do start getting jobs and landing the big projects.

What is the Making It In Manhattan podcast bringing to the forefront? What topics will you be touching on? What will differentiate your podcasts from others?

I feel like there aren’t too many fashion focused podcasts. There's a gap in the market for a real fashion Insider Podcast. It will be similar to bringing my book into a podcast format. If you’re living in the middle of nowhere, or you just moved to New York, or you’ve been living in New York for years, and you just want to on a weekly basis, go to a place where you can relax and listen to someone speak about fashion and talk about fashion, its for you. I’ll also touch on the ups and downs of working in industry and breaking into the industry and the pressures of social media and dealing with hate comments and not feeling good enough. And I think nowadays, even if you’re not trying to be an influencer, you can relate to the hate that is happening on social media at times and dealing with even just being nervous to put yourself out there, whether it’s just for you know, a small audience of like your college and high school peers to see or, you know, hundreds of 1000s of people to see. I plan on talking about how to build your personal sense of style and find it. I get messages from people daily who are so nervous to dress outside the lines and to express themselves creatively because of fear of judgment from others. So, you know, I want to be this splash of light for people where they can go each and every week, and listen to someone who’s like your best friend holding your hand and just chatting with you. It’s very conversational and fun and will be easy to listen to.

We noticed the OG Carrie Bradshaw has liked some of your photos on Instagram. So you’ve been kind of crowned the title of the modern day Carrie Bradshaw, but a little bit more relatable. Tell me besides the Manolo’s how did the title come about?

I mean, it’s a crazy title. And I get so excited that people see me that way. It started when I was working at InStyle magazine. And honestly, I got invited to my first Manolo Blahnik sample sale when they used to do that. I don’t know if they do it anymore. But I was so excited, and at the time, the Manolo’s were very affordable. I bought a couple of pairs. I would wear them every day at the office or like a couple times every week, and then I would always dress very eclectically. I feel like a lot of fashion editors, at least back in 2016 would wear jeans, white t-shirts and a black heel. They were minimalistic. And I was always this overdressed maximalist. So I was doing that while I was writing for InStyle. And it started one day I was at an event and a publicist was introducing me to someone else. And they’d refer to me as, oh, yeah, she’s like, the real life, Carrie Bradshaw. And that was the first time anyone said it. And I was like, what, that’s literally the nicest thing anybody could say. And then a couple of weeks later, a magazine was interviewing me. And in the interview, the writer said to me, so you really remind me of like a Carrie Bradshaw type figure, like how does that make you feel? Do you resonate with that? And I was like, Okay, so now this is twice. So it started, more people started saying that, and I just thought it was so cool. But it was really when Patricia Field who is the stylist of “Sex and the City”, acknowledged it that I feel like it really became solidified. When she was launching a new Carrie necklace, they called it the Carrie 2.0. She wanted to shoot a whole campaign to promote the necklace. Her team reached out to me, and were like, hey, Pat wants to hire you to be the face of that campaign, and to do the shoot and to pretty much be the Carrie 2.0 . I didn’t hesitate. And if she acknowledges it and almost like, accepts it and endorses it, that is just wild to me. So the photo shoot was so cool. We shot it all in the East Village. I wore some pieces from her art gallery, and then some pieces from the “Sex and the City” archives. Overall it was just such a fun mix of pieces and a fun mix of minds as well. Like everyone was so creative.

How about how the term resonates with where you are in you current career?

You know, I think it’s safe to say Carrie Bradshaw was writing one article a week and was buying all these expensive clothing and it wasn’t really realistic. So today I feel like she would have been an influencer because it is a much better way to sustain yourself in that kind of lifestyle in New York City, going to events buying shoes and posting about it online because she did have such fabulous style. So I feel through sharing my very colorful, eclectic style online, but then also keeping it a bit more real like with my book and the career advice that’s in there about starting out. And you know, you can’t always only buy designer pieces and sometimes you need to buy them secondhand. And you can thrift and you can go to sample sales and different things like that keeping it a little bit more realistic than the show does, which obviously, the show is fantasy, and it’s supposed to be fun and something you watch to just mentally escape and it’s not supposed to be serious. But I think those similarities lends to the title becoming this kind of like fixture in my career. And then my style and my writing, and also, which is so weird, but Carrie’s real name is actually Caroline, and my name is Caroline. And if you look on Wikipedia, it literally says Caroline Marie Bradshaw, and my name is Caroline Marie, my middle name is actually the same. Yeah, so there was just like a lot of little things and little similarities, that I think people outside started putting two and two together. And then it just started kind of sticking with me. And hey, it’s a beautiful title that I really am honored to have. And recently, I just worked with Pat for her book launch, and I co hosted an event with her. And at the event, they were like, we have our modern day Carrie Bradshaw and it was me and Pat and Kim Cottrell was in the audience. It was crazy. I was like pinching myself. But I’m definitely very thankful and appreciative to get to kind of be that Bradshaw figure for a younger generation.

In the “Making it in Manhattan” book you speak about how your middle school art teacher influenced your creativity. For people coming up in the fashion industry. How important are role models and mentors in this industry?

Yes, oh my goodness, I definitely equate some of my success and the fact that I was able to express myself so creatively because of Mrs. Klein, my art teacher, she was the first person I felt that really saw that I was creative and acknowledged it. It can be really hard when you’re the only person rooting for yourself and helping yourself to keep going on those really hard days. So absolutely, I think mentors, and it could be a boss, it could be a teacher, it could be a parent, it could just be a classmate who’s a few years older than you having a mentor and someone to look up to and speak to and to run ideas past and to just encourage you along the way. It’s so important. And yes, I think about that all the time. And actually after the book came out her and I got lunch all these years later, and she was teary eyed. And it was so beautiful, because she’s still so important to me. I obviously mentioned her by name in the book. And she still remembers everything because we had such a special relationship, even through like I went to high school, we kept in touch and everything. But she definitely left like a lasting impression on my life, for sure.

In an industry with so much competition, how do you stay uplifted and motivated and even inspired to push through while cultivating necessary relationships?

I have my up and down days, just like everybody else, I think, like you said, the fashion industry, it can be a beautiful place. But it can also be a really hard place, comparison is deadly, and it’s there, and especially in social media comparing, you know, why did that person get this opportunity and I didn’t. So keeping yourself positive and uplifted for yourself and for your own mental sanity, but then to also be a beacon of light for others and an inspiration for others. You know, there’s a lot going on and you want to make sure that you’re being a positive mentor and you know, person to look up to for your audience. So for me, the ways that I stay positive are if I need to take a break, I take a break and if I need to have a day where I’m just kind of like doing nothing and relaxing, like I really need to take that time and having nights at home with my husband Dave, where we turn off our phones and just eat dinner and watch a movie and disconnect. I think those times away are so important and then surrounding yourself with positive people. I live close to my family which I’m very lucky to do so. I usually see my family like a couple of times every month, and I feel that time is very good because it keeps me grounded and then it almost like, brings me back to reality because if I was only in my bubble of going to events and going on trips and attending dinners and doing photoshoots, and almost didn’t have any connection to like the outside world, I think it would be detrimental to my mental health and to just also who I am as a person. I like to keep myself very grounded and very humble. And we’re all people and we’re always figuring out this thing called life together, no one has it figured out. So I definitely will say spending time with my family. Being very close with my family, I think it really helps me keep me grounded, and also keep me happy and, you know, pull me out of hard times and things like that. Knowing its ok if you need it to just reset and recharge your mental health.

There’s sort of a gatekeeper culture in the fashion industry. Sometimes, you may want to reach out to someone and they’re just not that open to mentorship or dropping gems. What’s the best way of contacting influencers that you admire?

I think, you know, sometimes the best mentors are the ones when you bump into each other on the street or at an event or like it’s very serendipitous. But if you want to reach out to somebody, it really depends on the creator, influencer or editor. If it seems like they’re very active on social media and active in their DMS, I think you can send a professional DM it just needs to be worded the right way, and still feel very professional, almost like an email. So you know, it’s hard because with Instagram and stuff, it feels like we know everybody, I even feel like I see people who I’m like, oh, yeah, we’ve never met, but I feel like you’re my best friend. It’s important to keep that reminder in your mind of like, oh, yeah, wait, I don’t know, this person we’ve never met. So just keeping that level of, Hey, I just wanted to reach out my name is so and so introducing yourself. But email is also great. And in your DM, say, if you prefer email, let me know the best email address to reach out to so we can chat more and keep the conversation going. So that you’re saying, Hey, I reached out this way, but I’m happy to move it over to email if you’re more comfortable that way. And who knows, they might be like, let’s just jump on a call or here’s my cell, let’s just text and talk if you have some questions. So I think also it’s, you know, reaching the person at the right time. If you’re reaching out to someone in the fashion industry, during fashion week might not be the best time, waiting until it’s like a slow time in the industry maybe over the summer or something like that.

We’re always looking for creatives who inspire and disrupt the fashion industry and your own words. How are you disrupting the fashion industry?

Oh, I love that. You know, I was a maximalist before it was cool again, I knew being colorful, eccentric and expressing yourself through fashion five years ago when I first started posting on Instagram and becoming a creator like that didn’t exist. Minimalism was it everyone was wearing black and leather jackets and this model off duty kind of look and I was this a splash of color in the sea of influencers. I know influencers were making fun of my outfits and thought I was like too quirky and too much into extra and into this into that. And then during COVID because everyone was trapped inside for so long, everyone started wanting to wear their most eccentric, colorful, fun pieces. And then we saw this swing up of maximalism, and this trendiness calm and, you know, I’ve been wearing big chunky rings since 2016. Before they all you know, started becoming trendy again. So I think for me, I was always true to myself if minimalism is trendy, I’m still going to be a maximalist, like that’s who I am. If wearing black and white looks in neutral colors is in I’m still gonna always be wearing color. And I’ve been doing that since 2015 when I started out and I’m gonna keep doing it forever. I’m not scared what other people have to say. I know people have had things to say and have looked at me differently and thought that I wasn’t cool. But I always say being cool is overrated, and I don’t want to be cool and I don’t want to fit in, I want to stand out and I want to do something different. And I want to leave an everlasting mark an impression on the industry through my style and through just the way I carry myself and being fearlessly myself and not trying to fit into a box. I think sometimes when people can’t figure you out, it scares them. So I think just always staying true to myself, but my style and you know, being unafraid to wear the crazy, colorful outfit, even when everyone else is wearing all black.

So what’s your wardrobe MVP?

Chunky rings or I would definitely say my glasses too. I always wear glasses. And I own so many pairs of glasses. And all of them are real prescriptions. But I really have also tried to teach people you can wear glasses, and you can wear them in a stylish and cool way glasses don’t have to be this chore of, oh, I need glasses like I need to put on my glasses. I can’t see. No glasses are an amazing accessory when styled correctly. So I’ve also been on this journey of kind of inspiring and teaching people how to style their glasses for more formal occasions and for everyday life. And in a more high fashion way. I just wore glasses to my wedding, and people on Tiktok and Instagram went crazy for it. And they were just like, we never see brides wear glasses, you really have a way to, teach brides not to be ashamed. I was getting so many messages, you have no idea you changed my life. On my wedding. I wasn’t going to not wear my glasses, I wear glasses every single day. But people were trying to encourage me not to wear my glasses. And I don’t feel like myself. Like you want to look back at the photos of your wedding, and you want to think oh, that’s me. I look like myself, you know? And if you wear glasses every single day, why shouldn’t you wear them to your wedding, just because society tells you shouldn’t and because you can’t dress up your glasses. So trying to teach people to also embrace their glasses and wear their glasses and that you can wear them in a dressed up stylish formal way. That’s also kind of been, you know, a quote or a mantra of mine to try to really teach people that.

Stay Connect with all things Caroline.


Pinterest | 2.2M+ Monthly Views, 160.9K Followers

TikTok | 566.4K Followers, 11.9M+ Likes

Instagram | 352K Followers

YouTube | 36.2K subscribers, 16M Views


bottom of page