The Expressionists - featuring Fashion Stylist Karolina Ziola

The Expressionists - featuring Fashion Stylist Karolina Ziola

Karolina Ziola's world of style is a sumptuously sticky web. The further you move into it the more entangled you get. What seems at first glance to be simple colour blocking, reveals itself to be finely spun outfits full of the most beautiful detail. The elements she weaves together remind us of times gone by yet are so glaringly modern. Her vintage hunting skills are on full display as we see her magically mix the old with the new. 

Karolina's Instagram page is a delicious diary of her daily outfits. A sartorial journey through her life. The fun, joy and creativity that she finds in fashion is not only evident, it's contagious. This is statement dressing at its finest. A fabulous unfolding of creativity and self expression and we are here for it.


The Expressionists - An interview series celebrating amazing individuals who express themselves through fashion, uncovering their connection to their clothing and discovering their inspiration.

At Billie Boots we believe style is creativity, a way to experiment and play with what it is to be you. It has little to do with trends and even good taste. As Diana Vreeland said 'Too much good taste can be boring, independent style on the other hand, can be very inspiring'.

We hope this series inspires you to express your authentic self through your wardrobe. Why? Because it's a daily opportunity to be yourself on purpose and unapologetically share that with the world. Step into your skin and stand in your style.

Let's delve into Karolina's world......


1/ How did your love of clothes start?

I would say my love for fashion started very early. As a child, I couldn't keep my hands off my Barbies and would spend hours putting them into new outfits. I liked to dress up in my mother's clothes and create the wildest looks. Since my mother was already what one would call a fashionista back then, she applied her love of fashion to her daughters. I had a role model that shaped me very early on.

2/ How would you describe your style?

It's hard for me to answer this clearly because I think I have a very broad style. My look depends on how I feel that day and what I want to express. You will see me in a more masculine outfit with baggy jeans, loafers and a blazer in more muted tones, as well as in a super feminine look with a dress, ruffles, glitter and expressive colours. I don't want to commit myself. Life is too multifaceted and above all too short for that!

3/ What is your philosophy when it comes to style?

What you wear says a lot about you. When you stand in front of someone, not only your facial expressions and your posture but also your clothing speaks. It says a lot about you before even a word has been spoken. For me it is important not to hide behind my clothes, but to express myself through them. I dress for myself. Your outfit shouldn't be a disguise, it should be an expression of yourself. And fashion should be fun! I think that's the most important thing.

 4/ Who/what influences your style and why?

I find my inspiration in so many places. A look on Instagram or Pinterest or sometimes on the street, but nature with its textures and colours can also be very inspirational. The film "Dune" by director Denis Villeneuve made an incredible impression on me. The colours, textures, vibes... just gorgeous. Daniel Roseberry's work for the house of Schiaparelli takes me into another world and fascinates me in many ways. Things like that don't get out of my head for a long time. I love browsing thrift stores, flea markets, bookstores. I could spend hours there. I'm less concerned with an inspiration that I can implement directly and more with the creative mood that I'm put in by it, then I let my own imagination run free.

5/ How does dressing make you feel?

 I feel confident and myself and depending on what I'm wearing, elegant, strong, outgoing, energetic, creative and so much more.

 6/ How do people respond to your style?

Usually, absolutely positively. When I wear bold, bright colours, children's reactions are the best. They have no filter and sometimes their compliments make me feel like a beautiful, colourful unicorn. Just great!

A lot of women come up to me and tell me how much they like my look and that they would like to be bold too. I always tell them that they should just take a chance. Because what bad can happen? Maybe people will look at you, maybe they think your look is terrible, maybe they envy you a little, most of the time nobody will say anything, maybe you get a compliment. It doesn't matter as long as you're comfortable.

7/ Where do you search for clothes?

Shops, online, flea markets. If I have time, I sew something myself. I just keep my eyes peeled for the next find.

8/ Do you follow trends?

No, I don´t. I find it rather counterproductive to dress purely according to trends. It's about living out my personal style. I don't want to limit myself there.

9/ What does your style say about who you are? What do you hope to communicate through your wardrobe?

I think my looks say about me that I love fashion and find great joy in it. That I'm confident, a free spirit. But actually I dress for myself and don't intend to send a message to the outside world. If others feel inspired by it, that's a big compliment for me, which I gratefully accept.

10/ How does your style fit into your lifestyle?

I'm thankfully out of the age of sacrificing comfort just to get the look right. Of course I sometimes wear crazy high heels, but only if I have my spare ballerinas in my pocket. I definitely don't give up dancing because I feel like my feet are in burning lava but I look sensational. And let's be honest, a limping gait and a pained face kills any outfit.

When I walk the dog in the pouring rain, it's all about coming home dry. I don't really care how I look. My style has to be practical, it has to follow my lifestyle. Luckily, I have enough opportunities professionally to draw from the full in terms of fashion. I work in the fashion industry, so I think I shouldn't just talk about fashion, I should live it.

11/ What pushes your style boundaries? What would you love to wear but haven't quite plucked up the courage?

There is actually nothing there. I wear what I feel like wearing.

12/ What advice would you give someone who is wanting to express themselves more fully through their wardrobe but feeling insecure?

I would advise starting small first. For example, if you would like to dress more colourfully, you can start with 1 or 2 colours which you can integrate with a scarf, a shoe or a belt. Sometimes just slapping on a red lipstick can do wonders and give a little confidence boost. It is important not to put yourself under time pressure. The path to a more self-confident and individual style takes as long as it takes.

But none of these tips are of any use if you don't free yourself internally. Free yourself from your own expectations, which may be too high, and free yourself from expectations of others.

Fashion should always be for you. It should bring joy. In the best case, you don't stand in despair in front of a full closet and moan that you have nothing to wear but stand in front of it and feel fun, enthusiastic and inspired to rummage and put together outfits.

Like I said before, what bad can happen? You might get a few weird looks from others. So what? The payoff is that you can finally get to be yourself. Isn't that great?!




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