Here’s How Caroline Baudino Found Purpose and a Career in Positive Aging
There's an electric, vibrant spot online, and a woman named Caroline Baudino is at its helm.
Baudino, the 51-year-old founder, and creator behind the fashion site Being Caroline and Instagram handle @shop.with.caroline, is so positive, enthusiastic, and fun she makes scrolling feel like getting ice cream with your best friend who always makes you feel good. We can attest to this because we called Baudino this past week to chat about her mission: motivating midlife women—and people of all ages—to care for themselves, feel good, and do good.
The pro-aging influencer had us cracking up on the phone. But Baudino's story isn't all sunshine. She tells us how she pulled herself out of a "zombie-like" time to start really showing up for herself again. Doing this has revealed the best version of her, she tells The Sunday Paper, and now she offers the world tips for how to do the same.
"What if," she says, "we all made that little bit of effort every day to just be happy in our own skin?"
A CONVERSATION WITH CAROLINE BAUDINO
It's been five years since you went from being overwhelmed and depleted to finding "your best self" again and sharing your journey with the world. What sparked all this?
I was hitting perimenopause, gaining weight, and was in a rut. I was in the monotony of every day, where you're in a zombie zone. Then one day, my phone rang, and it was my mom screaming, having a breakdown: My dad had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. My mom didn't know what to do—how to pay the bills, how to take care of herself. She needed my dad for everything.
That phone call left my heart pounding and my hands shaking. I was stunned. I literally walked past the mirror, looked at myself, and thought, Who is that? Who is that woman who is anxious, stressed, hasn't slept, doesn't look happy, isn't dressed? Where the hell did Caroline go?
I've always loved to look fabulous. That is my self-respect. That is my medicine. I'd always taken pride in how I looked. And I wondered, Why am I not caring about that anymore? I always used to smile. I was always adventurous, independent, and happy. I couldn't keep going like that. So as I looked in the mirror, I thought, I'm bringing Caroline back! I'm bringing back that positive, happy go-getter.
How did you start to get Caroline back? What was your first step?
I said I'm going to get dressed every f'ing day—no matter what. No matter how hard. No matter if it's a bad day or a good day. It doesn't matter. I'm going to get dressed, and I'm going to bet on myself every single day.
How you feel when you look in the mirror is how you feel overall. When you get dressed and look good, you trigger your mind into caring about yourself. That's where my 'happy tools' came to be—those small moments that bring out the happy version of you. Because that best version of you is in there, she is just bogged down and feeling lost. She doesn't recognize herself. And that's fair because we have so much responsibility, anxiety, and stress at this time, from menopause to marriage to kids to elderly parents. And nobody prepares you for it.
What are your 'happy tools'?
I have my happy toolkit: those free tools that you can tap into every day to remind you to choose happiness, to remind you to choose gratitude, and to remind you that it will be okay. These are the tools that remind you that you are strong, beautiful, and smart. Negative talk does not help. So every morning, I tell myself, 'You're beautiful, you're smart, you're capable, you got this—so let's go.'
Once I started to get dressed and doing this, I was ready for anything. I was in a better mood, it put a pep in my step. When I look in the mirror, I'm like, 'Damn, you look good!' Doing this helps you be more motivated to take that opportunity, call that friend, and get out there. This is a mental game, and it's a choice. I choose happy every day.
It's inspiring how you see getting dressed and looking good as an act of self-respect. How have you seen your message impact other midlife women?
We've normalized misery. We've normalized women hating their husbands and their lives. But it isn't normal! Women have just forgotten that they are important. Your happiness is important! I get thousands of [messages on Instagram] from women who have told me, 'You have brought me back to life,' or You have reminded me of my power,' or 'I was stuck, but I got dressed today and put some jewels on, and now I feel amazing.'
If you get ready and dressed for a special occasion, say a meeting, an interview, a trip, or a date, you do care, and it does change how you feel. So what I'm telling women is: You are the special occasion. Your life is a special occasion. So why not get dressed for it every day?