Once upon a time, approaching your forties wasn’t something to look forward to. Luckily things have changed considerably since then. More and more women are looking at their forties as a time of celebration and most importantly, reinvention. Meet Soneca Guadara. A fashion expert and celebrity stylist, Soneca has been able to carve a successful niche for herself in this very competitive field as a proud Latina and mom of 4 in her forties. We spoke with her to find out how she became a fashion stylist and how she manages to stay on top of her game.
“It came to me very organically. I didn’t just decide, oh! I want to be a fashion stylist,” she says. “One summer when my kids were at a sleep away camp, I had some extra time for myself and I decided I wanted to take some classes. I came across The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) website and I was interested in some of the intensives they had.”
Soneca says that even though she planned to go for just a week-long class, her interest developed into something more. “One class led to the next and then I found out that with the majority of the classes I had taken, I could graduate and receive a certification. This didn’t happen overnight. I took classes here and there, and in two years I graduated with a Certificate in Fashion Styling. I decided this was something I would have fun doing and I could make a living out of it too.”
The impressive achievement aside, Soneca still had to gain some real-world experience in the field. She interned with a PR agency to start with and followed that up by assisting countless stylists, working on shoots, as well as backstage work as a wardrobe stylist at the New York Fashion Week. It was not without its challenges. “I was doing this all in a very competitive field, surrounded by young millennials. At times I felt overwhelmed but I persisted and didn’t let that get me down.”
However, it wasn’t really until she read an article about a fashion-turned-personal stylist that she gravitated towards personal styling as a career option. “I could set my own hours, have more creative freedom and lastly, make women feel beautiful and confident,” she says.
Fast forward to 2019, Soneca is considered an expert on all things fashion. Aside from celebrity styling, she writes her own column for BC the Magazine and works as an on-air fashion and lifestyle expert on Unimas for Viernas y Mas. She also provides style tips and advice on her own blog StyleBySoneca. Her style quotient involves a clever mixing of styles and price points to make unique fashion statements. How does she manage to stay current with so many young wannabes vying for the top spot? “I stay on trend by attending fashion shows and writing for various style publications. Every now and then, I will come on air as a fashion and beauty consultant.”
Soneca also believes that age shouldn’t define you when it comes to fashion. “Women of all ages should wear what they like. It’s all about looking good in your clothing and most importantly feeling fabulous!” she says.