Helloooooo! Today, I have an extra-special post for you, featuring Sara Camposarcone, “sustainable maximalist” powerhouse who you have probably seen plastered across TikTok, just hit 100k followers on Instagram, has been written up in publications I am not even legally allowed to type the NAMES of here, that’s how big of a deal they are… yo, I just found out she even has a Famous Birthdays profile!
Of course Sara’s an Aquarius, the Zodiac sign symbolized by a mythological cup-bearer carrying an overfilled vessel, water brimming and spilling over the lip. Honestly, at first, I couldn’t see how Sara’s style could relate to my own, though I appreciated its cheery perversity and knew that the person who dreamed up and followed through with looks that have been described as evoking “Guy Fieri in Drag” and “Punk Cynthia Doll from Rugrats” must be talented, thoughtful, brave, and funny.
I learned through people I knew who had met Sara and by lurking the comments on her posts that she is an almost unimaginably generous person who, though she has been jammed into the Social Media Star meat grinder over the past few years, makes every single person she interacts with feel paid attention to, respected, and inspired, whether replying to countless comments on her videos, meeting fans during Fashion Week, or, sitting down to talk to a random person from the internet who starts their conversation by admitting to having scrolled back five years on her Instagram before meeting her.
Generosity is the quality I value most in myself and in others. I feel ashamed when I can sense myself being stingy with my resources, my ideas, or my attitudes towards other people, so I both immediately respected Sara and felt like something in my evaluation of her style was lacking if I couldn’t understand how I could let it inspire HR. My own style is not close to minimal, but I hardly ever wear makeup, can’t see myself wearing lettuce leaf earrings, and don’t own a single tutu (that last one is truly a point of dismay for me. There is a Molly-Goddard shaped hole in my heart).
Sara generously (ayy) agreed to talk with me after I decided I wanted to go straight to the source, thinking that if I learned about the ideas and items that inspired Sara, I could better understand how to interpret her ebullient style and incorporate aspects of it into my own, MUCH LAZIER outfits. Once we talked, i realized that the disconnect I felt was, in fact, completely intentional: Sara’s style pushes to the farthest reaches of maximalism not because mine (or yours) should, but to remind us that we could. She’s hiked to the top of a mountain to secure a belay rope that affords people who feel nervous about taking a style risk, no matter how small, the opportunity to feel safe in the knowledge that they’re not Free Solo-ing it.
No matter how minor or outlandish the choices I made while putting together the Sara-inspired, HR-approved outfits below the interview, all of which I would genuinely love to wear and none of which get even CLOSE to the breathtakingly lavish and complex fits Sara puts together, I felt free to make them, largely because whenever I asked myself “Would she wear this item, too?” the answer was ALWAYS “Duh.”
Thank you so much, Sara, for your generosity. Now my cup runneth over, too, with inspiration and newfound levity towards my outfit imaginings!
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Thank you SO MUCH for your support, whatever you are able and willing to do to help is extremely valuable to me and I’m honored to be a small part of your life on the web.
Sara on PR Bullshitting, Platform Boots on Airplanes, and Being an Icon
HR: Speaking of Instagram stalking [I had just been telling Sara about my methodology for writing about style heroes on this blog], I did go back far enough in your profile to see that there was a pretty abrupt shift in your aesthetic a couple of years ago, around the pandemic. Was there a specific impetus for that, or was it more of a gradual thing?
SC: The pandemic was when I started my TikTok. I started posting daily outfit videos and stuff like that. We were all so overwhelmed, so down, just stuck inside. It was a dark time for me, I was really struggling mentally. I just dove into expressing myself in the way I do now, playing around within my own closet and putting together these really fun combinations of clothes that people were just like, “Wow, I’ve never seen this before!” about.
Since I wasn’t getting to wear the outfits out of the house, I was like, here’s a perfect platform where I can just film it and put it out there. I’ve always posted my fashion content on Instagram, but once I started posting on TikTok, it really took off. Everyone was on TikTok at that time, just looking for things that were going to bring them a bit of happiness.
What’s your relationship with shopping? During the pandemic, I developed a problem with online shopping because I was like, if I don’t get a package once a day, I will die. Or on a more micro level, did you participate at all in Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales this year?
I’m definitely more of an online shopper too. Growing up, through high school and stuff, I would thrift shop all the time, that’s where my love for vintage clothing was born. But I’m based in Toronto, Canada right now, and here, thrift stores have completely changed. The prices have gone way up. I don’t really shop in thrift stores anymore.
I try to be conscious of over-consuming clothes as well. I’m so into sustainability and trying to promote that through my content that I’m never like “Let’s go pick up 20 million things from a thrift store!” Because that’s not being a conscious shopper, even though that’s how resale is usually framed.
I actually didn’t participate in any BFCM shopping this year. I’m trying to save my money a little bit right now, especially after I just started doing content creation full-time this summer. Adjusting to not having a nine to five and not knowing when I’m getting paid and all that—it’s a little weird. I’m trying to be better with my money.
But also… I have my ebay alerts and my secondhand shop habits! I shop a lot of secondhand online retail platforms and stuff like that. I do that throughout the year so I don’t really feel like Black Friday deals are going to be on anything crazy that I can only buy on that day. It’s kind of bullshit, I think.
If I took a shot every time a brand sent me an email with the subject line “We NEVER do this…” even though it’s the exact same sale that they hold every single year, I would be passed out by 10 AM on Black Friday.
It’s so true. I worked in marketing for a few years, so I literally used to be the person sending those emails.
Ah, you were the bullshitter, and now you’re not going to fall for it!
Yeah, you can’t fool me.
Do you have any online vintage or consignment stores in mind, based in Canada but shipping worldwide, that people outside of Canada might not know about?
Yeah, there’s one called VSP Consignment that’s based in Toronto. There’s a TON of great in-person consignment shopping here.
I’ve never been to Canada, I’d love to come and get the insider tour from you! What are the best investments you’ve made in your clothes or accessories shopping, things that you’ve gotten the most wear out of or that you feel like, “Wow, this was worth the price,” no matter how expensive.
Two things come to mind. My favorite things to collect are shoes and vintage, secondhand luxury bags and stuff like that. I think my best purchase was my first Dior saddle bag. I bought it for $150 on ebay almost ten years ago. I still wear it all the time. It’s just black and white with the monogram print all over it, and I love it. I think it’s a classic, keep-it-forever type of bag. It was such a steal, and now it’s such a popular design again!
Another one of my favorite purchases I actually got off SSENSE, so it was brand new—these giant, gold platform Molly Goddard boots. I wear the shit out of those. Someone might look at them and be like, you can’t wear those every day. You can’t wear them in the winter, in the snow. I do. I wore them on the plane to New York.
Wearing insane shoes on the plane is actually genius. If you don’t have to run to make a connection and you’re a dad-type who gets to the airport five hours early like me, then you’re not going to really be on your feet, anyway. And everyone will compliment you on your cool shoes because everyone else looks like shit. The bar is conveniently low. I always wear cowboy boots on planes. People think it’s funny, and I don’t want to have to pack them.
Do you have any specific pieces of media that you take inspiration from when dressing? Anything that you think “I could totally be a character in that right now?
Totally, some of my favorites are 90s movies, I love Clueless. A lot of my fashion is reminiscent of or nostalgic for my childhood. I wear a lot of cartoon-y things, and I still watch those cartoons! I love Rugrats. It’s obviously what inspired my logo. And Looney Tunes and stuff like that. Not because there’s really fashion in them, but just the shapes, the colors.
I can definitely see that! Do you have a style hero you’d like to shout out before we wrap up?
MaKenzie Godso! She’s an amazing designer who sells pieces on Etsy. I bought a Strawberry Shortcake jumpsuit from her. It’s so cute. She does a lot of upcycling and collects a lot of vintage designer pieces, like old Celine stuff. And her sense of style—I’m blown away. Literally everything she wears, I’m like, I would wear exactly that, and it’s rare for me to find someone where I totally see the vision in everything they put together.
Wow, I just looked and her Instagram is so delightful! Instant follow. My last question for you is: is there a relational aspect to your dressing? Do you consider the effect that you have on people around you with the way that you’re dressed, or do you solely dress for yourself? There’s obviously no “right” answer here, I just think a lot about this and have for years.
That’s a good question. I feel like I’ve been thinking about this the past few days. I can tell by the comments I get on my social media that I’m definitely having this effect on people where they’re either super pissed off about what I’m wearing, or they’re inspired. It’s insane to think that I’ve been able to inspire even anyone, let alone the amount of people that come to watch my videos.
I think first and foremost, I dress for myself. The first thing I think when I’m about to get dressed is: “What’s an iconic outfit that I can love and be proud of?” But at the same time, I think a part of me does dress a little bit… not for other people, but I do consider my impact. I just want other people to feel like they’re allowed to dress however they want to dress, or like they can, and they don’t have to worry about what other people are going to say. If I can wear carrot earrings, you can wear a tutu to school in 7th grade and not be scared of kids making fun of you.
At the same time, pushing fashion boundaries and breaking rules is part of my whole aesthetic and part of why I dress the way I do. I went to a Catholic high school, we all wore uniforms, blah, blah. I was constantly out of uniform. I have a little bit of a problem with authority. Any time someone’s telling me “You can’t wear those pink socks,” I’m like, yes, I can, and I will.
I like the reaction sometimes that people have because it’s sometimes silly, because it’s just clothing, and no one’s telling anyone else to wear it. It’s me wearing it. But at the same time, it gets people so heated, they’re like, “How can you go out wearing this?”
I definitely relate to this three-pronged approach to dressing. Is it like… One: I want to make myself happy. Two: I want to affect some kind of goodness in this world. Three: I want to make some annoying people really uncomfortable. The trident of getting dresses you wield brilliantly.
I think you pretty much summed it up!
Thank you SO MUCH for this, Sara!
You are so welcome.
Sara-inspired Looks to Inspire You
Though, as I wrote up top, all bets are off when it comes to Sara’s style, and there are no hard-and-fast rules I could suggest you follow to take inspiration from her, the below outfits include recurring themes (cartoonishness, fantasy, bravery), components (neon colors, wild silhouettes, ad hoc pattern mixing), and sources (consignment, small businesses Sara’s posted about on Instagram, vintage piecesfrom designers she likes) I gleaned from our conversation and my Instagram deep-dive. I also incorporated things that Sara’s style reminded me of or evoked in me: Alice in Wonderland, a house of mirrors, a kitsch-laden truck stop, a game of Dungeons and Dragons. I hope you have fun with the fits below!
Note: I may earn a small commission if you purchase an item at the links below, with no cost to you! Thanks!
- Cutie Beanie – $26 (Sale)
- Vivienne Top – £420
- Organdy Logo Harness – $420 (Sale)
- Midi Skirt – $374 (Sale)
- Micro Pearl Egg Bag – $609 (Sale)
- Fusion Sneakers – $247.50 (Sale)
- Bow Balaclava – $95
- Ribbon Jacket – $450
- Dottie Cargo Shorts -$123 (Sale)
- Black & Pink Long Socks – $60 (Sale)
- Shearling Flats – $325
- Joan Hood – $250
- Time Can Change Jumper – £350
- Edie Shorts – £460
- Striped Leggings – $53.55 (Sale)
- Hand Bag – $129
- Tango Heels – €457,50
The Good Men, the Bad Men, and the Pac-Men
- Vintage Pac-Man Cap – $25.95
- Bad Men Dress – $280
- Belt – $150
- Lola Legging – $90
- Vintage Cadillac Saddle Bag – $1,595
- Floral Print Sandals – $63 (Sale)
- 60s Cap – $52 (Sale)
- High Fantasy Tank – $80
- 20s Cape – $125
- Black Metal Bloomer Shorts – $214 (Sale)
- Checkerboard Leggings – $35.10 (Sale)
- Mini Yasmine Top Handle Bag – $271 (Sale)
- Princess Slippers – €488
I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Sara, for your time, your exuberant vision, and your generosity in sharing it.
DM me on Instagram if you have any ideas of outfit geniuses, designers, or otherwise cool people affiliated with clothing somehow who I should talk to next.