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Wear Next Meets: Fashion Influencer and Vintage Queen Sara Waiste

Sara tells WN her top tips for embracing your style.

Last Updated on August 17, 2021

Sara Waiste needs no introduction.

The fashion influencer has built up an Instagram following of over 120,000 people, who hang off every maximalist outfit post. I know, because I’m one of them!

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Sara perfectly mixes high street with high end fashion, and she has a knack for finding and introducing her followers to small but mighty fashion labels. This is perhaps unsurprising, seeing as she herself also runs a vintage fashion store in Brighton, Waiste Vintage.

sara waiste wears pink prada headband, monki wavy crop top, paloma wool checkerboard pants, an oversized chunky floral cardigan, prada bag and velcro sandals.

It’s what makes her style so unique, as well as the fact it’s fearless. While so many of us are afraid to stand out, Sara mixes and matches prints, patterns and textures with abandon.

In a café in Brighton, I chatted to Sara over coffee to find out her top tips for embracing your style, favourite under-the-radar brands and how she got to where she is today.

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sara waiste wearing floral dress and shrimps bag

Hi, Sara! Firstly, I love your style. Have you always been confident when it comes to fashion?

I’ve always wanted to look a bit individual and not conform to trends, but in the past I went through phases of meeting someone and I’d really like their style and I’d copy them, or I’d start going out with someone and I’d morph into the style I’d think that they’d want.

It’s really taken me a couple of years to be comfortable in my own style. Now I know what works for me and what I want to wear.

Does Instagram help or hinder that feeling?

It’s a weird one, because obviously it’s so trend-led. With all the likes and validation, sometimes you feel like you have to be wearing something in order to get that. It does mess with your head a little bit, and I think you’ve got to not think about it and post what you want rather than what you think people want to see.

How do you prevent it impacting you?

If you’re having a bad day, you can get really low self esteem from Instagram. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, but you’ve really got to remember that it’s not real.

I choose photos because I personally believe that’s the best version of me, but in real life I might be having a really bad day. That’s why it’s nice on stories to show a bit more personality, but at the same time I’m really only putting out there what I want people to see.

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sara waiste wearing a red and pink vest, chunky cardigan and 70s-style wide legged jeans

Well, I love your content! Where do you look for outfit inspiration?

Influencers like Olivia and Alice, Anna Winck, Matilda Djerf, Lucy Williams, Zeena Shah…there’s loads. I find Pinterest is really good too.

Did you work in fashion before becoming an influencer and starting Waiste Vintage?

I went to Uni to study Fashion Design in Birmingham, but I absolutely hated it so I quit. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Then I moved to London and managed to get a job as Shoot Co-ordinator at ASOS’ studios, before starting Waiste.

At the time, we sold customised vintage denim jackets but there wasn’t enough vintage denim in the sizes I wanted and it took so much time. So I got some vintage bits from a wholesaler in London and did a shoot, and it all went from there.

With influencing, I sort of fell into it. I used to have a blog when I worked at ASOS and I used to post photos of my outfits online, and it grew from there.

You share so many incredible small and sustainable labels. Which are your favourites?

Molby The Label, obviously! With Love Evie, Olivia Rose The Label, Jana.M The Label and Kimberley and Jessica is so nice. There’s so many.

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sara waiste wearing a damson madder dress

Clearly, sustainability is important to you…

Yes, especially having a vintage store. With the way things are going and people throwing fast fashion in the bin, we need to look after the planet.

You can have more fun with slow fashion, rather than looking like a high street clone of everyone else. Instead of spending hours in a high street shop and getting frustrated because the sizes are completely off, you can get clothes that are tailor-made for you. You’ll probably wear [the items] for a lot longer too.

What are your favourite items in your wardrobe?

My Warm Hugs Only vest, Prada loafers and pink Gucci sunglasses, because they go with literally everything.

And finally, what advice would you give to someone who’s trying to work out what their style is?

Just try a few things on and work out what you feel comfortable in. Don’t be scared to try something, because you feel like it might not suit you. Maybe it won’t, but that’s okay! Use Instagram or Pinterest to inspire you.

Follow Sara on Instagram here.

Shop Waiste Vintage here.

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