Name: Norbyah Jade Noel Nolasco
Current City: Hong Kong
Occupation: High School Teacher (and part time blogger)
How would you describe your style?
Vintage-inspired, eclectic and feminine.
If you had to wear one outfit everyday, what would it be?
Oh, that's easy. A dress. I have so many and I think they're perfect for any occasion.
Who or what influences/inspires your style.
I'm a sucker for patterns. I love prints. And mostly, I love colour. The trouble is that sometimes I tend to feel like I don't have any throw on and go outfits. The easy basics that can go with anything. Sometimes getting dressed for me is really hard because I don't do casual very well. I'm getting better at it. My BagLady Basics dresses have helped tremendously because I can style them with the pieces that create what has become my signature flair (a vintage scarf, a wide brimmed hat, some funky vintage jewelry, etc).
What does being a BagLady mean to you?
To me, being a BagLady means being up for anything. To be up for adventure wherever it may lie because no matter what, you're dressed for it. You can be ready for a night out on the town with friends or a day sightseeing. It means being free to wander and experience what you want because packing is easy.
What do you like most about our garments?
I love their versatility and their comfort. You can wear them any way you want to, and personal style is distinct in the way a person chooses to wear a BagLady Basics garment.The fact that the pieces look amazing is icing on the cake.
How does your current lifestyle affect the clothes you wear?
As a working mother, the clothes I wear have to fit my active lifestyle. I try to be as hands-on for my children as possible, which means running them to their activities and being available for them. As an international school teacher, I need to look professional but let's face it, a teacher's salary (and three children) doesn't leave me the option of spending tons of money on my clothes. For me, vintage clothing and wearing secondhand comes as much from necessity as it does from my own beliefs about the value and style of clothing. Vintage clothing never goes out of style, I feel. Many of today's trendsetting items have their roots in older styles. Here and there I will spend money on well made, sustainably designed eco-fashion items. I like to support local designers, too. For example, I've been working with Louella Odie for the last year and I really love the art in their designs. Hong Kong inspires me because we have so much talent and people are so willing to help one another.
What countries have you visited?
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, China, Fiji, Australia, USA, and France
Do you pack light when you travel?
I can usually pack pretty light for short trips (long weekends, one week breaks, etc) where the days are defined and the weather is predictable. I struggle when packing for longer trips like our summer holidays which are more like 6 or 7 weeks long. It's my shoes! I can never decide what to bring!
Do you have any tips for packing light?
On my shorter trips, I usually try to think of a colour scheme to follow. That way, all the pieces I bring will work with any of the other pieces I've packed. I also try to consider outfits that can be dressed up or down, so that I can be prepared for any situation. Always pack a nice pair of shoes and a pair that is more comfortable for everyday (and for walking).
Have your travels shaped your style in anyway?
I love to people watch, wherever I am. My travels usually inspire me because I can see how people in different countries interpret style in the way they wear their clothes. Also, trends aren't necessarily universal. Different countries will have different trends so it's fun to try out things you see in other places. I remember when I was a junior in high school, I had just returned from a summer in Australia and I had really loved the way people were wearing knee length socks there. I brought this trend right to school with me, with my school uniform. I turned heads and got teased a little, but it didn't stop me.
Have you ever been afraid of expressing your personal style?
Well, yes and no. As I said previously, I like to try new things that have inspired me. When I was younger, I did this with less confidence because I was always self conscious about what people were thinking and saying. I've always been super sensitive to criticism, but even so I didn't let it stop me. These days, I just wear what I want even though I know some people will think I'm "out there." I've also received some great compliments about my style, so perhaps I'm doing something right. I just think that life's too short to always play it safe.
What do you enjoy most about being a high school teacher, and what do you enjoy least?
I think what I like most about my job is being in the classroom with students. I love connecting with kids, helping them to learn to be confident young adults, to share with them my passion for literature and life. I feel so blessed to have made some really meaningful relationships with students over the years. It means the world when they come back and visit, or when they write to let me know that they really valued something I taught them or they made a connection back to my class. I can't imagine any better compliment than that. I think what I like the least about my job is all the bureaucratic stuff that can really detract from being engaged in the classroom and with kids. Grades are kind of a pain, too. What I mean is, trying to get students to focus on learning rather than grades is really a challenge, especially when so much of that emphasis comes from competition to get into college. In the grand scheme of things, that part of their lives will end up being so small that they will look back on all the stress leading up to college with such disbelief, I think.
What’s one thing that you’re proud of doing/accomplishing? Aside from the success and opportunity my blog has provided me which I'm incredibly proud of, I think what I'm most proud of is my children. Parenthood is work, let me tell you. You try your best to raise them in a way that they'll be set up to make good choices and become confident and thoughtful people, but it can be a gamble. The older they get, the more I realize that there are so many other influences in their lives and that as parents we really don't have as much sway any more. I'm so proud of the people my kiddos are becoming and whatever role I've had in that is an accomplishment.
Whats the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
My mother told me when was in fourth grade and thinking of cutting my hair short again, just go for it. If you don't like it, it's okay. Hair grows. I've kind of taken that advice and generalized it to all situations where I might be taking a risk. Most situations aren't permanent. If you play it safe all the time, you're going to miss out on a lot. I remembered this advice a couple of years ago when I finally decided to shave the sides of my head. I'd been wanting to do it forever, and just went for it. I haven't regretted it for a single moment.
Do you have any advice for our readers? This is what I always tell my students, don't be afraid of failure. Failing at something offers you an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson (often a better one than if you didn't fail). Never turn away from something because you think it won't work and you're worried about failing. Do it anyway. I wholeheartedly believe this and I try to impart this belief onto my children, too.
What would you say to your 18-year-old self.
People will like you for who you are, so don't worry so much about what other people think. Just be yourself. My senior quote on my yearbook page was "be yourself, by yourself" but I didn't understand how to do that until I was much older.