You don’t have to be 20-something to wear a crop top. You don’t have to have the perfect body to wear a form-fitting dress. And you don’t need to spend a fortune on your wardrobe to be fashionable.
That’s Renae Olivia’s advice to women. And based on her massive social media following, they’re listening.
The 51-year-old Hudson County mom has 278.2K followers on TikTok, where she shares her age-defying secrets and style hacks.
One of Olivia’s most watched videos, with nearly 3 million views, is about how to style a neck scarf. Another video with more than 4.1 million views teaches women how to tuck a button down shirt.
They’re simple tricks for more flattering looks that she hopes will encourage women to be bold — something that took time for Olivia to do herself.
Growing up in a small town in Ohio, Olivia didn’t have a lot of money, she said. That’s when she adopted the practice that she preaches: “Do what you can with what you have,” she said.
In college, Olivia enjoyed looking at what celebrities were wearing and figuring out how to recreate the same look for less. When she moved to New York City in her 20s, she felt a little bit like Dorothy when she first landed in Oz.
“Fashion was on a whole other level,” she said. “Everyone was in designer clothes — you had to be creative.”
At the time, Olivia was working as an assistant and not making a whole lot of money. She wanted to express herself without breaking the bank.
Thrift shops, PoshMark and markdown stores became some of her greatest assets, and she’s never had any shame in that, she said.
“My thing was, if I was wearing a pair of shoes that look like Manolos, but aren’t, who’s going to know?” she said. “I was trying to keep up with Joneses but not spend a lot.
“I was always smart and frugal with money — and you have to be when you live in New York.”
Sometime in 2018, Olivia began to yearn for something more than her job in finance and motherhood. Yes, she loves parenting her two boys, and yes, she’s passionate about her career. But something was missing.
And so, she launched her YouTube page after many friends began inquiring for fashion tips and her secret to looking young. The page took off.
Then, in Summer 2020, Olivia downloaded TikTok. She got popular fast, largely by letting women in on simple tricks that can transform any outfit from frumpy to flattering. Like the best way to tie a t-shirt so it’s form fitting, and age-appropriate looks for crop tops.
One of the questions Olivia says she’s asked the most is how she stays looking so young: Confidence is key, she said.
When Olivia turned 50, her gift to herself was botox treatments. She goes twice a year and she says it makes her feel refreshed. She is open about the injections, and feels there’s no reason to hide that.
When Olivia was in her 30s, she had a breast augmentation. She’s transparent about that, too. Olivia sometimes gets questions about bras from women, and she wants them to know the truth about her body.
But, Olivia says, surgery and injections are not the answers to feeling confident. In fact, she feels much of it from her social media accounts.
The very people who Olivia hoped to inspire are the ones giving back to her.
“The biggest compliment is when women tell me that my page inspired them to wear something or do something different,” she said. “Inspiring even one or two people makes me so happy.
“I feel like this has brought me out of my shell. I used to be so shy that if someone asked me a question, I’d turn bright red,” she said. “Now I feel comfortable in my skin.”
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