Kindness is Serious Business with Paola Arencibia

Kindness is Serious Business with Paola Arencibia

How does your closet have anything to do with kindness? Join Kindness Influencer and Podcast Host, Marly Q, and wardrobe stylist, Paola Arencibia, to discuss the transformative power of fashion and how it intertwines with self-esteem and self-kindness. Paola shares her experiences in helping women revamp their wardrobes and, consequently, their outlook on themselves. She highlights the importance of owning one’s personal style and discards the societal notion of fashion being solely about the right clothes or trends. Instead, she emphasizes the emotional and mental dimensions of having “Serious Style” including feelings of comfort, confidence, and authenticity.

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“If we feel that sense of ownership and we feel that sense of kindness to ourselves, we become a bit impermeable to a lot of the negativity that could be thrown our way.” ~ Paola Arencibia

Listen to this Episode and Discover…

  • The clothes we wear can profoundly affect our self-esteem and the way we present ourselves to the world.
  • Fashion isn’t just about the right clothes or trends—it’s about comfort, confidence, and authenticity.
  • The act of detoxing your wardrobe can serve as an act of self-love and kindness, and can help to remove negative associations and emotions tied to certain clothes.
  • You can take ownership of your personal style, resisting societal pressures and fashion industry norms to shape your self-image.
  • Having a process and strategy for choosing your clothes can save time and reduce stress, making dressing an enjoyable, rather than overwhelming, experience.

About Marly Q:

Kindness Influencer, Leadership Trainer, and Community-Builder on a mission to create a kinder world for over two decades. Through her podcast, she invites listeners to make “Time to Be Kind” each week to receive a spark of kindness, connection and community.

Connect with Marly Q:

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/MarlyQ
Instagram: https://instagram.com/MarlyQ
Facebook: https://facebook.com/theMarlyQ
YouTube: https://youtube.com/@MarlyQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarlyQ
TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@theMarlyQ

About Our Guest:

Paola Arencibia is a wardrobe stylist and advocate for self-kindness through fashion. She believes in the transformative power of clothing on self-esteem and self-perception. Paola helps women revamp their wardrobes, emphasizing emotional and mental dimensions of personal style. With a focus on comfort, confidence, and authenticity, she empowers individuals to embrace their unique selves and discard societal expectations. Paola’s expertise lies in guiding others to cultivate their own “Serious Style,” redefining the way we perceive fashion and fostering inner well-being.

Connect with Paola Arencibia

Instagram: @seriousstyle_mia

Other Links:

Join our Kind QREW Free Private Facebook Group: https://facebook.com/groups/kindqrew
Join our Kind QREW+ Paid Membership: https://marlyq.com/kind-qrew
Programs & Courses: https://marlyq.com/programs
Marly Q Speaking, Training & Retreats: https://sparkcsr.com
Listen to Marly Q TEDx Talk “Kindness is your Superpower”: ​​https://bit.ly/MarlyQTEDxTalk

Other Episodes you’ll enjoy:

EP 17:   Be Kind to Your Skin with Beatriz “Betty” Newborn
EP 39:   But I Want to Fly with Michelle Villalobos
EP 34:   Don’t Quit on YOU with Marly Q



00:00 Marly Q

So if you want to be taken seriously as a businesswoman, then you have to dress the part. These were some unsolicited words of advice that I received from a businessman after attending an event with some sparkly shoes. Our special guest today has a few things to say about what determines your serious style. Stay tuned! 

00:36 Marly Q

Welcome to the show! Wardrobe stylist and founder of Serious Style, Paola Arencibia, Welcome!

00:44 Paola Arencibia

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to get a chance to chat with you.

00:47 Marly Q

Yes. So not just chat with me now, but you came into my home for, like, 6 hours or something like this and completely transformed not just my closet, but even the way that I look at style. So I want to dive right into our conversation because I have a little bit of trauma when it comes to styling and fashion and clothing that I opened up and I shared with you. I’ve never felt very confident with my clothes and my ability to go shopping and pick out this great outfit for myself. I’ve really always relied on my sister. I’m, like, the middle child, so I was, like, the product of hand me downs and friends who would lend me their dresses for homecoming or prom at school, and I never really had any help in this department. And now, as a businesswoman and as a, “Kindness Influencer”, I really wanted to kind of elevate that style, and I wanted to really just kind of get over all the stuff that told me that I didn’t really know how to dress myself and be stylish, right? Because those were all just, like, past experiences. And I just wanted to first say thank you for holding space for me to having shared kind of some of what has gotten in the way in the past. And you holding space with that, with kindness and also coming back, like, listen, kindness is serious business.You remember when you said that to me? 

02:09 Paola Arencibia

Yeah. Absolutely.

02:11 Marly Q

And I think I picked up a pen and I wrote it down. I’m like, Kindness is Serious Business. I wish that I would have had that phrase to respond to back when I attended an event and I was doing, like, a pitch style kind of event to pitch my business, which is to spread kindness worldwide. And this man, after I spoke, kind of came up to me and gave me unsolicited and rather I’ve found to be unkind advice. He’s like, if you want to be taken seriously as a businesswoman, then you have to dress the part. And I’m here having lunch, and he says this to me, and I’m like, Are you talking about my sparkly shoes? Are my sparkly shoes offending you? And I kind of just laughed it off. And we kept going, but that kind of stayed in my mind. So when you said to me, Kindness is Serious Business, I was like, that’s what I should have told that guy. Kindness is Serious Business, and it doesn’t mean that I have to be. So just thank you for changing my mindset on style and what it means to show up in business, like, confidently and seriously ready to show up and make an impact.

03:12 Paola Arencibia

Well, I appreciate that so much, you’re saying that. And I do want to say thank you to you because I know how vulnerable it is to allow someone into your closet and into your home and among your family. And by the way, my cat has been quiet all day and has now decided to show up. She felt the camera, so I apologize in advance for her cameo appearance.

03:34 Marly Q

She’s welcome. She’s welcome to make Time to Be kind with Marly Q. What’s your cat’s name?

03:39 Paola Arencibia


03:40 Marly Q

Sila, Thank you. She’s welcome. Now, I’ll keep it down.

03:42 Paola Arencibia

A lot of things came to mind when you were telling that story about somebody commenting on your shoes or just on your you thought it was about your shoes, but just commenting on your wardrobe. It’s a mixed bag. Because at the same time, it can be the kind of comment that could really be inappropriate or just not welcome in any scenario. But when it sticks with us, it does make us question things, and it really speaks to the heart of why I’m doing what I’m doing. Which is, if we feel that sense of ownership and we feel that sense of kindness to ourselves, we become a bit impermeable to a lot of the negativity that could be thrown our way. And that’s not to say that this is a cure all, but I think particularly we as women I mean, men suffer this, too, but I do specialize with women. There’s nothing that I can say that a woman doesn’t understand intuitively of how fashion, the fashion industry, clothing, our wardrobe, the way we dress, the way we walk into a room, how it affects right at the core of our self esteem and how we project ourselves and however it is that you want to dialogue with that. So, again, I’m always really appreciative when women allow me into their closets, because I know that they’re kind of, like, giving me a sneak peek into a whole history of how they have represented themselves, wanted to represent themselves. And definitely, how they talk to themselves and the kindness or the lack of kindness that we use particularly. When we’re getting dressed, how triggered we get by that little number on that tiny little tag? And how that translates to how we move through the world? So my absolute privilege in working with you and in working with all my clients is to be able to reframe it’s not really so much. It’s not the shopping. And you can attest to that, because I’d love to hear more about now that you’ve reflected on it. Not the shopping and not the getting new clothes and not getting the right clothes, but reframing it in a way so that you realize just how much ownership you have over that whole industry. That tries to that tries to get into our mind in a way that sometimes tears us down. And something else I want to say about kindness being serious business. I was reflecting on something that you mentioned because you had been with some schoolchildren when I saw you and how you have to get really firm with that in order to allow the right environment for kindness to grow. And I think the same is true with the way that we talk to ourselves. Kindness is Serious Business, but also kindness comes with a lot of discipline, and you have to be firm, but we have to be firm with ourselves. We have to say, no, I am not allowing myself to continue to talk to myself this way. I am not allowing myself to just give up and put on this shirt that I know just is, like, making me feel frumpy and is dimming my light or whatever it is. And we have to have that discipline, and we have to have that sort of firmness with ourselves first in order to be kind.

06:34 Marly Q

I so agree with you. And before meeting you and kind of going through this closet detox process with you, which did take thank you for acknowledging my vulnerability there, because it took quite a bit of courage to be like, okay, Paula, that’s really cool. You’re a wardrobe stylist. Sure, come into my house and come into my closet and let me hear your opinion on all my things that I feel not that confident about. So it did take some courage and vulnerability there. And what I loved about your process is that even for someone like me, that has a bit of an anxious tendency brain, you set me right. Like, a way to here’s how to prepare for your closet detox. Like, have an area that’s for what no longer makes you happy. Have an area for what you wish to donate. Have an area for things that are important to you or gifts, but they don’t need to be front and center in your closet anymore. And you ask questions like, how do you want to feel when you get dressed? You ask really important questions that help to, like you said, reframe how we even think about styling ourselves and our wardrobe. For me, it’s literally I have to cover my body because it’s culturally inappropriate to do otherwise. I never really put much thought into my outfits or my clothes, for example, right? Once you step into entrepreneurship and business and now your personal brand or you’re the face of your business. Kind of what you wear really does matter. And we should put probably some thought into it, but from a place of, how does this make me feel? How do I want to feel when I put on my clothes? Do I want to feel for me? The first answer I gave you was, like, comfort. It’s really important for me to feel comfortable in my clothes. It’s important for me to maybe have a little pop of color, a little quirkiness in there, but to feel that I can be comfortable and calm and confident in my own skin and in my attire. And I used to feel like I don’t really have anyone listening woman, male, non binary or otherwise, if you’ve ever had the feeling of, I don’t have anything to wear, like, you stand in your closet, and there’s, like, I don’t know, hundreds of hangers, but you’re like, I don’t know what to wear. I have nothing to wear to this event or to this thing. Paola our time together, we put together like you put together almost 40 different outfits using my clothes.

09:07 Paola Arencibia

Yeah, it was definitely a “we”, because there’s, like, an energy exchange that’s happening. If you’re into woohoo stuff, take that as woohoo as you want. But if not, I think we all know again what we’re talking about, and what I mean is to make it more explicit. For example, at the beginning, like you said, I ask you how you want to feel with some of my clients, depending on what their personal interests are or whatever, they’ll say, oh, I want to feel and look like Victoria Beckham, or I want to look like Olivia or whatever it is. That wasn’t your case. But either way, we were able, based on everyone. I just want to say about comfort, comfort is important. Comfort is a given. Okay, now this is where I want the reframe. I don’t think any woman that’s ever walked into a room and been like, I really hope when I walk in, they notice just how comfortable I am or what a good deal I got on this shirt. Again, being kind to ourselves and in valuing ourselves, we can really right away start and you know that we hit the ground winning. We put some clothes together, and right away, you’re like this. This is the buy. So where we weren’t talking necessarily about particular style icons. We were just talking about a certain buy. Then we use that to help us assess what we have. And that’s what makes it, and that’s why we’re creating it together. And that’s why, for me, while I have a process that I put in place with everybody, no two closets are the same, because what you’re embodying right now and usually my clients are in one of two places. They are in a place of transition in their lives. They’ve gone through something big, either emotionally, relationship wise, started a new career physically. They’ve lost a lot of weight, gained a lot of weight, had some physical issues that they’re going through. So that’s what I call my transition clients. And that’s really when we’re, I’m holding their hand as we’re moving through out of that phase and into this new phase, then there are my growth clients. Like, I would put you in that category where they’re in a place in their lives where things look like they’re going to be a certain way, but we are elevating. We’re really stepping into that bigger role, maybe getting a little bit more higher profile or whatever it is, and there’s a certain level of elegance and confidence that comes with that. Now, the way that looks is going to be totally up to you. We’re going to create that together. I’m going to guide you sure, based on some of my expertise and what my eye is that you’ve entrusted me. But we’re creating that together. And then you saw by the end of it, you’re going, oh, no, Paola, the jacket doesn’t go with this.And I’m like, okay, I guess I am done.

11:34 Marly Q

Those are my virgo controlling tendencies.

11:38 Paola Arencibia

I so look forward to that moment because that shows me that you’ve not recorded the rules. And that’s why the business is called Serious Style. People will meet me and they’ll be like, oh, you’re not that serious. We laugh a lot. We have a lot of fun. I try not to make the process heavy at all, but when you say look at somebody and you say they have serious style, they just know they’re styling and they’re editing what they’re wearing based on a feeling. So for me, it was really great to witness you get to that point where you knew how to edit what you were wearing based on how you were feeling. And that’s a really beautiful experience for me. So that’s why I say that we create these things together and that I appreciate that vulnerability and that openness and just that back and forth to be able to say, like, no, it’s now it’s without the jacket. Because you’re so getting intune with yourself that you’re actually better communicating to me than I can ever communicate to you what your style is.

12:31 Marly Q

Yeah, I guess that’s ownership, right? Like, I did feel by the end, and it’s silly because I’m like, I already had ownership. This is all my clothes. I just wasn’t aware that I can put them together this way and have all these different outfits with, like, one jean jacket that I own. I think it would be, like, over a dozen outfits with this one jacket. This is so exciting to me as a minimalist, as a very practical person, a very resourceful human. Having a lot of stuff is overwhelming to me. So I just feel so much better with my closet having been detoxed by you. For me, having gotten some really practical and like a strategy for how to pick out what I’m wearing so it’s so much faster. You’re saving me time, which I love. Anyone that saves me time, I love them. So as a busy mom of two, as an entrepreneur, I know that you could relate as well. And something that I found surprising was how this process of detoxing old clothes, maybe that had some either bad memories attached to it or just didn’t feel good, don’t have good feeling energy. How detoxing of that? How saying like goodbye to that is actually an act of self love and kindness.

13:40 Paola Arencibia

Absolutely. Look, one of the biggest things that’s why, as you noted in my instructions that I sent that I say, look, if there are items that you don’t want to get rid of for sentimental value, let’s designate a spot for them. I call it let’s archive them. Because if you think about, if you just spend I was working with a therapist that once gave me this exercise. It’s three minute mindfulness exercise, and it was about using a mug they use in the morning for a cup of coffee and sort of like going over like, well, how did that mug get into the house? What’s the story behind it? And the exercise actually made me cry. And it pointed out how much, like, how you do anything is the way that you do everything. And at the end of that exercise, he had said, like, you chose a mug that makes you sad and let you laugh about it now. But it was like a really weighty thing for me. So in terms of the closet, if you think about if you’re going through hanger after hanger of clothing that you feel judged by because the size is wrong or carries all these memories because they are associated with another time in your life, of course, by the time you pick that shirt, you’re exhausted and you haven’t even started the day yet. And I think that that high. And remember we talked about it because you asked me, like Paola you must be exhausted after all this time. And I said, no, I actually get like, it’s hard for me to fall asleep afterwards. And then you messaged me and you said, you’re right, you get this rush of energy.

15:05 Marly Q

I was like, what is this energy, people? PARKer’s listening. I do not have a bountiful supply of energy. After 9 PM-ish, after I put my kids to bed, I’m done. I don’t even have phone calls. I don’t check email. I don’t even respond on social media. Like, I’m just I’m done to the world after like 9:30, let’s say. And the day that we did the closet detox, I was like, just like, and I text my sisters like, this is so weird. I’m excited about clothes. Sound the alarm. This is not me.

15:36 Paola Arencibia

That’s all very real. I mean, if you think about you’re waiting through all this stuff and in the back of your mind, it’s signaling something to you, and then you have to start your day. And I love that aspect. And it was kind of like not a conscious byproduct. I mean, it was an intuitive one, providing the service that you realize that you eliminate all that judgment out of your closet and now that those clothes are serving you and what a huge act of kindness that is. 

16:04 Marly Q


16:05 Paola Arencibia

It’s the act of kindness that I get to do for a living. And to me, and the bigger picture in terms of what I offer is also to eliminate that when we go shopping. That’s why, if you notice, we were putting a list together and we were just working on the closet detox, and I still leave you with a list. For example, for my 90 day clients and my clients that go shopping with me, we don’t just walk into a store and willy nilly let trends and the department stores determine how we’re going to look and feel. We know the feeling. We’ve been through the detox. You’ve stood in front of the mirror, you’ve told me Paola no this jacket doesn’t go. We’ve done all that. You’ve had all that ownership, and it’s from that place that then we go looking for pieces that are going to serve us as opposed to, again, allowing ourselves to just feel judged and feel like we’re not skinny enough, we’re not young enough, we’re not pretty enough, we’re not trendy enough, whatever it is. And it really becomes like I think it’s just such a joyful shift in regards to something that’s really important to all of us.

17:07 Marly Q

It really is. It really is a joyful shift. I like that because I’ve never felt positive about my closet or clothes or getting dressed. There’s never been good feelings on that, literally. Like I said, I just understand that we must do this process, something that we’ve got to do. And I have a two year old who runs around my house naked all the time, and I’m like, this must be my this is obviously my offspring. Because he’s like, why clothes, mom? There’s no need. He has to learn. It’s important. And then we can look real nice and put together and look like we have some serious style. So I just really loved the process. So if you’re listening, PARKer’s, and you’re someone who like your closet or your clothes or shopping is a source of stress for you, I understand, and this is the woman that you need to connect with, because I, again, was kind of experiencing some anxiety, some stress around this, some worry. There was a little bit of shame in my own brain. I had shame tied to my clothes. And this experience was first, it was fun. It was fun, I did not expect it to be fun. I was like, oh, God, now I got to get all this stuff out of my closet and it’s going to make a mess and all this stuff and hi, it was not a mess. And in one day, you could be done with this big weight off your shoulders. And now I walked into my closet today and I was able to put on. Girl, I’ve changed outfits, like, three times today. And I was like, I can put this on, I can put that on, I know what to do, right? And I just felt, like, empowered. I felt empowered. And I’m just so grateful for that experience. I’m grateful for how you choose to be kind to others through your work, and I’m just so grateful that I got to experience it. So thank you. I am a transformed, serious styler now.

18:54 Paola Arencibia

Yes, I see it. I love it. And again, I can’t thank you enough for inviting me in. It was a wonderful experience for me as well.


If you enjoyed this episode of Time to Be Kind with Marly Q, then tell us about it and share. Whether you’re listening on Apple or Google or on YouTube, go ahead and leave a quick review or a comment so that we know that you enjoyed it. And it also helps to amplify our message and our mission to spread kindness worldwide. If you are not a member of our Kind QREW yet, what are you waiting for? It’s free, and the party’s waiting for you over on our private Facebook group page. Visit Marlyq.com forward slash this episode number to find the full transcription, the show notes, the links to connect with Paola and Serious style and be able to sign up to join our Kind QREW. Thank you for making this Time to Be Kind with Marly Q. I’ll see you next time.

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