A couple summers ago, just before I went to a major conference, I decided that I needed to spruce up my wardrobe. I needed to get away from my casual, comfortable style–a style that was as uninteresting as it was practical. I bought several style-on-a-budget guidebooks, went through the advice, and tried to pull together a fashionable look.
Or, at the very least, enough fashionable outfits to get me through a five day conference.
I was astonished by what a difference a few accessories, nice belts, some high-quality purses, and brighter colors made. Even something as simple as finding a pair of jeans that hit in the right spot made a big difference in my “look.”
Unfortunately, despite what I learned from those books, in the last year I have slid comfortably back into my jeans-and-tank-top with matching sneakers or sandals.
This evening, I came across an article entitled “8 Tips for Developing Personal Style When You Have None.” Jackie, the author, does a good job expressing the conflicting desire to “dress cuter” (or more stylishly) when it goes against a lifetime of habit and self-limitation.
Now that I am returning to sewing (and still on a budget), I am returning to those books, trying to pick out a flattering and limited color palate, and working up a wardrobe that will fit and flatter me.
Often, this means stepping out of my comfort zone. Two years ago, I bought saturated colors and patterns and belts that I never would have picked in the past (I was a neutral + neutral + neutral, no jewelry kind of woman). I was thrilled by the results. In fact, the only thing that disappointed me was the fact that the clothing (bought cheaply) lasted a shorter amount of time than I would have wished.
Over the next weeks, I’ll be re-reading style books, going through my sewing guides and reviewing my “look for / avoid ” chart and plan outfits that will make the most of what I have. It’ll be a slow process, but maybe–maybe–by the end of the year I will have a small collection of complimentary, custom tops, skirts, dresses, sweaters, and even, if I am brave, pants.
How do you find and define your personal style? Is it something that you had once, that somehow slipped away? Or have you never quite known for sure what would suit you and set you apart from the crowd (in whatever way you wish to be perceived)?