Well, I did as I said I would. I took advantage of being at home to dig through all my photo albums (and my mom’s) to find pictures of myself in favorite outfits from when I was in my teens–a time when I had a definite “look” that I felt good wearing. (Back in the days before my job led me to wear tanks, jeans, knit tops, and sweaters with sneakers, and little else).
Well, when I called kittens my fashion accessory of 1988, I was joking. Turns out, the joke is on me. I went through a decade worth of photos, and this is what I found:
Yes. I definitely had a sense of style, but I have nothing I can post as a sample. Every single photo of me dressed nicely is either a closeup of my shoulders and face, or features me holding a pet squarely in front of my beloved and carefully chosen outfit.
Every. Single. One.
That speaks well to my happy childhood and love of animals. It does not help me create a visual collage of what I wore when I felt strongly about what I was wearing. What I can do is summarize what I liked and wore over and over again:
- Maxi dresses and sandals (with a cat or dog in my arms).
- Knee-length dresses with empire waists and/or smocking around the bosom, releasing at either a high waist or empire waist.
- Floor-length sheath dresses (which I think suited my 98-106 lb body more than they would my 125 lb body, which is hippy-er).
- Peasant-style tops, sometimes with flared sleeves. Gosh, I loved those bell sleeves.
- Scoop-necked tops. Square-neck tops. V-neck tops.
- Princess seams–again, often on maxi length dresses, but sometimes knee-length.
- Dressy-dresses with a flair at the skirt, hemmed at the knee.
- I had an absolute favorite brightly colored, woven wrap-dress with a square neck. I can’t remember how it hung below the waist, though, so I’m not sure that it would suit me now!
- Circle skirts with draw-strings (long). These won’t look good on me now, I’m pretty sure.
- I wore earrings, necklaces, and makeup more often–at least when I knew I’d be photographed.
- Jeans: always bootcut or slightly bell-bottomed, even when it wasn’t in fashion.
- And when I wasn’t dressed nicely, I was in oversized sweaters and too-big t-shirts (I was so tiny that most of my clothes were a bit too large, at least on top).
The only thing that was a constant style-choice then that I have not worn or bought in ages is a maxi-length dress. I think that I quit wearing them when I stopped wearing shoes with any heel at all.
Looking back, it strikes me that I had a good idea of what suited my body–at least when I chose to dress up. Almost all of those shapes are still in my list of “best looks.” So, I think I’m going in the right direction. I’m picking shapes that worked and appealed, and still appeal, and I’m going to make an effort to find fabrics I fall in love with. That way, I can–once again–develop my personal style.
After which I will surely pose for a picture or ten with my cat.