January 13, 2010

Personal Style: A Reflection

Since I signed up for Red Velvet Art's Style School, I've been giving my personal style and taste a lot of thought. As far back as I can remember, I've had a very eclectic style. One morning in my early childhood, while my mother slept, I got myself dressed and went over to my neighbor's to play. I imagine my mother waking, and panicking as she looked all over for me. I can only imagine her surprise when the neighbor called to double-check she knew where I was. Apparently, I had told her my mother was aware of my visit; but it was my get-up that gave me away:
  • Pajama Top: Check
  • Shorts: Check
  • Tank Dress: Check
  • Rain Coat: Check (Update: My mom wanted to clarify, this was a bright yellow, Smurfette slicker!)
  • Jelly Sandals: Check
I should probably mention it was a hot summer morning! I love this little anecdote of my four-year old self asserting my independence and style. And I have distinct memories of dreading being dressed in a navy/forest green plaid jumper that my mom loved.

So, the truth is, I've always had my own sense of style. However, as a thirty-year old woman, sometimes I feel my sensabilities haven't gotten much better than they were when I was four. I've been thinking a lot about my wardrobe, hair, and home decor lately; presumably I've given it so much thought because I am thirty. I still dress the way I did in high school: tattered jeans, vintage sweaters, t-shirts, chuck taylors - check. It seems it's time for me to enter that 'classic' decade of life, as I recall reading about in Vogue so many years ago. But I never can get comfortable in Banana Republic, Gap, or god forbid: Ann Taylor. It's the same feeling of dread and identity clash that I had in that plaid jumper as a young girl.

I definitely want to revamp my style, have a more feminine and refined version of my wardrobe - but I'm at a loss. Over the next several weeks, I'll be posting some images that inspire and provoke me. As I put together a look book for Style School, I'll be sharing with you some of my favorite looks - and perhaps you can help me to see the common thread. Meanwhile, I'll be rocking my Chucks, jeans and t-shirt.


Renai said...

At 25 my style is finally beginning to become more "adult". Mostly thanks to my office job that requires me to wear something other than my standard jeans and hoodie uniform.

Most of my clothes are second hand, or from Target (best cardigans ever!) My day to day uniform now is usually black footless tights, flats, a pencil skirt, and a sweater. Sometimes a blouse, sometimes a cute tshirt with a cardigan. I tuck a lot of things in (high waisted skirts are FUN!) and keep most of my colors neutral- aside from earrings and shoes. It's still pretty low-key and easy to pull off, but it works for me. My biggest problem is with pants. I'm too short to wear most slacks without heels (not an option when I'm taking the bus and walking a lot), and I don't like wide legged styles. I definitely struggle more in the summer than I do in the winter, since I have to keep my (tattooed) arms covered.

It's best to just make gradual changes- sweaters instead of hoodies, flats instead of Chuck T's, skirts or slacks instead of jeans (still cute with t-shirts!), and don't feel like you have to step outside of your comfort zone, or wear something that makes you feel 50.

Etsy is great for finding more "adult" clothes that aren't frumpy and boring, and Target is great for inexpensive basics that will hold up for a season or 2. Thrift stores are ALWAYS full of dress pants, skirts, sweaters, and other work clothes that are still in great condition, and there are tons of consignment shops (at least where I live) that carry stylish pieces.

Holy crap, I didn't mean to write a novel! I hope at least some of this was helpful!

Tara said...

Hey Renai,

Thanks for the tips - that's just the kind of info I am looking for! And don't worry about leaving long comments here - I absolutely love to hear from people who read my blog! Leaving comments makes the blog 'ours' instead of just 'mine'!


Alli said...

Yup - gradual is key! I started out much the same way as Renai after college, slowly replacing "younger" items with things that felt more classic, but still me (hoodies to cardigans, T-shirts to jersey blouses, chucks to ballet flats, faded bootcut jeans to dark straight-leg jeans, etc.). From there I learned to start experimenting and loving clothes. It's all about taking the first step. And don't think that you need to get rid of those chucks and jeans - you'll always find opportunities to wear things that you really love, or to work them into your new wardrobe (pair the T with a skirt and belt, for example, or the chucks and jeans with a grown-up blouse). Good luck!

cabin + cub said...

Can't wait to see your looks! And I agree... no Gap or Ann Taylor for me either...ugh... the thought scares me.