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Personal Style

2010 October 16
by elizabeth_admin

I have been ruminating about personal style the last few weeks.  You see, I don’t think I really have a personal style.  I’ve kind of drifted from one trend to the next, never deeply investing in a particular look, choosing maybe just one aspect of that look to wear.  Here’s a little mini walk through history, my own, to give you a taste of personal style evolution, or lack thereof.

Childhood:  Dresses, and more dresses.  Apparently my mom dressed me in lots of dresses.  I have no recollection whether this was her wish or mine or a cultural thing (being Mexican).  But when I went to Jr High (where in my town all the grade schools funneled into one jr high) and met again some kids I had gone to kindergarten and first grade with, one of the girls exclaimed, “You’re the girl who wore all the dresses!”  I guess it made an impression.

High School: As most kids in high school, I became obsessed about music.  I loved alternative music before it was called alternative music.  It was in high school that I think I was most faithful to what I wanted to be personal style-wise.  I had a blonde tail, and my bangs were purple. Hey, it was the 80’s!  I also never wore sneakers.  I always wore leather shoes.  And they were always rather unique. I would make my mom drive me to far off suburban malls to find my shoes. 

And after high school is where things take a turn for the worse.   I know, you’re thinking how could it get worse than a blond tail and purple hair.  But what I mean is, I started to “find” my style in high school, or at the very least explore.  But afterwards, style was either not something I thought about much or was proscribed to me rather than a personal choice.  I worked in conservative offices, went to college to study opera, and had an engineer boyfriend.  Need I say more?  Conservative offices don’t like tails and purple hair.  Engineer boyfriends don’t like tails and purple hair.  And opera definitely doesn’t like tails and purple hair.  I grew my hair out, bought audition and recital dresses and basically dressed more conservatively.  My style explorations were over.

Then I left the opera world and entered the world of high finance in NYC, land of the black suit.  My first NYC boyfriend made a comment once that I really liked prints, meaning that I wasn’t conforming.  I guess, as much as I tried to wear the finance uniform, the girl with the purple hair could not be tamped down all the way. 

Are you curious about how people who know me IRL think of my style or lack thereof?  Yesterday, I asked these people what they thought my personal style was, if I had one.  This is what everyone had to say…

Close friends and family:  My sister said, “Urban, conservative, uptown, with a side of crafty, and an occasional flash of your ‘inner Mexican’.”  (Inner Mexican is an inside family joke.)   My sister oozes style.  She can dress in jeans and a t shirt and look like she just stepped off a runway.  Very annoying.  😉  

My best friend of 18 years said, “Playful, crafty, luxurious.”  What can I say, she’s my best friend.

Friends from work past and present: Victoria said, ” I think you tend to play it a little “safe”, leaning toward the conservative.”  I would love to have just one ounce of Victoria’s style.  She’s fabulous.

Jen said she thought I had an Ann Taylor look.  That’s so funny, I used to work for Ann Taylor in a previous life.

Sewing friends who have seen me often in the last two years:  Lindsay T exclaimed, “Yummy mummy!”  Aww, thanks Lindsay T.   I have always been a fan of Lindsay T’s understated elegance.  Very chic woman!

Carolyn had a lot to say that jived with what I think, “You do a lot of flitting.  I don’t think you’ve taken the time to sit down and define what look you want to project to the world.  I think you will enjoy your sewing even more than you currently do once you’ve defined what you want to look like and work on making that come to pass.”  So true!  I think that’s why my TNT quest is so interlocked with my search for a personal style.  It isn’t a coincidence that Carolyn is the undisputed queen of the TNT.

Claudine said, “grown-up bombshell.  This is mostly due to your preference for fitted styles in shiny, luxe fabrics.  The grown-up part comes from taking fitted silhouettes and gorgeous and making them work in your work life.”  That’s quite a compliment coming from a stylista like Claudine.

Long story short, I am still searching for my personal style.  As I mentioned in a previous post, when I first started buying patterns, I was attracted to clothing with architectural details and tricked out seam work without thinking about how they would look on my 40+ year old, post-baby body.  But I have discovered a few things on my sewing journey:

I love wearing dresses and skirts.

I love prints.

And I love wearing color.

Anyhoo, this post has gone on long enough, if I haven’t already put you to sleep already. 

Have you found your personal style yet?

13 Responses leave one →
  1. October 16, 2010

    You certainly aren’t alone in “flitting” I think it is the fortunate few who have a defined style. My comments on your sewing are: your sheath dresses and pencil skirts have all been great. When I think of you, I think of you in a patterned sheath dress.

  2. October 16, 2010

    The reason you like prints and bright colors is because you look good in them! Now you just have to figure out what silhouettes work well on your body, embrace them and work the color and prints into your wardrobe. Working at a finance company too I know this is a challenge but I really believe you can do this! It will be interesting to watch you make this journey. Just know that I’m on the sidelines cheering you on!

  3. October 16, 2010

    You did not put me to sleep, that was a very interesting post! I can relate the feelings you described about wanting to find your style.
    Perhaps it is already there and you are discovering your style.
    (hence that could be true for me, too, I suppose?)

  4. October 16, 2010

    Aah, still looking (but I’m 24 so that’s ok) but I try to dress how I feel. I like prints and colors, but usually paired with black. I like the kinda romantic girly look, but also the garcon look. I like dresses and skirts better than pants, but I still wear jeans a lot. A couple of years ago I could have sworn I’d never wear leggins, now they’re a wardrobe staple with babydoll tops. Sometimes I try on something at a store just because I’m convinced it will look outrageous, but it actually looks good on me… I guess that’s what finding your own style is all about… 🙂
    Oh and your dresses are pretty awesome. 🙂

  5. October 16, 2010

    You look fantastic in those dresses, so definitely make them part of your personal style – maybe your mother knew something!

  6. October 16, 2010

    High School and fashion go well together—when else do you have the freedom and the TIME to put so much effort into getting your look to reflect you? Although I’d like to consider myself stylish, I’ve never been able to make it something I can keep up—I always tend to fall back on certain boring staples. So my style goals at the moment are creating a wardrobe that’s pure awesome (no boring staples, only awesome ones), and also exploring something a little more sophisticated (grown up?) than my current jeans and a top wardrobe.

  7. October 16, 2010

    I’m currently working through trying to find my personal style too, and not finding it easy.
    You look great in your fitted dresses and the lovely knit print ones also. Pencil skirts look good on you. It will be an interesting journey for you, looking forward to seeing how it comes together for you.

  8. Lindsay T permalink
    October 16, 2010

    I think that, for most women, searching for our personal style is an ongoing thing. At my age you would think I’d have my style all figured out, but nooooo, it’s even harder to determine it at this stage. Just go with what you feel looks best on you and makes you confident.

  9. Meredith P permalink
    October 17, 2010

    Yes, it’s definitely a journey, not a destination, speaking as one who is at least 10 or more years ahead of you on that road. As Meg said, you think you’ve got it figured out, then BAM life, or biology, or something changes things. And you make adjustments and keep moving. I’m very interested in your journey, and am enjoying the trip.

  10. Karen permalink
    October 17, 2010

    Great post. I still don’t have one either. I think part of it has been being in denial about what size I am. I just finished a fitting class today, so I now have a sloper that fits me – boy did I have to make alot of adjustments!!! I think being able to now sew clothes that will actually fit me will really help with this process.

  11. October 17, 2010

    Hiya! Blog fan unlurking 🙂 You hit home with me. To find my style is my ultimate goal. I am pretty wishy-washy when it comes to style/what I like, but I find myself falling back into “easy to wear, and comfortable” A.K.A. “boring” for my everyday and not even wearing my more “fashion-y” items. This post gave me some food for thought and I agree that you look great & just glow in great prints.

  12. KarenW permalink
    October 19, 2010

    That black & blue dress is just gorgeous! I don’t have a personal style as such because I don’t feel like the same person every day (call me Sybil). I know the girls and my waist are my good points, and hips down is the “disgracious zone” as they call it here in France :-). I love dresses over trousers, but some days it’s “look at me red” with fun accesories and some days it’s “I’m invisible taupe”.

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