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?