We have all seen what we consider egregious sartorial errors when a child has dressed him/herself. It takes all of my effort not to offer a few tips on how to elevate the look. But, in their will to “do their thing,” they are doing everything right. They are finding themselves! Most of the time, to be honest, I secretly wish I had the hutzpah to dress with the same flair. Just like with everything else in life, we learn a lot more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. And sometimes a fashion mistake turns out to be the best look of all.
It took me roughly 30 years to find my style. I was born in the Deep South at a time when your mode of dress demonstrated your class ranking in the same way as your table manners and your ability to speak “proper English.” Plus, there were all sorts of style rules: matching shoes to your handbag, matching your colors, matched jewelry sets… you get the idea – a whole lot of matching. Then the 80’s happened, turning fashion on its head, and throwing the ladylike fashion set on its heels. I had friends growing up whose style I admired during this decade – generally unconventional, creative and a touch rebellious. I emulated some of these looks, but I vacillated between the creative rebel and a classic style, so eager to fit in, to do the right thing, and be the right kind of girl. Once the 90’s set in, I was thoroughly confused, and my style escaped into what I call “Gap plain” basics. I always looked appropriate, but I was not telling my story or sharing my personality in the way I was dressing.
It was during a business trip to San Francisco in my later 20’s that my eyes were full opened to the many style possibilities I had been avoiding. The women on the streets were “city chic” – tall boots with sleek sweaters and skirts, sweater dresses with trench coats, and so on. Their outfits were chic and modern, and I was mortified by my basic appearance. That was the end of my wall flower style.
Almost immediately upon landing in Dallas, I hit the mall in search of tall leather boots, a purchase I had been telling myself was too pricy. To those, I added oodles of funky, patterned skirts and coordinating colorful sweaters and tops. Finally, I was starting to show up in my style. Furthermore, I was done considering what others would think of what I was wearing.
If your style is stuck or non-existent, here are three tips to propel you into 2018 with style:
Turn off the noise in your head – A lot of the time, your negative talk holds you back from your signature style: you aren’t worth it, it’s too expensive, you need to lose weight, you are not pretty enough, etc. Embrace who you are exactly as you are, and go get them boots!
Turn off the noise of others – Everyone has an opinion, especially when it comes to your fashion choices. Each friend has their favorite piece they like to see you wear, and it’s confusing when you attempt to factor in their opinions. The only opinion that matters is yours. If you love it, rock it. If it does not make you do a happy dance, move on.
Experiment, experiment, experiment – I still make fashion mistakes, and I still purchase pieces that are not quite right. No one is perfect, but the only way to find your style or to push your style into new territory is to try new things and to give yourself the creative space to do it.
Thank you for your encouragement and well wishes on this blog. I wish you a very Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! See you in 2018!
If you like the pieces I am wearing in this blog, you can find an almost identical sparkle tweed coat (in white) at Kate Spade. Overcoats are slim pickings this time of year, but I found a great navy double breasted style by Lauren Ralph Lauren. Who doesn’t need a black beret? This one is similar to mine. I’d love to have a sequin beret like this one. A vintage store is your best bet for cool, unique brooches. Lastly, I think everyone needs a tuxedo jacket. Mine is Smythe. Find all of their current blazer styles here. Here’s a white one by Karl Lagerfeld. Theory makes a beautiful classic black one. And this velvet one by Top Shop is marvelous. Happy Shopping!