If you’ve been around here for some time, you know that I like to hang out in coffee shops, whiling away the hours contemplating first world problems in my journal. That luxury is less frequent these days, but a few weeks ago, I was indulging in my latte + croissant respite and overheard a conversation that perked my ears right up.
Two women were sitting at the table next to me, intently discussing style. More specifically, one of the women had hired the other one to become her personal wardrobe stylist. I had no idea that people outside of Hollywood and New York City did that. The stylist had her work cut out for her; her client defined her quintessential style as a mix of Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton. A fascinating challenge, if I’ve ever heard one.
This, of course, led me to think about my own style. I show a very particular affinity for linen and dark or neutral hues here on the blog, but when I look at my closet and dresser drawers, there’s actually a surprising riot of colors and an abundance of textures. I don’t wear them nearly as much as the “boring” clothes, but they’re still part of my so-called style. I then thought about my super-sized tee days, and of countless fashion ‘don’t’ moments of yore (for my middle school graduation, I forced my mom to make me a shiny, all-white ensemble with a blazer, silk tank and long skirt. I looked like an underage bride getting ready for her civil court ceremony). I was actually quite impressed with the woman who confidently declared her Kim-Kate style, because inevitably the questions of “who am I?” and “who do I want others to see?” pop up. The woman is more than a caricature of a reality star and royalty, I’m sure, but she knows that she wants to be sexy and refined. I don’t know if I could pinpoint my style icons that clearly.
I’m reading this very entertaining book right now. It’s actually a teen novel entitled Deadly Desperados, about a young boy on the run from a band of desperados in 19th century gold/silver rush era. Written from the boy’s perspective, it’s quirky and clever and there’s a part where he starts to disguise himself in various costumes to hide from his pursuers. He observes how different he feels depending on his outfits, and even starts affecting a British accent at one point. For me, regular, every day clothes have that impact too. I feel more polished and together in darker colors; energetic and athletic in my workout gear (despite being neither of those things); girly and pretty and vintage-y in lace-trimmed tops. Clothes have a lot of power.
I wonder what it would feel like to have a personal stylist? I’m not sure that I would like it – I can think of other ways to spend cash, though I wouldn’t be opposed to a free consultation. It’s kind of like getting your colors done, no? It could be fun, frivolous and interesting, but needs to be taken with a grain of salt. What about you, would you ever consider hiring a wardrobe stylist? Do you already know your own definitive style? I’m still trying to figure mine out…
18 thoughts on “Style”
Here in Germany we have a well known women´s magazine that does style make-overs and they show before and after pictures. I have always secretly wanted one of those. Sometimes the results are stunning and I have always wondered what their stylists would come up for me! I think it would be a fun experiment. I find that sewing has changed my style. All those dresses! I love that I can now make the things I love in the fabrics I love. I have an “expensive” style as far as the quality of the fabric is concerned and hate to buy cheap stuff that only lasts till the first wash. I love that I can buy fabric that feels and looks and smells so wonderful :-). I think I am also braver and experiment more since I make my own clothes (I am using mustard yellow jersey for me right now which is a first!). I only began sewing garments this spring so I think I still have a long way to go! But I am looking forward to every step and milestone. I think style is a process and I am sure mine will change and evolve over time. But some things I am sure about and they will probably never change. Like natural colors, stripes, linen and denim….
Oh, I love makeovers too! If I scored a makeover, I wouldn’t say no, but I guess it’s hard for me to justify paying for a fashion consultant for my very modest lifestyle. And it’s true, I think style evolves over time but there will also be constants. I find that it’s almost impossible to sew your own garments without thinking about style, and it’s been fun exploring! And I can’t believe you’ve been sewing for such a short time – your creations are fabulous!
Being a nurse I always wear a uniform (scrubs) to work and my non-work uniform was jeans and t-shirts as I had kids to chase after. Now that my kids are grown and gone I still have a very casual style that is mostly t-shirts and jeans boring. I have all colors of t-shirts and even my shorts are jeans. I counted and I have 5 pair of denim shorts. All blue. Hmm, that has given me food for thought here. From time to time I get a bit glam and wear something flashy but even then I lean towards classics (the little black dress, so easy). It would be fun to see what a stylist would come up with for a well-traveled, sewing, gardening, baking youngish grandmother.
I’m betting that we all have some sort of uniform off-duty and on. When K was a baby, I lived in yoga pants and hoodies – it was all I could do to get dressed (she never slept). And I’d love to see what a stylist would come up for you too – you sound like you have a very full and creative life, Karen!
You must check out Angie at youlookfab.com. You don’t have to hire her, her site is full of great information (all free). But she’s based in Seattle, so if you ever change your mind about having a consult, you should consider her! I think she’s fabulous. (Don’t know what she charges, though.)
One of the things Angie often talks about is the style *journey* – that tastes change, fashion changes, body changes, and that’s all normal and right. So you don’t have to know who you want to look like, you can ebb and flow and morph with time. She also talks about how to incorporate things that catch your eye but aren’t your style per se – and how to use these accents to freshen your look. She comes at it from a very analytic angle, which I appreciate, because it makes her advice accessible to the rest of us who don’t exactly have a trained aesthetic eye.
This is fantastic, June! You know all the best stuff! I totally agree with the style journey concept and love that mentality. It’s so easy to get hung up in the comfort zone and there’s so much fun to be had in experimenting!
sometimes I try to nail down my style description, but it always gets muddled. You’re right – clothes do have a lot of power over how you feel. Accessories too. Recently I had to get glasses, and after a few weeks of wearing them I told my husband that I actually felt more like me now that I’ve got them. Weird huh? You put something on and it makes you feel more like you than before.
Yes! Accessories! I’m such a dunce when it comes to accessorizing, I always forget to think about them. I do have a rather unhealthy obsession with shoes and am always on the lookout for the pair that feels very “me”. Love your description of how the glasses make you feel more like yourself, Tara (did you know that auto-correct changes your name to Atari?)!
My style has definitely evolved over time. Recent friends of mine seemed shocked when I told them I used to be a jeans/sweats and t-shirt sort of gal (for years really!). It was funny I was out Saturday night helping a friend shop for herself and I actually said that if I wasn’t a home school mom being a personal shopper would be fun! 🙂
I bet you’d make a terrific personal shopper, Kristi! And it sounds like sewing for yourself has really helped shape your own style – very inspirational for me!
Your post reminds me of Ruth Reichl’s book Garlic and Sapphires: the Secret life of a Critic in Disguise. As a food critic, she found that anonymity was important; so she would eat at restaurants in disguise. She found herself taking on the persona of each different disguise, even though she had only changed her hair and clothes. Very interesting how we are impacted by what we wear.
That book sounds intriguing and I really want to read it! I can see how anonymity would be helpful as a food critic, and I’d love to know more about how her disguises affected her.
I was going to recommend that book as well! :o). Great read and several of my friends have enjoyed it also.
It’s on my wish list! It sounds fantastic and right up my alley 🙂
Seattle just seems so laid back that someone around here hiring a fashion consultant is amusing 😉
I always look at other outfits and people on tv and think, I LOVE that style, but when I look at my closet, it’s just a mish mash of bright t shirts and jeans. I should work on that.
I thought the same thing about Seattle, Bernadette! I’m used to hearing about stylists in L.A. where I’m from, but I wasn’t expecting it here.
I always want to incorporate more color and print and end up turning to muted shades. The cool thing is that with style, I actually think anything goes. Some of the most stylish people I know are just very confident and comfortable in their own skin and they look fantastic in jeans + tee. I guess that’s what I’m trying to capture – that sense of ease with self as manifested in clothes.
I once read that, when you’re in your thirties, you’re supposed to be zeroed in on your personal style. So, now at 35, I have realized that this expectation just isn’t for me. I would love to develop my own style, but I think about how my body has changed (3 kids in 4 years) and how my feelings about who I am have changed. I haven’t bought clothes or sewn for myself post pregnancy yet. I need a reinvention. Maybe I’ll put more thought into developing my style, now that you have me thinking about it……
I say hogwash to zeroing in on your style at 35, Amber! 🙂 I think style is on a sort of continuum…certain likes and dislikes get built over time and may or may not persist, but they will certainly influence future choices. Until last year, I never liked yellow clothing, and now I find myself drawn to them all the time, but because I’ve never liked yellow I hesitate to make myself garments in that color — well, that wasn’t such a great example, but you know what I mean. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!