January 25, 2013

True Fashionista: Jentine

Sometimes I look at blogs and wonder what in the world that woman does for a living that she can get away with such style. It’s funny, when I came across Jentine’s blog, My Edit I thought, hey someone who really loves fashion, has a good time with it, and makes it appropriate for some office environments! And then I realized… Jentine is a landscaper. When I found that out, it made me love Yen and the blog even more, and made me truly respect her sense of style. Jentine knows how to dress her frame, is the most skilled thriftier, and makes fashion fun and for that, I consider her a True Fashionista.

Yen (I feel I can use her nickname because she signs her emails to me like that, LOL) is gorgeous and has a great body, so it could be simple for her to throw on a mall chain frock and call it a day. But what makes her blog My Edit different is that you can really see the effort she puts into her personal style. She budgets, she thrifts, she fiddles, she plays with belts and gathering and turning pieces backwards to see if she gets a better effect. I think a lot of people just put clothes on and go without really looking at how they work with or against their body, it's clear that Yen knows and understands her body and how her wardrobe works with it.

Jentine also wears what she enjoys and what makes her feel good. Be it a cape that her brother jokes about being a blanket, sequins during the day, or a toque to cover up a bad hair day.  She'll often discuss what she thrifted that week and the thought process behind it, showing how there's no random willy-nilly additions to her wardrobe, though many purchases are emotionally-based.

Not only does Jentine share her style on the blog, but she also uses it for good. She recently partnered with Musana Jewelry and designed a necklace. Musana Jewelry’s goal is, “To connect women around the world through a social business that employs, trains and empowers Ugandan women to break the cycle of poverty and secure greater prosperity for themselves, their families, and their communities.” Musana Jewelry is based in Lugazi, Uganda and employs local women to provide them with financial stability and education. All Musana’s supplies are locally sourced and the profits are all put back into the community.

Yen shows that you can achieve current trends, high fashion, and stick to your personal style and still shop on a budget.  She inspires me to give pieces in my wardrobe a new life with a belt, unexpected pairing, or even turn it backwards.  She also reminds me that it's worth the time to pick the right pieces for your wardrobe and not just buy out of stress/frustration/boredom.  I was thrilled to have Yen be part of my True Fashionista series.  I asked her the same five questions answered by every woman in this series; here are her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
Evolving. I would like to have some impossibly chic uniform that included a Rick Owens leather jacket and the perfectly beat up pair of biker boots but I would get bored. And I can't afford Rick Owens.

I'm definitely partial to vintage dresses, sequins and brown leather anything but I love trying new looks and taking chances. One day I'll wear a sharp red suit. The next day I'll wear mustard cords and a hand knit blue sweater. That's the best part of fashion, you get to change it up.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I'm not really sure. I mean my parents have always been into antique hunting at flea markets and garage sales so I certainly learned about pretty things from a young age. Though, on the other hand, my mom is the most down to earth, no fuss lady ever and I was raised in the same way. When I'm putting on make-up and agonizing over what to wear, we always chuckle over how different we really are. We do both cry over sad animal stories. That unites us.

I also know I spent much of my childhood staring at what people were wearing. And I wasn't good at hiding my staring, so that made for some awkward moments...

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
The usual; blogs and magazines. I am curbing my magazine addiction a bit; those glossy pages are addictive. I also try to be inspired by my own closet, there is plenty of crazy in there and it's fun to play around. 

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I think 'fashion' is the umbrella term for the whole industry and whatever relates to it. Style is a more personal term, it's how you make fashion work for yourself.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Just have fun.

I mean there is lots of important stuff to say about colour, fit, fabric and financial investment but that all comes second to enjoying your wardrobe.

I've been blogging for almost four years and I am still discovering my style. I think (I hope) I am better at editing and listening to my own style voice than I was four years ago, but my archives certainly have a fair share of bad outfits. I've made plenty of style mistakes. The only thing I consistently do right, is that I have fun getting dressed. 

I get that everyone has very different lives and that 'having fun' can mean completely different things. It's fun for me to wear sequins to pick up Diet Coke and beef jerky from the grocery store. For my mom, it's fun to wear a tiny mouse pin and a cat pin on the same lapel. A clever detail that often goes unnoticed but something she enjoys enough to text me a picture of. Sidenote- I'm talking about my mom a lot... 

It sounds a little simplistic but if you are trying to find your personal style, it makes sense to discover what you really like. Not everybody is going to like what you wear (trust me... if I had a nickel for every time someone carefully says 'Um... I would never wear that but...') and you are going to make mistakes but you might as well have fun.  :)
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