I think many of us saw Jennifer Aniston earlier this month in this Dior frock, and I think many of us thought the same thing – pretty woman, pretty dress, but the combination just seemed wrong somehow. I couldn’t completely figure out why until I was watching Fashion Police this weekend, Joan Rivers said the dress was too young for Aniston… and she’s partially right.
Jennifer Aniston has a smokin’ bod. Drool-worthy hair. Skin and a face that is in great condition, firm, elastic, practically ageless. She could rock a itty bitty bikini, she can slay a bodycon dress that hardly covers her rear end… but a full fit and flare style with flowers just felt too young.
However, the other thing is that Aniston for years has created a defined personal style of clean lines, solid neutrals; a relaxed and beachy yet polished aesthetic. For her to show up in something feminine, floral, and a bit frilly was confusing to her fans and contradictory to the personal style she worked so hard to perfect.
As I get older, I realize it’s important to constantly refine your personal style. With age, life experiences, and body changes it’s important to consider your wardrobe and be sure it truly matches the current you. It may be a change of color story, a different hem length, the addition of bolder accessories (or more subtle jewelry). I reassess each season – I pack up the previous season, pull out my current wardrobe for the weather and try everything on and see if it not only fits my body, but also fits my personality.
I’d understand if Jennifer Aniston was bored with her standard uniform and wanted to switch it up. In fact, Aniston has mentioned in recent interviews that she feels the need to get out of her style rut. Maybe she’s also realizing that with time it’s important to refine your personal style. However, this Dior dress was such a departure from her regular style that it made people question not just her personal style but her personal life. Having a clear personal style helps others understand you, when you veer drastically from it, it can make others wonder if you know yourself or are comfortable with yourself.
I’m one who tires quickly of a uniform. After weeks of tailored clothing I yearn for something slouchy, I swear I will pare down my color story and then NEED to wear all the colors of the rainbow at once. I wouldn’t expect anyone ever to sacrifice fun, spontaneity, and creativity for personal style. But a slow, thoughtful transition makes more sense.
I think about makeover shows like What Not to Wear and How Do I Look. Have you ever seen the episodes where they check in with previous guests? More often than not, the guest has gone back at least partially to their original personal style. It’s not that they didn’t feel fabulous in their new clothes, but it’s that it’s too quick and drastic of a change to immediately adopt.
I don’t believe that a certain trend is only for a certain age group. Heck, I often use Jennifer Aniston as an example of someone who dresses for herself, not her driver’s license. A 44-year old woman can wear whatever she damn well pleases, be it knee-length neutrals or a puffy floral skater skirt. It’s only an issue when the woman doesn’t know herself, doesn’t dress for herself. Now maybe Jennifer Aniston has secretly been a cabbage rose fan all this time and has hidden it under neutrals, gold, and well-fitting jeans… but interviews with her state otherwise.
“I pretty much have my uniform. A boyfriend jean, a wedge, a tank top. At night, I change the tank top to black and add some chains. Even on the red carpet, it has to be comfortable. I usually try to get some form of a T-shirt that looks like a gown. Like a longer tank top. A tank top, but with glitter on it.”
– Jennifer Aniston, Glamour, September 2013
I can remember being the type of woman who swore against skirts and imagined getting married in a sexy Le Smoking and a bustier and now I own just a handful of trousers. A couple years ago my closet resembled a bag of Skittles and now it’s more black and gray with pops of color. My style has had hits… and it has had misses, but through it all I realized that each time I veer too drastically and quickly from my personal style it has never gone well. That time, testing, and thought is the best way to find personal style, be it new or an update.
What to learn from Jennifer Aniston? That even if you can wear it and like it, it may not be the best choice. That who you are is far more important than what you wear. That your personal style does matter, and it helps the world understand who you are. Clothing can be armor, clothing can be fantasy, clothing can be a mood booster, an aphrodisiac, a way to show respect… but clothing is also your calling card and your elevator speech. Represent yourself well, and represent yourself as properly as possible.