I used to have a very simple, minimal wardrobe based upon my list of wardrobe staples. It worked, I always was ready for any event, was dressed well… but it felt stifling after a while. As I have gotten older I feel the need to better express my personality through my wardrobe. When I was 29, a blazer, tank, and trousers looked crisp; now it looks matronly and dumpy. While I won’t be rocking a lot of the current trends, I find by playing with fabrics, colors, and silhouettes I look modern without a fashion victim or trying to look young.
The thing is, the more you play, the more you spend. You can either do it with cheap pieces that are lucky to last a season and end up in a landfill, or pay more and choose pieces that are on trend, but won’t be passé in a year. I have chosen the latter as it better fits with my motto of quality not quantity. But it ends up costing more, and variety needs more variety.
This past week I cleaned up my closet. No more dresses that fell off hangers, all shoes back in their boxes, the heavy sweaters and coats piled up to head to the attic. I looked at what remained and it was a strange assortment. I didn’t feel inspired, and I didn’t feel calm. I just saw so many holes and opportunities.
These days I would rather be inspired by my wardrobe than calmed by it, but inspiration costs either time (thrifting, sewing, tailoring, DIYing), or money. Serenity has a nicer pricetag, but I just don’t feel authentic lately. I sort of think it’s the body – it’s harder to dress a body that is larger, is softer, is curvier, and is older. Classic silhouettes and simple choices can look extremely boring and dated on such a frame. I often see women with similar figures to mine as I walk to work. They’re in gray trousers, low heels, twinsets. I recognize the pieces being from retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic yet on them they might as well be from that weird store in the mall that sells Christmas sweaters and elastic-waist polyester pants. I go in the attic and pull out flat-front lined tropical wool trousers from Ann Taylor that I adored on me a few years ago but now they make me look twice my age. In fact, all pants (except my Tahari Hazel trousers) make me feel shorter, wider, and older than I actually am.
I would tell myself it’s good to be aware of this change, this desire, this transformation of my personal style. To write about it, think about it with each purchase. To take a Sunday afternoon and try on my wardrobe and see how each piece makes me feel, and what I need to make it work. To look at that list of needs and then see if I do need them, or if I need to let go of some pieces I own that are holding me back or taking me to the poor house. And so I will take my advice, and I welcome you on this journey.
I always state one should choose quality over quantity and be authentic to her personal style. Body changes and the blogosphere have caused me to lose my way, but I am getting back on the road to personal style self discovery.
What I have figured out so far:
- Cropped pants don’t flatter my figure or my personal style
- I had too many colors in my wardrobe; I prefer black, gray, shades of blue and the occasional pop of red and orange but I feel self-conscious and cheesy when dressed like a rainbow
- I hate ironing and shouldn’t buy much that requires it
- I’m more of a separates gal than one who likes dresses (except in summer when it’s just too easy and comfortable)
- I should never buy anything brown or tan ever ever again
- In the winter I feel more like a modern rockstar, in the summer I prefer the boho rockstar vibe. But with both, I like denim, silver, leather, band tee shirts and blazers. I am not twee, I am not girly, I am not preppy. Those trends may flatter my figure but they don’t fit my personality and always make me feel inauthentic.
I will continue to track my lessons learned and how my wardrobe adjusts with it. I’d love to hear how your personal style journeys go as well!