Finding My Personal Style
I've (unfortunately) gone through my fair share of fashion phases.
I'm talkin' gauchos and etnies to too tight Hollister tees to this weird preppy style where I wore men's button downs from goodwill with riding boots (for a solid year, ew). So, very interesting tastes. Towards the end of high school and through college I've kind of been known as the girl who's into fashion. Honestly not really sure how as I mostly wear the same black jeans and turtleneck every day. But, probably because I'm one a few people in a small town that had found a personal style of my own rather than following trends. Anyway, recently I've really been working on settling into a style that feels more like a uniform. Something I don't need to think about and that I'm absolutely comfortable in.
Confidence is absolutely key. I wouldn't feel confident in a strappy cami and shorts, so I'll never wear them. I like the idea of experimenting, but at the end of the day I'd rather wear what I like and not worry about whether the top I'm wearing looks funny. I also stopped "following" and buying trendy pieces. I find the issue here is that you're filling your closet up with cheaply-made pieces that you maybe wear once or twice and then you never touch again. There's nothing wrong with trends, and if you want to buy a few pieces go for it, but I think building a closet on trends is a no-no.
Now, I'm obviously pretty minimalistic with my style, I like to stick with classic cuts and colors that I know I'll always like. Maybe that's not you, maybe you like buying crazy prints in fun new silhouettes and that's totally cool. That's what makes style style, it's much more personal than just the clothes that you wear. I feel like someone's outfit is the first thing you typically notice about them. And you don't necessarily want your clothes to speak for you, but to be a reflection of you (at least most people).
That's why I've settled into a uniform, because it's plain and simple but recognizable as me. I always find it funny when I wear something outside of my uniform (like an emerald green turtleneck I have) and people are like who are you wearing colour?! Anyway, I've been reading a lot about "what every woman should have in her closet" and I think it's bullshit. 90% of the articles say 'one black sweater' or 'one striped top.' WHO in what world only wants one stripy top?! And who cares if I have 45? They all have varying line width and sleeve lengths and necklines. Regardless of that justification, they make me feel good when I'm wearing them! So buy all the stripy tops and black sweaters you want, dammit!
Next comes the budget issue. I'd love to fill my closet with Everlane and Burberry and other designer pieces, but the fact of the matter is most normal people don't have that budget. On the other hand, I don't want to buy from fast fashion stores like Forever 21 who's products are crap anyway and destroy the environment.
My solution to this so far is to buy staple pieces from slightly higher end places, like Madewell. This way the basic structure of my wardrobe is well made, and then supplementary things are fine being a bit lower in quality. That being said, while I've sworn off of Forever 21, I've decided to continue shopping at H&M. While I don't think all of their pieces are great for me or well-made, a lot of the things there are great quality in great styles. It's still fast fashion technically, but the company is really focusing on sustainability. You can read more about that here, because it's pretty fascinating. This is starting to sound a little sponsored, but I swear if they were paying me I'd be freaking out all over social media (H&M wanna drop me a line??). Also TARGET, if you haven't looked at the clothes section of Target recently you're missing out. I could probably fill most of my wardrobe from heir newer lines. There aren't a ton of basics in fits that I like (i.e. t shirts), but their workwear/daywear stuff is awesome.
Anyway, invest in a few central pieces and then invest around those! I think a classic minimalistic style is pretty easy to buy for, you just have to find the right fit. So maybe the slouchy v-neck tee isn't for me, but the crew neck version is. This part is all about experimentation. If you try something and it doesn't work for you, it's not the end of the world. You'll just find something else. For example, I really love super long-line sweaters, but I always wear high waisted jeans, and I mostly feel comfortable when I tuck my shirt into them. So I don't tend to buy long-line sweaters, and if I do I don't buy expensive ones.
I also find having signature pieces really important when your wardrobe is more simple. A t-shirt and jeans is the most basic outfit out there, but it's elevated slightly by the jewelry I always wear and it also makes it feel more me. I do like to experiment with accessories a little bit, but my rings and necklace always stay the same. I think they've become a huge part of my style identity and are the number one thing I get questions about. Here it's also important to invest a little bit. If you buy a real gold or gold-plated ring that you wear forever, it'll mean more to you and your style than a cheapy one that turns your finger green after a week.
Fragrance can also be a part of your uniform. I switch it up now a bit more than I used to, but I think sticking to a few key fragrances makes them recognizable. It's also a part of my 'daily ritual,' spraying one of my few fragrances as I walk out the door.
Following people on Instagram/Pinterest has had a huge impact on my style. However, I think you need to adapt the things that you like to your body/lifestyle. Like wearing heels every day is not practical or even something I'd ever want to do, so adapting the things I like is important. I also don't really have the body shape for some of the things I like, so for example I'll wear an oversized sweater with skinnies or ponte pants instead of boyfriend jeans. Knowing what suits you is a big part of dressing well. And like I said, that takes experimentation.
Do you guys have a uniform?