I assure you i have a point to this post - but i can't promise i'll be able to state it clearly and cleanly. I hope that i'll circle around it closely enough that you'll hone in on it yourselves.
Chances are, you're like me - you got into reading style blogs, and style blogging yourself, because you were interested in discovering your own personal style. This can range from wanting a subtle spruce-up to hardcore starting from ground zero: "I feel like i'm walking around in a costume, nothing fits, i hate everything in my closet, etc.". You go online and you are bombarded with images of cozens of fashionable, incredibly stylish and gorgeous women wearing impeccably styled, and endlessly varied, outfits. You discover new ways to tie a scarf, incredible places to shop at amazing prices, the thrills of thrifting, arm parties, and more. The answer to your style dilemma starts to form, automatically, in your fevered noggin.....push it to the limit. More is truly More. Never wear the same outfit, don't rely on black, vintage is queen, there's a way for every woman to wear every trend and color and silhouette......
|Ravina mixes her newts to rave reviews - photographer, model, stylist: Ravina Sniper|
"One cannot be stylish if she copies another. Style comes from knowing yourself and expressing it through fashion. When you literally replicate a style of another you become a fashion victim.Fashion blogs are a wonderful resource, a way to see relatable trends, relatable pricepoints, and brands that are easily accessible. Women with real bodies – petite, tall, pear-shaped, plus size, athletic, and everything in between. However, these fashion bloggers are individuals – and you are too.Knowing your personal style takes time."
I encourage you to take a look at Allie's article and the pretty lively discussion in the comments. What i took away from Allie's post is that the personal style journey is a long one, and it takes place in your own personal life. Especially with the easy access to hundreds of style blogs on the net, inspiration is rampant and even overwhelming. What's a lot scarcer is good, practical advice on how to use this inspiration to come up with a wardrobe that expresses your own personal style and works with your practical and lifestyle parameters. Frankly, that takes a lot more serious thinking on the part of the reader as well as the writer - it's hard getting across new, abstract concepts. And there are so many different parameters and variations to deal with in even one woman's wardrobe. Ideas that bring everything together for one woman will be useless for another.
The idea i'd like to get across in this post goes something like this - try to keep your style explorations wide and open, especially in the beginning. For me, and for many others, the temptation and obvious idea is to focus on 'your pure style essence', nail that down, and try to force it full strength on every aspect of your life. I wore dressy, multi-layered looks for years. I lived in an area where 'everything went', so i didn't have to dress up or down for different occasions. Then i moved to a very hot climate, became a stay at home spouse, and hit 'the big M'. And nothing worked. Even my good old standby lipstick did nothing for me. I had to start completely from scratch.
Partly this was bad luck and a lot of big changes at once. But it was also my own durn fault. I hadn't had a lot of reasons to focus on expressing my personal style in the different aspects of my life, and on the different ends of my style spectrum. So i didn't. Most people i knew would've said i had a great style. But when circumstances forced me to change, i had no practice in 'flexing' my style. Trust me, it was painful.
Fortunately, flexing your style is easy and cheap to do. You just have to remember to do it :) If you tend to be dressy, make outfits out of your 'workaday', more casual clothing. I ended up doing a month-long 'workaday challenge' at the instigation of Cynthia of Be Fabulous Daily last year and learned a LOT. Read all the posts here. To get 'the drift', here's the intro post, and here's the wrap up.
|Ravina goes retro business casual - & is model, stylist, and photographer|
Ravina took the plunge and dressed out of the newtral side of her closet a weekend ago. The outfits she came up with show the more classic, grown up side of her personal style - good to have experience with when you are invited to a professional function, for example. Neither of our experiments required any new purchases - we just used neglected parts of our wardrobes, or combined pieces in non-usual ways.
Setting yourself these type of challenges is a staple of the style blogger world. But you can also look for the areas of your life that could use more style expression/exploration - running errands, the gym, sleepwear, etc. How can you dress as yourself in these areas? Again, most of these areas can be explored very inexpensively at Target, H & M, and so on.
However you choose to explore and expand the limits of your personal style, i can't encourage you enough to do so. It's valuable in so many ways, one of which i've yet to mention. You may very well find that what you thought you knew about yourself isn't so. A year ago i would never have described my style as anything approaching minimalist - but it turns out it is (even Angie says so!). I had to find my own way to do minimalist, and stretching my wings in unexpected areas was what helped me to do exactly that.
Blouse: Butterick 4985
Skirt: own design
Blouse: Butterick 4985
Skirt: own design