Monday, December 6, 2010


As is true with everybody starting an outfit diary blog, one of my main motivations was to expand my style vocabulary.  I've got a good handle on how to project certain style - dressy, festive, feminine, artsy, bohemian, romantic -  in way that feels comfortable to me and flatters my form.

But in other arenas - casual, tough, rocker, edgy, pared-down, serious, grown-up - i've never felt as if i had a solid grasp on how to inhabit these styles. I'd love to be able to be able to pull off some of Nubby Twiglet's or Style Underdog's or Vahni's (from grit and glamour) looks, and feel they could suit my form and personality (with some attention to fit and style tweakings). I've just been having trouble figuring it out for me, my wardrobe, my body (aesthetically and practically). It's partly vanity, but also has to do with expanding and challenging yourself in a creative way. I hate to feel i'm stuck in a rut.

I truly believe in the small wardrobe for me. I also believe in projecting a cohesive, identifiable personal style. At the same time, i literally crave variety in my day to day dressing.  I've always fantasized and planned about my perfect wardrobe - one which contained the few, amazing pieces which can combine into an infinite variety of looks - the french gamine, the Italian widow, 1920's Hollywood  vamp, Wild West can can girl, Calamity Jane, tough-edged Cockney rocker girl, simple 1930's farm girl, Miss Blixen on safari.....

I love to pile on the clothes and accessories, layering to the beyond of beyond. And i have a knack for it!  But after a while of layers on layers i start to crave a severe, minimalist look for a while, to cleanse the palette.  However, there's a fine line between minimalist perfection and sheer boredom - how do you add in just enough to signal your particular style? Terri at RAGS against the MACHINE makes (jewelry) and wears (clothes) wonderful pieces which have shown me another very interesting way in which to wear a minimal and anything but boring look. All of this has been on my mind the past couple of months, even more so because of the blogging i do.

I've been forced to try some very different clothing combos the last few weeks due to our prolonged cold spell.  I only have about three 'obvious' cold-weather outfits, and as our cold spell lengthened into a second and third week my creative faculties were truly taxed in trying not to repeat. (Not to mention, you have to wear something clean after a few days......)

Then, the other day i stumbled upon an outfit which actually garnered comments from passing cars ('Great Outfit!') and which i really enjoyed. The lines were clean and the look was much more spare than my usual, but it felt truly 'me' and was interesting and flattering. I made sure to photograph the look, even though circumstances were not auspicious, and set to figuring out how this look could be used to spark a new direction.

detail of headgear

 The outfit in this post is my second take on this look, inspired by my 'accidental outfit'. Both outfits felt very 'new' to me, but were created strictly through shopping in my closet. In my next post i'll show you the first look, and tell you what i took away from it in order to be able to use it as a basis for making new outfits in the same vein. You'll also find out what all of this has to do with cake and frosting (though a few of you may already know). Happy Monday!!

Cashmere Cardi: L.L. Bean
Top: Missoni for Target
Skirt, Earrings: own design
Belt: Coach, very old
Socks, Bandana: Target
Hat Trim (worn as fascinator): Renaissance Faire vendor
Boots: Bass Lamont


  1. Steph--first, thank you for the reference! My minimalism often has to do with discomfort in over-styling.

    Your mention of Blixen was a moment of recognition--that IS your primary look. I like the rugged touches in your style. You are better at the quirky touches that make an ensemble interesting and garner the attention on the street!

  2. Thank you Terri! that's so interesting about why you go minimal - so many times what we see as limitations help provide a structure for our individual style. you work it in a way that draws a person into notice the details and pay attention.

    have you read Judith Thurman's bio of Karen Blixen? it is one of my favorite books ever - Isak Dinesen led an adventurous, complicated life, is an incredible writer, and Ms. Thurman's dedication in telling her story just floors me.

    i have a post somewhere about how K. Blixen is the only person i think i can hold up as a style icon or touchstone, personally - warts and all! thank you, steph

  3. I think you and I share an ecclectic mix of styles, steph, altho I must say you have quite a few more than me! For me, its the artist in me and its always a work in progress. I think you do have an underlying style that always comes through even though a mood will designate which end of the spectrum you will go! Me, I'm funky/chic, but there are days I may look more sporty. You have that eccentric/chic style that can be any of those personalities you describe. I understand totally!

  4. Paula, you should have written this post instead of me - that's it exactly! i want to move easily through the entire spectrum of my style, instead of getting stuck at one point or another.

    and you've given me The Very First two word description of style that i feel fits me: 'eccentric chic'. Perfect! every time i take one of those 'style tests' i have about 4 types represented fairly equally...not all that useful. YOU, on the other hand, hit the nail on the head 1st try. *dang* it pry helps that we both have that visual creativity going on...btw, i'm really enjoying your 'tailoring/quality fabric' week! thank you, stpeh