thinking about my core style

wardrobecollage3wardrobecollage2Over at the Coletterie Sarai has been hosting a project she’s calling: Wardrobe Architect. The idea is to put some time and thought into designing a wardrobe that suits and services the person you truly are. You can learn more about the project here. I love thinking and talking about clothes, so of course I was excited when this launched! While I certainly consider myself to be someone with a distinctive vision for how I want to present myself to the world, it’s also true that I have at times (honestly: many, many times) made wardrobe choices that were more inspired by whim than by some deep sense of what works best for my personality and lifestyle. The way we present ourselves to the world has the power to inform and influence the way we are perceived, and as I get older I feel an ever increasing desire to have more focus and intention around all this. Not so much because I find myself caring more about what people think about me, but because I have a stronger sense of myself and I want to support and communicate that. It is my hope that working through some of the exercises Sarai has created for the Wardrobe Architect project will help me pursue this, and I thought sharing what I come up with here would be fun.

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This week I’m using this worksheet for exercise 2: Uncover the styles that make you feel like yourself and attach words and images to them.

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy,
poised, powerful, etc)?

My favorite clothes make me feel feminine, womanly, at ease, individual, warm enough (this is huge for me!), sensual, interesting, maybe a little romantic, and definitely a little tough, or you know: bad-ass. If I’ve got all that going for me then I’m sure to feel confident too. Feeling sexy for me is about feeling all of these other things…I can’t say it’s a feeling on it’s own; it’s the sum of the good-feelings equation.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the
feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

The first word that comes to mind is fussy. I don’t want to have to tug, pull at, or mess around with my clothes too much. I want my clothes to work with me, not the other way around. I also don’t care for clothes that look or feel sweet, boring, sloppy, predictable, constrained, or itchy.

“I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.” -Gilda Radner

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Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

This is a tricky one because most of the women whose fashion sense I admire I wouldn’t necessarily like to model myself after. I’m also a total fashion nerd, so I feel as if I could (and maybe should…) write an entire post for each of the many, many women who dress themselves in a way I find inspiring. Instead I pulled images of the women below not because I want to dress like them, but because I want to feel how they appear to feel in their skin…

When I was growing up I thought Lisa Bonet’s natural, bohemian style was the epitome of cool and sexy, still do.

While it’s hard for me to speak to a distinctive style that belongs to Diana Ross, I can easily recognize the style that is Diana Ross, and this picture embodies all that I love about it: confident, unexpectedly glamourous, soulful, and damn sexy.

Everything about Lupita Nyong’o is gorgeous. It’s undeniable, and that is revolutionary. I like my style with a side of subtle subversion.

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Sure, maybe Cher has gotten a little strange over the years, but whenever I see photos of her in the 70’s I’m like: Yes! The epic hair, the even more epic nails, the high waisted jeans, it all speaks of a feminine fierceness I can get behind.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s life and art are an inspiration. Looking at her in this image only confirms what we know already: This woman was earthy and intelligent, creative and talented, and she lived life her way. I’d wear that.

Meryl Streep is outrageously gorgeous in a way that is totally her own. She seems completely at home in her own skin, and this makes her sexy in a way that speaks of intelligence and dynamism.

Debbie Harry embodies the bad-ass, rock & roll, lady-chic vibe that I love. I’d like to feel as cool as she looks in this photo everyday.

Angelica Houston is another smart, sexy, womanly-woman who has redefined what it means to be feminine and beautiful by imbuing it with something mysterious, unexpected, and uniquely her own.

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What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

I am seriously drawn to drama, and while I imagine I’m willing to go a bit more dramatic than many, at the end of the day I feel most comfortable when people see me before me clothes. I’m also discovering that I’m not as into colorful clothing as I’d hoped I could be.

Thinking about words the do describe my style yields:

Comfy

Luxurious

Easy-going

Modern

Timeless

Interesting

Thoughtful

Livable

Earthy

Warm

Sensual

Touchable

Inviting

Special

Edgy

Uncomplicated

Sophisticated

Unexpected

Intriguing

Rugged

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And if I were forced to narrow this list down… I’d go with: 

Uncomplicated

Interesting

Timeless

Sensual

Edgy

The pics I pulled for this post embody what all that means to me. Have you checked out the Wardrobe Architect project or spent much time thinking about how you would define your core style?

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13 thoughts on “thinking about my core style

  1. I love all your inspiration photos! These looks are all super stylish, but there’s an ease and a wearability to them. It’s fun to see them all together- you’ve got a very definite style!

  2. I love all your photos and your inspirational women. Have you read Georgia O’Keefe’s autobiography? It’s one of those books you don’t ever want to end. It must be really interesting to do this kind of exercise and see your style so clearly. I’ve just had a baby and my style is definitely a bit undefined at the moment – unfussy and comfortable about sum up what I’m aiming for!

    • Thank you, Kathryn! I studied O’Keefe & her work in college, but have not yet read her autobiography. Thank you so much for the recommendation, I’m excited to check it out! This week they started posting signs advertising an exhibit of her work opening later this month here in SF, giving me even more to look forward to! While I wouldn’t think style needs to be a major consideration post-baby, I can see the benefit of letting it be a minor one. Here’s to unfussy & comfortably hip garments for all!

      • Ooh that’ll be so exciting to see! It was seeing an exhibition if her work at the Whitney Gallery in NY that made me fall in love with her art. I was mistaken, the book I read was a biography, not autobiography. It was ‘portrait of an artist’ by Laurie lisle.

  3. I’ve come back to this post twice! I really love the imagery you put together and can identify with a lot of your inspiration words. “Uncomplicated” and “interesting” are two things I strive for with style, and they create an interesting tension. And Lisa Bonet is still the coolest.

  4. This is the best Wardrobe Architect blog post that I’ve seen. I’ve been using that series to help me sort out my own style, with stumbling, mixed results, and your post has inspired me to forge ahead. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Cyrena! It’s so great to know that this gave you a little inspiration! It seems like you should feel free to pick & choose the exercises that have resonance for you & that you can have fun with. Thinking in images and words was really fun for me, and it’s been useful to have gotten this specific about my personal style. That said, I didn’t really get into the first exercise because I wasn’t sure I’d find it useful to think about myself or my style that way.

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