Every now and then I am complimented by a woman that says something like, "I love your earrings - but I could never pull that off!" I always thank them, because they are being so kind, and who doesn't appreciate a compliment?! But what I want to say is, "What?! Girl, what do you mean?! If you LOVE something, you can 'pull it off.' You CAN be the girl you want to be, wearing a pair of fancy-ass, chandelier earrings."
But I know that it's not that easy. I know that as a women, even if we love something and admire it on someone else, that finding the confidence and comfort level we need in order to make it our own can be really challenging. Sometimes we have been doing the 'same old thing' for so long that we become sensitive to what we perceive will be other's reaction toward our trying something new. And something new, even if it is small, can feel like it will appear outrageous to others. Who wants to draw that kind of attention to themselves? Nobody . . . because it feels uncomfortable to say the least. I know, I have worn a number of (actually) outrageous outfits in my life. Let me tell you, people stare; their eyes can bore a hole in you. The feeling is real. I wore those things not for attention, but for the art of self expression. I didn't want to be stared at, I just wanted to "be." All anyone wants is to be recognized and accepted as a person; as a human being. To just be allowed to "be." It was my need to exist within the unique space that I had carved out for myself as a young person that deepened my appreciation for style. It's true that classics are classics for a reason, but that there needs to be equal opportunity for innovation. Otherwise we'd all go extinct, fashion included.
If you feel like you are in the midst of a post quarantine, style-pocalypse, here is my no fail, straight forward, and very practical 4 step process to help you overcome.
The first step is to PURGE . . . you're closet that is. I typically go by the rule that if you haven't worn it for over a year, or if you have worn it every week for over a year; get rid of it. Of course there could be a few exceptions, like maybe 1 or 2, but not a huge pile of "exceptions", if you catch my drift? Be honest, and be selective. Often easier said than done. Also, don't keep any 'goal' cloting. It doesn't matter if you haven't worn it, or if you are about to lose that last 5 pounds so that it fits properly . . . I'm sorry. You need to just let it go. At this point in the process, less is more. Every item in your wardrobe should satisfy at least one of two criteria: utility and joy. ( That's according to Stacey London, and I wouldn't question her when it comes to style! )
The second step is to BUILD . . . your capsule wardrobe. "If you build it, they will come." By that, I don't mean the ghosts of baseball players, I mean the compliments! Here is a 2o item list that I compiled to make a capsule. A capsule is like the foundation of a good building. If one of the items in your purging process is an item that you have worn every week for a year, is still in great condition and fits into your capsule wardrobe, that would be an example of an exception of what to keep.
1. White t
2. Blue denim jeans
3. Black pants
4. Jean jacket
5. Sweatshirt (a neutral, plain, well fitting basic)
6. Skirt (A-line or pencil. Neutral colour of your choosing)
7. White blouse
8. Blazer (Neutral colour of your choosing. Fit is important!)
9. Camisoles (1 white and 1 black)
10. Black Jeans
11. Cardigan (neutral colour of your choice)
12. Coat (black, grey or camel)
13. L.B.D. (little black dress)
14. Flannel button up
15. Well fitting joggers (black)
16. Graphic or black t-shirt
17. "Fun" dress (literally anything special)
18. Black boots
19. Nude pumps
20. White sneakers (clean)
Once you have purged, and created your foundation of classic basics, you're ready fir the third step: DISCERN . . . what your personal style is. Don't get caught up in worrying about being "one of kind," because you already are one of a kind. Just begin to take the time to notice what colours, textures, and styles really "speak' to you. Whose style do you admire? Is there a particular celebrity that in your opinion has all the right "looks."If you can, go on Pinterest, give in to the endless scroll, and make yourself a very comprehensive 'Style' board. Honestly anything goes. Let yourself loose! I like to say that if Khloe Kardashian and Frida Kahlo had a baby, that would be my style.
Once you've figured out what speaks to you, it's time to take that new found confidence and apply it for the fourth and final step; SHOP . . . for things that say, "You look like a serious boss lady when you wear this." And, "Daaaaaamn girl . . . you HOT!" Think colour, print, texture, fun. These items are most likely on the trendier side, but that's good because they should be replenished as the seasons change to keep your style current. For example, when fall rolls around, I like to buy 3-4 fresh sweaters. I rotate them all winter, get a tonne of wear out of them, and then usually say "bu-bye" to them at the end of the cold months. The trick is to stay within your budget, and buy things that you LOVE. Or as Marie Kondo would say, things that "spark joy."
Personal style is a personal journey, not a destination. It's more about expressing who you are on the inside, and less about superficial exterior of your body. Rachel Zoe said, "Personal style is a way of saying who you are without saying a word." We are all somebody, that is a fact, and so we all have style, also a fact. But style takes work. Don't kid yourself, the people you know in your life that look the most "put together", or the most "effortlessly stylish", are most likely the same people that have invested the most time figuring out what they like, works for their body type, and what is current, fashion-wise. In the end the most important thing to remember about personal style is that it comes from a place of confidence and comfort. Be comfortable in your own skin, and confident with your style choices, and those around you won't be able to take their eyes off of you.
Now go Sissy That Walk!