In this post on Anthro’s swingin’ swing coat, sweetsy told me..
“Pardon my candor but I really like J Crew items on you more than Anthro. I don’t get the vibe that Anthro is as much your style (jackets looks more matronly)or something. I think it’s possibly because I don’t see Anthro jackets as something you can just put on with jeans as much. It’s like a whole design aesthetic with a completed vintage looking outfit. I realize these are often purely for the blog so I don’t mean to make a broad statement that ALL things Anthro are bad;) But I think I prefer the crew on you:)”
Sweetsy, I didn’t get a chance to respond, but your comment really got me thinking. I knew I wanted to devote an entire post to the topic. Not about me, but about personal style, in general. It’s possible to have an idea of how we want to come across in our minds, but not be communicating it irl. For me I have always had a soft spot for vintage clothes. I remember when I did a major move from LA. A few friends took turns coming over to help me sort clothes. A friend I knew for 6 years at that point was rather shocked to see how many vintage pieces I had. I owned them, but she had never seen me wear them. I’d worn them occasionally, but never enough to where people noticed that I love vintage. I had scarves, dresses, beaded cigarette cases, brocade coats, the whole nine. I haven’t shopped in thrift stores for quite some time because it didn’t fit in the jobs I worked in. I now find myself attracted to Anthro and I know it’s because of the vintage style aesthetic. However, it’s senseless to even purchase the pieces I love because they end up unworn and getting returned.
Today I want to talk about our individual, personal style. It’s very easy to get caught up in having the latest styles or bargain chasing without considering if the items fall within our personal style. If you have a closet that has unworn clothes & shoes, then you know what I mean. Or maybe you have yet to make the connection between a hot-to-trot purchase that leads to the item being buried in your closet and never seeing the light of day again. There are many times I haven’t asked myself enough questions about the clothing before deciding to take it home. I admit that sometimes I’m like a dude scanning the club at 1:20 am, looking for a date. There are sometimes I just want to buy something without wondering if I’m going to like it the next morning. I think there are times I don’t want to confront those purchases and I pile newer acquisitions until I’m forced to do one of my famous closet overhauls. I’m in the process of one right now. As I go forward, I’ve decided to think more about my personal style.
Awhile back, online — but way before I discovered blogs — I read something about using 3 words to capture one’s personal style. There were a ton of adjectives to choose from. I’ve searched for the site but can’t find it. The closest I found was over on You Look Fab, where KristinKP said…
“…I am challenging each of us to list here 3 words you think others would describe your style as it is right now. Then list 3 words you might want to push your style toward, or words you wish other people would use to describe your style. Here’s the catch: it can only be ONE-WORD descriptions. No postscripts, no buts, no ands! :)”
I have a lot of different looks and I don’t think they fall into only 3 words. I wouldn’t limit myself to being described only as classic with a twist. I don’t think of myself as preppy, but there are elements. I am not always sophisticated, but there are elements of that, and so on. Nevertheless, I when I saw that article, not the one I just shared but the one from long ago…I tried to start thinking in terms of words to capture a look. Some combos I came up with were effortless chic, funky sophisticate and a couple others. I’d say that the combos had contrasting words, which worked as I do mix pieces. When I was in the store I tried to say, is this funky, chic or sophisticated, or… and it kind of worked, but not really. Do you think asking myself these questions work when feverishly shopping EXTRA20 on J Crew? Heck no. Snooze and lose the items in your cart! Instead of sticking with style words, I am realizing that there are certain items that are my signature pieces. I don’t wear them all at one time. They’re the ones that are usually the special or unique part of my outfit, and get complimented (except the eyebrows).
1) Killer shoes – embellished with stones, patent, bold colors
2) Jackets & coats that have something special like a ruffled placket, bracelet sleeves, ruffles, bows or any other construction than a regular blazer.
4) Eyebrows – Make up is an essential part of my outfit. I don’t wear foundation, but I always, always try to put my eyebrows on with my reliable ritual.
5) Handbag – I have leather ones, I have faux leather ones. As long as they have a little something special going on, they get to come home with me. I took this one around with me today for my magazines. Handbags (along w/shoes) can be a great conversation starter.
There are other items that I wear consistently, such as scarves, but for my list above I tried to stick to the items I always, always have on these days. Now I ask myself the following:
(1) Does this feel good or give me ‘the feeing’? – If I feel comfortable, relaxed, start to twirl, dance, smile uncontrollably in the fitting room or want to rip the tags off and walk out…to pay, of course…then those are indicative of ‘the feeling.’
(2) Can I make 3 or more outfits with it/carry it with more than 3 outfits? – I should be able to think of the the 3 items quickly. I’m not talking about…yeah, that’s goes with jeans. That’s a gimme. I’m talking…that goes with jeans, my coral necklace and the J Crew linen jacket from last spring…and so on. If I can’t think of the outfits quickly, I have to put it down in the store or return it. Sometimes I have to get things home and sit with them a minute before making a final decision. However, I’m finding that if I focus on the item and its qualities, that’s a much more reliable guide than focusing on how much the item is a smoking deal, the latest release from J Crew, the last one on the rack, etc…
(3) What is the cost/wear? – I’m not that great at math and that’s ok. However, I can calculate percentages like a m…nevermind. I am good at that while standing in the store, in front of the % signage and I’m good at figuring the cost per wear very quickly. I just bought a white leather handbag for $75 at Macy’s with a crazy 40% off + coupon on top of that. Didn’t post on it because the sale came & went. Anyway, if I carry it 10x, that’s $7/wear. I’m still deciding whether it’s too big or too small, so I won’t keep it solely based on cost/wear, but with the math out of the way I can focus on whether I truly like it or not.
Let’s talk, let’s talk, let’s talk! Answer any or all:
* What 3 words you think others would describe your style as it is right now? (thanks, KristinKP)
* What 3 words do you want to push your style toward, or words you wish other people would use to describe your style? (thanks, KristinKP)
* What are your top 5 signature pieces?
* What questions do you ask yourself while shopping, in-store or online, before making a purchase?
* Anything else you want to add…chime in…