Uncovering your personal style
Clothing should always tell a story.
We have a client who lives for 1930s/40s fashion likened to silver screen stars Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe. She has immersed herself into a lifestyle that down to the stockings she attempts to perfect. It’s chic, brilliant and I admire her commitment.
But it’s not like this for everyone. For the most part, we either wear new, modern clothing or a mix of that and secondhand apparel. Sometimes it’s thoughtfully put together, sometimes it’s not. If you have an affinity for fashion and style like myself, your closet might be a mix between staple pieces and interesting, unique vintage finds — like an animal print suede cardigan or a 1960s tattered cashmere coat. Maybe your closet is full of nothing but freshly pressed button downs and slacks. Everyone has their own style, but for those who are still trying to figure out what they love and what best suits them, this post is for you.
My style has evolved over the years, but now I like to dress as if I’m a part of the background (which is slightly ironic since I sell eclectic vintage fashion). I used to wear bright colors because I loved standing out. I liked mixing colors and patterns, and I still do, but I enjoy it now in more muted tones. I was in the public eye more than I am now, so I wanted my wardrobe to be memorable. Now I try not to be seen. Quite often I wear darker colors. Sure, sometimes the pieces in my wardrobe are different, but it’s never really my main intention to stand out. I like comfortable yet fashionable pieces. I may not dress red carpet worthy every day, but I can put together looks in way that’s mixes modern, contemporary pieces with items that really speak to my love of vintage.
If you don’t know what you love, go out shopping and let the pieces speak to you. Too many times I hear people say “I can’t wear that” or “This won’t look good on me” before even trying something on. Well, shut up. Stop saying that. Try it on anyway. Judge yourself on the feeling you have wearing it, not what others may infer. If you have to go up a size, do it. If you have to go down, do it. Your wardrobe should always make you feel decadent and beautiful. Fashion is art and we’re lucky to have our bodies as a canvas.
For a long time I didn’t adhere to this. I hated my body and hated what I looked like in certain things. In fact, I hated how I looked in most things. Larges were too tight, extra larges too loose. Button-ups were too boxy. The fashion I chose to wear was not intended for my body, and now I know this. Now I wear things that fit, and that make me happy. You can find both, trust me.
It all starts with letting go. There will always be pieces that you’ll play favorites with, but the true pieces that make your body smile are the ones that make you smile. I have a pair of jeans that up until a few years back, I never knew was “my pair” of jeans. I had worn all types of bootcut and straight-leg style pants (mostly mens), but then one day I tried on a pair of skinny, fitted womens jeans. My entire life changed. I had spent all this time unhappy with how I looked, but it wasn’t because of me, it was the stupid, ill-fitted pants I was wearing.
This is how you have to look at it: fuck traditional beauty standards.
If you’re a dude and you want to wear a dress, do it. Love it. If you put it on and love yourself, that’s what matters. Maybe you’re a woman who is obsessed with her boyfriend jeans. Instead of buying women’s jeans that are suppose to mimic your boyfriend’s, just buy the ones he bought. They’ll probably be cheaper, too. Clothing does not have a gender, and it’s time we start acknowledging this in a more open forum. Clothing can be made to fit differently, but it shouldn’t alienate someone from finding their true fashion.
Here are three important questions to ask yourself when fine-tuning your wardrobe (and injecting a little vintage, of course):
1. What is in your current wardrobe?
Take a look at your closet and see what you own. A good wardrobe should be balanced with seasonless pieces that speak to you. Basics are a great way to build up, so start with things like neutral t-shirts and variations of denim jeans. Blazers are a great option, too. Once you have these, adding special period pieces like 1950s cardigans or 80s party tops will be easy to work in to your current collection.
2. What catches your eye?
Good fashion should always make you feel something. If specific pieces make you happy but you never give them a try, chances are you’ll always second guess your wardrobe — and you shouldn’t. Be proud, give those dream pieces a whirl. Don’t limit yourself — try everything! Clothing stores should be taken advantage of fully. Don’t think of it as “mens” or “womens” departments, you’ll inevitably lose out on some amazing things. Walk around and see what jumps out at you.
3. What’s your budget?
This is an important one. Some people think having a great wardrobe means spending a lot of money. Sure, you can do that, but if you’re not able to it’s really quite easy to work toward the wardrobe you want. I’ve found many of my most incredible pieces while out thrifting, but you have to let them come to you. Been eyeing that fur coat at Neiman Marcus? With a price tag of $999, it may be a while before you can afford it (if you’re on a budget). Thrifting a fur? Expect to pay less than $50 at most secondhand shops.
When it comes to fashion, you have to think outside the box. Most of our lives we’re told what we’re suppose to wear, and that takes the fun out of discovering personal style. We mimic beauty standards based on our parents and media, and therefore sometimes find ourselves just wearing what’s “comfortable.” That’s not to say that what you’re wearing isn’t stylish, but to find your true style, you have to let go of the boundaries set before us. Fashion is about expressing yourself, and damnit, it’s time we start doing it more.