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how i found my personal style (q & a)
whimsical, playful, eclectic
How would you describe your personal style?
My three style descriptors are: whimsical, playful and eclectic. I don’t subscribe to any one specific aesthetic or -core. My style is always evolving because I’m always evolving.
Color is very important to my style. Not in the sense of “how many colors of the rainbow can I cram in” but what colors, in interaction with one another, evoke a mood or energy.
My style is trend-conscious but not trend-driven. I think in the conversation about fast fashion and trend cycles, what gets lost is that trends are always going to be a part of the time and places we live in, a reflection of the current culture and social conditions. It helps to think of trends this way, as markers of the time and space you inhabit, not what’s new arrivals/new drop/viral item of the season.
To me the most interesting outfits always have element of ugliness.
Fashion and style is a vehicle to challenge aesthetic norms about what is considered beautiful or luxurious. You get to define those for yourself.
How did you figure out your personal style?
I have always loved clothes and experimenting with different looks. As a teenager, I ran through a whole hodgepodge of aesthetics, which I look back and cringe at (endearingly) but at the time I did not feel cringe or embarrassed, it was just fun.
Lookbook.nu and Tumblr had huge influences on my teenage years. I’d pin giant fake flowers on my blouses and style that with hippie headbands that left itchy dents in my forehead. Lots of Urban Outfitters clearance dresses with dusty floral prints. Somehow, it evolved into a preppy/academic phase that extended into early college. I unironically liked LOFT skirts because I wanted to look and feel professional for my summer internships. I went to a crunchy college that made me dress a little crunchy. There was an brief infatuation with early Everlane. Getting secondhand designer at Crossroads because it felt like an amazing deal, even though I didn’t really love it. I could go on….
Were these style mistakes? I don’t think so, even though I would never wear anything like that now. It’s nice to think we are completely impervious to external influences but we aren’t! My style was a reflection of my growing pains and experiences. I am happy with my current personal style. A good balance is being open to external ideas/influences/experimentation but knowing who you are. And it’s ok to have photos you look back on and dislike what you’re wearing.
Where did you grow up?
The Bay Area, mostly on Alameda island. Home to a massive (and overstimulating) monthly Antiques Faire, if you’re ever planning a day’s visit.
How do you know if something fits well or not?
Let comfort be your guide. I buy a lot of secondhand stuff online and a fair amount is non-returnable, so I try to be meticulous about measurements. When I try on tops, if I feel any tightness or pinching around the armpits, it’s a no. That’s the hardest part for fit for me, usually. I hate the feeling of cramped shoulders. I think our bodies tell us when clothes aren’t a good fit for us. Do you find yourself constantly adjusting a strap that falls down, or hunching, or pulling up your belt, or itching your skin bc the fabric is irritating? Regardless of what the tag says, you know best when it comes to what you feel good in.
*For vintage shoes I am not so good at this bc I have a major weakness for shoes and will convince myself that my foot can fit anywhere from a 36-38 with a mix of socks and heel pad type tricks.
Where do you find inspiration?
I love the internet for style inspo. Lately, I’ve been making Pinterest boards. Pinterest is great for things like compiling photography and vintage ads/visuals. But otherwise, I find inspiration everywhere, when I’m relaxed enough to notice the little things. Have you heard of this concept called an artist date? It’s where you take yourself on a date and just live a day, observing the world around you, and not putting any pressure on yourself to create or produce anything. That really works for my artistic process.
How did you find your signature haircut?
Well, I am actually considering changing it up for summer….but I write about my bob here:
Can we get a peek at your bags/purses?
This will need to be a whole piece on its own :) coming soon!
Where to find a cool everyday jacket for less than $150?
If I were to shop for an everyday jacket with a budget in mind, I would start with TRR and use the price filter. When I shopping to fill a wardrobe hole, vs shopping for a brand or designer I really like, TRR is where I start my search. For $150, you will be able to get better value with a resale item vs retail. I’m not sure what style of jacket you are looking for, but I am partial to a cropped fit and sporty retro details.
Which Levi’s style do you like the most?
I don’t know the specific Levi’s styles very well, but when it comes to jeans, I generally like: a wash that looks vintage, medium to high rise, relaxed straight leg fit, and cropped (I am 5’2”). There are some exceptions but these are the jeans that work for me.
How to style loafers?
I love loafers. I wear them with….everything. I’m not a big sneaker person at all, so most days I am wearing either a loafer or mary jane. My only style guideline is to never wear them barefoot. Always with a sock or thin stockings. Personal preference.
How do you deal with the temptation to buy clothes but be smart with money?
I think everyone can relate to this feeling. For context, I am 28 and have had several working years to earn and save money. I would not advise my 23 year old self to buy the things I am buying now because she had more urgent priorities like student loans and building savings. And I am aware that can change at any time (getting laid off, health issues, unforeseen emergencies, etc).
I guess the point is try not to feel pressure to buy things because you assume someone you see online is in the same financial situation as you. What feels like a “good investment” or “bargain” for one person won’t be for another. I am a risk averse person, so I need to feel very comfortable about an item and the price to make a purchase. I’ll also note that with most of my purchases now, I look for items that hold high resale value.
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