Friday, July 15, 2011

How Does One Define Their Own Style?

Hello my wonderful readers! I have been thinking a bit lately about my own sense of style. After much Aristotle like pondering, I came to the conclusion that I have no defined sense of style whatsoever. I tend to wear what I want and when I want to, while blissfully ignoring the fact that many times I may be horribly inappropriately dressed for the weather. ( As in, I wear ballet flats and open toed heels all year, even when snow is on the ground.) 

Since taking up the hobby of sewing I have begun to realize that I at least need to have some grasp on what my style is. It makes no sense to spend days stitching together a dress that doesn't work for me. My closet is a smorgasbord of anything and everything you can imagine, and some things you wish you didn't. I've got to get my act together! I want to dress like a grown up!

Let me elaborate on the problem a bit more. Here is what I like and/or deem acceptable to wear:
  • Flowy, Pencil, and A-line skirts
  • Anything by Kate Spade
  • Anything by Lily Pulitzer
  • Anything with polka dots
  • Dresses from the 50's
  • Dresses form the 60s
  • Anything Joan Rivers hawks on QVC
  • Anything Dita von Tesse wears
  • Tacky 80's sequined sweaters
  • Only lady pencil skirts complete with elastic insets
  • Anything with a bow
  • Sleek shift dresses
  • Anything and everything sold by Modcloth
  • 99% of what I see others making in the sewing blogosphere
  • Everything with a vintage union made label
  • Everything worn on Mad Men
  • Everything on the clearance rack
  • Anything made with Pendelton wool
  • Anything that seems to tickle my fancy for a milisecond
Gosh, that is a lot of things, which don't seem to many similarities. Just like in math I think I need to pull out the common denominator and then examine what's left.

There are a few things though that I know that I don't like.
  • Acid wash jeans
  • Skinny jeans
  • Neon orange and yellow
  • Anything with a huge logo or saying across it ( Small embroidered logos are acceptable.)
  • Leggings and Jeggings 
  • Fluffy, 3 inch thick shoulder pads
  • Faux snakeskin print
  • Anything sold by Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, Pac Sun, and Hot Topic
  • Shoes that look like they're worn by pirates or pilgrims
  • Crewneck T-shirts
  • Denim jumpers
  • Anything with a skull print
  • Anything with cartoon characters
  • Hoodies
  • Faux fur
Just as a note, please don't read into the things that I don't like too much. I am simply saying I don't like to wear these things myself, but in no way do I believe that the things I don't like are bad for everybody. 

Now, comes the tricky part. I need to sort through all of those and determine what I truly like and what image I want to portray via my wardrobe. Off the top of my head I would assert that I want a wardrobe that is not too casual, timeless, coordinated, feminine, and perhaps some vintage tastefully thrown in the mix. However, let me state, I will not be giving up my 60's mod sheath dress with brightly colored flowers even if it may fall into the "I need to be an artist to wear something this eclectic" category.

So, readers, over the next few weeks expect to see some posts about my journey into defining my style. There may be laughs, tears, and Dove chocolate binges along the way, but in the end I will conquer my wardrobe!

But, readers, I can't do this without you! Do you have a defined sense of style or are you firmly in the category in which I firmly stand? If you have a defined style, how long did it take you to figure out what you truly like. I'll take all the tips and ideas that anyone wants to share!


  1. This post cracks me up! Especially your extensive list of what you like! ("Everything on the clearance rack") lol

    OK. My style. I've been thinking about how to define my style (which is NOT defined!) It's definitely shifting, now that I've started sewing again - moving a bit towards more elegant (just slightly, though - elegant, in & of itself, is definitely NOT me) and a bit more away from casual. (as in, all casual, all the time...I'm definitely over that phase!)

    So....casual with a snippet of elegance, funky & unique, but not too quirky. Just a touch of classic. Updated vintage. A little bit flowy, but not flowery. Fabrics that FEEL fabulous (silk, soft cottons, faux furs & super soft leather, soft, rich feeling knits...nothing rough or scratchy, ick). Boot cut jeans & shit-kickers, but paired with a fabulous, unique jacket. Unusual lines. Curves. Art to wear, but not in a "look at how weird I am!" way. Comfortable, not skin tight. But not baggy either (I'm over that phase too!) I aspire to fill my closet with clothes like this :)

    I'm sure there's more, but I love that you've inspired me to start putting it to words! Thank you - I may need to expand it in a blog post of my own. :)

  2. I love vintage and retro and feminine and girly and fun prints and classy and modern. Everything on your do not like list is on my do not like list too. I also enjoy clothes that fit, which sewing your own stuff is great for! I did a nice post on building a wardrobe a while back if you want to look at it.

    In my opinion, personal style is always evolving and changing and refining. It's one of those journey type things. So have fun! Can't wait to see your future style posts!

  3. Sounds like if I wore it in high school, you would never wear it! LOL Except the sequined sweaters - and just what is tacky about them? (Other than the obvious fact that I wore and loved them.

    At least my pink faux fur is safe!

  4. This is something I have been pondering of late as well. I decided I don't really have a style, and I really don't have any idea of what sort of style I like. I mean, when I look at a pattern I either like it or I don't like it, but I don't think that any particular style is attached to it. I think part of my style-less-ness is that the past 2 years (since I started sewing) are the first time I have really been interested in clothes at all. Part of it stems from being super tall as a child (imagine being 10 and shopping in the old lady section... not fun), and part of it from substancial weight gain when I had a long term illness. I have been pretty entrenched in the t-shirt, jeans, hoodie look since high school. Which is... sad.

    Now that I am feeling better and getting down to a normal weight, I have more energy and desire to have clothes fit and look good. On one hand it is probably a good thing that I am finally getting out of the hoodie phase, on the other hand, I have a lot of clothes in my closet that don't really fit anymore. So I guess for me, there is a goal of replacing clothes that don't fit with clothes that do fit - both my body and style.

    In my closet I have....jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. And lots of skating costumes, warm up sweats, etc, but those aren't going anywhere.

    In my closet I would like to have... pants with either boot cut/slight flair, fitted shirts (knit or button down type), fitted jackets and coats. And, just because I am always cold, I want even more jackets and coats. I want more jeans that fit, so I can get rid of the jeans that don't fit. I feel like I should have at least a few skirts, though I rarely wear them. I have one pretty dress that I made, I suppose I would like a few more. Also, pretty much anything sparkly is also allowed in the closet. I like solid colors, mainly jewel tones up top, with darker colors on the bottom. I think I am more willing to experiment with colors than styles at this point, although I am playing around with the idea of blousey tops with some sort of tie at the waist. I have a slight obsession with lace, although it isn't very prevalent in my every day wardrobe. I think I want more embellishment on my everyday clothes. I also want more clothes from wool, silk, cotton and linen. Perhaps "subtle elegance" or "classy casual" would be the best way to describe?

    Things I don't want in my closet... skinny jeans, straight leg pants, anything resembling a potato sack, anything with huge shoulder pads (I know they are coming back in style, and it scares me), jumpers, rompers, jumpsuits, or tube tops. Floral prints and I only agree on very rare occasions. Actually, prints in general and I agree on only very rare occasions, which is too bad. I like them, but they don't like me back. I want to avoid neon colors, and white to some extent. I want to avoid "too cutesy" and "too sexy." I want to avoid looking like a teen at the mall.

    So... no, I don't have a style. I think I need one. I think it will take a while to develop (and sew up). Even with sewing patterns, I get what I like cuz I like it, not because it "fits" with my style. My sister has style, even though she is younger. She has always been more interested in appearance than I ever was. I think part of the reason she always looks put together is she has a lot of accessories as well as having stylish clothes. I think in your quest for style, you should also really consider assessing your accessory options. Sometimes I think the right belt, necklace, or scarf really does make the outfit. If you can find a $7 red wool coat, you can totally pick up some amazing accessories at estate sales, I'm sure.

    In any case, I am super excited to see your progression. Can't wait for more posts!

  5. I am very curious to follow you on this journey. I have been thinking about this myself and had some notes jotted down for my own post. I am always sewing individual pieces and never thinking about the overall feel of my wardrobe. I constantly wear a cute top with jeans. I would love to wear more dresses and other pants, but somehow I end up back at jeans and a top. I think that my problem maybe that I like too many styles to narrow it down. I buy all sorts of patterns because I like the way they look, not necessarily how it fits in with what I already have or if I would ever actually wear it in my daily life.