11/04/2008

Finding my style PART ONE (caveat: very long post!)

I've decided to start blogging again about my journey of "finding my style." Beware, though - my posts will be more verbose with less pictures from here on out since I will be explaining my thoughts on the matter.

Everyone knows that the first step to figuring out your style is to go through your wardrobe. Figure out what you actually like and don't like. Get rid of everything you don't like and start working from there. So I went through my closet and threw out a bunch of things that I just wore because it was something new to wear, or because it was on sale. I got rid of everything that really doesn't fit me, too. Unfortunately, I was left with very few things, but that gives me a chance to then replace everything with something that I will really love and that is really "me."

As I've been reading on other blogs (and from Missi), the next step to finding my style was to start an inspiration board. I love this idea. I started looking through my Vogue, J.Crew, and In Style magazines, and cut out pictures of anything that I thought was something I wanted to emulate, or anything that spoke to me. Yesterday I bought four squares of corkboard from Target for only $5.69.

Below are pictures of the beginnings of my inspiration boards with very long explanations of why they inspire me...

I cut this picture out because it represented something important to me that I've really been struggling with.

I spent most of my life being different. I grew up in a very conservative, Christian home, the second oldest of 11 children, and was homeschooled. To make me even more different, for a while my family avoided wearing any clothes that were trendy, because we were looking to be "in the world, but not of the world." When I turned 15, I started only wearing skirts and dresses that were below the knee so I would look as feminine (and also as modest) as possible. During that time the "it" look for my age was grunge. Yes, I stood out in my ankle length skirts and dresses.

As my family and I grew, we eventually became less and less extreme, and I think struck a balance. We still opt for the more conservative side of dressing, but have found that following a clothing trend does not make us "of the world." We don't want to dress "slutty" in anyway, but have found that dressing as attractively as possible makes a better statement to the world than covering up for dear life.

Since I spent so many years being different, I have enjoyed following the crowds with what I wear, and blending in through my young adult and young married years. Since starting this blog, however, I have yet again become "different" and it has recently started to bother me. Most moms scoff at me when they see me chasing my toddler around in wedge heels at the park. Some moms roll their eyes at me when I am wearing tights and a dress while shopping. I get snarls from other moms if I'm seen in heels, and am constantly getting comments (which are more like accusations), about how I manage to walk around in stilettos when I'm holding a toddler.

I think most moms just thought I was trying too hard, and wondered why I couldn't just put on a t-shirt and jeans. Maybe other Moms thinks I'm being selfish. Or yet others who simply think I am not being practical and putting my own vanity in front of my child's safety.

I've been thinking hard about this a lot. Evaluating whether I am trying too hard, or whether I care about how I look more than my child. Do I do this for me, my husband, my friends, or the world? The picture of this young Mom in her spectacular evening gown, but with her young son peeking out from behind her skirt, her Converse sneakers and simple cardigan sweater taming down her look, made me realize that I dress this way because it is "me". Nothing is wrong with a t-shirt and jeans, but nothing is wrong with heels and a dress either...EVEN if you're a Mom. It doesn't make me any less of a Mom if I wear a dress than if I wore jeans.

I think it's time for me to embrace being "different" again and keep my dressing standards. It's ok to wear 4 inch heels when you're a Mom if that's what you like. It's ok if I want to wear tights and dresses when other moms are wearing jeans and tennis shoes. This IS my style.

So the picture above is my favorite and that is why my "Mother in red" gets her very own board.
This next board represents a few things. In the corner you see a white shirt from Banana Republic. Plain, boring, but classic. This is a reminder to me that I need to remember to stick to classic pieces that never go out of style.

I also have a picture of Reese Witherspoon on her daily jog. Reese has three children, and yet she still stays fit. Maybe I don't always get to jog, but this reminds me to workout everyday.

The roses are pins from J.Crew. This is a reminder to me to keep everything I wear as feminine as possible, because that is what I like best. There is nothing more feminine than a rose brooch.

Then the nail polishes represent colors I want to wear more of. Deep, warm reds and burgundies. I'm not sure how long these colors will stay on my inspiration board, though, as I'm still exploring what colors I think really look good on me.

This next board is my hair inspiration board. In the middle is a picture I drew of myself with very short hair. Beneath that are two pictures of models with gorgeous long hair. I am always getting the urge to cut my hair short so I can look like the other Moms, and the super chic Hollywood style icons. Everyone is cutting their hair into a super sexy bob right now and I definitely have the itch. I think short cuts are so gorgeous on everyone! Nevertheless, my signature look is long hair and I think I need to stick to that. So everytime I get the urge to see myself with short hair, I can just look at this board, and then look beneath it and realize that no matter if I would look cute with short hair, I can't help but love long hair.

This last board is my "outfit looks" board. Each gal above is wearing something in the right cut, style, and color, for me (I think, at least). I love these outfits and want to emulate them as closely as possible in my own wardrobe.

So that's that for now. I may post some pictures of my outfits from time to time as I keep figuring this all out, and I will certainly post every time I have an epiphany of sorts on this topic.

One quick tip I found yesterday, too...

I had to leave the house by a certain time in order to make it somewhere before they closed, but I didn't want to miss my workout. So I worked out, leaving myself only 30 minutes to shower, dress, get my son dressed, and get out the door! This meant I had no time to really dress. Since as a Mom I don't get out much, I like to make the most of dressing whenever I do go out, even if it is just to run errands. Nevertheless, since I had only 10 minutes to fix my wet hair, put my makeup on, and pick an outfit out, I decided to just wear my corduroys and a long sleeve t-shirt. Still, I wanted to up my style quotient as best as I could for the circumstances. I threw on a belt, a cool hat, big earrings, and wore darker lipstick than normal and managed to really dress up an otherwise plain outfit.

Sometimes I take too much time picking out what to wear so that it looks different, or makes some sort of style statement, and I forget that it's not that complicated. Add a few statement accessories, and that's all you need.