2010 was another banner year of sartorial experimentation pour une femme. I twisted my classics, and rediscovered minimalism. I joined the navy and found that nautical is nice. I played with color and swooned over the Mid-Century style revival. I tried on (and bought) some pieces that pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone (HELLO pencil skirts!). I culled the wardrobe, and then culled some more. I challenged myself to make do with less. I learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn't, what I like in concept that falls short in the real world, and that you can never go wrong with a pair of great shoes.
I'd been pondering how to sum up what I've gleaned from all of this hopping about, then Make Do Style beat me to the punch. Her post really encapsulates up so much of what I came around to toward the end of the year, that all I can do at this point is add my own thoughts to her comprehensive Top 10.
Here's where my style compass points as we begin 2011.
- Go with the gut. If it doesn't feel right, right away, no talking myself into it or letting the sales associate talk me into it. I'll only be adding it to the donation pile in 8 months.
- Stiff is out. Fabrics need to drape and give, and not poof out or bunch up. Tailored pieces especially must have some stretch or bias cut styling. I refuse to wear anything that makes me feel like I'm walking around in a cardboard box.
- And speaking of boxes...I will always love the look of little boxy "lady" jackets, but have come to accept that with my shape, 'tis better to admire from afar.
- Hold out for quality. This doesn't mean high-end or designer necessarily, just good fabrics, good construction, good fit. Be picky.
- Or not. I don't need to spend big bucks on items like white tees that I replace yearly anyway.
- Simplicity. This year's experiments have reinforced that I don't like a lot of embellishment on garments, nor a lot of superfluous construction details or frippery. Clean and streamlined design is what most appeals to me.
- Embrace inconsistency. My style has Multiple Personality Disorder. Some days I'm Coco.
Which brings me to the most important bit.
- Listen to my own voice. And you should listen to yours. Keep yourself open to new styles, but ultimately dress to please yourself, and if someone else thinks it's boring, inappropriate, too young, too old, too bright, too drab, too outdated, too trendy, too MUCH...well there's just no pleasing everyone. There will always be someone out there ready to p*ss on your style parade, but isn't it a brighter, more interesting world because we don't all like the same things? Educate yourself as to what colors and cuts look best on you and then with that knowledge in mind, wear what makes you feel formidable. (And in the same vein, learn to admire and appreciate others' style without feeling the need to have to imitate it.) Our style should express who we are, not who someone else thinks we should be.