Let me paint a picture for you. You are in your favorite store. You are in front of a rack of clothes. All colors and styles hang on the rack in front of you. The shiny, stainless steel of the metal rack reflects the soft, white light coming from the fluorescent bulbs above. There are so many options. The full rainbow is represented, but you can’t wear green because it brings out the redness from your breakout. And you can’t wear yellow because it washes you out. And, do not even get started on purple… because that is just not your color. “Okay”, you say to yourself, “let’s not think about color yet. Let’s find a style and fit that works and would be cute. Peplum tops are cute because they hide my “problem area”, but they also make me look kind of like a cupcake. What about oversized tops? Those are in right now, right? But, how do I wear it without looking like I am just a homeless person in a bed sheet? Why don’t I have tiny Ariana Grande features, or the beautiful broad shoulders of a runway model?”
Have you found yourself having this internal dialogue, only to ferociously wreak havoc on your self esteem? And then, of course, an adorably dressed, peppy sales associate asks you if you need any help finding anything. Which then begs the question, “Are you not capable of picking out clothes for yourself like a normal adult person?” There is nothing wrong with these thoughts. The thoughts we have while going through life are often out of our control. What is in our control is the effect those thoughts have on our view of ourselves and the world. How much influence should these thoughts have on the decisions we make about our personal style?
It is a cliche saying, but truly the best accessory is a smile. The key to having a successful personal style is confidence. Now to break this down is somewhat subjective. Because, to have “success” in style could mean a variety of things. The beauty of it is that you set your own goals when deciding what you want to achieve with what you wear. What you wear can provide information on your identity, profession, personality, interests, and even character. It depends on the viewer, however, and you can’t always please everyone or make everyone understand what you are trying to present about yourself. So, I would say that success can be defined as just reaching a winning percentage. Meaning, over half of the people that interact with your style walk away with an understanding of you as a person. It is also so important to accept that anything involving humans is not simple. It is always complex. We are the sum of our parts, not just what people choose to see or what we choose to present to them. So, I believe it to be so paramount that we go about style always with a hint of irreverence. We should never take our style, what others think of our style, or their style too seriously. It is just clothes, not the essence of life. It is merely a reflection and representation of it.
All this to say, go with your gut! The photos I have attached to this post are of a look that represents just that for me. The overalls are a thrift store find from a back alley of the streets of Paris. If I were to look at these overalls solely through the lens of my double-bachelor-degreed, fashion-business and design eye, I would say; “The hem is too wide and not long enough for me, it needs to be fitted around my waist, and have a deeper crotch seam.” But, when I saw them on the rack in that small side street/alleyway in Paris, I grabbed them right away to purchase. I went with my gut, because my gut said, “Wow those are so freaking cute.” Literally nothing else came into play in this decision for my personal style. I am not saying that all fashion decisions need to be this way, but I think part of your wardrobe should be designated for these pure love pieces. The T-shirt is a thrift store find from St Charles, MO. The university town I called home for four years right outside St. Louis. I saw it on the rack and immediately thought of the character from the hit TV show, New Girl, Winston Bishop. If you have not seen the show, stop reading this and go binge it on Netflix. Winston wears a lot of bird shirts kind of inexplicably on the show, and I find it to be such a funny, random bit. Any way, I would put this shirt in the somewhat ironic style category of Napoleon dynamite that inspired hipsters everywhere. The belt is a thrift store find as well from a thrift store that I can not place in my mind, but I am notorious for grabbing any sort of woven belt that is in good condition. They remind of all the homeschool moms of my childhood, and I love a nod to where I came from when dressing myself. To finish this off in a succinct way, because I get way to chatty when discussing fashion. Go with your gut when you have that initial “that is so freaking cute” reaction to a garment. It truly can have a positive impact on your mood and overall well being.
Edited by: Rachel Kater