Style secrets

In January, I updated readers of the local paper about my project, focusing on the fundamentals for style I had found for myself while undertaking Operation DeCardigan.  Today, I share that piece and tomorrow I will update you on where my style renaissance is now

Iris Apfel and her fabulous personal style


Waiting at the stoplight, I couldn’t help but notice her.  Walking down the street, a woman I admire was especially radiant in an all black ensemble topped off by a bright wrap scarf.  So struck by her look, I rolled down my window.

“I love your outfit!”  I called enthusiastically.

She thanked me then explained, “This is my style secret.  I wear all black and then wrap myself in these great colorful scarfs.”

“It totally works!”  I responded.

Then with a twinkle in her eye, she answered, “I am trying not to be known as the sweater lady.”

That made us both laugh.

Just weeks before, I had revealed my sweater obsession- more specifically my cardigan obsession- in the paper.  And the problem wasn’t cardigans in general but my boring approach of finding one cardigan that I liked and buying it in four colors and then wearing each cardigan with either a white or black tank top and calling it style.  I wasn’t just the sweater lady.  I was the boring sweater lady.

After outing myself, I took on a personal style revolution (maybe even resolution if you will).  I once had a style that I loved, but I had different personal and professional responsibilities then.  That style wasn’t exactly the style for who I am today.  What I needed was a look that better expressed who I was right now, and so I started paying attention to what was in stores and magazines, what was covered in newspapers, blogs, and on television and considering how that all applied to me.

As I am sure you’ve noticed, style advice is everywhere.  The pages of magazines tell us dos and don’ts.  Television shows tell us what stars did right and wrong on the red carpet.  Websites like Pinterest and fashion blogs curate outfits.  There is advice for both the season and your body type.  That’s a significant amount of racket to sort through to ultimately find your own style.

And, yet, your own style is exactly what you need to find.  It is not the people who are perfectly poised in the latest trends that we most notice.  It’s those who find a way to really project who they are through their style- like my friend walking down the street that day- that really capture our eye.

There’s no rule for style that matters more than feeling energized when you pull on that day’s get-up.  And that was just the thing about my daily ensemble of a white tank, khaki sweater, boot cut blue jeans, and clogs.  It was functional, but forgettable, even to me.  I was uninspired, and what I was finding was that I, a visual person, needed some sartorial spunk.  Updating my style so that it matches the energy I put out in the world when I am doing the work that I most love is one way to allow myself greater creative and personal expression and inspiration.

Ultimately, it is not the style rules that matter.  It’s our willingness to really project how and who we are in the world in a way that has meaning to us.  For me, I’ve found that means wearing a bright, flowing top, skinny jeans, and kickin’ boots while authentically giving the gifts I have to the world.  Have you found your style secret?

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2 responses to “Style secrets”

  1. Emily

    Thank you so much for articulating you thoughts as related to style. I have struggled with my style and what the importance of it is to me. Do you ever think of your style as a kid? I love how authentic our style was as children. Thanks also for sharing the photo of Iris Apfel. That page from Oprah’s magazine made it to my inspiration folder, too!

  2. Lovely Links: 4/20/12

    […] it is not the style rules that matter.  It’s our willingness to really project how and who we are in the world in a way that has […]

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