Just like most of you, my personal style is forever evolving. In high school and my early college years, I spent a lot of time wearing flannel plaids, striped tees, babydoll dresses, and my knock-off Doc Martens. It was the 90s, and I was into the grunge look.
At some point in college, my style started to evolve towards a more form fitting silhouette filled with “fast fashion” pieces that was very indicative of the late 90s, early naughts. Think flared “leggings”, thigh-high mini skirts, and fitted tops. Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy was my style icon.
My style has continued to change since my early 20s, and now, as I reach 37 at the end of this month, I am getting more introspective about what fashion means to me and what my personal style is.
I am starting to notice as I grow older that my style is less about following trends and more about investing in modern classics that feel both current and timeless and mixing those with more inexpensive unique or fashion-forward pieces that can be replaced (if desired) after a season or two. It’s a more grown-up approach to fashion that allows me to have more of the high-quality (and usually more expensive) clothing that appeals to me, while still allowing my style to evolve and my sartorial creativity to flourish.
I spent this past Sunday evening clearing out my closet of both past and recent purchases that just don’t feel like my style. Some questionable pieces remain, but I am starting to see more the difference between clothes I like and clothes that are me. There are a lot of great styles out there, but what is the image I want to reflect? What is the look I want? How do I balance my conservative work dress code with the casual lifestyle associated with being a mom of five with my desire to interchangeably look sophisticated, sleek, bohemian, edgy, romantic, and sexy?
To this end, I spent some time going through past looks I’ve featured on the blog. Doing this helped me remember outfits I loved but wore only once or twice. It helped me better assess what styles feel like me. It also helped me see that I have gotten much better over the last couple of years (with active effort) at picking clothes that are me, but that I still need some work on this.
Looking through my blog posts, I’ve realized that I feel my best when I’m wearing what makes me feel sophisticated, sexy, or polished (and my very best, when I feel all three).
I’ve been able to narrow down my style to several key elements that should help me better plan my future shopping endeavors:
Blazers, especially in black, are never whack (sorry…that was horrible). They go with just about everything and are great as completer pieces to give an outfit more polish, more pizazz, or simply more warmth.
Structured cuts and architectural shapes are figure flattering and create a sleek, sophisticated look that I love for work or play.
Black and white is and always will be the best color combination. Adding in beiges and tans creates a similar, but slightly more nuanced look, that is almost equally as good.
Faux leather plays a central role in my wardrobe. For me, it’s a year-round staple. I do, however, need to stop buying moto jackets. I have enough.
My grunge days were definitely borne out of my more anti-establishment spirit, and there’s an element to which that vibe still speaks to me. When I go warm weather casual, I like a bohemian feel, mixed with a slight flair for the dramatic.
Oversized sweaters are my cool weather go-to. Yes, there are a ton of more figure flattering options out there, but there’s nothing like getting cozy with a big warm sweater on a chilly day…well, except maybe for getting cozy with a special someone. 😉
Just as I loved mini skirts in my early twenties, I still think you can’t go wrong with a mini hem length for evening wear. Now, I keep the hems a little lower and balance the shorter hemlines with covered arms and looser fits.
I love bold and artsy accessories to give simple looks added flair. Accessories are the quickest and often least expensive way to change up an outfit, so they are a great way to keep classic wardrobe staples feeling fresh each season.
When I choose color, I like to go with one bold statement piece – preferably a dress.
And when I wear color, I apparently like it best when it’s yellow.
Lastly, tuxedo-inspired details and suits in fancy fabrics like velvet are favorites for cooler weather evening looks. No need to sacrifice warmth for style in the winter. These pieces can also easily be styled for work for more versatility and use.
After clearing my closet of the undesirables, the challenge now is to find the finisher pieces I need and want to complete my capsule “ME” wardrobe.
The bigger challenge is to resist the temptation to buy clothing that isn’t “me” or that doesn’t complete the collection – to resist the urge to buy clothes that get added to the refuse pile almost as quickly as I buy them.
I’ve had certain items on my shopping list for years, like over-the-knee boots. I love the look of this style and can imagine so many outfit possibilities with them, but I haven’t been able to find a pair that works for me. When I can’t find boots in my size (or whatever it is I’m looking for), I buy a shirt or blazer or jewelry instead, spending money without getting what I really wanted in the first place.
Yes, my name is Cassie, and I’m a shopaholic. And, I’m working on fixing this. To try to hold myself more accountable for my purchases and to eliminate the closet waste that often results from buying “almost” and “not quite” pieces, I’m re-implementing a clothing budget that I have long since ignored. The budget will require me to be more thoughtful about my purchases, thinking them over more thoroughly before I jump to buy. It will help me better assess whether I really “need” yet another black blazer or a necklace I might wear twice and then forget about. The family budget has taken several dips and nosedives over the last year and a half, so this decision to stay on budget is also about being more accountable to my family.
When I first started my blog, I included monthly wish lists and recaps of how I spent my monthly clothing budget, but I stopped doing it, in part, because I wasn’t sure if that was something that you all wanted to see. I think sharing my budget and how I spent it allows for greater transparency and helps show how to best choose your clothing purchases when you are on a budget. At the same time, I am not sure if it comes off as narcissistic or shallow to talk about what I bought. Please let me know what you think.
Would these monthly posts be helpful? Would they be of interest to you?
How has your personal style evolved? How do you decide your clothing purchases?