(All photos taken from my Pinterst “Style” page as proof I gravitate to this shit.)
I have a confession to make – one that might not be cool to admit as a blogger:
I have the world’s most basic style. Painfully, painfully basic bitch. It’s okay, though, really.
In my younger years, I always thought that I’d grow up into a more style-savvy adult. My teenage and young adult years were spent pouring over fashion magazines, and waiting impatiently for the days when I could wear high heels, silk blouses, pencil skirts, red lipstick, leather handbag, and perfectly coiffed hair. I always saw my adult self as a corporate piranha with a feminine twist…or a bit of an edge, depending on the year.
That never happened.
There is one defining moment, though, that I think led me down this path of basic, simple, boring style:
I became an educator.
Instead of living my dream of being a business woman with a wardrobe that meant business, I ended up in one of the most conservative careers. Add living in the ultra-conservative, Bible belt that is the Midwest, and that pretty much killed any chance of having a style evolution.
There is an unspoken rule that, as a woman in education, we are required to erase any semblance of femininity or sexuality. This means no accidental peek of cleavage, nothing even remotely form-fitting, nothing trendy, no shoes with more than a kitten heel, and leave the lipstick at home. My work wardrobe was (and still is) overly baggy, mostly black basics, high-necked sweaters, and flat shoes. It’s why, when I moved to Seattle, I got rid of almost all of my work clothes. None of it fit properly, and I felt like a nun wearing it.
Now that I’m not teaching anymore, I’m working on finding my own style again – and it’s tough. I’m trying to erase decades of fashion programming, from the preppy look I rocked in high school, hoodies and jeans of my college years, and buttoned-up schoolmarm style in recent years. Pinterest helps a lot because it gives me a chance to see a big picture version of what I like. Apparently I like dressing like I spend all my free time in a Starbucks, sipping on my PSL, then frolicking in the fall leaves, and Instagramming every minute of it.
As it turns out, I do have a bit of a style “wish list,” based on things I seem to find in most of the photos I pinned:
- I live in skinny jeans, and apparently my future stylish self will too. None of mine currently fit properly – some are too tight, some too loose. I need to find a pair that fit, and buy a dozen of them in many, many colors.
- I still want the leather handbag, but larger and not necessarily black. I have an orangey-brown leather tote bag that I love, and hope to keep for the rest of my life – so I’m well on my way!
- I need to accept that I like simple, preppy things like flannel shirts, fisherman knit sweaters, plaid scarves, and tweed blazers. My high school years left an impression on me, I guess, and I should just learn to live with it. I like Starbucks, too, and that’s okay.
- Accessories are a trouble area for me. I like the idea of wearing more jewelry, but I never do. I’m lucky if I remember to put my wedding ring on before leaving the house (sorry honey). I’m not sure I even own a bracelet….
- When I head back to work (hopefully sooner than later), I need to figure out how to ramp up my professional wardrobe. I hated dressing like a teacher when I was one, and don’t want to continue on that path in the future!
Overall, I think I’m getting closer to finding a style that suits me. As I get older, I’ve come to accept that my body isn’t the prototype for clothes, and I have to work with what I have at the time instead of waiting for it to change. I’m getting better at knowing what I like, and avoiding things I don’t like just because they fit my body or budget.
Maybe someday I’ll rock the killer heels and red lipstick at work, but for now I’m happy with a good loafer and cable knit sweater, like I walked out of an LL Bean ad.