When I first started doing these "togs" posts, I mentioned that I paid very little attention to trends or fashion -- and that was absolutely the truth (in fact, I still don't really have any idea what's officially "in" or "out," and I still have no interest in reading fashion magazines). However, even though I actually joined Pinterest several years ago and was only a very casual user, since making that pact to make an effort in the way I dress, I've worked really hard to pin something every day -- just as an experiment. I don't use it to bookmark items I intend to buy (mostly because I'm not wealthy), but instead, as inspiration for looks I think I'd love to wear -- even if it's something I would have never worn in the past. In fact, these are the pinning rules I made for myself:
1) The look has to be something I'd absolutely wear in public. In other words, if the outfit is gorgeous, but I think I'd look ridiculous in it, it doesn't get pinned. Similarly, even if the look reflects something that seems to be popular (evidenced by the number of similar pins), if it's not something I'd be comfortable in, then it doesn't get pinned.
2) I have to stretch myself. For example, I mentioned that I wear a lot of black, and rarely wear patterns -- so when pinning, as a test, I search for colourful outfits or patterns or fabrics that I don't actually wear much of now, but would be totally open to wearing.
3) I have to keep in mind whether the look conveys what I value, and what I want to be about. This is sort of nebulous, and hard to pin down, but it's sort of like what the Supreme Court said about porn: I know it when I see it.
The results have been illuminating for me: not just in confirming some things about myself (for example, as much as I love chunky necklaces or ripped jeans on other people, they're not really for me), but also in discovering what I would be open to (I'd wear patterns! I'd wear stripes! I'd even wear patterns and stripes together, if I ever get brave enough to try to mix them on my own!).
Here are a few more things I've learned about myself:
1) I'm open to colours; moreover, the colours have to be strong. Despite all my black clothing, it turns out I like colour. However, I'm not particularly girly, so pastels are definitely not for me. But give me a strong red, or orange, or blue? I'm all over it. (Except for yellow. Apparently, I'm very anti-yellow. I don't know why.)
2) My style tends away from the classic. Maybe it's all those years practicing law, but pearls and classic lines are definitely not my jam. Give me a bit of bohemian with some rocker edge any day. (Although I do love me a pencil skirt, I ain't gonna lie.)
3) I'm not willing to be adventurous in the jewelry department. I like jewelry, but I definitely wear the same earrings, the same rings, the same bracelets every day -- in fact, other than the earrings (they're clip-ons), I never take my jewelry off. They're sort of trademark-y, maybe? (Or maybe I'm lazy. Entirely possible, and I'm okay with that.)
3) Urban Pajamas to the death. While back in my youth, I was definitely of the "it is better to look good than feel good" mentality, I am well and truly over that. My clothes need to be comfortable enough to sleep in. Period.
What's great about this is that I'm less likely to spend money on something on a whim -- mostly because I have a better idea of what it is I really love (with some room to grow). When I see something online, I'm more certain than ever about whether I would truly wear it, or not.
To that end, in packing for our trip to Canada this week, and our pledge to only bring carry-on bags, I was able to sort of mix-and-match what I wanted to bring that both (a) was comfortable, and (b) still felt like I was making an effort for the holidays. The outfit that you see above (with details below) is one of the things I'm wearing while sightseeing here in the land of moose and maple syrup. It's still not as sartorially adventurous as I hope to get, and yet, it contains more colour and pattern than I would've ever worn a month ago. Look at me, how I'm growing!
I'd be interested in knowing more about how you guys hone your own personal look (if you feel like you have one). Related: have any of you ever done a capsule wardrobe? I'm really intrigued by the idea, but I'm not sure I'm ready to take the leap yet. I'd love to hear about your experience, if you've tried it!
And on that note, if you're traveling for the holidays, Godspeed, friends. Here's to safe, comfortable journeys for us all!
(And P.S. -- don't forget that registration for the winter session of the Thrive journaling e-course is now open -- I'd love for you to join me!)