August 28, 2012

Let's talk about fashion. Part 1.

Whether you're into clothes or makeup or hair or shoes or not you have to admit that you have some kind of style. You know, whether that style is jeans and t-shirts or yoga pants and hoodies or the latest trends you still have it. Everyone has things that they feel are them and the things that just don't suit them. Even if your style is very open and everything you still have a line in the sand. I feel like that big sweeping statement is safe  enough to make without ruining my credibility.

So fashion. Style. That stuff you wear every day. Let's talk about it, shall we?

When I was in university what I wore was pretty simple. It was a lot of jeans and a lot of hoodies. Layering was key to survive the variety of temperatures thrown at us in each building. Some buildings were like freezers, some were scorching. Hoodies were also very practical for naps in the library. I'd just pull up my hood, turn my chair to face a window, get out my notes, and zonk right out during my breaks between classes.

Now that I'm in the real working world, hoodies have less of a place in my wardrobe. They actually have no place in my office attire, although they figure prominently in my before and after work wear. We live in a cave and it gets cold.

The transition away from casual school wear to the business casual dress code of the office hasn't been too hard. I've been a cardigan lover since high school and can't imagine life without them. They make even the most casual tank top more dressed up and allow summer shirts to transition easily into winter shirts. Whoever invented the cardigan was clearly a fashion genius. They are the hoodies of office attire and everyday life. Amazing.

The thing I've always struggled with a little is trends. Where do today's trends fit into my everyday wardrobe and personal style? I guess, first, I should define my personal style a little. It actually isn't very hard, because I like to keep it simple. I try to wear things that are comfortable, functional, and make me feel attractive. I also love a good sale, have a hard time spending full price on anything unless it was super cheap to begin with, and like to have things in my wardrobe that are timeless. By that I mean that I like having items in my wardrobe that are not only good for in and out of work but that are also going to be okay to wear in six months to a year to two or three years.

Take, for example, a Joe tank top I bought a few years ago. It was $16, has a deep scoop neck, hangs loosely before coming in at the bottom, and has a little keyhole in the back. I loved it so much I went back and got it in another colour, then having it in white and green. I wish I'd gotten it in black, too. Two or three years of regular wear and they're still going strong in my wardrobe. The nice thing is that they're totally versatile and go with everything. Jeans, dress pants, shorts, leggings, and skirts all look really good with them. Now that's what I want my wardrobe to be like. Not only that, it's the perfect kind of flowy shirt for my body type. Anything that drapes over my hips make me look like I'm pregnant. It's not in my head, either.

Functionality and price are huge influences in what I wear which, I hope, makes a lot of sense. If I'm going to jump on board with a trend I'm going to be sure it's worthwhile. It took me years to buy myself nice flats and admit that they are practical footwear. The same went for long necklaces. I pretty much wear them exclusively now but I was pretty late to jump on the bandwagon. I've been wearing them for a little over a year and a half, maybe pushing two years. Once I bought my first long necklace it was a long time until I felt like I could buy more.

The latest trend that I've gotten on board with is blazers. You're probably scratching your head and thinking that blazers have been popular for, I don't know, four years? Blazers are cool but they seem more like young professional attire to me than casual everyday wear. It's something you've got to work up to. Maybe I've given them that stigma because most of them are well over the $50 mark, and that to me is way out of my price range for a glorified cardigan.

A big over a week ago I took the blazer plunge, though, and finally got one. I've been wanting one for almost a year but haven't been able to find anything that fit or was in my price range. I ended up getting on from Urban Planet for $25. I forget to move my arms around and see how well it fit so my movement is a little limited. It's for the office, though. If I'm going to play boccie or do the YMCA I'll take it off.

I really like that it dresses up jeans and a t-shirt. I feel like it ties what would otherwise be a pretty casual outfit together and throws it into the realm of business casual. Having shoulder pads is bit of an adjustment, though.

So I've been thinking, where do I go from here? What is it I want my style to say about me? Today I feel really good in my outfit, yesterday I felt off kilter. What are my goals? How do I want to present myself to the world beyond just what I wear?

Read on...

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