Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Defining Personal Style...Sort Of

So I was just thinking all about personal style and what mine is exactly. And by “just thinking” I mean five minutes ago, so bear with me. Anyway, I was trying to conjure up a description of my personal style, but I kept coming up with random things I like and how those things change on a daily basis. Then I realized that the factor determining my personal style is that it’s dynamic – never static. I like what I like based on my mood, how I feel about myself at the moment. Heck, even the weather affects my fashion choices.

And I kind of like that. You can say my style is completely undefined, but I think you’d be mistaken. I don’t change it based on what’s in for the season (red eye liner, Mary Kate Olsen’s last headwear debacle, neon anything, um, need I say more?), although sometimes I do give into crazy trends just ‘cause (Dear Legs, I’m really sorry for abusing you with those mid-calf leggings). More than anything, though, I’ve noticed that I use my style to bring out specific facets of my personality. Some days I just really like to vamp it up to achieve just the right amount of trampiness. You know, big, wild hair (the higher the hair, the closer to God, right J?), ridiculously impractical heels, borderline drag queen eye makeup, hoops resembling bracelets, and the strategic mysterious smirk. Nothing offensively whorish or tacky (although I have been known to sport the huge leopard print earrings, but that was more for the kitsch/intentional bowling alley queen effect), but just enough to say ‘I’m not taking myself incredibly seriously right now.’

As much as I love the trash-tastic look, I have also been to know to completely veer off and strive to look like a completely Charlotte-esque WASP princess. Or WASC, I guess, since I’m Catholic. But whatev, details, details. I have the pearls, preppy attire, long straight hair, tortoise shell headband, and, when I decide to call it forth, the posture. Whenever I really start dreaming of living on the East Coast, I try to prove I belong there with my wardrobe. (I love you, Chicago, I do! But I need a change of scenery! I long to leave the Midwest, just for a little bit! You understand, right? Right?)

Then, completely diverging from either of these identities, I play up my earthy-girl side with something I like to call “showered hippie.” This is when I really feel like strolling to the farmer’s market and walking barefoot in the grass and doing yoga. I mean, I do these things sometimes, but it’s a little hard to commit fully when it snows half the year here, I don’t have much of an attention span to calm down for a full hour unless I’m asleep, and I can’t even imagine what kinds of gross things are all over the ground in the Big City. Anyway, when this mood strikes me, it’s obvious to everyone who knows me. I let my hair air dry (and hairbrush? What’s that?), refuse to wear socks, dig out my flowy boho shirts and dresses, throw one of my million headscarves on, and walk in the sunshine, smiling at life like I just left Woodstock. The jury is still out on whether I look serene or sky-high when I’m in this look-at-me-I-am-so-at-peace-with-life state.

While I do love showing off the multiple style personalities, and I think that the main thing defining my style is its ever-changing nature, there is one other thing that sets it apart. No matter what I’m wearing, I probably am only wearing it because I want to. Not because you think it looks cute or because you said the Express blue zebra dress with long sleeves makes me look like a stripper (love you, T, but I can SO rock the animal prints –AND make them look classy!) I will also sport green eye shadow without looking like a scary 80s flashback, because it can be done if you play around with it. You can tell me what you like, but in the end, I probably will wear my favorite dress or a necklace that could double as a weapon. (By all means, though, if I try on a jumpsuit or something equally horrific that makes me look like I’m auditioning for an Aretha Franklin autobiographical film, go ahead and tell me.) I take risks based on what I like, not really because Vogue told me that this was THE trend to try this month. Although, I must say, I love entirely editorial and impractical clothing – at least in theory. I will wear the men’s wear vest because I think I can throw on a little extra black liner and some major (I idolize the Posh) heels and work the edgy girl look. I will not wear high-waisted pants because my legs are long enough and my torso plenty short, thanks. And half the time, no matter what style I’m sporting, I will probably be wearing my silver cuff that reminds me of Wonder Woman. Just because I really like it. And that is definition enough personal style enough for me.

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