It's true. I really don't. I commented recently on the amazing Aesthetic Alterations blog that I can't rock a biker jacket because my style is too androgynous. AA rightly replied that a biker jacket should be perfect for an androgynous look. Too true, but my comment was ill thought-out: it isn't that I try to be androgynous in my dress. It's that I literally don't know how to dress myself. I have no idea what looks good on me and what doesn't. So my resulting outfits are usually a variation on v-neck, jeans and big boots theme. If I dressed in a more stylish or feminine way then a biker jacket would add an edge. As it is, I frequently feel like I walk around dressed like a lazy 15-year-old boy.
I recently commented on a French style Yahoo group I am part of that most of the usual must-have clothing lists are lost on me. I wrote, "I like a little black dress as much as anyone, but I look ridiculous in avaiator glasses, old in pearls and terrible in 'classic white shirts.' And don't get me started on trench coats. They're mad sexy on everyone else but I've never met one that didn't make me look like a double-breasted caramel puff." I should add that I am trying to understand why scarves are de rigueur for those who want to pass as stylish. I have experimented lately but I can't help but feel that scarves just nudge me closer and closer into sartorial middle age.
I's not that I don't know what suits me. It's more that I don't yet know how to dress my age. Lifestyle is a factor too. I love vintage (1940's suits my curvy frame) and I've mentioned before that I'm an aging alterna-whatsit, but dressing for the day is difficult when kid-schlepping sans auto means something I can walk in and get muddy, and something movable like upmarket yoga wear is what's appropriate for my work with skincare and massage clients. I'm also terrified of color so I wear a lot of black and grey and denim.
That all said, I did buy these fab shoes today. $15, not made of plastic, and decidedly impractical. But they aren't (too) mumsy and they aren't black and they made me as happy as a pair of shoes is likely to.
I read a lot of blogs on the subject and I am always interested in hearing how others hone their personal style. How do you know what works for you? How do you make it work for you?