Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I don't know how to dress myself

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?


  1. Great post - I love your honesty.

    I am constantly trying to find clothing that suits me. There is much to consider: one's body type, age, income level, career, or lack of a career, skin tone and hair color, city, suburban or country living, climate, etc.
    I find it to be overwhelming at times.

    I am certainly not one to dispense advice on fashion - I seek it more than I give it. But I do know that for me a classic look that flatters my figure is my goal. Fit is the most important factor in my eyes. Everything else is secondary.

  2. I forgot to tell you that I like your new shoes very much - and you can't beat that price.

  3. Wow! Those shoes totally rock! :D

    There are times in my life that I could have written this! I remember going shopping once and feeling completely helpless ~ I didn't know how to put anything together. I sat looking at the mannequins wondering how they put those outfits together. Then there were times I felt put together. Then most recently I lost my chic way again for about the past four years due to different things happening in my life and just now feel like I'm finally coming back out of it.

    Most recently I paid money for a stylist who profiles you energetically and teaches you what types of clothing support your energy type. Sounds hokey pokey, but for once I finally feel like I am at home in my dressing! I have a link on my sidebar {not going to put it here because I know some blogs freak out if there are links in the comments}. The examples on the website aren't the greatest, but if you learn the principles you can tweak them to your own unique signature style which is what I am doing!

    Sorry, that got long! Hope you find the signature style you're looking for!

  4. I love those shoes!
    I also favor 1940s- (early) 1960s styles for my pear-meets-hourglass figure, however, sometime vintage dresses and suits have a way of making me look frumpy.
    Have you ever seen a B&W photo of a woman in the 1940s who was only 20-something but looked 40-something? Well, I now see that some vintage styles (particularly if worn straight off) makes 40-something me look 50-something dowager.
    I think it's important to mix vintage in with more modern clothing in order to avoid looking like the dowager auntie -- or an escapee from a community production of 42nd Street!


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