Thursday, October 13, 2011

commentary: my fashion discovery

Imagine this: I used to be a tomboy subsisting on jeans and tank tops. Every single day. 

When I was younger I fought with my mom about wearing anything feminine - tights, skirts, and dresses. In college I was known for repetitively wearing the same jeans with tank tops. In graduate school I meagerly attempted to incorporate a bit of 'grown up-ness' into my wardrobe, but only enough to make me presentable. I hated shopping. I didn't care. And then one day, I discovered fashion.

After graduation and in preparation for my first real job, I knew that what I wore could directly affect my success. But, I had no idea what I was doing or where to start. One day I was feeling particularly uncomfortable with the length of a pair of hand-me-down khakis. I didn't even know how long my pants should be with my tiny, tiny heels. So, what else would a good academic do but research it? I came across this blog post by Already Pretty. I was intrigued and quickly began to link off her page to others.

Kendi of Kendi Everyday.

One blog roll led to another and soon I stumbled on Kendi Everyday. Kendi is the root of my fashion inspiration. It may sound strange and a bit obsessive, but this is what she has become to me. So I watched (ahem, stalked) her - I watched others. Every day eagerly anticipating the next outfit. And then, one day I braved the stores and tried it myself.

Kristine of Kristine. Or Polly.

The transformation was nothing less than drastic. Now, I am happy, confident, and eager to learn more about how I can make fashion work for me. I had discovered my fashion self.

Kendi of Kendi Everyday.

And, in case you find yourself in a similar place in your fashion evolution, here are a few tips for finding and fostering your own fashion self.
  • Try. You have no idea if something looks good if you don't try it on. Even if it is just in your bedroom or in the dressing room by yourself. Just try.
  • Read fashion blogs. Get inspiration from others. Check out my 'Seriously Great Reads' page for my favorites.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Push yourself to choose things that make you a little nervous. They may be exactly what you want, but didn't know it.
  • Look around. (Depending on where you live), there is a world of fashion inspiration right outside your door. Pay attention. 
  • Constantly re-invent yourself. After college I was anxious to wear skirts because I was the girl who always wore jeans. I thought such a drastic change in my wardrobe would cause some kind of uproar. The reality? Most people didn't even notice. Be brave and try something new - you can be a jean person one day and a skirt person another day. No one (except you) really cares that much.
  • Shop online. Even if you aren't buying anything, checking out the websites of your favorite stores (many of which often have seasonal lookbooks) can be inspring.
  • Keep track of your feelings. Note how certain outfits, styles, and combinations make you feel. Do you feel confident? Do you feel beautiful? If you do, wear it agian. If not, loose it.
  • Note others' reactions. Do certain outfits make others' notice you in a positive light? That is good feedback, but certainly don't put too much weight on this. Some of my favorite outfits (e.g., outfits with colored tights) still get me nothing but strange stares from co-workers.
  • You can be anything you want to be. Fashion allows you express any part of you that you want. Have you always wanted to dress a certain way? Do it. Nothing is holding you back except a little money and courage. This is your chance.

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