How objective can you be about yourself? I often ‘stand outside of myself’ and observe. It’s something I really like to do and I can be very honest with myself, about myself. So, needless to say, I loved the WordPress Daily Prompt from January 8: “Describe your personal style, however you’d like to interpret that — your clothing style, your communication style, your hair style, your eating style, anything.”
My ‘look’ has evolved and changed hundreds of times during my lifetime. I’d be bored to tears if I always looked the same. Wouldn’t you?
Apparently I was always determined to create my own style — even as far back as when I was a toddler. My mother used to tell me she’d pick out an outfit and I’d shake my head “no”; and insist on looking in my closet myself. Did I say I was not even 2 years old at the time???
Little monster, huh?
By the time I was 11 or 12 I was in my hippie-wanna-be phase. All I wanted to wear were bell-bottom jeans and cords with mangy-looking sweaters and T-shirts. My hair was long, of course. And stick straight — only because I made my poor mother iron my natural curls away. I’d lay my head on the ironing board, she’d cover my hair with a towel and she’d pass a hot iron back and forth over it. It worked, believe it or not; and didn’t damage my hair. This didn’t last too long, to my parents’ immense pleasure. At 15 I was sophisticated beyond my years. I wanted to be 30, was not attracted to boys even close to my own age and I was already scouring fashion magazines like Vogue and Bazaar. I coveted stilettos — not that my mother would let me wear them — and only wanted to wear black. Which, needless to say, wasn’t happening either. Much to my disgust.
Art school found me clothed in bohemian chic. Tight black turtlenecks, black tights and mini skirts (or tight pants or jeans) with high boots or clunky shoes. Tons of bangles and rings on every finger. Long dangly earrings. Lots of fringe. Black-rimmed eyes and pale, pale lipstick. Actually I loved this look. It was easy and very comfortable. So no surprise it lasted through my first few jobs.
Years later, though, once I started working for the designer, Leo Chevalier, I became a real fashionista. I would have had to, even if I hadn’t wanted to. Obviously I had to wear his clothes. No hardship, they were gorgeous. Perfect hair and make-up every day. Perfect nails. They were my signature, actually. Very long and blood red. Blood red lipstick, to match. Dressed to the teeth every day. I was in the height of fashion, at all times. My closet was overflowing with fabulous ensembles.
Much as I loved it, when I moved on I went through a totally anti-fashion period for about six months. A rebellion, of sorts. I wore nothing but baggy jumpsuits and sweat pants and flannel shirts and comfy running shoes.
When that finally passed and I moved to Toronto I re-entered my bohemian chic phase, slightly updated. I wore nothing but black, but occasionally spiced it up with brightly-coloured tights. And heels were forsaken for flats. My ankles, toes and metatarsal still hadn’t recovered from the stint in the fashion industry. I only deviated briefly when I decided to dye my hair red. Don’t ask. But it’s when I discovered ‘colour’ — the brighter the better. No one recognized me, including myself.
It came and went relatively quickly and I went right back to my comfort zone. Black.
Where I remain, to this day.
No more mini skirts, however. Alas. But now that I work from home I adjust my ‘look’ to what I’m doing. I live in T-shirts and leggings, or jeans most days — unless I have a client meeting. I’m ashamed to admit there are some days I stay in my jammies all day. Gotta watch that with Skype and Face Time, of course. Depending on who the client is, and how formal or casual they are, I wear everything from jeans (clean, nice ones) to skirts and sweaters or casual knit or jersey dresses to meetings. Black, of course. Occasionally grey. In summer it’s linen and I do lighten the mood and choose white or beige, tan or taupe.
Still neutral. Simple, well-tailored, classic. Easy to wear and comfortable. That’s a must. From time to time I’m attracted to a higher-fashion look and I do have fun with accessories — earrings, rings, bracelets, shoes, boots, handbags, scarves and shawls. And the odd fedora, here and there.
So what does my ‘style’ say about me?
Comfort is paramount. Easy to take care of. Easy to pack. Flexible. I don’t want to have to change three times a day just because I’m going from grocery shopping, to a meeting, to drinks or dinner. I want clothes I can dress up or down quickly and simply. And inexpensively. I guess all the black means I don’t want to stand out. I want to blend in. Be invisible. Don’t want anything so trendy it only lasts for one season. I own my clothes, they don’t own me. I am not a slave to fashion. I’m not afraid to be different. I’m not complicated, although I can be complex. I have no desire to look like I just stepped out of a magazine, or like everyone else. I’m not a conformist.
Which is pretty much my life philosophy, as well.