She Found Style

an attempt to discover my sense of style in one year and learning more about myself than I ever imagined along the way

The Count Down Begins

Just returned from our annual spring vacation.  We spent the last two weeks in Victoria, BC.  We swapped homes with a local and lived in an incredibly comfy, high-end home (with the most amazing kitchen) just across the street from the stunning Beacon Hill Park.  We visited a new park/playground almost everyday and Beacon Hill was our favorite.  I can’t bring myself to put my passport away just yet – I’m ready to go back!

On to style matters…

I’ve got just four more months to go on this challenge of mine.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve managed to stay committed to learning about style.  And while very difficult at times (there have been some personal growth moments for sure) this challenge has been very rewarding.  My concern with what I’m wearing seems to have lessened a bit because I feel better about what I know.  My confidence in front of the closet has increased.  And I’m having fun with the whole thing!  It’s taken a bit of time to get to the fun part.  Glad I finally made it.

While I feel like I’ve gotten everything I wanted out of this challenge, I still have four more months.  I’m trying to figure out what else there is to learn about.  What have I missed?  What still needs to be discovered?  How can I continue to be challenged?

I was hoping you might be able to help me.  Is there anything you’ve been wondering about?  Anything you still want to read up on?  If you have a moment, and something to say, would you please leave me a comment below?  I love hearing from you and I’d love a little nudge in a good direction…

Counting down the next four months!

Stripes and Sparkles

Way, way back at the beginning of this fun little experiment I shared with you the What Not to Wear concept of “love, like, like“.  I had forgotten about that little lesson until now.  Looking back at my recent outfit photos, I realized I’ve been putting that exact concept into practice – without even noticing.  Guess I’m getting good.  {Or so I’d like to think!}

I love this sequin top.  It’s cozy, oversized and sparkles – what’s not to like?  And the stripes – those are always a winner in my book.  Finally the green pea coat.  Picked that up years ago.  I really liked it but it was always a tad too big.  The sleeves hung down, the body was baggy.  My alterations guy fixed those problems and now the jacket is back in rotation.

Speaking of “love, like, like” – what are you wearing this week that adheres to that concept?  I want to know!

Seven Months Later and I’m Starting to Get It!

I had a business meeting to attend last week.  But having lived in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years, I’ve lost all idea as to how to dress for certain occasions.  I don’t think people really “dress up” in Portland.  Anyone know what I mean?  Has Portlandia done an episode on this yet?

For this meeting I wanted to “dress up” enough to be taken seriously but not so much to put everyone off.  Now check this out.  Had I attended this business meeting seven months ago, I would have been hard-pressed to figure out what to wear and would have arrived in a pair of jeans and my nicest t-shirt (Portland to the core).  But since venturing out on my quest for style, sifting through my closet for something to wear has gotten – dare I say it – easier and even a tiny bit fun!!  Changing yourself takes time.  It’s taken me seven serious months to feel like I’ve truly learned something and am starting to change.  I feel like I’ve taken something I truly hated dealing with (anything clothing related) and turned it into something I feel confident with (I’m actually beginning to love what I put on!).  I’ve always believed that we can have the things we want – we just need to trust that we can have them and then go and act accordingly.

Wearing Skirts with Purpose?

You want some super-awesome perspective on style?  {please say yes}  Then head on over to my buddy Tonia’s blog right now.  I love her take on wearing dresses and skirts.  I love the way a simple skirt has had such a profound affect on her.  And now I can’t stop thinking along these lines as well.  What do you think?

Does the dress make the woman or does the woman make the dress?

A friend recently posed the question to me, “Does the dress make the woman or does the woman make the dress?”

A dress can make a woman in a handful of ways.  A dress can make me look more beautiful to the viewer.  The right look can allow me to fit in with a certain group easier.  The right combination of clothing can tell everyone who I am.

On the other hand, a woman can easily make the dress.  My sister is a great example.  Often she’ll wear an outfit that, without her in it, would give me reason to wrinkle my nose.  But her charisma, her love of life, her willingness to risk with her wardrobe has the ability to completely transform her outfit into one I love!

The difference between the two?  Dressing to make others happy or dressing to make myself happy.  Which one am I aiming for?Thanks to Pinterest I can easily gather outfit ideas that I like and want to try out.  I have and I’ve found that by copying a look, just because it works for someone else, doesn’t guarantee that it’s going to work for me.  The biggest hurdle I have to get over is being consumed with what other people will think of me.  With the burden of those thoughts, it doesn’t matter how great the look is, I will never completely “make the dress.”

If I can just move past caring what you and you and you think then I begin to make the look no matter what I have on!

What I am learning about style is this: the point isn’t to look good just to look good for anyone who might glance at me*.  I mean if that is the case, I’m screwed.  I currently do not have enough money or fashion sense to make the peeps happy.

The point is to be ME.  To be brave enough to wear my opinion, who I am and what I love.  And in doing so, thankyouverymuch sister, we’ll encourage one another to do the same.  Forget finding the right dress to make me awesome (the dress is too darn expensive anyway).  It’s who I AM that  makes the dress.  And that’s the way it should be.

I’ll be me, you be you.

*How the heck do we stop caring about what other people think?  What is the deal with people-pleasing?  It just sneaks right into my heart and takes over sometimes!

Tall Green Socks aka Leg Accessories

Notice just one small thing here.  My legs now have their own accessories.  THIS is a definite step in the right direction.  For the first time my friends, I am considering the details.  Green socks that peek out over my boots.  Could it be any easier or more fun?



Please Welcome the Black Slouch Hat

I’ve been looking for something to warm and accessorize my head.  I’ve knitted up a few hats only to have them claimed by my daughters.  On our trip to Port Townsend last week, it was so incredibly windy and cold I could not wait another moment for a hat.  We stopped into a shop, hit the sale rack and left with hats.  I love mine!

It’s Official: Wear More Skirts and Dresses Today

On the few occasions that I do, and hopefully there will be more, here are a few reasons why I love wearing skirts and dresses:

  • Think Maria from West Side Story, I Feel Pretty.  Right?!  Witty, bright and charming.  Somehow I doubt that’s translated to the rest of the world but it is what’s inside that counts, right?
  • I just discovered a sports saying that goes like this, “Look good, feel good, play good.”  This happens when I dress up my look with a skirt or dress.  I think it’s gonna be my new motto.
  • Since I rarely wear a skirt or dress (I’m working like crazy to change this) right now it’s a total challenge to make a skirt work.  Challenge is difficult.  Difficult things help me grow as a person.  Even though it’s just a silly piece of fabric, it’s become yet another vehicle in self-discovery.  A little ridiculous, a little awesome.

Don’t you agree that there is something special about wearing a skirt or dress?  I’m not totally in left field here, am I?  In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if the world could be changed a bit with a few less pairs of pants in it.  Well that and a whole lot more love (but that’s another blog post, ya think?)

Why do you like wearing skirts or dresses?

How to Spring Clean Your Closet and Why You Should

I ran into this excellent little post about style and spring-cleaning your closet.  Not only does the writer offer suggestions on how to clean your closet, she offers a great perspective on why you should regularly re-visit your wardrobe:

I think my wardrobe should be a reflection of my style and my aesthetic judgment. Every item that I don’t really like or that just doesn’t look good on me, is tainting that reflection a little bit…

Things in excess, even seemingly trivial ones like clothes, are burdensome and stress us out. This effect is amplified for people who are into fashion and see it as a means of self-expression: for us a closet filled with clothes that aren’t our style is literally restraining our ability to express ourselves. So, less is more. Or more is more. It’s fine if your closet is close to bursting, as long as everything in there reflects your style. –Anushka Rees

I like that the writer is merging practicality (cleaning out spaces that quickly get filled with excess) with personal growth (taking a moment to re-examine where you are and who you are – it’s an evolving process).

Maybe this week I’ll take some time to go through my closet and purge the items that don’t really reflect me.  Who knows what the process might teach me.  Any one care to join me?  I’d love to hear about (by the way, I love hearing from you).

She Believed She Could, So She Did

Okay.  I’m back from vacation.  Sequim, WA may be in the Banana Belt but it was just plain ol’ northwest gloom when we were there.  Not that I minded too much.  We still had tons of fun (I visited the best Goodwill in Seattle I’ve ever been to.  Fabulous brands, shoes and everything.  Prices were incredible.  Employees were kind and helpful.  Amazing.  Uh-maaay-zeeen).

To get myself back in the style-search groove, I re-read a recent post about my issues with skirts.  After reading the post, I rolled my eyes and shook my head.  There I go again, over-thinking my life.  What I really need more than a closet full of new skirts?  A little conversation with my friend. The one that can get away with telling me to “get over yourself, Betsy”.  Yeah – she shoulda called me up that day.  No wait.  She should call me up every day.

Anyway, I felt so stuck after I wrote that post.  Like I just couldn’t make it happen.  And then I remembered a key point I’ve learned during this challenge. Take a step forward. Big or small – no matter. If I want to figure out something, then I just need to do it.  Simple as that.

Thanks to the advice in some of your comments (Cosmo and Char),  I decided to consider a dress since less is involved in one piece.  Let’s make it real simple here.  I ran over to our local thrift shop and found a dress (that cute yellow thing in the photo).  Just like that.  Because of what I’ve been learning about myself lately, it was easier for me to find something that was me – not something I thought I should wear but something I truly loved (I love flowy things).

The moral of this story?  When a challenge presents itself, when I start to feel sorry for myself, when I’m not going anywhere?  I’m reminded of a little saying I’ve seen here and there, “She believed she could, so she did.”  And so I will.

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