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

Archive for the tag “success”

Learning about style didn’t make me a fashionista

When I started this project I thought as a result, I would become more trendy, more on top of current fashion.  I tested that out a bit but as far as I could get was obsessively following fashion blogs and magazines.  And after obsessively following these blogs, I’d end up in an emotional exhausted heap realizing that I just couldn’t keep up, nor did I really want to.  Since fashion sense doesn’t seem to come naturally and I don’t have the dollars to pay someone to drum it up for me, I could only chase after these things.  At the end all I manged was a lot of comparing myself to others.  That’s it.  I didn’t come close to mastering the arm party and didn’t end up with one pair of ultra-trendy shoes.  Boo.

Trying to be someone else is tiresome.  It took me awhile but I’m grateful I finally figured that one out.  It’s me or nothing, folks.

Learning about style didn’t make me any cooler

Spending the last 11 months learning about style has taught me a lot about myself.  But it also didn’t do a few things.  First up?  Blogging about style didn’t make me any cooler.

I’ll admit it – I’m always on the lookout for ways to be a little more cool.  In fact, I’ve always had a mental list floating around in my mind about things that aren’t and things that are – cool.  I’ll keep the list private just in case my “not cool” things happen to be someone’s “cool” things.  You never know.

But I was really hoping I’d get a little cooler, more hip, more together by learning about style.  Nah – didn’t happen.  No one, not one person, came up to me over the course of this experiment to comment on my increasing cool-factor.

So I’m not the coolest girl on the block.  But I’ve come to realize that “cool” is what other people might label me as and I’d really rather be the one to define me.  I don’t want to work so hard to have someone else maybe or maybe not give me the thumbs up of approval.  Eh, too much effort there.  And more seriously, it’s not the way life should be lived.

So I didn’t become a super-hip-master but I’m starting to shake the need for that approval from others.  Not bad.

The New T-Shirt or A Step Past Usual

I live for t-shirts and jeans.  No matter how much I try to change that (to become whatever it is I think is cooler) I still just want to wear my t-shirt and jeans.  I like the comfort I feel in a waistband with a little give and a cotton material that has been washed enough times it has reached the perfect level of softness.  Not to mention a t-shirt doesn’t need to be tucked in.  So there.

But I’m trying to take a step past the Usual to see what happens.  And that notsobig step has taken me to button up shirts.  A bit blousy, material that’s fast on it’s way to extreme softness and yet a bit of structure thanks to a few buttons and a collar.  I think I’ve found the perfect t-shirt replacement.

And should I mention that I’ve increased my shoe collection?  Something I used to think was ridiculous (pardon me, most of my lady friends, but having a ton of shoes never made sense to me).  Not only do I own more than one pair of shoes, I now own a handful of kicks that can act comfy like sneakers but bring a boost of fancy to my wardrobe.  Resulting in me feeling like I kinda sorta not really but a little bit got it together sometimes.  Ha.

A Lesson in What Makes Me ME

So.  I’ve been giving myself style lessons, right?  I’ve been experiencing an increase in confidence.  I’ve been feeling like a truer version of myself.  Sometimes I even think I’ve figured it all out.  Nonetheless, I received a funny little lesson the other day.

I headed into Portland for a haircut.  I threw on some clothes I felt good in and that felt like me.  See?  I’ve learned something.  I walked into the salon.  And just like that it was all over.  Turns out, just because I’ve learned a thing or two it doesn’t mean I’m Wonder Woman all of a sudden – impenetrable because of all my supposed confidence.  Nope.  Have no doubt, Insecurity is still alive and well.

The receptionist was beyond cool, beyond.  The stylist she was talking to was exoticbeautifulsexy and if that weren’t enough, she was friendly!  And me?  Plain, boring, sloppy, dull.  I had to chuckle as soon as I recognized my feelings of insecurity hadn’t gone away just because I was experiencing personal growth.  My feelings of doubt, incompetence, and overall lameness were still there.

Now, I keep mulling this story over and over trying to figure out what the happy ending is.  The wise lesson I’ve learned.  The cheerful spin on events.  But I can’t come up with a single one.  Nada.

The only thing I’ve realized is that my successes and my insecurities, my shining moments and my dark ones – they are all me.  I welcome the accomplishments and I learn to laugh when I screw things up.  I need each and every moment to really be myself.  And without them, I’m not much.  Every experience – good and bad – is required.

What I Learned About Style by Running a 10k

I ran my first 10k on Saturday.  It was awesome.  I was so incredibly proud of myself.  I couldn’t believe that I stuck with running long enough to fall in love with it.  Great weekend.

During Mile Two when I was still breathing normally and could think clearly, I couldn’t help but notice (and admire) all the different types of people.  Runners, walkers, tall, short, fat, skinny, curves and angles.  And not everything I saw was what I expected.  One speed-walking man shook his hips like a woman as he strode his way through mile two.  A woman running at top-speed, her body defined by very serious-looking muscle, was on her way to the finish line as I was just starting – way to go!  Another woman’s bottom wiggled and jiggled as she jogged down the course.  A young child made up of knobby knees and long legs ran along after his dad.  We were all different.

And yet the same.  Everyone on that course brought something to the race – a goal.  Some just wanted to encourage a friend running a race for the first time.  Others wanted to beat a past race time.  My friend conquered the physical pain she’s been dealing with by not giving up.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could rise to a challenge and stick with it long enough to complete something.  We brought our goals and offered them to each other.

And in these observations I felt such joy in the beauty of humankind.  We all have unique characteristics that we love or hate.  We all bring something and have it to offer.  And I’m realizing, it’s in the loving of who we are, the bringing of something to give, that we find our main source of style – the foundation piece that everything else rests on.

Style on a Real Life Budget

I’m here to share that one doesn’t have to put off style just because the bank account is challenged.  For the last eight months, I’ve been working with a realistic budget.  A $75/month budget.

At first I thought I would have to scrap the challenge with such an impossible budget.  Not to mention that such a teensy-tiny amount was discouraging.  But hey – I was determined to keep it real (and I had little choice anyway!).

First things first, I had to stop subscribing to certain style blogs.  Many bloggers seem to have an endless supply of cash to support their fashion hobby.  I couldn’t relate.  I could only compare (nasty habit).

At the beginning of my challenge I had a loooooong list of things I thought I absolutely had to have in order to make it work.  But since I couldn’t buy everything at once, I had to make do with what I had and be thoughtful about what I bought.  Not a bad thing really.

Since I don’t have the money, I’ve had to invest my time instead.  Looking for a good deal on clothing can take awhile especially when it’s done on eBay or at the Goodwill.

Pinterest has played a helpful hand in keeping me focused on what items I really need.  I collect my favorite looks and pay attention to the pieces I’m missing.  When I do shop, I know just what I am looking for and there is less chance I’ll blow my few dollars on more t-shirts (I just can’t stay away).

With practice, patience and effort, I have managed to supplement my wardrobe with items I need and that complement what I already have.  My budget means that I wear the clothes in my closet often.  It means that I buy items I really, really like.  It means that I watch my waste and make do with what I have.  All personal attributes that are important to me in other areas of my life.  And now I’m seeing it surface in my style.  Very cool.

What started as a major obstacle has become just as much a part of my personal growth.  And personal growth is what it’s all about.

No More Regrets, I’ve Got My Red Blazer

Back in November I picked up a vintage red blazer only to return it – I doubted that I was able to pull of such a bright color. Even though I liked the blazer, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear it.

Fast forward five months.  Looking through today’s images, I realized that I was wearing a red jacket.  Without even considering whether I could or not.  When I pulled it out of the closet it just seemed like a natural extension of who I am.

Well…almost.  Now that I think about it I may have had a hesitation or two when putting this red jacket on.  Is it too bright?  Are the buttons too large? BUT I put it on anyway.  I thought, “what the heck I’ll just give it a try.”

And that’s what matters.  The just going for it.  The disregard of whether I’m doing it “right” or not.

How’s that for a little style improvement?

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!

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?

 

 

Black and White Challenge: Four Different Ways

So – at the beginning of this week my sis challenged me to wear the same white t-shirt and black pants every day this week.  But that wasn’t the challenge (wearing the same thing over and over is EASY for me!).  The challenge was to mix up the outfit each day and see just how many looks I could pull together.

I managed to photograph four looks but I bet with more time I could have done at least four more.

I started with a white t-shirt picked up from the Rack along with a brand new pair of black cigarette jeans picked up at Urban Outfitters last week. Everything else paired with the tee and jeans was found in my closet.

Look #1: Tan cardigan + pink scarf + leopard print flats

Look 2: White button up shirt + suede ankle boots

**PS.  I held out for the Steve Madden’s and am so GRATEFUL I didn’t make do with the cheapsters.  These babies are comfy!!**

Look 3: Blue button up + white Jack Purcell’s

Look 4: Brown cardigan + denim button up + scarf + Frye boots

That was so much more easier to do than I expected!  My favorite thing about the black jeans?  They seemed to dress my look up just a tad which, of course, made me feel great.  Which, of course, has more to do with style than the clothes I’m wearing (feeling great, that is…).

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