Defining and redefining style

Garden haute couture.
Garden haute couture. The perfect attire for pulling out the spent pea plants.

I woke up late today. 5:45 is late in my world. Very late. 5 is my usual wake up time, until the “Fall back” time change occurs; then, it’s 4 for as long as my body will indulge me that extra hour. I love the extra hour of productivity and hold onto as long as I can. Today, I let it slip away like water through a funnel.

Nonetheless, I wasn’t worried. I had an idea for today’s post before I went to bed. (Go figure, it wasn’t one of the ideas I churned over in yesterday’s post.)

The other day, shortly after I posted this, I read through the comments where many of you  shared that “long ago, you were her, too.” I thought about the morning text from my C, 2 states away, growing weary 3/4 of the way through her semester, and needing a bit of reassurance that she is “enough” just as she is. I talked with my sister about the pain we’ve both felt when recalling our own insecurities and watching our daughters navigate the same waters. Then, as I reflected upon the insecurities we’ve all had while learning to embrace our authentic selves, I found this quote at the top of the page in my day planner:

Style is based on who you are. ~Isabella Rosellini

I sewed my first skirt at the age of 7. By high school, I was making patterns from my own designs; I thought I would be the next big fashion designer. I played with a variety of personal styles- from country casual to avant-garde punk- before I left the halls of a school.  When I graduated college, I went to work for Neiman-Marcus, convinced their back doors would lead me directly into the big design houses. When I realized I liked shopping at Neiman’s more than working there, I left my fashion dreams behind and began to climb the ladders in telecommunications. Those were my years of triple strand pearls, pumps, and a wardrobe that was 95% “dry clean only.”

As a new mother, developing my home-based consulting business, my style changed once again. For every silk blouse I owned, there were 3 t-shirts wadded up in a drawer, most with at least one stain. I wore jeans or shorts, depending on the weather, and what was clean. Most days, my collection of pumps sat in the closet while I opted for slippers to complete my daily “uniform.”

It’s been almost 20 years since I left corporate life. And, though I still really enjoy fashion and “playing dress up” now and then, I’ve found a style based on who I am. I am a mix of nice and casual, with a heavy leaning on the casual. 95+% of my wardrobe is now machine wash. My hair style is neither fussy nor sloppy, but I go in between haircuts longer than I once did.  Most days, the only make-up I wear is foundation, but don’t count on it during the summer. I have a collection of beautiful heels that sit safely in boxes on the top shelf of my closet, but on any given day, with shorts, jeans, or even a skirt, you’ll find me wearing the boots in the picture below because, at this stage in life, my style is based on who I am.

These boots were made for...EVERYTHING!
These boots were made for…EVERYTHING!


How do you define your style?

16 thoughts on “Defining and redefining style”

  1. I am casual all the way! I do throw on a cashmere sweater with jeans when I want to feel luxurious! Cashmere is my downfall and my one indulgence!


  2. “Style” is a bit inaccurate to describe what I wear every day. I spend most of my day in yoga pants and t-shirts, usually putting on jeans and a sweater to go out. I say usually because if I’m just going to do errands, I’m more likely to keep on the yoga pants! My daughter has been mortified by the way I leave the house sometimes but, hey, I really don’t care! And I love your boots — they probably look adorable on you!


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