Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Signature Look Variation

A signature look for when i feel like wearing pants. Pretty much just switch out the skirt for a pair of pants and leave off the hat - easy enough to remember.

No one has commented on it, even my mother, but a couple of months ago i cut my hair short again. I'd become absolutely frustrated with it about nine months ago and had just been letting it grow. I'd been trying bangs, which were okay but required too much maintenance for me to commit to them.

Defining my signature look formula has been so helpful in answering vexing style questions. For example, as soon as i consciously 'got' my signature look, the hair question popped into clear focus.  Two aspects of my signature look bear on the hair issue: 1) my look is very practical/utilitarian and has a rugged, 'ready for anything' vibe 2) a hat (structure and focus on my head/face) is a core item in this look. Combined with my previous identification of Amelia Earhardt as a style icon, my choice became ridiculously obvious.

I understand people who feel that this type of style and closet analysis is boring, too prescriptive and restrictive. But, if you have issues or trouble with certain areas of dressing or developing your style, taking the time and focus to work through these exercises can really be worth it. Once you develop a vision which is true to you and which fits your lifestyle, you can confidently pass on all the thousands of items of clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. which don't fit into your particular structure. These statements and structures make it possible for you to laser in on what will excite and work for you, without distractions and second guesses.

This silk blouse came to me by a bit of kismet. Nordstrom opened a Rack near our house a few months ago, which has me pretty stoked. Unfortunately, given how much free time we spend together, Mr. E had been there once and was not impressed. I've been pestering him to stop on by but he was dead set agin' it. Well, following my endo/colonosco/combo-py we went out for dinner and afterwards i asked to stop by the nordies' Rack. Taking pity on my evil experience, Mr. E agreed.

Of course once he spent some serious time at the Rack my spouse found a very nice coat. And i found a tantalizing flock of  Equipment silk blouses at 60% off. I've been on the yen for these blouses for two or three years now. I'd fantasized about the standard double flapped pockets in a lipsticky coral. Which was exactly what they had in stock! This heavier silk crepe is just divine on the skin, i'm almost impatient for it to get threadbare so i can justify wearing it to sleep in. I'm not a fan of many colors, but i simply lurve me some coral.

Nailing down a signature look has also made my closet population strategies and priorities very clear. My third layers play a defining role, so focusing my sewing energies on these pieces is the smart move at this time. And i feel more sensible about buying things like slouchy tees or little camis when i find ones i like. My outfits usually focus more on the third piece and accessories, with many tees, tops, skirts and pants playing a supporting role. I also sew fairly slowly, i always have more projects in mind than i can complete, so having a clear method for prioritizing calms the scattered feeling.

That's it from here. I've been pretty diligent about taking OOTD pictures and finding them helpful, looking at what i'm wearing through this new lens of the signature look. I'm also getting to a point where my day to day looks maintain a level of consistency which has always been a major goal of mine, though more of a dream than a reality until recently.

How important is style consistency to you? I know many fashion and style bloggers tend towards more of a concern with getting in a rut, and the internet medium rewards the new, so i'm curious about your thoughts on this. Paradoxically, one of my main motivations in starting and keeping up with this blog is for me to obtain that consistency, which gives me hope that more of you may be out there. Let us know in the comments!!


  1. I really appreciate your analytical approach - combined with your keen eye! Thanks for this, xo.

  2. Yours is the second blog I've read today which mentioned the hair question. Or maybe I'm just noticing the topic more because it's something I've been trying to address as I refresh my wardrobe this spring. I've grown my hair long, and it seems to want to be paired with things that are more drapey and romantic (as opposed to the more tailored, preppy styles I wore when my hair was shorter).

    As far as consistency, I've found it helpful to think about what types of things I admired (but didn't necessarily wear) when I was younger, and how they might relate to the types of things that I enjoy or admire now. That's another thing I've been doing lately, identifying those types of elements (silhouettes, motifs, etc.) and then looking for them as I shop.

  3. ^ Further explaining my previous comment: If I've been drawn repeatedly to an element of style, throughout many years and many life changes, that element is more likely to be authentically "me", and therefore more likely to work as part of a signature look.

  4. Stephanie, I am seeing a bit of an updated Out of Africa look in your style, and BTW your hair looks so healthy. I would love to see your coral blouse paired with some tan or khaki trousers in the Out of Africa jodhpur style. Meryl Streep wore similar blouses out and belted, and you're working all those wonderful lace-ups too! I loved the long skirts and outfits by Italian costume designer, Milena Canonero. I can see a long skirt working beautifully with your short fitted jacket and the same stocking/socks and lace-up shoes.

  5. THIS is your look! Fabulous! You're on the right track. Love your hair! And the glasses, and of course, the outfit!

  6. Hi Patti! oh, thank you!!! ha, i have to analyze since i'm so durn picky and have a hard time 'getting it'.

    Hullo bettina! Great points. You explain the relationship between hair and style well, that is a really nice illustration of the concept. Granted, hair can be difficult to work with so you can't always get your 'dream style' going, but it's important to consider as part of the whole visual.

    And i understood you perfectly before your edit, and that's a wonderful tool. Again, you put it so well! I like to think that this is one area where older people have an edge over the younger ones, we have all that experience to draw on (heee, old and wily!). Thank you!

    Hi Terri! thank you! your comment brings such a big grin to my face, of course i drooled over the clothes in that movie, had a couple of items from J. Peterman's 'Out of Africa' collection in my early 30's (which i wore to literal pieces), and to top it all off my other style icon is of course Karen Blixen. (fist bump).

    I like your long skirt and jodphur style ideas too. I have a linen lantern style skirt i really like (in fact the linen's getting a bit thin for the style IMO), i used Hot Pattern's lantern skirt pattern for it and i'm on the lookout for fabric to make another. i'm also thinking about making a a-line midi skirt (hitting above the ankle but shorter than tea length), i'm v. glad these lengths are back in style. I like jodphurs but need to find a good pattern, i had one in the past but don't know where it went :(

    I have to say i love the way you and i have so many style similarities but put next to each other i feel we look very distinct - it goes to show how truly individually all of these style elements can be interpreted.

    Hi there Gayle!! thank you sweetie! i do love this look, but my style creativity gets a workout around here in our long and warmwarmhothothot summers when i would sweat through this outfit in ten minutes!!! heehee, as they say stay tuned ;)

    Happy Saturday all!!! Thank you for taking the time to chime in! steph

  7. I don't have words. This is such a confidently beautiful look. And in my next life I want hair that will behave just as yours does. I was interested in your experience of finding your look and then the change in hairstyle becomes evident. Most advice seems to run the opposite. I have no idea what I want my hair to look like now and I seem to filter everything through clothing. So your way makes sense to me as one I will eventually have some success with.

    Still trying to ferret out my own likes and dislikes. I'm on the same track with your reader Bettina. I check out what "everybody" on the web is wearing in order to scope out the trends but I suppose I use the info backwards since it seems to be a signpost to me to head back in another direction. And on my way I am effortful at trying to recall what it is I used to like long before I was taking in much information on what other people liked or what I was supposed to like. Recently I realized that I hated juxtaposition. And it's so easy to do, too. :D Gulp. That might mean that I have to make quite the commitment to a look in terms of level of formality, etc. None of this dressed "up" dressed "down" hi-lo waffling.

  8. Wow, you look so confident and casually glamorous, like a classically trained famous actor, bien dans sa peau as the French say. You're inspiring! My style analysis is going the other direction: after I cut my hair (for an operation) I discovered how much I like how I look this way, and how good I feel in the clothes that flatter my neck and head with this hair cut.

  9. aw, Vildy, i'm blushin' thank you honey :)
    your thoughts on hair vs. clothing first - i have this attitude that with big, complicated problems i try attacking from as many angles as possible! Especially if working from one angle isn't making a difference, try another one even if it's the 'wrong order'. Good luck, i hate it when i have no clue about my hair.

    "..... it seems to be a signpost to me to head back in another direction." whee, another contrarian! That's very interesting about how you're not comfortable with juxtaposition - definitely against the current fashion grain. But i say go with what's right for you, i've always been almost obsessive about having some kind of hi/lo or contradiction in my looks, since i was small. Everything too coherent gives me the heeby-jeebies, which i can very much imagine would be the case with you in hi/lo looks! Now i'm curious to see where you'll go with this, and as always to see what resources you find inspiring :)

    Welcome Kai Jones!! goodness, i am getting a swelled head from you people - thank you!!! and what a treasure to be inspiring - i know i've taken much inspiration from others and it's swell to be able to return the favor.

    i took a peek at your blog, that's actually really nice that you enjoy the short hair feeling. I've had some pretty big health problems off and on and deal with some chronic neuropathy, etc. So much of that journey can be 'no, that's not me!! (even tho i have to go thru this due to bad luck or to try to get better) it's very cool that this part of it worked in your favor! yay!

    Hope your bod and brain are getting stronger and getting along better too.

    Happy Day All!!! steph

  10. Well, I've been taking inspiration from you! I've been asking myself the question about which piece is the important one for me. And I'm amazed that my warm weather and cold weather wardrobes look like they belong to two different people. I have all my clothes where I can see them throughout the year but went ahead and put all the warm/transitional stuff on a rolling rack in the sewing room. Ye gods. On the ironing board I had placed all my scarves in somewhat of a main color order to eventually hang them back in less confusion. So the ironing board is covered in patterned scarves and behind it the rolling rack is covered in patterned clothes. While towards the end of winter I keep feeling that my cold weather wardrobe is more and more solid in color and more and more somber. And every fall I think to myself, Why can't I have a snappy feeling winter wardrobe and every year I can't. :D

  11. I'm so glad you're back to posting, I love seeing an update from you :)
    I definitely see the Earhart references in your style, and Terri's Out of Africa just nailed it (I haven't seen the movie, btw, only read the book). You look so happy and confident!

  12. hullo Vildy! "Well, I've been taking inspiration from you!" heehee, i better get crackin' ;)

    you know, i was thinking about the differences between your warm and cold season wardrobes, and combining that with your priority on appropriateness, and it clicked (at least for me). Both wardrobes sound quite appropriate to the season in which you are wearing them. I could see where a sombre winter closet could feel kind of drab towards the end of winter, though. On the other hand, it may be that your true north star of style is shining through!!! i'll be very interested to hear any further thoughts on this, as always.

    Hello elle!!! oh, thank you so much :) that's especially sweet coming from an early reader. you know, the other day i was googling french wardrobe ideas, and came across The Fashion Spot and saw some posts of yours from back in 2012 or so - i was just tickled pink to see you there!

    and even more fun to see you here a couple days later! Happy Day!!! steph

  13. Hehe, I still post in that thread from time to time. And only occasionally lurk on YLF. I've noticed that being exposed to too much stuff and too many different styles/style ideas can veer me off course... I start to think, "Oh this is nice, hmm, that is nice too, maybe I should try this and that..." - and it's very easy for me to end up with things that are pulling my style in different directions and don't really go together (or at least not in a way I would like). So I'm trying to limit my exposure these days :)