If I asked you to define your style, would you have a ready answer?
Yes, I realise it’s a silly question that might not have any real bearing on anything, but could you answer it?
Maybe you’ve never thought it about it before. Or maybe this is the first time you’ve come across it.
Having moved pretty straight from taking teen magazine quizzes that sorted you neatly into “girly girl,” “glamazon,” “tomboy,” or “manic pixie” into a life spent in retail where it was a legitimate interview question, that I have both been asked, and asked other people, I have spent a lot a time thinking about my answer to that question.
Personal style is of course a much more complicated thing that defies easy categorisation. And I am fine with that. I am a true believer that clothing is as important to our identities as our internal makeup, and will therefore be just as complex. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting a neat little genre to put on top of it that gives clarity and direction.
What I really want is an easy way to explain the incredibly various and variant places I draw inspiration from. Through high school and college I played with my look endlessly. I would wear tweed one day and dress like a goth the next. Somedays I wanted to look like Marissa Cooper, other days Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You was my #fashiongoals. Each day was another day to play dress-up.
These days I want a more streamlined approach. I no longer view getting dressed as a chance to put a character on, but rather as a way of showing the world who *I* actually am. And while I may not wear tweed anymore, my interests, both fashionably and otherwise, are still just as broad.
How can I let you know that my inspiration for any given outfit comes from both Keith Richards and Tilda Swinton (they are actually much more sartorially alike than you might think at first glance, but that’s a topic another day). That I have embraced the Scandinavian styles while still staying true to my California roots.
Easy, I have a definition for you.
I call my look Cali/Scandi Rock and Roll Minimal. And I think it covers all my bases.
I like to think that I have grown up and matured, and that my wardrobe has morphed into something stylish and respectable. But for all my embracing of the Scandi minimal aesethic, there is still a huge part of me that wants to dress like the lead singer of band trying to make it on the Sunset Strip in 1985.
So while I doubt I will ever achieve full wardrobe minimalism, bar bouncers no longer ask me if I’ve just come from an 80’s night when I’m wearing my regular clothes. (Honest it happened to me in Santa Cruz at the Red. I think the bouncers name was Sam. He wore a hat. I had a crush on him. I think I was weirdly proud in the moment. It was 2007.) But I can meet the two somewhere in the middle. And I can call that spot in the middle anything I like. I invented it.
So give it a shot. Give your style a definition and name. Not one pulled from magazines, but one that will make sense of all the things you want your clothes to say about you. It will make things clearer, and point you in the right direction when you shop.
Also the next time someone asks you to define your style, you’ll sound really super smart.