Do you have a signature style? I’m not talking Madonna in the “˜80s or Annie Hall-era Diane Keaton levels of signature, but a family of basic items that you feel comfortable in and look good on you. For me, it’s simple but vaguely retro items like leggings or narrow pants, ballet flats, boatneck collars, giant sunglasses, and full-skirt dresses. Right now, most of these items are in pretty much constant supply. But what happens when times change?
I’ve been dressing in “my style” pretty much since my college days in the mid-’90s. Back then, it was still all grunge and combat boots, or if you were more polished, those dreadful flared black pants and bolero jackets. Clothing-wise, the “˜90s were not for me. Luckily, I was young and lived downtown and in the days before eBay a resourceful young girl could enter any number of vintage clothing shops and come out looking like Audrey Hepburn for about $20. I bounced around town in my bouffant hair and swing coats looking like (what I thought) was a million bucks.
As I grew older (and let’s face it, wider) and the good vintage stuff began to disappear. I stated to have trouble finding “˜60s garb that I could either afford or fit into. Plus I wasn’t in college anymore and wanted to look a little more professional. Luckily, by the early “˜00s, “my style” was becoming everyone else’s style. I didn’t care that I wasn’t unique-looking, I was thrilled that I could buy cute ballet flats at a variety of price points and find bug-eyed sunglasses at the drug store. It was a boon. And it continues to be, though I know these magical days are numbered.
I can still find things to suit my style (and I have adjusted my look to factor in skinny jeans and tunic tops), but I know that fashion works in cycles and before long “˜90s retro is going to move from the realm of the hipster into mainstream fashion. I’m not going to be able to find the shoes and pants that flatter my body and suit my aesthetic. I don’t want to get stuck in a fashion rut, but I also don’t want to change my uniform to the point where I no longer look like me.
So, friends, what do you do to maintain your personal style as the decades change? Should I stock up on ballet flats in every color of the rainbow? Do I buy up my favorite cardigans and have them vacuum sealed for freshness? Or am I exactly like those people on What Not To Wear who are desperately clutching on to their slouchy socks and Cosby sweaters who need to let go and move on?
Photo by taliesin courtesy of MorgueFile.