How Do I Find a New Style Identity?
The reader is looking for a new wardrobe that represents a new beginning.
My father was a Pauline Trigere designer and I was raised in Los Angeles. I now live in rural Ohio. After fleeing domestic violence, I took a break from fashion. My 'disguise' was jeans and T-shirts. I am tired of all this and would love to find a new style. I alternate between classic and eclectic, and I don't want my style to be too sloppy. Do you have any tips for me? Sheri, Chillicothe (Ohio)
It is amazing that you were able to overcome a difficult situation. Congratulations on your new life.
Although clothes may seem insignificant in such situations, they are one of the most intimate ways that we show our inner selves to others (they act as an intermediary between our skin and the outside).
You sound like you were raised in a high-school environment, perhaps with a lot of didactic instruction. After a while, you have become a more independent person and are ready to rise. You communicate your feelings to others through the way you dress. It is important to be brave and step out of the shadows.
Celebration, confidence, and liberty are all good ways to think about the message you want to send. No matter what you choose to wear, comfort is key. It should make you feel confident and seen. How do you achieve that?
I reached out to Kesha McLeod and Alexandra Mandelkorn, stylists who work with Serena Williams, among other athletes, for their thoughts.
First, realize that self-expression via clothing does not have to be about wearing crazy colors or feathers. It is not necessary to go extremes. You can start with your current wardrobe of basic dress-downs. This allows you to experiment with accessories (such as scarves and sunglasses) without having to commit too much.
Ms. Mandelkorn stated, "Why choose between eclectic and classic?" For days when you feel more casual, wear your vintage jeans with a white button down, loafers, and a leather jacket. If you feel a little more adventurous, swap out the white button down for a printed blouse paired with your jeans. If you want to be free, grab some printed pants or a sparkly sweater.
It's difficult to go wrong when you have a plain gray or black sweater that sparkles with beads or sequins. The contrast between plain and fancy is almost impossible to ignore, but it's always appropriate.
According to Ms. McLeod: "Another great hack is to play with different shapes and sizes; such as, pairing an oversized coat or jacket with a more relaxed, fitted base."
For such items, vintage stores are a great place. They are both cool and protective. It doesn't necessarily mean that you can't find such items at a reasonable price in thrift shops near you. Online resale has increased in popularity, allowing you to access many options at different price points.
Ms. Mandelkorn recommends exploring Poshmark and Etsy. She said that you can submit offers to sellers to get items for a fraction of the asking price. It takes some digging but it's part of the fun. Fashion should be fun.
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