A QUESTION FROM A GREEK TRAGEDY READER:
Hi Stephanie, I’m a big fan of your books, blog and style! Here’s my question in a nutshell: What is the difference between having a "personal style" and being "in a style rut?" I’m a 32, pretty tall, size 10 mom of a toddler, and I’m a teacher. I don’t want to look like my high school students, but I don’t want to look like their parents, either. I like clean lines and am somewhat classic/preppy (Banana Republic, J. Crew, Cole Haan, and Tod’s when feeling flush). Jeans are a good example: I am a boot cut/long length with heels, but I am seeing all these skinny jeans/boyfriend jeans/tapered pants now. I’ve watched enough What Not to Wear (BBC, not TLC!) to know that tapered pants make women look like upside-down triangles. I’m not feeling it! I also can’t picture the the rolled, slouchy jean look on me. Do "real women" really wear this now? If I only wear what I think "works for my shape," will I look like I am stuck in a time warp forever? How do you balance the two?
I balance the two with two secret weapons: alcohol & accessories. Okay, so not always alcohol, but at least the confidence that comes with the loss of inhibitions. Allow me to digress, just a wee bit.
Ever notice the way films, books, and after school specials about popular girls feature some dorkstick of a teen sighing just before she says, "Why do they get to be so popular? What is it about them, exactly, that makes everyone think they’re so special?" And the answer is always "Because they believe they are." That, or they look like the twins from Sweet Valley High. They treat each other as if they’re more entitled, more knowledgeable, more experienced, more worthy. And people respond to it. It’s all about owning it.
True, some fashion-paralyzed peeps heave out of their shirts, and yank on their camel toe, walking around as if they’ve just discovered their best look, ever. But most of us don’t always feel as secure, despite the fact that we look more comely. And that’s when I rely on accessories to keep me current.
I stick with what I know works with my shape (v-necks, boot cuts, a-line, you know the story), but from time to time I will branch out realizing, Okay, so this isn’t my most flattering look, but I feel good in it because it’s current. No, that does not mean I’ll wear skinny jeans. Ever. But I will roll up a more narrow cut jean and rock ’em with cute boat shoes… definitely a day look. Quite frankly, I’m all about JCrew, especially for accessories, but the key there is you can’t fall into the trap of buying everything from JCrew. You have to mix it up, pair that darling cardigan and chandelier necklace with some bleached-stained jeans and you’re good to go. I always try to mix in a little dirty with all the prim and proper prep. And sometimes the inexpensive (target) alternative really does give you the same overall look as the pricier splurge.
GOT QUESTIONS? NEED ADVICE?
If you have questions or need advice on anything from where to eat to how to get over the bastard, just email your question to my advice email address. I’m no doctor, not a therapist, but since people are asking me anyway, I promise to give you my opinion, straight up.