I’ve ALWAYS loved fashion. At 18 months old I was already noticing what I wore #wiw, requiring a wardrobe of ALL pink and crying if I had to put on anything other. MY POOR PARENTS! At first they couldn’t figure it out and just thought that I didn’t like to be changed… but eventually they caught on to my ridiculous aversion to other colors. I’ll never forget sitting and admiring my new white Mary Janes (with the eyelet teardrop cut-outs and 3 sparkly “diamonds” ) while driving home from the store with my mom. As we pulled into our car port, I tapped my toes together and said, “Mom, these are so beautiful, aren’t they?” A couple of years ago I actually found these momentous shoes in my mom’s hope chest and was shocked to see they were sized for a 2-year-old! OF COURSE, one of the few memories I have before starting school would be something clothing related 😉 By the time I was in Kindergarten I was BEYOND picky, and I can still remember how much thought I put into my outfit for 1st grade pictures (it’s not like it’s been 23 years ago or anything)! I don’t remember ever putting much thought into my hair or my ginormous glasses that took over most of my face, but I cared ever-so-much about being photographed in something that wasn’t cute according to MY standards, haha! To this day, every time I see our all-denim matching family portrait hanging up at my mom’s house (because studios like Yuen Lui were among the best-worst trends of the 90’s) I’m immediately brought back to the lonnnnnnng discussion my dad had with sobbing-8-year-old-me on my bunk bed, as he tried (and eventually succeeded) to convince me of all the reasons why I shouldn’t wear my favorite faded-black oversized cable-knit sweater and leggings just this once… but in my mind, nothing was worse than wearing that blue/white checkered jean vest over a jean button-up shirt, tucked into (wait for it….) MY JEANS!
My dad is also the one who gave me the fashion advice as a tween that I still live by to this day. He had bought me a bright cobalt blue patent-leather reptile skin vest – NO JOKE – with a mustard yellow and cobalt blue shirt to go underneath and I said, “DAD! I can’t put that on! Everyone will look at me because no one else is wearing stuff like this!”. He looked at me and said, “Who cares what everyone else is or isn’t wearing? You don’t follow trends, you set them.” I took that #QuoteOfTheDay to heart, wore it like I meant it, and was shocked at how many looks/compliments I received that night. His other phrase (which he still says today) is the common, “cool is what cool does”, which we laugh at because he has used this as an excuse to get away with EVERYTHING in life! Regardless, I so appreciate how he instilled confidence in me and my outward appearance, and gave me permission (if you will) to think outside the boundaries.
Here are some other fashion quotes that highly influence how I dress:
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” – Oscar de la Renta
My takeaway: Forget the phrases, “in style” or “out of style”. Taylor current fashion trends to fit YOUR style. Don’t wear something you hate just because it’s all over social media & magazines.
“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” – Coco Chanel
My takeaway: If you love staying with the trends, know that they move and change rapidly (a few times per season), so you have to learn how to keep up without going broke! Don’t hold onto things you’re not excited about wearing anymore just because you paid a lot of money for them, or because you’ve only worn it twice, or because you’re feeling attached so you’re gonna hold onto it and wait for it to become trendy again. SELL THOSE THINGS (while people are still buying them and before they’re completely off-trend), then buy something fashion-foward with the money you make! Continuously revaluate your wardrobe and monthly “uptrade” the things you can do without. Places to sell gently used clothing: Instagram, OfferUp, consignment shops (i.e. Platoes Closet, Buffalo Exchange), or sites like Shopify.com
“The hardest thing in fashion is not to be known for a logo, but to be known for a silhouette.” – Giambattista Valli
My takeaway: Do you want people to notice you? OR do you just want people to notice what you’re wearing? Not every high-end item will fit you perfectly simply because it’s designer. Some labels contour to different shapes better than others. If you really want to splurge/invest in that pair of red-soled Christian Le Boutins but the they run a bit narrow for you, no one’s going to notice the brand of shoe you’re wearing if they’re distracted by your toe cleavage that’s spilling out on all sides. Give up on that dream, accept that Loubs won’t be part of your wardrobe, and look for an alternative that compliments YOU. Buy things that accentuate your shape, and never make an exception, EVEN for Chanel. You want people to walk away saying, “She looked FABulous tonight!”… not, “That dress was probably over three-hundred dollars!”.
My takeaway: By definition, “shabby” means: discreditable, dishonorable, shameful, unworthy, unkind, shoddy, nasty, dilapidated, worn-out, tattered, battered. Even if you find yourself at the bottom of the economical ladder, there is always a way to avoid dressing like you can’t afford to go shopping. It’s important for your self-image, for job-finding, for advancing in your career, to APPEAR like you are a put-together person, who thinks she is deserving of a certain level of respect. Even if your main store is Goodwill (which by the way, doesn’t always have the cheapest comparative prices), you should still walk in with a shopping list of things you’re looking for. Things you need, AND things you want, all of which are working towards reaching your seasonal wardrobe goals. Don’t spend your budget on things that fall outside that shopping list just because its a “good deal”. A good deal that doesn’t get you closer to your wardrobe vision is no deal at all. Never think, “I can’t afford to dress the way I really want.” Of course there are always brands we won’t be able to afford, but people are always surprised when they find out how little money I spend on clothing per year, and they’re even more surprised when they see that basically my entire wardrobe fits on a 4 foot clothing rack. It’s all about having a few great under-staples and maybe a dozen versatile (mix & match) layering pieces. That’s it! QUALITY OVER QUANTITY is how I shop (and quality is not the dollar amount… it’s the significance it holds in getting you to your wardrobe goals).
My takeaway: “Ok ladies! This season’s colors are maroon and hunter green, so be sure you get these MUST-HAVES for your fall closet!” << see, what happens here is EVERYONE goes out and buys the same color. Then when a group of you are standing together at a party, you all blend together nicely and no one person really stands out – which is TOTALLY FINE – But if you want your Cinderella moment at the ball, you’ve got to be willing to go against the grain and be unconventional. Be that POP of purple among the sea of green, or be the one wearing the dewy nude lipstick even though the rest of the world has gone matte black. Be you, be different… and maybe even a little daring.
My takeaway: Beauty is pain? Yes, it is in a lot of ways – however – never spend a ton of money on an item that’s uncomfortable. It’s one thing to have a pair of jeans that you spent $20 on at Forever21 and be annoyed with how they don’t stay up around your waist and find yourself continuously pulling them up and readjusting; but it’s unacceptable to pay decent money on things and not LOVE the way you feel in them. Stick to stores (like Nordstrom) who have no-questions-asked return policies in case you decide to take something back after a few wears, and NEVER buy something knowing you’re gonna feel uncomfortable either physically or consciously.
“It is always better to be slightly underdressed.” -Coco Chanel
My takeaway: If your outfit appears over-complicated and high maintenance, people might assume the same about you.“Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” – Coco Chanel
My takeaway: nothing drives me more crazy than when someone is over-accessorized. You don’t need the chunky necklace, AND the dangly earrings, AND the fashion frames, AND the stacked bracelets on each arm. Remember what I said about seeming overly complicated and high maintenance? All this does is make your outfit seem busy and too-thought-out. You want to look classy, yet effortless.