feminism real talk style

a note on personal style

Since graduation, I’ve been trying on a lot of different hats (not so much literally because my head is oddly small for most hats, but I digress). This transitional time has introduced me to two notable things: how one’s personal style can be present in a professional wardrobe and how much I enjoy helping others style themselves. In fact, on my fancy new-but-not-yet-ordered blogger business cards, I’ve included the title of stylist. I fear I may be getting ahead of myself, but I’m about to explain something that, on the other hand, makes me feel like I’m extremely qualified to claim the name.

For some of us, personal style comes really easily. We’re familiar with our bodies, with what trends flatter, and with what attire is appropriate for different occasions. We know where to shop, what staples to search for, and which special items make an outfit effortlessly ours.

And then some of us don’t know cognac from chocolate and couldn’t pick a smoking slipper out of a line up–and that’s okay too. Maybe we’re transitioning from one role in our lives to the next and aren’t sure what pieces are necessary for the new journey. Maybe our bodies are changing, or we were never comfortable in them to begin with, so we aren’t sure what clothes to put on ourselves that will look good or be comfortable. Maybe we struggle with choosing the right trends or with not liking anything at all or even with what other people might think of us “trying” to wear something that isn’t really us.

These are all totally valid hesitations to have towards fashion or determining a personal style. Dressing room mirrors and jeans’ sizes are truly scary things. Online catalogs and department stores can be overwhelming and intimidating to sort through, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But never fear, fashion is your friend.

Following style blogs can be one way to learn a little about personal style. I personally follow primarily women who are about my size and dress the way I want to dress. This helps me figure out what pieces look good together, as well as on my body type, and where to find them. I like to let other, more financially ambitious girls try out the trends so I don’t have to.

Unfortunately I guess, this isn’t a solution for everyone. There isn’t necessarily a blogger for every body type or gender identity or mood–that’s why they call it personal style. And you’re allowed to change your mind on what you want to wear and who you want to be. If you aren’t comfortable with your breasts and would rather bind them, but not hide the rest of yourself away, you can play with feminine and masculine fashions to create a look that speaks to who you are, rather than who your gender says you should be. If you are feeling sexy and liberated about the way in which your hips make a heart-shape when you cross your legs in line for the bar, slip into a foxy pencil skirt and feel bold instead of brash for showing off the body you’ve got. If your favorite accessories came as gifts from your aunt, but can’t be found in the September issue of Elle, mix them up with a neutral outfit and call them statement pieces rather than keeping them in your jewelry box.

As frustrating as it can be, the best way to know if something works on you is to try it on. What’s even more important than how it looks is how you feel it looks. That hat with those sneakers? You look like a boss. That mini skirt with your ex-boyfriend’s plaid button down hanging over your derriere? So demure and so punk rock.

Don’t fall into the trap of “I don’t like what’s in style so I don’t have style. You do. You have a voice and you wear clothes (at least sometimes). What you say and what you wear isn’t for anyone else’s approval.

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