Who do you think you are? What message are you sending to the world? To yourself?
In parts 3 & 4 of my Wardrobe Building series, we talk about how your wardrobe both supports and creates your identity and lifestyle.
If you’re new to the series, you might want to catch up by reading Part 1 & 2, Silhouette and Color.
What you wear sends a signal to the world about who you are. I don’t think that’s overstated at all. And most importantly, we tell ourselves who we think we are by the way we look and dress. What message do want to convey to the world? And what message do you want to be sending yourself everyday?
Identity Crisis = Style Opportunity
As our identities change over time, so does our style and our outfit choices. My biggest style crisis was when I moved into middle age and felt that I no longer knew who I was style-wise. Dawn was always all about the junior section. How was I supposed to dress now? Now in my life, I identify as a fun, funky women of a certain age, someone confident in herself and excited about this chapter of her life.
Describe Your Style
How would you describe your style? Boho? Preppy? Modern? California casual? Edgy? Minimalistic? Classic? Sophisticated? Whimsical? Fun? Funky? Elegant? Feminine? Androgynous? Retro?
Is there a decade that inspires you more than others? Is that a particular mood that you’re attracted to? Who are your style heroes? Jackie O? Stevie Nicks? Audrey Hepburn? David Bowie? Grace Kelly?
I like to play with different attitudes with my clothing, but I also feel like I have a root to my style. I would describe my style and wardrobe as elevated modern basics with a California glam rock edge. And my heart belongs to the 70’s … maxi dresses, denim, wild prints, bell bottoms, and disco details.
Lifestyle is what you’re doing every day and how you are living your life. Are you a stay at home mom? A high powered attorney? A wanna be actress? An emergency room nurse? … Are you retired and traveling? Writing a novel? Building a business? …Do you go to fancy parties? Or casual get-togethers? Or maybe you’re strictly a homebody? Think about what you do and where you go and what you dress for.
Dressing for the life you have is very important, but I’m also a big believer in dressing for the life you’d like to have as well! It’s a common piece of business advice to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And I think that goes for everything in life. Dress for the life you want to have as well.
For example, personally I dress for teaching school five days a week. For that job, I like to be stylish and comfortable, professional, but approachable.
On the weekends, I never know what what my husband and I are going to be up to. It used to drive me crazy that he didn’t like to plan, but I’ve come around to the fun of deciding on a whim. That means though that I need to be dressed for just about anything, or at least have an extra pair of shoes in the car. Usually we go for a ride, go out for a meal, and we really enjoy going to open houses.
We also treasure our at-home time, puttering around, watching TV and movies, playing with and walking the dogs, so I like to have cute and comfy loungewear for all that.
I have lunch and shopping dates with the girls and blogging events to dress for and I love glamming up for those things.
And then of course New York Fashion Week, though only a couple of days a year, takes up a lot of my fashion planning! I’m already browsing and dreaming of outfits for September!
Last month’s wardrobe building lesson dealt with color and silhouette, but this month’s topic is all about who you think you are.
*Make a list of where you go and what you do on a regular basis, along with where you wish you were going and what you really want to be doing.
*Try to describe your style in a sentence or two.
*Make a Pinterest board with all your favorite inspiration or a mood board with images cut out from magazines.
*Write about what message you want to be sending the world and yourself.
Do these exercises help you to clarify your wardrobe building choices at all?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! And/or you can always email me to share your ideas at email@example.com.
Well, I wrote a comment but it looks like only my name got posted!
I appreciate the tips on identifying my style. I’m kind of all over the place, different styles for different moods. I have loosened up a lot from the way I used to dress, I like to wear things that are a little hipper or more modern now. Sort of classic, with a big twist! Anyway, it is good to have some pointers to help figure it out, especially when I’m easily swayed by instagram, Pinterest and marketing! I am getting better at sticking to my guns and only buying things I really love!
You always look great! Your joy comes across!
Aww thanks for the sweet and thoughtful comment. There’s nothing wrong with being influenced … as long as you stay true to yourself as well! And yay for trying new things as we get older! I’m all about only buying things I really REALLY love!
Aaahhhh, so happy I found your blog! I’m 44 and have been having somewhat of a style identity crisis since I aged out of the Express/junior side of clothing. Plus middle age weight issues and not wanting to build a wardrobe at a larger size have been keeping me constrained. Love your tips and looking forward to following you!
Oh thank you so much! You are exactly the reader I’m writing for and so happy you found me!