To you this might be another pair of blue jeans and a simple white shirt. To me, this is a complicated journey in personal style filled with bumps, winds, and even a few green lights. This is all the effort I put into effortless style.
Photos by Sarah Close. Nikon DSLR + iPhone 6.
Pinning down my own style took a very long time. I’ll be 28 in a few weeks and I finally feel like I’m figuring it out. I cringe at all my past mistakes (just take a look through this blog’s archives of outfit pairings), yet I know I’ll make more still. Style is a practice for me, like yoga, and I must be immersed in it to make progress.
My favorite outfits of late are simple. So simple that they look completely effortless– oh, this old thing? I just threw it on without a thought. But it’s not true. This blue jeans, white shirt outfit is a culmination of so many thoughts, actions, feelings, and past mistakes.
The white tank top (which is Topshop) signifies an almost daily tuning of my Nordstrom wishlist as I scan new arrivals and search for key items I need. It also is a result of past experiences feeling great in v-shaped necklines and certain white shirts. I never buy on a whim. I let things sit on my wishlist while I settle on what I actually throw in my shopping cart. If after weeks I don’t have an adverse reaction or become sick of it, it’s a winner.
The Levi’s mom jeans are something I’ve admired on other people but didn’t think I could pull off myself. I experienced a few misses trying on other pairs of vintage jeans, but I kept trying. Sag-ass after sag-ass, I found these. I love the extremely high rise because my torso is so long. These still just barely hit my belly button.
The shoes? Another result of fine-tuning my online shopping lists and search criteria. I knew I needed a black heel that I could wear with most anything, but had a detail that would create visual interest. I was looking for the goldilocks zone between boring and trendy. But also: closed toe for when my toes are jacked in winter, a pointed toe because of its classic shape, suede, something within my price range, and a heel height of less than four inches so I could actually walk in them. I saw many other lace-up black pumps but these Marc Fisher heels fit all of my criteria, plus they have a shiny metal detail on the laces that the other versions don’t have.
I’ve had my snakeskin print scarf since I was a kid. My aunt gave it to me for my birthday tucked into a faux fur crossbody bag. After hundreds and hundreds of wardrobe purges since then and constantly evolving tastes, I can’t believe I still have it. But I’m glad I do. A simple lightweight scarf is a classic accessory, and I secretly love the frenchy vibe it gives me.
This outfit makes me feel good about myself and that is a beautiful thing. I like how my body looks in it, it’s comfortable, and it checks the boxes of both classic and trendy. To me, that is what exercising style is all about.
If style were as simple as filling up a Pinterest board with the aesthetic victories of others, mine would be flawless. Dressing myself, I can get lost in details of my own body type, past experiences, whims, limited budget, limited selection, and mood. Here’s to the practice, and may your victories outweigh your failures.