Styled by…..tells the story behind someones style. What does a person tell by the way she or he is dressed? What does it say about their personality? When did they began to create their own style?
Every first Tuesday of the month you will find a post here with someone who tells about her or his style. Do you also have a story to tell, please contact me via email.
This month tells Nicole about her style!
Personal style is not a constant and is not something that you are given in the gens. Personal style is an active process, i.e. every woman of any age can develop personal style. All she must do is to take control of what she wears. This means she must liberate herself from superimposed perceptions of society, peers, family, friends, newspapers, and most importantly the fashion industry. Developing personal style is work under progress. Having great personal style is a life long journey of picking the items that are right for you and so you. In this sense, personal style is about knowing how to turn fashion into style.
Personal style reflects who you are and who you have become. As your life changes, what is right for you or so you will change as well. However, in personal style, two things stay constant, namely that you wear what feels right for the life you live and that you feel right about it. Personal style means that you will permanently make changes – call it updates or upgrades – as you change your lifestyle.
The constants in my personal style are a great love for black, red and pink, sleek outfits, embellishments around my ankles, as well as leather. I loved my red lederhosen as they kept me out of trouble with my mother. One of the first style fights with my mother was about my wanting something in black when I was a toddler. Back in the 60s, black was not a color for a toddler. I love black so much that I even wanted to get married in a black fit-and-flare dress with a daisy head band. However, my husband had already his gray double breasted suit and thought the wedding photos would turn out to dark. Thus, I went for a red skirt suit and a black hat. What else, right? Personal style!
Once I was an adult, the shortest haircut was a bob. I always loved 3/4 sleeves, skirt hems around knee lengths, great shoes, scarves, abstract floral print on black background.
As an early teenager, I had a retro style phase followed by a Bohemian tribal phase. Around graduation from High School and in my early college years, I loved wearing “hand-me downs” or flea market finds. I had to save money for college. Once in college, I had to live on about 600 DM ($300) a month. My mom called my style “Lumpenlook” (shabby look), but it was grunge.
My grunge phase transitioned to Rock’n Roll when my brother grew about a foot in a year, which brought his leather pants into my closet as a hand me down. The pants ended around my ankles and they became the featured body part. 50s style self-sewn skirts with T-shirt were my summer goto, while the leather pants were for rainy days and winter. After my BS, I got a job. Even though the payment was 360 DM at maximum per month, I now could afford cool pumps or booties from brands like Peter Kaiser, or Bally when they were on sale twice a year.
As a MS and PhD graduate student, my style developed towards what was called in West Germany the Banker Style – a young, cheap version of Euro Chic. Young women who wanted to look professional, but couldn’t fork over the money for high quality suits, blazers, pencil skirts, coats and bags, shopped for business-like clothes at H&M. We made our own necklaces. Faux pearl necklaces were a must-have. Denim and anything casual was reserved for the weekends, but statement pumps and a bold statement necklace were a must. Lust items were a swatch or Tissot watch. I never bought the former one. Of course, many of my fake suits were black. I worked an entire summer to earn the money for a black statement leather jacket.
In the 90s, when working on my second PhD, my style turned to Euro Chic with a twist. Think Emmanuelle Alt and Ines de la Fressange with a bit Kate Moss thrown in. My closet blackened literally. Black became my “goto” neutral. Prints were reserved for silk scarves, silk bows, and some summer weekend and vacation dresses. A blazer, shirt with bow or scarf, dark jeans (midnight blue or black) plus pumps or blazer, sweater, necklace, dark jeans and pumps were my 90s uniform. In summer, I wore straight or pencil skirts with a silk sweater, scarf and pumps or a LBD on warm days, add a blazer for cool days. Lust items were a Festina or Movado watch. I never bought the latter one. 🙁
I date the start of my American Classic with a twist style back to 2000, when I spent my sabbatical at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. I fell in love with denim beyond the pair of black or midnight blue jeans. I added denim jackets to my wardrobe and wore them with my straight skirts or over my printed summer dresses.
My blazers went from having a solid color to herring bone, plaid or hounds tooth. I added gray, chocolate brown and blue plus the white button-down shirt to my wardrobe basics. While I didn’t wear boots since junior high, I now invested in a pair of riding boots to wear with a tweed skirt.
What’s next? Short hair? Who knows? Style evolves with the changes in your life. What to wear depends on the dressing situation. I wrote an entire book about it – called How to Dress for Success in Midlife.
Thank you very much Nicole for your Style story! At Nicole’s blog you can find out how you can order her book! High Latitude Style