a fine line
there are countless quotes about Inspiration
& personal style,
coming from the greats like Coco Chanel and modern icons like Phoebe Philo — but all words on the topic feel, to some extent, distant. What I mean is, it is likely that not just one utterance of style wisdom will capture your experience with fashion or your own sense of style. Your personal style is (gasp) personal, after all, and unique to only you. And yet with today's social media platforms, bloggers, and influencers, it seems easier than ever to conflate imitation with inspiration — the same "fine line" to which the title of this post refers.
I don't mean to claim that there is less originality today, or fewer icons of personal style. Quite the opposite, in fact. And I love that we are able to share and discover and have conversations so easily; but there is something to be said for grounding yourself, when knee-deep in the throes of your feed, and consider what actually makes you feel the most you. To give a personal example, I got a little insta-obsessed with Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What; I began wishing I could dress like her and adjusting my outfits accordingly. But almost every time, my own iteration let me down. They each felt unnatural, and I returned to a classic — if somewhat boring — combination from my closet.
what makes you feel the most you?
I've briefly talked about this in a public way before, in a comment on a post from one of my favorite bloggers: Anna's post came at a time when I was deeply considering my style. I was looking at it contextually, wondering how much came from outside influence and how much came from my own roots — and questioning if it was even possible to separate the two. I'm not sure it is possible to separate inspiration from innate creativity — in style, or other pursuits. Rather, each constantly informs the other. But I do think it is possible for inspiration to overtake that which makes your style unique, and your gut is always, always your best defense against that happening. Only you know when you feel like yourself. In the example from above, I should have taken what I felt most inspired by — such as how Danielle styles high waisted trousers, since I often wear those — and adapt it; but instead, I got it into my head I had to achieve the same look. Needless to say, nothing ever felt quite right.
Some people seem born knowing what their style is, and transition easily into dressing as their truest self; others go through periods of adjustment, until settling on a style. Many are in continuous periods of transition and growth. Each is as valid a mode of personal style as the last. But I often wonder, if we are always growing, how do we actually know what our personal style is? Maybe it's a simple (and yet paradoxically complicated) answer: if it feels true to you, then it is without a doubt your personal style, regardless if it is a look far from past iterations. Authenticity doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment or change; nor does it mean you shouldn't draw inspiration from others. It means beneath the superficiality of fashion, your truth, so to speak, remains.
Authenticity doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment or change
Forgive my waxing poetic on what some might consider silly or superficial, at the end of the day. But all of those, myself included, who consider fashion its own art form, and who know style can be as much a form of expression as other means, that know how much fashion can be an art form, and how style can be as much a form of expression as any other means.
For my own part, I think I've finally found those pillars of my style that make me feel most like myself: some good high-waisted pants, a dash of menswear, and romance with a bit of an edge.
some* of my current style inspirations:
*definitely not all