I've been really into weird nail polish colors lately

I’ve never loved my nails. They’re fine, perfectly normal nails—they get the job done—but my nail beds are wanting (influenced by years and years of stress- or boredom-induced picking) and I can never manage to keep them long without breaking them. But lately, I’ve been liking my short nails, mostly because I’m loving the way weird colors look on them. Weird is subjective of course, and perhaps what I really mean is non-traditional: Sparkly green. Cobalt blue. Pastel yellow (yellow! what!).

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This comes at a time when I’m also loving the look of fun accessories. Think big chunky beads and colorful pieces a la Roxanne Assoulin or this amazing necklace by Paloma Wool. I’m wearing a hoop adorned with a rooster friend as I write this currently. (His name is Cornelius, in case you were wondering).

In so many ways, it feels like a return to the playfulness of childhood dressing and getting ready without a mirror with the full confidence that whatever combination you create will be f a b u l o u s. For months, I was sartorially uninspired, wondering if I’d grown irreversibly cynical about fashion despite what was once a years-long wish to work in the industry. I fully subscribe to the idea that clothes can be simply the fabric you put on your body, but also be a form of self-expression—in the same way writing can be just the words on a page and also a form of art. Maybe accessories, and nail color, and makeup, are fashion’s proverbial blog posts, in that they are, or can be, the short-form version of a longer narrative. They might not be the cornerstones of personal stye—or maybe they are—and instead give you the chance to shake things up a bit. Lower risk but no less fun.

I noticed this new proclivity towards unusual colors this summer. I was shocked (shocked) in July when I bookmarked a post by @alyssainthecity because I loved the look of her yellow nails. But it didn’t stop there. I was drawn—maybe because literally my eye would go to the pops of color but either way, completely drawn—towards any weird-ass colors (please excuse my french). I was finding inspiration from neon orange to an almost putrid green to manicures where every nail was a different color. It’s not lost on me that many of these women have similarities in their fashion sensibilities, and it’s definitely more than just the nail polish I am admiring.

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Whatever the root, it does seem like this enthusiasm and almost childlike approach to style is finding its way into my normal mode of dress. I’m experimenting more, trying new outfit combinations, attempting to channel whatever has given me this sartorial energy into my clothing. Maybe my sudden draw toward weirder colors on my nails is symptomatic of another new version of my ever-shifting personal style.

Or maybe in this case nail polish is just nail polish, and I wanted to wear some sparkles on my fingers.

the archive: a 2016 spring/summer wishlist

At this point, I've been blogging for almost five years. While none of my old blogs are still public, I've kept some of the content here and there because it's nice to look back on old memories — and pretty amusing to look back on old wishlists. So, I dipped into my archives and found a post from exactly two years ago. I think it's safe to say, my style has changed just a tad.

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what i bought

  • topshop mom jeans

  • black fringed skirt (which I've worn a handful of times)

  • black cami

  • black culottes (the first of three pairs I'd go through in two years)

  • topshop slip dress (which has become a summer staple)

  • vintage silk scarves (which I like to tie on my purses)

what i didn't 

  • tan fringed skirt

  • white cami (though I am still looking for the perfect one since I wear the black one so often)

  • any of the heels

  • white victorian-esque top

  • either of the bags

what changed

Looking back on this, I think my style was a little bit safer back in 2016. Back then was my first foray into wide leg trousers, and little did I know that would start an appreciation bordering on obsession. And while some of these items I still wear today, I don't think I really knew what my style was. Now I lean much more into a menswear-inspired wardrobe and believe it or not, a little more color. I'm working on a wishlist/mood board for this spring/summer and, spoiler alert, it will involve some more trousers.

 

arguably the coolest jacket i own

As much as I'm over winter (and I'm typing this mere hours before a snowstorm is set to hit NYC), I did recently get two new coats that at least make layering marginally more interesting. The first is an oversized, shearling-lined biker jacket from Monki

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There is a definite emphasis on oversized in this jacket. In fact, I'm not entirely sure whether I should refer to it as a jacket or a coat. *Insert shrug emoji* Either way, I've entirely fallen in love with it. 

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coat: monki

sweater: anthropologie / pants: zara / shoes: sam edelman

Lately, it has become my go-to winter jacket. Because it's so oversized, and the sleeves themselves are not lined, even my coziest sweaters fit under it. The sweater I'm wearing in this picture (though you can't see much of it) actually has very wide sleeves and for once, they didn't pose a problem. 

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It is as effortless as my wool pea coat but so much more interesting; honestly, the best way I can describe it is cool. 

a fine line


 
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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.  

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some* of my current style inspirations: 

*definitely not all

More wide-leg journalism up on @manrepeller today

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this coat is the only thing standing between me and freezing in the store this week

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Weird looks from the men buying liquor in the middle of the day 🥃

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@ysl

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Wide everything... #3of3 #tamirajarrel #TJinthewild

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💋

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