A part of me feels that fashion articles are redundant because the concept of personal style is, well, personal.  But I am the first to clamber over advice on how to dress, especially if it is being peddled by French women.  Guiding principles never hurt anybody.  Do I believe that everyone has their own fashion sense?  Yes.  Do I think they always look good?  No.  But it’s not my opinion that matters, it’s your own.

With my interest in sartorial culture I have learnt a thing or two.  So here are a couple of my strategies on defining what works for you:

1. Look

I’m always looking at fashion blogs, images and items to be purchased online.  I do this for two reasons: I love beautiful things and I want to train my eye.  I want to decisively pick items that could work in several different combinations and builds on what I currently own.  Know what’s in your closet and maximize their value by changing things up and using them again.

2. Listen…

to your gut.  Pulling off that outfit is all about how you carry yourself so if you feel like a million bucks chances are that someone will think so too.  But wear those clothes mostly for yourself and keep it real.  When I gained my freshmen 15+ during undergrad I was in denial and kept on buying the smaller sizes.  Trust, it does not help the muffin top to have your jeans be a corset.  Accept the larger number and do what feels right for you.  Do you want to be smaller?  Great.  Do you love the curves?  Perfect.  Just own it.

3.  Don’t be a fashion plate.

I buy quality items and they are classic, clean and minimal.  They are often in neutral shades because I have a high aversion to looking like a table cloth.  Simplicity never gets old.  The very worst street style images consist of individuals who have adopted every current trend in one outfit.  They’ll have the high bun, running shoes, leather tote, larger watch and fedora.  All at once.  It’s too much.  Stagger out the fabulousness.

4.  But be yourself.

This past summer I asked my husband for his opinion about an outfit and he said “well at least it doesn’t have holes in them.”  I’m lucky in that I rarely have intervene when it comes to his appearance.  He’s fashionable and having his tall, lean, strong build does not hurt either.  So I love that I have a partner in crime when it comes to these things.  Do I agree with his opinion about distressed jeans?  No, because I like them.

5. Be reflexive.

Even when it comes to personal style I ask the social motivation behind it.  Hmm, how do I say this with political correctness in mind?  Fashion often involves co-opting articles of clothing that are worn by members of a specific socio-economic status.  The fashionable part is in the contrast.  The distressed jeans paired with the crisp white dress-shirt and Louboutins.  The Madewell plaid that did not come from the thrift shop combined with the J Brand jeans.  So how is this problematic?  Is it respectful?  I don’t know.

Fashion is so easy to discredit.  Those who take themselves so seriously will probably conclude that it’s superficial and there are more important matters to concern themselves with.  Well of course there are.  But being informed about world affairs and looking presentable are not mutually exclusive.  To each his own but being kind of clueless about your physical appearance does not necessarily make you more highbrow.  Sorry.



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