Last week’s repost of musings on what’s flattering generated so many great responses! I enjoyed reading them all.
In figuring out my style, one of the hardest aspects has been separating what styles I love on others or in general from what I love on me. I’ve come to understand that it’s not just enough that something suits my shape and lifestyle; there’s an emotional component too. I need to feel a connection, otherwise I experience that disconcerting sense of wearing Someone Else’s Clothes, even if the outfit generates compliments.
But conversely, relying on love alone can result in closet orphans, beautiful pieces that I either have no place to wear or that overwhelm me. I began thinking about this balance as points on an axis, which led me to pull out the handy whiteboard to illustrate…
…the left axis being those physical components of style (body type, lifestyle) and the bottom axis being what we respond to emotionally. Ideally we’d be finding and wearing styles that fall as close to the upper right hand quadrant as possible, higher for both physical and emotional appeal, and avoiding the bottom left.
How do you identify what elements of style connect with you emotionally? I’ve always been one of those “I know it when I see it” types, but utilizing Pinterest has really helped me isolate and categorize what inspires emotionally. These aren’t all necessarily meant to be interpreted literally into my wardrobe, but rather intended as clues to what resonates.
I’ve always been drawn to images that convey movement. I love clothing that has drape and movement, that flows. It’s my version of feminine. An outfit composed entirely of woven tailored pieces (even if they fit me well) feels too stodgy. Referring back to that axis though, I need to watch the volume to avoid looking like I’m wearing a tent. The best pieces for me are those with a fit-and-flare silhouette which aren’t too voluminous but allow enough fabric at the hem to provide that movement.
While some people gravitate toward patterns and colors, I love a clean look that avoids visual clutter. Some of this may have developed over time as I’ve learned what works with my small stature, but in general I’ve always been drawn to the simple, bold images, which leads me to…
A Little Drama
Just a little. 😉 Maybe it’s an interesting shape or bold detail. Something to draw the eye. But again, thinking back to that style axis, big dramatic clothing shapes can overwhelm me, so I often resort to a bold accessory or two for a dose of drama.
And last but not least…
Black and white photography has always spoken to me in a way that even the most stunning color photographs do not. Something about the play of light and contrast invokes deep emotional responses. And I’ve always been drawn to and loved wearing black. I’ve said before, there’s something about black that feels solid and grounded to me. It doesn’t have to be head-to-toe, but I find I’m happiest and feel most myself with at least one black piece to an outfit.
(Looking at these style style inspirations, it’s not hard to see why I have so much Eileen Fisher in my wardrobe, as it seems to score high on both of the physical and emotional aspects of my Style Axis.)
What are the elements that inspire your style? Do you try to balance physical and emotional appeal when choosing what to wear?
All images curated from Pinterest. I’ve put them all together on a board, What Moves You?