Under The Influence

leather jacket, wide-leg pants

Oh! The Drama! Outside the studio gate (and definitely outside of my comfort zone), swanning for imaginary fans.

Or, Playing Dress-Up With A Friend…

Having settled in to my own quiet style comfort zone, I’m not much inclined to veer too sharply outside of it, unless of course asked very nicely by someone whom I admire, respect and like very much, thank you. Which is how this project with Lisa of Privilege, which we’re calling “Under The Influence” came about.

During an emailed conversation about other bloggy issues, Lisa shared an idea she’d had about us each choosing an outfit for each other, something we’d like to see the other try that was outside of our usual style personas. We talked about how our friends and peers can influence our style, and whether they sometimes see something in us we don’t see in ourselves. I thought it sounded like a blast, and we started sending each other links to possible pieces. As soon as I saw what she had in mind, I took to the fainting couch. 😉 Not really, but I certainly had a challenge ahead of me.

First, the look she was going for is more tailored and well, a little glamorous. Think Helen Mirren, Lisa said. She’d envisioned light colors, and wide leg pants and a cropped boxy jacket, pretty much the opposite of my usual silhouette. And did I mention glamorous? I’ve always been in awe of those women who can do glamour having not being blessed with the Glamour gene myself. I’ll admit it was a little daunting. And the fit logistics were daunting as well. Because the intention was to be able to return most of the pieces afterward (the camisole and shoes are my own), alterations were out of the question. There are few brands that offer petite length pants, and even among those who did, the wide leg styles tended to swallow me. And jackets that look “cropped” on the models hit me at mid-hip. I tried several iterations of both pants and jacket before we hit on this combination that were close enough to Lisa’s original concept, and worked with my frame. (The funny thing is, we both wound up in the same jacket, in different colors.)

Aren’t these earrings killer? I could also see these with a mid-century Mod kind of look, very Edie Sedgwick.

Beladora.com was kind enough to lend me these earrings for the needed splash of color (Lisa picked these out too) and they definitely brought the glamour to the party.

So with le monsieur in tow I set out to shoot “on location.” Meaning in public, with people driving and walking by. I’m self-conscious enough snapping outfit pictures in front of my house with just a few bemused neighbors about. I felt very out-of-body in these clothes, which I think ultimately worked to my advantage. Back when I used to perform at the Renaissance Faire, we had a saying, “nothing you do while in costume counts.” Lace up that bodice, stick a feather in your flat cap, and introverts become extroverts. Sometimes wearing Someone Else’s Clothes allows a part of you to surface that otherwise has no stage. I felt silly and uncomfortable for a few minutes, then Miss Diva showed up to help out. She doesn’t take herself too seriously; she knows it’s just a part. But she has fun with it. So I did too.

Wide leg pants, leather moto jacket, blush

Miss Diva is more comfortable going for the va-voom than I am.

While I had a bit of fun on my imaginary photo call, ultimately it was a relief to slip back into my denim-clad comfort zone. Yes, a stylist would probably approve of these lighter colors and shapes for me, but the takeaway here is that looking “good” really only bolsters confidence if the clothes and look are aligned with how I see myself. Style is more than a matter of coloring and body shape, which is why we might not always “get” someone else’s style choices. And this adventure reinforced my sense that I’ve been on the right track the last couple of years after all.

But I think Lisa looks amazing, don’t you?

The runner-up jacket BTW, was this one. It’s a very nice little jacket if you like this style.

Earrings: Beladora.com (these were loaned and are still available for sale) // Jacket: Vince // Top: Adea “Bra-Friendly” Camisole, color Linen // Ring: Wendy Brandes // Pants: Talbots // Shoes: Fitzwell (no longer available in leopard, here’s a croc version).

Do you ever intentionally step out of your usual style persona? How does it feel to do so? Do you learn anything about yourself?

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  1. March 28, 2014 / 2:04 am

    Your smile is your best accessory! You radiate light and beauty.

  2. March 28, 2014 / 3:49 am

    There was a weird error when I tried to send this last night–so I”m trying again. Sorry if its a duplicate.

    Off topic, perhaps, but I saw this article and thought of you and your love of Eileen Fisher
    (You look great as does your Lisa over at Privilege. Funny, but when I worked at an office, my clothes looked more like what you’re wearing now (it was a relatively casual office) and at home, my clothes were closer to what you dressed Lisa in (minus the see-through part ha!) so I have ended up an odd melange in my closet. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing maybe.)
    Here’s that link.

    Love your blog!

  3. Trish Bowden
    March 28, 2014 / 5:12 am

    How incredibly fun! You and Lisa both look fabulous even outside your respective comfort zones.

  4. March 28, 2014 / 6:51 am

    I must say you and Helen Mirren could rock it together. Loving the look very much and Helen is certainly a lady to steal a look from!

  5. March 28, 2014 / 7:53 am

    What a great idea this was! Love how you look, and isn’t it fun to play?! Thanks for helping me to think how I might change it up!

  6. March 28, 2014 / 8:08 am

    I love that jacket on you, however I prefer the proportions of the usual outfits you wear. This seems to fizzle out. I recognize you couldn’t alter anything to fit, but the pants look aging on you. Glam yes, but I like you with more attitude. Maybe this jacket with some dark jeans and hipper shoes? The earrings are stellar!

  7. Wendy
    March 28, 2014 / 8:12 am

    I have to say I prefer your own choices . It’s the trousers I don’t like – perhaps a darker shade ? Beige is rather dreary & adds inches you don’t have . I think you probably realise this already , hence the discomfort . I see you more as a ‘ rock chick ‘

  8. Debra
    March 28, 2014 / 10:31 am

    Oh my gosh, you look amazing in these colors. Like other posters I’d like to see the pants in a straighter leg but other than that – wow, yes, very movie-star-ish. Walk off the plane at CDG in this ensemble and they’ll be whispering, “C’est qui?”

  9. March 28, 2014 / 10:54 am

    I like the colour of the jacket but not sure about the wide trousers. I once had to lend a dress to a colleague whose suitcase had been lost by the airline. Even though we are the same size it just did not work.

  10. Shawna
    March 28, 2014 / 1:55 pm

    I think you look amazing in this outfit. I do understand though, that it has to do more than look amazing on you; it has to feel right. I have a body type that best suits a style I don’t favour. I think that if you needed a glamorous look but didn’t want a skirt or dress this one would be good for a special situation.

  11. Fiona
    March 28, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    Fabulous idea! I love the sense of adventure and good humor here! But…I have to go with the minority. For me, not your best look. I love seeing your posts and think you are lovely; the beige seems to wash you out and the pants don’t flatter (love, LOVE, the new bootcut jeans btw). If its any consolation, you did a much better job over at “Amid..-” – good jacket, boots, jeans, hair – although I could do without the sheer belly top. Having said all that (too much?) I would love to see this round robin amongst bloggers dressing each other – you and Vivienne especially! Thanks for all your hard work.

  12. joyce
    March 28, 2014 / 4:15 pm

    you do look good.

  13. March 28, 2014 / 6:29 pm

    You look great! When I shop with my BFF we definitely influence each other with our style. Her’s is beachy, mine is classic/trendy.(I have my own fashion blog…http://whosaprettygirl.com) I recently started my own business doing ‘thriftovers’. It’s a makeover at a thrift store! I’m loving styling people of different ages, styles and body types.

  14. Raw Almonds
    March 29, 2014 / 4:45 am

    I do find the change to lighter colors so nice on you! I usually wear darker colors but this is encouraging me to go for a lighter palette. You look wonderful!

  15. March 29, 2014 / 4:47 am

    Love the jacket and earrings on you – both could be keepers. Not so fond of the wide legged pants, and think one needs to be very tall to carry them off – but that’s just me. The blush color is gorgeous on you, as is the whole palette.

  16. March 29, 2014 / 7:42 am

    The neutral colours look fabulous on you and I love the soft style.
    And those earrings are the icing on the cake – gorgeous!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  17. Kat
    March 29, 2014 / 9:29 am

    I do think you know your style best, and part of that: style is not just how one is in a photo, but how one moves in the world, in all the variety of situations we encounter. I love that you tried something different, and I enjoy the lighter spring palette. I think that’s what immediately grabbed me: I find it so much more difficult to dress for warmer weather, and I’m constantly looking for inspiration. That jacket is a dream and I wish I could afford it — I’ve been looking for the right blush (not pink) topper for some time. I have to concur with others about the pants, though. Even if they were tailored, I think your regular silhouette is my favorite — and beige can be so difficult, even if it’s not close to the face.

    As a glasses wearing person from a wee age, I did notice that you’re not wearing your glasses! You’re lovely either way, but it just makes me realize how much a trademark pair of great frames becomes part of one’s look.

  18. Maggie
    March 29, 2014 / 6:17 pm

    I love this outfit on you. The colors are very flatting to your skin and hair. The shapes show your curves off. Menswear tailoring with a body skimming fit. The clothing shapes are pretty classic. The earrings definitely make it glamorous with adding a bold dose of sparkle!

  19. March 29, 2014 / 7:00 pm

    Beautiful palette! You look gorgeous! The jacket is incredible (that drape!).

  20. nofearoffashion
    March 30, 2014 / 6:22 am

    Although it is out of your comfort zone, you do look amazing. Is it because of your performing abilities? I don’t know. It would not work if you seemed insecure of course. No outfit works with insecurity.
    But this is nice, really nice. Some drama thrown in with the shoes. Beautiful earrings (you should have kept them!! Fun experiment. (Also Lisa as a rocker.)

  21. Pixie
    March 30, 2014 / 6:43 am

    I think you look absolutely wonderful in these colours and makes you look younger, more vibrant and yes, like Dame Helen Mirren. You must wear these colours again, particularly in the spring and summer months.

  22. Maggie
    March 30, 2014 / 7:01 am

    I think the soft colors go very well with your skin and hair. The shapes are more classic shapes than what you normally wear but they look very nice on you and show off your curves to their best advantage. I don’t know what your measurements are but I am guessing that you are more comfortable hiding the hip and upper thigh areas. You don’t show a picture of yourself from the back so how pants fit there is crucial. I think the strong shoulder line, wide lapel on the jacket, and the heavier leather on top balances your lower half and gives you an hourglass figure. If you don’t have one already, it gives one the illusion. (You seem pretty evenly proportioned to me – from what I can tell from the pictures – so you can more easily wear whatever you want and look great.)
    Those earrings definitely make the whole outfit more glamorous.

    I have been following your blog for a little while and know you like black and different clothing shapes. It is possible to do those shapes in lighter colors. I like artsy shapes and narrow bottoms but fuller bottoms balance my shape out better.

    I have taken to showing off my waist more since I joined a gym. I have found at my age, which is over 50, if you hide your waist completely, people assume you don’t have one!

  23. Molly
    March 30, 2014 / 9:00 am

    A fantastic demonstration of the power of clothing! I think it is all good fun, and you don’t look bad in the colors, but the shapes don’t seem right to me. I think what is lacking is a bit of the “gamine” quality that you show in your best outfits and seems to fit your face/body/personality. In Kibbe speak, this outfit seems very “soft classic”, which I think may not be you. I also wonder if as the day went on you didn’t begin to feel a bit messy and limp. I always find those softer pieces do that on me. The same jacket with a crisp white T and your favorite fitted jeans? That may be great on you. Or the earrings, which are gorgeous, with a sleek dress. You are very brave to attempt something new — let alone for the whole world to see!

    • une femme
      March 31, 2014 / 9:11 am

      Molly, it’s funny that you mention Kibbe types…I’ve been reading over the boards again and after having read the *descriptions* of the different types (rather than taking that quiz that gives me a different answer every time) I’m 99% sure I’m mostly in the Soft Natural category.

  24. April 1, 2014 / 9:18 am

    You look sensational in that colour scheme, and wears it with great confidence. I must say I admire short hair but is unable to wear mine short. Short styles just look so chic!

  25. Suz
    April 2, 2014 / 9:57 pm

    These colors are AMAZING on you. Please adopt some of this for the spring/summer season, its very flattering. You do look effortlessly glam. I would envy you at an event 🙂

    Also your “location” shoot is down the street from me 😀 You are brave!

  26. April 6, 2014 / 11:23 pm

    WOW!! You look amazing! The first picture did make me think Helen Mirren. You do glamour very well. What a great and fun dress up project – Lisa looks awesome styled as a rock chick.

  27. tamerabeardsley
    May 21, 2014 / 1:28 pm

    I don’t know how I stumbled on this post … or rather how I missed it to begin with! What a wonderful idea for a post … and how very brave of you both! I think you do quite well with the glamour my dear … but I do have a leaning and a love of glamour! It is quite interesting what we feel our best in, isn’t it!

    You are always such a style inspiration my dear! So well done!


  28. Eileen
    May 19, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Just stumbled upon this makeover switch, you both look fabulous! Those soft light colors are incredibly flattering! I’m sorry sometimes that jeans and black clothes are so prevalent, it’s such a narrow palette. And looking soft and dare I say it..feminine, are so out of style. We like Hellen Mirren because she has a feminine look. It works on her, and it works on you. Well done.

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