Monday, March 19, 2007

my current style

The personal style authors* talk about figuring out what physical attributes I want to accentuate and what colors I look good in, and take it from there. They suggest going through the closet and make sure everything fits. Do this at least once a year, and donate anything you haven't worn in 2 years or more. I don't like getting rid of clothes, a trait I've inherited from my mom, but it's a good practice. And I didn't want to do it until I got down to a size, post-delivery, that I felt comfortable about.

I started going through this style process, in earnest, after I got down to my original pre-pregnancy weight. It IS possible! Truly. Before I got there it seemed impossible. And I will give a plug right now for the book that helped me get there: "Healthy Woman" by Rodale Press.** So great! I read it and started going through and doing their suggestions right away. Within 5 months I had lost 10 - 15 lbs, and, more importantly, at least 2 inches around my hips, 3 around my waist, and toned my upper arms and jowls. That kind of change had a huge impact on my outlook, on my self perception. That's how I am more able to talk about my "assets" with apparent ease. I wasn't there a year ago. Who knows if I even would have been blogging. My image and understanding of myself is so different now than it was a year ago!

An additional thing I've learned through this process is that there's no time like the present. In order to be the person you want to be, you have to start somewhere and BE that person. That's true of my physical state of being, my mental health [be present and live in the moment, without the weight of the past or worries of the future seeping in], and my spiritual life. Be the person you want to be now.

I went through the clothes. I knew I owned and loved lots of black, but I went ahead and followed the authors' concept of putting each outfit on and figured out how many "looks" I could get out of each combination that could go together. They call these "capsules". In each capsule you have, let's say, slacks, a skirt, a couple of tops that could match, or jacket, and then accessories: shoes, scarves, jewelry that go along or complement.

I organized about 4 robust capsules in black, brown, green and purple. I had my "colors done" back in high school - sheesh I'm so 80's!!! And I was a "winter" - "with gold highlights". Anyone who has "had their colors done" has as vague an idea of what that means as I do. But basically, I look better in stronger, darker colors than I do in neutrals or pastels, with my skin tone. But then my hair and eye color tend towards the golden. So I need to take that into account when figuring out what looks good on me.

The authors also get into how to withstand fads. If you've taken the time to figure out what hemline works for you, don't cave, just because a fashion trend says that micro-minis are in. They suggest finding a tailor and riding out the fad looking good in what works for you. And even show a graph of the life-cycle of a fashion trend. When to buy as the trend is still going on, and might be on sale, but also how to determine when it will bottom out so you're not stuck w/last season's fashions looking silly.

My "look":
  • I like solids. I wear a lot of solids. And mostly dark solids, up by my face.
  • I've made the switch from regular hose to fishnets - now they come in neutral, skin-tone colors! Ingenious!
  • When it comes to patterns, I adore plaids! Skirts or slacks. Maybe it's the British heritage? Or the tweedy academic upbringing?
  • Texture. I like texture. Anything that looks woolly - but not mohair since I'm allergic.
  • Big cowl necks are a fave too. Sweaters in general are good.
  • No button shirts - they always gap in the middle. Embarrassing.
  • No more mini-skirts. No denim skirts either, just don't like them.
  • No crew neck shirts.
  • A couple of years ago, after a huge sock purge, I made the vow that the only socks I will buy are argyle. So, now I have a bunch of wacky color combos of argyle socks and wear them with whatever color family I choose. It's fun.
I guess this is my homage to punks - fishnets, argyle and tartan - God Save the Queen!

* Looking Good: A Comprehensive Guide to Wardrobe Planning, Color & Personal Style Development (Paperback) by Nancy Nix-Rice (Author), Pati Palmer (Author) "Looking wonderful is less about fashion-designers dictating what's "in" and what's "out"-than about function-what works best for YOU..."

** I've had trouble actually finding the book that I originally bought because it was a supplement to a Prevention magazine edition (hence no ISBN). I've linked to the DVD, above, but I'm more of a 20th Century gal myself, and prefer the book. You can get a sense of the program by using this link to a Rodale article. I bought the "book" at the local grocery store, and recently saw it at Target. So, it's out there. The cover has a pink title with a svelte young woman in white workout shorts and a green jog bra.

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