Despite being a self-proclaimed free spirit, I have this uncanny knack for organization. I love geeking out over planners and notebooks and the best apps to put my life into neat little drawers where everything has a place – I even have a favorite pen brand that forever lives in my bag. (judge away guys, I know.)
I wish I could say this habit stopped at my office supplies, but it’s followed me into my closet for as long as I remember. The summer before my freshman year of high school, I spent countless hours contemplating who I wanted to be – after all, this was my last chance to reinvent myself before I was stuck with it forever. (L O L, right?)
But how was a girl to choose a label? I loved classic rock and designer purses, played volleyball and wrote music, and of course I had that pesky barrel racing habit that ran my schedule. All I can say is, expressing myself was turning out to be a little more complicated than I originally thought.
And for the record, I never ended up sticking to a label. I bounced around between looks and vibes and aesthetics, trying to show the world every part of my personality. If I could talk to 14 year old me, I would give her a hug and tell her she’s trying WAY too hard. Also, don’t be afraid to wear boots to school? I don’t know.
But while I’ve long outgrown the high school stereotypes and worries about what some guy thinks of my outfit, the urge to box myself into a category still comes out every once in awhile.
Here’s the thing about personal style: it’s fluid. A lot like life, we’re constantly going through different stages and getting into new things. One day, you might wake up and realize that your clothes don’t fit your style any more, so you try to redefine yourself. You get on Pinterest for inspiration, trying to curate an aesthetic to follow. Then, you find yourself liking something that doesn’t fit, and you go back to questioning your whole wardrobe again.
Okay, take a deep breath – stop.
There’s so much pressure on girls to like the right things. Have you ever held your tongue on something you loved because you knew judgement would follow? Same. I think we can all relate to feeling like we have to fit into our box in front of other people, but what if we stopped doing that?
No person is one dimensional. We’re all complex beings with unique interests, feelings and talents. We’d probably find each other a lot more fun and relatable if we were forthcoming with all the things we love, and stopped putting a border on our own lives.
I think the magic we see in fashion influencers or designers we admire is the mystery. No one is inspired by predictable, we’re always looking for something different, unexpected or off-the-wall.
There is no magic purchase that will make your style unique. Copying another girl’s style doesn’t make it yours. You have to use your personality – it’s all about curating things that inspire you, even when that means taking inspiration from multiple people and genres. In fact, I think the ability to mix these pieces is the key to really showing off your personality in an authentic way.
Instead of starting with a look you think is “you” – start with just, you.
Think of your personality as a Pinterest board. There’s no way only one look sums everything up. Add inspiration wherever it comes from, and no matter how much or how little it makes sense.
So what’s the secret to style? Take a step back and look at the big picture of your life:
What excites you?
What consumes your time?
What are your favorite memories?
What makes you feel inspired?
Take time to notice your life from an outsider perspective, then channel those observations into expression.
I hope my thoughts today are helpful in expressing yourself, and I especially hope your expression leads you to live life fully.