Evolution of Style: A Memoir

I think personal growth is something that we all seek. I like to watch how I change and adapt both politically and mentally as I go.  Where was I five years ago? One year ago? Today? The changes are fascinating. With age and time come wisdom and a greater understanding of the world (hopefully).

While understanding the ways of the world is definitely important, especially in this upcoming election, I want to take a slightly different approach to all that has changed during the past few years with me. Whether I’m voting for Trump or Clinton this election is irrelevant in this blog post (Clinton, obviously), because I’m focusing on more socio-economical content today: my style evolution.

I went to a very white, very wealthy middle school.  No one is that stylish in seventh grade. Not in Nebraska. We thought style was graphic tees from Hollister and Abercrombie. Rich girls are mean. If you don’t have a stupid eagle or moose logo on your left boob, you can’t sit at the “cool kids” table. As a seventh grader, I didn’t know better. So I begged my parents to buy me clothing that everyone else had. I wanted to desperately look like everyone else.

Fast forward to high school. I went to an inner city school. My country club friends went to the high school on that side of town. I was finally at a school where your clothes didn’t dictate your friends. (So, it was a pretty healthy place for someone facing those dreadful teen years.) I was finally in a place where I could experiment with my style, and that’s exactly what I did. I felt comfortable thrifting, or wearing brands that wasn’t acceptable in my middle school. Unfortunately, this was a point in my life where I wasn’t so confident in my body, so it was primarily dresses and skirts, but I really loved expressing my true self in my clothes.

I found out that I love tan oxfords with floral dresses. I love my natural hair. I love vintage sweatshirts. I was obsessed with this Hollister sweatshirt that was so old, but it looked so cool. I loved wearing bows in my hair and pearls in my ears. This was the time of selfies, and I cannot find pictures of me in my natural style at that time. My apologies.

College was even more liberating for me, though. I was an athlete my Freshman year, which made it hard to ever dress how I wanted at all. It’s fine! The one thing I learned was that I didn’t like wearing orange.

My Sophomore year, though, I worked at Forever 21. And believe me, I know, it’s not a fashion powerhouse, but it’s trendy. It forced me to look at fashion in a different way. I researched different designers, and how to style my outfits differently. I tried different styles, I tried some bohemian pieces, edgier leather pieces, super feminine pieces, more masculine pieces. I was inspired by the people around me. Ultimately, and oddly, I found that I love to color block.

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I found ways to mix and match vibrant pieces, neutral pieces, color fits. I love it. It’s still my favorite way to dress. It feels timeless, each outfit. I like classic pieces and shapes. Prints used to excite me, but in the past three years, solid colors excite me more.

When I moved to New York, I expected something major to come from it in terms of my style. I thought I’d go nuts. I really didn’t. I think I just solidified what I like in my closet. I learned how to dress for the cold in a stylish way that made me happy.

My perfect snowy day outfit? A super chunky white or tan knitted sweater. Dark blue denim. Riding boots. Huge, oversized, wool scarf. Bright red lip. Straight blonde hair under another chunky hat. Ugh. I love it. So cozy. So chic. So simple.

In the past six months, where has my style gone? I learned that I like hats. I have never worn hats aside from beanies. But I’ve loved wearing baseball caps and rancher fedoras. With a relatively simple wardrobe, a hat is a way I can accessorize, because I don’t often wear jewelry.

I didn’t catch on to the contouring trends or nude lips. I still want a vibrant red or magenta. I’ve always preferred blush to bronzer.

Since this summer started, I am loving bandanas around the neck. In Colorado, I bought a pale yellow one, and I’m obsessed. They are so chic and are such a statement. I’m loving wearing my suede grey mens Chukka boots with denim shorts. I’m loving wearing button ups and dresses with bell sleeves. I like wearing my great grandmother’s gold chains.

I think classic styles are good on anyone. I like white button ups with dark blue jeans. I am in love with my little black Kate Spade dress. I found a black off the shoulder dress from Target that was perfect for me to see if the style would suit me. It’s so flattering and sexy.

I think how you dress is so important. It says so much so quickly about your person. It evolved as I aged, as I became a feminist and stopped caring how men perceived me, as I moved from Midwest to East Coast, and will likely do so again when I move to Los Angeles.

I’m not claiming that I’m a style maven. I’m not even telling you how to dress, other than to dress for you. I’m so glad I got out of a school that made me feel that I had to dress like everyone around me. I’m glad I don’t feel obligated to buy $40 shirts that everyone else already has to know that I’m valuable.  I don’t want that at all. I don’t want to dress like anyone, I want to dress like me. I want to wear colors that match my mood and my grandparents engagement ring. I want to wear gladiator sandals that give my feet wild tan lines, and a midi skirt that I bought at Kate Spade that my mother could definitely make, but I loved the print too much to leave it there.

I love clothes. I love fashion. I love when people are so bold with what they wear. But you know what I also love? When people do their thing in a white tee and denim. Fantastic. I just love people expressing themselves and being confident.

I’m here for self expression, and growth, and understanding. Finding a new trend that makes you feel like a French film star is what I live for. Hello world, I’m super confident in what’s on my body, and I don’t care what you think.

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