I think I'm more of a winter dresser, in that in the winter I seem to start dressing more creatively. I have a few nice summer dresses, but apart from that my summer wardrobe is basically casual separates. Whereas, right now, I am shopping more, experimenting more, thinking about my outfits more.
Before this shift, I had a uniform: denim and a black top. I was expert at varying on this theme, with a hundred different style of jeans and black top. It was a tad dull and uniform-like, but also comfortable and failsafe. Right now, though, I don't think I've worn jeans for over a week.
Instead, my style's gone a bit mad. And I try to think about it, and analyse it, and come up with a definition, but I fail. Everyone around me, all of my friends, seem to have a perfectly defined style, while I wildly oscillate. While I am aware of my shifting moods, the thing which makes my undefined style all the more obvious is other people, and their comments.
I love wearing pink lipstick, because it makes my lips look less corpse-like, but it's not as high maintenance as red lipstick. I love wearing waist belts and fitted silhouettes because they flatter my in-and-out shape. This personal preference has resulted in what I feel like a vaguely 50s/60s style. But this is simply a vague impression, and the main reason I have pinpointed it is the offhand comments I have remembered. One friend said I looked like a girl in a 60s inspired band, I looked them up and she has long blonde hair (mine is short and red). He then said it was something about the collar on my dress. A collar which is not even real, but stitched on. I am sure that the inaccuracy of the details in my '50s' look would make a die-hard retro fan break out in hives: no-one wore crepe soles in the 50s!
Other times, at 7 in the morning, I will want to wear something baggy and therefore unconstricting, and so I will pair my flared pussy-blow blouse with an equally flared squared, and then I look like a member of the women's institute. That is not the intended look here, guys, and I don't appreciate the comparison.
Someone told me the other day that she has never seen me wear the same top twice. I don't know her very well, and I was a bit taken back. I never feel like I have very many clothes, buthen a highly clothes conscious male friend turned around and said 'you know, it's true, you have so many clothes'. I don't actually buy very much, but I also don't throw away very much, and when I was younger I had more time and money (to spend on clothes). As a result, my wardrobe is a wild mixture of old, new, and even older (passed on, handed down, borrowed), distinctive pieces neglected in a six month long black t-shirt and jeans phase and therefore totally familiar to me, but no-one else.
Today I received a lot of compliments, and I understood why. It is not that my outfit was particularly special, and if I posted it on here it would not create a huge response (in brief: loght grey jersey mini-dress, charcoal wool cowl neck jumper, black leggings, cinammon wool legwarmers under tall browny-grey boots, stripy wool navy and white scarf, khaki bomber, khaki Longchamps tote). But it was a style which mirrored their own. When I wear pink lipstick and fitted retro dresses, I am a million miles off from the 80s red-lipped, sparkly, baggy and short vintage of my friends. Wearing a bright skirt or dress that reaches my knees is an even more foreign notion, and makes me look 'old-fashioned', be it in a succesful retro combination, or a less sucessful librarian unchic. Short, uncolourful and casual: familiar, ergo 'really, really nice today'.
That's not to say I didn't like today's outfit; I did. I love the combination of the matching wool texture with the palette of a range of neutrals. I love being able to snuggle up a million layers. But for me, this is 'comfortable'. This is, 'I don't want to attract loads of funny comments about looking old-fashioned'.
Reactions shouldn't form my personal style. But they do, and they inevitably affect the way I feel about an item of clothing, and my overall style. On this ramble through my thoughts over the past few weeks, I seem to have wandered away from the original path of 'defined style', a tangent which I don't feel too guilty about as it is a pretty well-trodden path. But I also don't seem to have arrived at a destination, a decision about how I feel about the whole act of creative dressing. The only thing I do know is that I am enjoying the journey, and seeing what new ideas I arrive at.