On Personal Style

What does it mean to create your personal style? I discovered pinup style in my teens. I wish there was an exact moment that I could remember, some “moment that changed everything.” I don’t have that for pinup style, and I can’t even remember the first time that I saw a photo of Dita Von Teese.

But I do remember the first time I wore red lipstick out in public, not just for playing dress up as a kid or for a costume. I was 17, and it was Valentine’s Day at school. I don’t remember the brand or the name of the shade, but it was a red that you couldn’t miss. The boy I had a crush on stopped me in the halls, his eyes lighting up.
“You look…” he paused.
“Valentine-y?” I offered, the lipstick giving me a newfound confidence.
“Yeah.” He grinned, and I spent the rest of the day floating, reveling in this new power.

Throughout the next year, the red lipstick was followed by experimentations with leopard print, cherry print, pencil skirts, peep toe heels, black hair dye, curling irons, liquid eyeliner, and push-up bras. I have since foregone the black hair dye, sticking to my natural dark brunette. I still miss that first pair of black heels; I wore them up and down all four flights of stairs in my high school. I’ve never found a pair quite as comfortable as those ones since, and I think they were from Target! One of my favorite dresses from this time in my life was a vintage 80s-does-50s black lace number with a sweetheart neckline and a full skirt. I loved that dress, it was one of my first purchases from a vintage store, and I even wore it for my senior yearbook photos.

I still have a journal entry I wrote as a teen when my interest in fashion really began to expand beyond the emo/goth phase of my early teen years. I wrote about how many different styles and looks I wanted to try, how many different characters and eras I wanted to emulate. At that time, I think style was an escape for me, a way to step out of the pain and awkwardness of adolescence and take on a new persona. Style was playful, it was fun, but it also helped me feel safe.

Today my style isn’t a safety net; it’s my passion, and an extension of myself. Friends who only see me on the weekend, or those who only see my social media posts, are usually surprised to learn that at my day job I’m almost always in leggings, a sweater, Vans, no makeup, and my hair pulled up in a messy bun or ponytail. I wish I had the energy to get up every morning and transform into my pinup self. But I love sleep, and my day job is too emotionally taxing to put in that effort every day. I want to be comfortable. Reconciling my non made-up self and my glamorous self has been an interesting journey over the past year.

The author and style blogger Anuschka Rees has some great posts about developing a signature style, and I agree wholeheartedly with this particular sentiment:

Get out of your comfort zone!

Things I never would have tried otherwise:

-bullet bras
-novelty print skirts
-midi/tea length skirts and dresses
-brooches
-Hawaiian/tiki prints
-floral prints (though I am still very picky about these)
-wearing any color besides black with pink accents (this was my middle school wardrobe)

Here’s an assortment of some of my favorite outfits over the past year, the ones that I really feel represent my signature style:

Top: Unique Vintage
Earrings: Etsy (similar)
Belt: Unique Vintage
Pants: Unique Vintage
Shoes: Pinup Girl Clothing

Cardigan: Wheels & Dollbaby
Skirt: Anthropologie
Shoes: B.A.I.T. Footwear

Dress: Bernie Dexter from Unique Vintage

Skirt: Unique Vintage
Scarf: Unique Vintage

Top: Pinup Girl Clothing
Skirt: Vixen by Micheline Pitt
Head scarf: vintage

Dress & fascinator: Nordstrom

Dress: Hell Bunny

Top: Wheels & Dollbaby (discontinued)
Shorts: Forever 21 (I think)

Coming up: style unicorns, my favorite places to shop, my go-to makeup brands and products, and my style icons

Below are two more Anuschka Rees posts, I think she really does an excellent job of explaining what a signature style is. You can also check out her book The Curated Closet, which I’ve been enjoying.  

17 Iconic Signature Looks
Developing a Signature Look

Let me know what YOU would like to see on the blog!

-Violet

  1. Kylee G.

    June 1, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I loved reading this! It was filled with voice and passion. I love how this all started from red lipstick, and look at you now! It’s so funny how a single thing like that can give us such confidence, but it’s totally true! Also, I feel like shoes in high school always seemed much comfier than now. but maybe it’s because our feet weren’t as old😂 This was a really inspiring post to read, i loved seeing your favorite outfits from the last year, and I want to figure out my signature style now. I’m looking forward to your next post!

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