Since I joined YLF about a year and a half ago forum members have periodically encouraged me to define a style moniker and adjectives. I was resistant to this at first (it felt sort of…vulnerable!) and then I was lazy. But, now, here goes.

For a number of years I have been using (in my head) the style moniker “Modern Land Girl.” I have thought of this as such a weird, quirky, maybe downright bizarre style persona that I was SUPER surprised to see Runcarla use a very similar phrase in a thread not too long ago! To me, the phrase is shorthand for vintage details combined with modern cuts and fabrications for an overall approach that is practical and down-to-earth but not without prettiness.

(Some info about the Land Girls/Women’s Land Army for those not already in the know can be found here and here.)

But then! A few months ago in the course of explaining the pitfalls of preppy style elements for me I mentioned that I was “more girl-on-the-moors than coed-on-the-quad” and — oooh! The phrase “Girl on the Moors” really resonated with me!

Did I need to revise my style moniker? Ultimately I decided no: I can hold both of these phrases in mind. One persona is more practical, ready to roll up her sleeves and get things done; the other is more ethereal and nature-oriented — both of these aspects are important to me and reflective of my style and general way of being in the world, and really this is just a difference of emphasis.

Style motto: Practicality with history

Adjectives: (The motto seems more useful to me as a shorthand while shopping for example, but lots of forum members seem to swear by defining these adjectives so I thought I would give it a go.)

Practical: Shoes I can walk in. Clothing that is appropriate to the weather — and I run cold. Nothing fussy. I don’t want to have to change my clothes to type on my computer or cook dinner. Clothes I can do stuff in. Comfort is paramount — I need clothing that moves with my body, is soft, and does not bind or constrict.

Vintage-inspired: I rarely wear true vintage as it’s usually not a good fit for my body type, but I like vintage-y elements like pintucks, cable knits, librarian cardis, old-fashioned floral prints, etc.

Detailed: I like looks with layers to them, but often in a subtle way. Pattern mixing. Unusual color combinations. Scarf + necklace. Jewelry that echoes the shape or theme of a print. Shell buttons. Cabled or textured knitwear.

Authentic: Natural fibers. Secondhand or heirloom jewelry. Anything reflecting handicraft traditions, like embroidery and fair isle knitwear.

Heathered: Inspiration from the moors! In-betweeny colors. Tonal looks and color palettes where one shade fades into the next. Nothing too crisp. Botanical and nature-inspired prints.

Near-misses — styles/adjectives that are adjacent to mine, but not quite right:

  • Retro: I think there’s totally a difference between “retro” and “vintage,” do you agree?
  • Ladylike: I feel like a kid playing dress-up
  • Polished: my style is not RATE, but I don’t like to be too fancy/upscale. Patina over polish.
  • Twee: feels juvenile on me. So watch out for things like ruffles, lace, and Peter Pan collars, and tread carefully when it comes to conversational prints.
  • Equestrienne: this can work up to a point, but if I get too lady-of-the-manor I no longer feel like myself
  • Preppy: see above re: coed-on-the-quad.
  • Mod: maybe this isn’t quite “adjacent” to my style but for some reason I have a weakness for totally out-there mod floral prints, and need to remember that they just don’t work on me, or with the rest of my wardrobe.

Some key elements of my style:

  • Cardigans. Like ALL the cashmere cardigans (I buy them secondhand). They are somewhere between clothing and accessory for me. I collect them. They are my wardrobe pets (but I do not baby them overly much, after all they came from a goat! Side note: can I tell you how much I love goats?)
  • Warm season: Breton stripes
  • Cool season: Fair isle
  • Long-over-lean silhouettes (and more recently: also cropped-over-long-over-lean)
  • Cognac footwear
  • What am I forgetting?

Elegance is refusal (i.e., never say never, but this stuff is generally not in my wheelhouse):

  • Belts
  • Blazers, motos, bombers — really any woven topper
  • Chino pants
  • Shoes with pointy heels and/or toes
  • Bombshell/body-con
  • White denim (*ducks flying tomatoes hurled by incredulous YLF members*)
  • Animal print
  • Western
  • Statement sleeves

…and I’m sure much, much more!

Photos are some outfits or details from various seasons that I think express my style pretty well.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading! I’m really glad I did this exercise in the end, and am looking forward to putting it into practice as I start to contemplate my fall wardrobe. As always, questions, comments, and suggestions are most welcome.

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