ETA: With Shoutouts to Jean, Jonesy, Amyreh, and the inimitable Angie

Following the links that Vildy so helpfully provided in Natalie’s recent “style personality” thread,, I did some reading on Steph’s wonderful blog.

She’s recently done a great piece riffing from Emily Cho’s books, showing us how a woman whose style persona is classic elegant can morph comfortably into a more sporty natural look should the occasion require—and contrariwise, how a sporty natural gal can effortlessly make herself look classic elegant should she be setting off for a job interview. http://dashingeccentric.blogsp.....asual.html

But dear Mrs. Eccentric, what happens if your main style personalities are not, shall we say, analogous?

Take me, for example. Left to my own devices, I pick classic elegant every time. Is this just fear and insecurity? Partly. But it’s partly also a reflection of my instinct that those cuts, fabrics, and styles suit me best…and a recognition that most other styles do not.

The trouble is, “classic elegant” in its pure form also feels like a costume to me. It feels too “done.” Too feminine, perhaps. Too staid, if done badly (as I probably tend to do it). Too formal, for sure. Too “luxe” for the life I actually live. I look at someone like our Amy and sigh...she has it DOWN, and looks fantastic. And I think, with a little more time on YLF, I could teach myself to do that look. It would be the easiest one for me to learn and copy. But but but wouldn't be ME.

What I want to transmit with my clothes is who I really am. And who that is might best be encapsulated in a phrase I heard Angie use somewhere: artistic professional. It’s not “arty bohemian” (no no no, “bohemian” I am not, though in my youth I longed to be). It’s not funky urbanite (I can’t wear all that black). It’s not artistic dramatic (too much drama hides low contrast, petite me). And it's not really "modern classic" as per Angie, either, because it's less fashionista and more edgy in a different way. I'm just not sure WHAT way, exactly.

Taking Steph’s brilliant, absolutely BRILLIANT advice to focus on just one or two outfits that you’ve loved, I have come up with something as a basis for analysis. I am sorry I don’t have pics, because these are outfits that I wore about 30 years ago. (It is probably that long since I’ve put much conscious effort into what I wore. No wonder I don’t have a “style” yet!)

Outfit One: perfect fitting jeans (a true rarity, back then!), short houndstooth jacket (rather large houndstooth, not tiny), low heeled black ankle boots, black turtleneck, statement earrings. (Note: I had short hair.)

Outfit Two: A heavy silk two piece dress. Sleeveless (or maybe cap sleeve?) boat neck tunic on top, with a lightly gathered but slim midi skirt, in a soft blue grey.

Associations to Outfit One: clean, classic, mod (the boots, the turtleneck), androgynous, simple, (touch of) bold (jacket, earrings), textured (jacket), structure (jacket).

It’s a “dressy casual” formula look as per Angie; you would think it would be easy to duplicate it again and again. (Yet I have struggled over the years to do so).

Associations to Outfit Two: clean, elegant, simple, soft, understated, classic, drape.

WHY did I love outfit one? I felt free, as if I could move around easily and fit effortlessly into almost any environment. Despite being dressed very classically, it somehow felt as if it had a bit of an edge—perhaps because some of those pieces were quite current at the time.

WHY did I love outfit 2? Primarily drape of fabric, texture, simplicity, and colour.

Additional note: I believe my short hair added a tiny bit of "edge" to the dressy look of the silk outfit, despite its otherwise completely classic style.

Steph, I have to hand it to you. This is closer to a real understanding of my own loves than I’ve come in a long time (if ever)! THANK YOU!!!

But where does it leave me, I wonder? What I want to figure out, it seems, is how to give “classic elegant” an edge. How to add “artistic” to “professional” (which I seem to understand fairly intuitively and if I don’t get it right, at least don’t get completely wrong.)

I have studied others, including our own brilliant Jean and Jonesy, as I think they each offer excellent examples of the approximate style I’m after. But I am not sure their ways will work for me. To begin with, I lack their height and more dramatic colouring.

I know I could, theoretically, get my added edge via cut (but the Japanese inspired designs that I often love unfortunately overwhelm me), or statement jewellery (ditto) or funky footwear (which stumpifies my short legs). And perhaps it really is time for me to head out for a haircut again. What do you think? Should I try for one before the WritersFest?

A line I love is Comrags. clothes seem somehow to embody a lot of what I am after. But they do so much black. I am determined to find more pieces that flatter my colouring.

I find in the stores I am very drawn to items (in almost any style) with interesting cut or draping. I love bias cuts, asymetrical hems or closures, cowlnecks, asymetrical pleating. I do not often end up buying said items because often the details appear on clothes that are otherwise too big for me, too baggy, too overwhelming.

So. That is where things stand today on my style journey. I have already learned so much through YLF so thank you to Angie and all the rest of you for participating in this forum.

Thoughts and suggestions welcome, of course. And thank you for indulging my public musings.

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