I just came back from an overnight trip to Bellingham, less than two hours north of my home in Seattle, Washington. I've been there before, but always in summer, and it has been a while. It surprised me how taken I was with the place this time. I felt very at home there and wondered if I might rather live there than Seattle, in some ways. It's a college town and a thriving arts enclave, a former fishing and logging port that has managed to build a tourist trade without losing its sense of community. Styles are quite laid-back, ranging from arty boho influences to hiking and biking gear. I found myself contemplating how my own style might differ from what it is now, if I lived there.

One outfit in particular, worn by a woman working in a restaurant where we had a casual dinner, prompted this line of thought and even made me a little nostalgic. She had on flared corduroys, clogs, and a sequined tank top. The corduroys, a faded gray, sat low on her hips, and fit just the way I liked to wear them several years go--just slightly loose, not baggy, flared at the bottom, and not overly fitted at the knee. All I could see of the clogs--or maybe they were Dansko-style shoes--were the thick soles and a slight bit of the toe. The black sequined top gave a whimsical nod to the holiday season. She wore her wavy hair down, tucked behind her ears. This was exactly the kind of look I aspired to, not long ago. Had my husband and I chosen Bellingham rather than Seattle--a brief consideration--when we moved from California in 2008, I would probably be dressing that way now. I came home and looked in my closet to see if I might have kept the gray gently-flared corduroys I had like those the waitress had worn. But no, they must have been in my last batch of clothing donations. I do still have a similar pair that I liked better, though. Just in case, you know. Maybe I'll want to return to that look sometime, even for a day or two. I still have my clogs and some clog-like shoes, too. You just never know where or who you might end up being, right?

I often fantasize about what it would be like to live in the places I visit. This time felt different, since it was so familiar and close to home, and yet the atmosphere felt both so different and appealing. Recently we've had some discussions about influences on our style, dressing to fit in, and the weight of individuality versus community in shaping our style. I may seem like quite an individual in the way that I dress, but I feel there is a good portion of my style that is very much influenced by my surroundings and the people I'm around. Living in Seattle and hanging around the virtual YLF crowd have led me to aspire to a little more sophistication and to add some urban elements to my casual style.

The outfits (worn on our outing to Bellingham):
1-3: teal skinny corduroys (Kut from the Kloth, Diana); stone mixed media cotton & linen knit top (made by me); teal and olive scarf; stone & cream belt (Annette Goertz); gray moto boots (Frye, Lynn); taupe trench (Calvin Klein); taupe shoulder bag (Aunts & Uncles).

4-5: cords, boots, belt, trench and bag (not pictured), same as above; olive knit cowl-neck, cross-over front pullover (Nally & Millie).

Thanks for reading and looking! How much do you think your style is influenced by place?

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