As many of you know by now, I've been wanting to really step it up a notch and further refine my style. I've been slowly working my way there over the last few months, and last couple weeks especially, but I have three distinctive directions that I'm (still) working on mixing successfully: Euro-chic + punk/urban + vintage elements. It makes me feel a bit schizophrenic.

First: I adore ADORE Euro-chic looks. I find the intrinsic boldness and simplicity so appealing. But I feel that perhaps this type of look on its own is a bit of a sham for me, because I am not the naturally elegant person these looks often convey; I'm loud, forward, klutzy, goofy, rarely think before talking. Which brings me to the second direction.

Second: I am, and always will be, a punk at heart. Leather, distressing, hardware, black, military, androgynous looks, all that tough stuff (I wouldn't say I'm super tough or anything though). I also spent ages 14-24 in a punk/ska band. And that brings me to the third direction.

Third: I get some of my biggest fashion inspirations from the 40s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. These are by far my favorite fashion decades, but especially the 70s and 80s; I often had a lot of rockabilly or retro elements to my looks when I performed way back in my band days which I still enjoy.

So thinking about all this led me to question, do these styles fit ME as a person, and not just my fashion aesthetic? I found that, separate from the above brief thoughts on these styles, they ALL actually fit aspects of my personality fairly well:

- Euro-chic: I have been slowly converted to quality over quantity over the years (my husband is 500% team quality), I am equally happy with finer things or simple experiences, am easy going and uncomplicated, a fairly warm and patient person, well educated, and detail oriented.
- Punk/urban: I will always question everything, I am a firm believer that we should never stop learning, am creative and artistic, am interested in politics and economics, I'm a pretty strong person who is fairly opinionated, while warm I don't "put up with crap" (not sure how to phrase more eloquently?), and absolutely always prefer music that Rocks \m/ (some interesting, though abridged, info on punk ideologies).
- Retro/Vintage: I have a hard time letting go of things, prefer to wait and find things that fit their purpose perfectly rather than be "close enough", LOVE historical homes and decoration, and (don't laugh!) as equal-gender-rights as I am I only work part time because my husband can support us just fine on his own even though our income would dramatically increase if I worked full time AND not with the family business

Somewhat to my surprise, these were the same styles I was drawn to 2.5 years ago when I started revamping my wardrobe, but you'd never guess if it you saw what I was wearing! And even up until the last few months I was being too wussy about wearing styles I liked. Too much dipping, not enough diving; now my toes are wet enough

AAAAND that brings me to what I need to be doing NOW to get closer to where I want to BE (whew!). Step one: do above analysis (check). Step two: re-do my list (check, posted directly below). Step three: clean closet to remove items that are hindering this style refinement (in progress, I'm bad at letting go of items). Step four: replace removed items with items that are a- supportive of my style aspirations, b- high quality, c- perfectly fitting, d- less sloppy/casual (so.... more wovens, less t-shirts).

The last step is interesting. While I generally prefer quality to quantity, in terms of fashion I have been buying cheap (and in larger numbers of styles) because the whole thing has been experimentation to find what is "me". I've now got a pretty good idea for fall/winter stuff and will be making NEW purchases with a much more discerning eye, and of higher quality so the items last (don't worry, I'll still do plenty of experimenting!). But spring/summer is still confusing to me so I hope by next season I'll have a better idea of how to shop quality; for this season, I'm trying lots of stuff.

So that is what has been brewing in my brain for a couple years, and finally in a more articulate form since the start of this year. Thanks for reading; I hope some of you made it through and are willing to discuss!

EDIT: Here are some specific YLF links I found really helpful while sorting through all this!