I’m a big proponent of continuity of style. Experimenting with wildly different looks is a fabulous way to explore your figure and taste, but I believe that the end goal should generally be to create a wardrobe that has a few beloved common threads running throughout. To be clear, I am NOT saying that you should dress in similar outfits every day of you life, or force yourself to be consistent merely for the sake of consistency. I’m saying that understanding your own aesthetic preferences will help you craft outfits that broadcast information about yourself to the observing world, and that by attempting to cultivate some consistent elements you’ll be able to do so more precisely. In my experience, those who dress in extremely different styles every day draw more attention to their clothing choices than to themselves. And that’s a valid path, too, of course. But having worked with dozens of style consult clients, my impression is that the majority would prefer to have style support and reinforce who they are instead of becoming the primary point of interest and conversation.
Now, all that said, I am also a big proponent of playing with sartorial personae. The photos above are from a single summer, but illustrate some of my own mini personae quite well: The Retro Gal, the Cowgirl, the Aspiring Punk. All three of these outfits felt a bit like playing dress-up to me, but in the best possible way. I adore vintage clothing, and although I generally mix my vintage pieces in with modern ones, sometimes I can’t resist unleashing my inner Retro Gal. Western-inspired pieces make up a big chunk of my summer wardrobe, and I find myself drawn to cowgirlish ensembles nearly every warm weekend. And I’ve been told for several seasons that pyramid studs are “out,” and couldn’t care less. Punk-tinged looks – especially ones balanced with less edgy elements – are among my favorites.
Although they show very different dressing styles and tap very different facets of my personality, they also have some common threads:
- Knee-length or slightly above-the-knee hemlines
- Flared skirt silhouettes
- Minimal jewelry
And all of those elements are present in the vast majority of my outfits. My taste and figure flattery preferences inform my purchasing and styling choices, and help me create some continuity even as I tinker with my diverse sartorial personae. I still look like me and I still look how I want to look, even though my outfits couldn’t be more different.
And with some strategic sartorial choices, you, too can visually unite a variety of dressing personae. And look great doing it!