My Style Evolution & New Sartorial Aspirations
Over the years, my personal style has naturally evolved but it's never taken a very intentional, fashion forward position in my life. When I was Head of Marketing at tech companies I had my "armor" which was a closet full of sheath dresses, blazers, and pencil skirts paired with blouses. I would joke to colleagues that I could wear a black pencil skirt and white top every single day and be perfectly fine with that because it made dressing a thoughtless decision so I could focus on other things - like building a national brand.
Ever since I started my company, LNCG, and became my own boss I somehow feel even more confused about what to wear everyday. Since I no longer go into a corporate office, I'm not constrained by office workwear which was all I knew for the last decade.
My closet full of sheath dresses somehow feels too corporate, and my casual clothes feels too casual.
I've been experimenting and getting out of my comfort zone because I'm nearing my 31st birthday and decidedly believe that now is a great time to redefine my personal style. I feel more confident about who I am than I've ever been in my life. I know a good amount of what I do and don't like in terms of fashion and I also understand what works with my body much more.
But what is age appropriate style?
This actually came to my attention over a conversation I had with a colleague about what is sexy versus too sexy as you get older. Obviously in-your-face sexy style isn't tasteful (ever!) but being fashion forward with no rules means you're working on a different plane not just in terms of being sexy or sensual, but also in terms of creativity. And when you're surrounded by a group of relatively conservative people, who are all parents still doing the 9-to-5, it's easy to have your style aspirations misconstrued as something else.
For some parents, it may even seem fickle to care so much about personal style. To each their own, but everyone still has to live their life, and I'm absolutely living my best life right now.
So... what is appropriate style then?
I'm still figuring that out as I wade into 30s territory in a position I've never been in before, which is free from rules and independent in nature.
I've always been fascinated by fashion - the fabrics, the construction, the art... all of it. But I'm not the most stylish person and I'm also quite modest when it comes to shopping. For a long time, I didn't enjoy shopping. If I could wake up and have a closet full of pre-styled outfits, it would be a dream come true and a huge relief in decision fatigue.
For someone who didn't necessarily enjoy shopping that much - I LOVE fashion magazines. I actively keep up with runway shows a la the Vogue Runway app, and I have a secret obsession with following my fair share of style bloggers (How can some women be so chic?! Teach me your ways!).
I decided that I'm going to stop sitting on the sidelines and start living the tableau of my style visions.
I welcome you to come along as I document everything on this blog. If you haven't done so already, subscribe to my newsletter... this is going to be interesting.
I'm positive I'm going to make some mistakes - let's get that out of the way.
What I hope to gain though is clarity about what I feel good and confident dressing my life in. That's the amazing poetic thing about clothes - everyone wakes up and decides what to wear. What you choose is in essence a reflection of who you are and what you do.
When I wake up and wear my sharktooth fabric sheath dress and put my nude pumps on, I let people know I am an executive without me even having to say it. More importantly, I feel like a million bucks and it made me feel good about myself. Clothes should make you bring your best foot forward.
I still love my sheath dresses, but I'm ready to explore new sartorial adventures!
But before we do, let's take a quick trip down memory lane of my style choices....
Let's start around 14. I wore the typical mall clothes from stores like Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe and Forever 21. I went through an urban phase where I wore white nike high tops with the strap, skinny jeans, and my brother's big shirts. I'm cringing just writing that, truthfully. I then moved onto sexy urban wear as I got older and started clubbing and going out more. My casual style normally consisted of jeans and plain shirts. I've never really been a fan of screen printed shirts except for the occasional mishaps.
My teen years overall were really cringeworthy full of toss away fast fashion items.
Into my early twenties, I was in college which meant I was always in casual wear or sweats. Occasionally I would get dressed up for events, clubbing or lounges. Having style wasn't a main focus and being broke was a reality for everyone. Those days were full of jeans and plain shirts with hoodies, sweat pants with crew shirts, and the occasional skinny jeans with the same throw away, fast fashion tops.
After college, I moved into the corporate world right away and my wardrobe primarily consisted of button-ups, blouses, pencil skirts and dresses. These were low investment pieces though, whatever I could afford to mix-and-match and also pay rent on my apartment. Still, I made the effort.
As I moved up the ranks, so did my wardrobe. I'm a firm believer in "dress for the job you want." I started investing in higher quality pieces and way better shoes. By that, I mean buying work dresses at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic - yes those were fancy to me when I started working!
In my mid to late twenties I was full swing in executive mode.
By this time, I knew that I felt most confident in pencil skirt-blouse combos and sheath dresses in all fabrics and designs. I liked my heels patent or suede and I invested in high-end black and nudes which I wore religiously.
At this point, I could afford any sartorial items I wanted and had multiple pant-blazer and skirt-blazer tailored suits. I also started investing in luxury handbags and jewelry. I pretty much lived my day life in corporate wear, and my evenings (what little I had of it with the hours I worked and constant traveling) I mostly wore skinny jeans and plain shirts from H&M and Target. For a time, I was also obsessed with jersey maxi dresses in black and grey. I'd spend so much time and money on my work wardrobe that I pretty much just relaxed with my off-duty wardrobe.
When I decided to quit my job and work for myself things took an interesting turn...
I started off the first month working in my pajamas every day.
Ahh - the memories!
But that got old really quickly. Then there was a long stretch where all I wore was athleisure. I was (and still am) in love with athleisure. It's so comfortable, easy to look "clean" and yet sporty stylish. I wore black high-performance leggings, white or black shirts, black nikes and sunglasses. I'd slip into a trusty sheath dress for meetings with clients, but most days it was athleisure all the way.
It wasn't until my sister mentioned that I was starting to "let myself go" that I actually took a step back and realized that my athleisure addiction went from well intentioned sporty chic to literally living in yoga pants - always. I swear, those things were glued to my legs.
I got ahead of it though, and like a leggings addict, I slowly but surely peeled myself away towards wearing skinny jeans again.
Now, I'm at a place where my daily uniform is typically light wash skinny jeans, with a white/black/grey shirt and a long cardigan. I'll still wear my black nikes, but I also wear pointed toe black flats, round black wedges or my grey booties.
As for work, I'll still slip into nice sheath dresses for client meetings and surprise myself with my reflection - I look so corporate.
In order to really dress with intention I need to figure out what inspires me. I pretty much already know without a shadow of a doubt that my style is Classic, Elegant, Structured with pops of sexy vintage shapes, figures and slits. I also like a boyish badass charm to offset the feminine. I prefer a neutral color palette and want to focus more on quality over quantity.
I'm a Tech Marketing business owner. It's not an industry known for fashionable women, or men, and is sometimes even frowned upon. In an industry largely known for casual dress codes with few female executives, it's hardly a great starting point for determining what "appropriate" style is.
It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds but I'm exhilarated and ready to carve my own sartorial path. Thanks for reading all this way, and don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter to get the latest on my fashion escapades, work/life, and more.