It’s been more than 7 years since a friend shocked me into sartorial self-examination by observing:
In the nearly 20 years I’ve known you, you’ve always been prone to wearing clothes that are black and baggy. But now they’re black, baggy, and covered in cat hair…and that’s just one thing too many.”
She was right.
Unfortunately her assessment failed to magically create a closet perfectly aligned with my lifestyle, budget, and preferences. So I got to work. Along the way I encountered lows (my dependence on solid-colored dark neutrals) as well as highs (having a fabric I loved turned into a top that makes me feel like a walking vintage book cover).
Gradually, my studies and experiments made it clear I gravitated to modern classic looks. Progress! Except that I found “modern classic” a stunningly broad and deeply useless category name since I coveted items both staid and flashy, classic and boho, and on opposite ends of the color-color vs neutral spectrum.
How to indulge all that? Should one indulge all that?
I wanted the answer to be yes. But without setting boundaries and thinking through how I’d wear Basic or Exciting Potential Items, I was neither close to closet nirvana nor maximizing my wardrobe dollars.
After even more navel-gazing, I realized:
- too much classic feels wrong to me
- too much boho feels wrong to me
- too much “muchness” feels wrong to me
Which led me to see that overall I like to mix classic with shiny things, classic with color, and classic with boho. Ah, the joy of being a simple woman with simple needs!
Except I don’t like being THAT simple. And the formula wasn’t—and isn’t—enough to keep me on track when shopping. I needed glitz, I needed jazz hands, I needed to cheat my way through all the typical style quizzes/worksheets and christen more than one style personality. I gave myself an A for effort and a ratio for guidance:
I confess my labeling is both loose and highly subjective, and I don’t fret if things teeter on the brink of multiple categories. When shopping, I just evaluate items with a dominant persona (and color palette) in mind, then try to cross-pollinate items across all three descriptors. Advantages: a smaller closet and more for the shopping money, honey.
How to Placate Multiple Style Personas With a Cross-Pollinated Closet
Below, a not-at-all-comprehensive glimpse at how I attempt to use one item to meet my varied stylistic whims. [It all boils down to a lot of looks that are Vaguely Vintage or Barely Boho.] Disclaimer: one-note posing, Missoni fabric by the yard, and snoozy shoe choices abound!
Black leather blazer (with knit sleeve insets and edging) + Black knit pencil:
Barely Boho scarves worn with classic items + Classic scarves worn Barely Boho style:
My custom Ultimate PMS skirt + Velvet burnout scarf:
Rosy Missoni by the yard pencil skirt and tank + Custom plum wool jersey jacket
5 year-old grey skirt suit (together and apart) + Heeled moto boots
Items with a retro flavor pair up with modern classic basics
Pewter silk charmeuse animal print top + Sharkskin blazer + 13 year-old black spiderweb wool dress
Enough…more than…about me. As an inherently nosy person, I have to ask: who’s playing this game with their own style goals/preferences?
Filed under: appearance, color, style over 40 | Tagged: accessories, Barely Boho, business casual, business creative, closet analysis, color, Contrarian Classicist, Minimalist Magpie, Persnickety Bohemian, shopping strategies, style persona, vaguely vintage |