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Personal Style: Aspiration

Personal-Style-Aspiration-Reality

image source / graphics by me

We had a lot of great conversation on yesterday’s personal style post and Amanda left a great question that I felt deserved a little more discussion.

Part of my issue is budget while the other is being a work from home mom. Is it really possible to define a personal style that doesn’t require a lot of money and also can be durable with little ones underfoot? Since I stay at home most days, I usually just wear old, comfortable clothes that I’m not afraid to get dirty but that isn’t what I want to be defined by. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts…

In my opinion, this is a totally valid question/concern. Personal style, in my opinion, is about feeling your best and putting your best foot forward. Whether we like it or not, we can be visually defined by how we dress. This might either  terrify you or thrill you, depending on your point of view. So. If you don’t want to be defined by something, you have to decide to change it, and I think the key statement that Amanda makes here is “I usually wear old comfortable clothes … but that isn’t what I want to be defined by.” To answer your question, I do think that you can be a mom and still have a defined personal style, even if you’re staying at home.

One of the most FAQ I ever get about working from home is, “Oh, don’t you just love lounging around in your PJs all day?” Erm, no. I don’t know about you, but I feel better and more on top of my game when I put a little more thought into what I have on. It boils down to this: personal style affects how you feel about yourself. And I don’t feel my best in yoga pants (although I LURVE THEM!) all day long, even if nobody’s going to be seeing me. Getting dressed is a huge mental shift for me.  But getting dressed doesn’t mean that I’m sitting around in silk blouses and dry clean-only pants. I want items that I can really live in and get a ton of use out of. Accessories can be hugely influential in expressing personal style, even when only wearing a simple tshirt and jeans.

Here’s where aspiration comes in. I might fantasize about wearing Tory Burch’s latest runway show all the time, but that doesn’t exactly fit into my real life, or my budget for that matter. Nobody’s wearing ballgowns at the grocery store, you know?  No, I don’t live a socialite lifestyle, but I might aspire to put a little bit of that idea into my own daily look, even if it’s just with some gold bangle bracelets. On the flip side, allow me to play devil’s advocate for a minute: does anyone aspire to live in yoga pants all the livelong day? Or in old comfy mom clothes? I don’t know.

So. How do you meld aspiration and reality? This is where budgeting comes in. There are so many good options these days, at any budget. Personal style is not about a specific designer.. Check out all the amazing stuff at Target, ModCloth, Asos, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth, Neiman’s Last Call (ALWAYS good jeans!) etc. And don’t be afraid to find specialty pieces. Designer stuff (a term I’m using loosely here) doesn’t have to be out of reach. Want that J.Crew blazer but don’t want to pay full price for it? (Neither do I!) Go try it on in store to know your size and then track it down on eBay. Sale stalk like crazy. Use coupons.  Or find those cool shoes you’ve been lusting after in a consignment store. Strive for buying less, but buying better.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think on this! Agree? Disagree?

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