Freckles in April: A Slight Change of Direction

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Slight Change of Direction

I first started doing fashion posts to help me pull myself out of my post-baby slump. I carried a few extra pounds around for a while after Baby 2 was born and I had a really hard time getting dressed. I frumped around in sweats a lot of the time and my self esteem took a serious hit.

This blog and doing 30x30 forced me to, at the minimum, take off my yoga pants. It held me accountable. My outfits at the beginning were terrible but at least they weren't pajamas. And knowing I'd be taking a picture made me want to take regular showers, so I was making leaps and bounds from the get-go.

It's been about a year and a half now and I get dressed and feel pulled together almost every day. My brain is starting to think in terms of figuring out and defining my style and then planning my wardrobe accordingly. I've never been interested in that before (too much work) but lately it sounds like a good approach. I like the idea of having an intentional wardrobe- something I've put thought into, pieces I've picked up because they fit into the big picture, having a more signature style.

To this end I've been spending some time with style books. Here are the three reads I found the most useful-

The No-Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley Morgan - Janssen recommended this cheap, quickie ebook and there was so much good stuff. The focus here is making sure that your wardrobe only contains items you'll actually wear and that you'll be able to build outfits with quickly and easily. Immediately after finishing it I dove into my closet and did an honest and merciless edit. About half my hangers are now empty and I feel really good about that. This one is worth reading- especially if you're low on time. You'll be able to finish it in an hour or two and the whole thing is broken down into easy action items. You can put a couple on your to-do list and work on them when you've got a few minutes. I read this one first and it really was the perfect starting point.

So long!

The next book I picked up was Nina Garcia's The Little Black Book of Style. This book also touches briefly on making sure you don't hang on to stuff that doesn't work for you but then it delves into the basics of style. She does mention a few essentials (I was thrilled when my beloved Hanes 3 pack came up a few times as a "cheap thrill") but the bulk of the book is spent helping the reader understand what exactly style IS and where to find inspiration for it. The most eye-opening part, for me, was when she said,
In my mind, inspiration is an extremely personal experience. It comes from understanding a fantasy of yourself and the person you want to be. (p 51)
I'm really drawn to things with a little edge. A moto jacket was priority one for me for almost a year before I finally found my Gap one. And remember the Zara jeans? I have had actual dreams about them. I love black and hardware and all of that. Except there is absolutely nothing about me that is edgy. I have never been on a motorcycle (they're terrifying death traps) and I only listen to rock n roll in passing when it's on the radio, so I tend to shy away from stuff with studs and whatnot because I feel like an imposter. The quote above helped me to see that the stuff I'm drawn to doesn't have to reflect the actual me, it can reflect the fantasy me who is kind of a badass.

After finishing that one I moved on to Nina Garcia's The One Hundred . If you're the type of person who wants an itemized shopping list of essentials then this one is for you. There was a fair amount here that didn't apply to me (I will never have need for an evening gown, no matter what Nina Garcia says) but there were quite a few that had me going, "Oh yeah...duh." and then scribbling it down on my list. I now have a list of 25 items to give me shopping direction. It will take me years to get them all (especially because I want to get investment piece versions of a handful of them, which means saving my pennies) but all of them will still be basic style essentials whenever I get around to buying them so I can take my time.

Do you have an intentional wardrobe? Do you shop with purpose or just look for something to strike your fancy? Do you have a signature style? Do you have any style books you can recommend?


  1. I love this post! Great inspiration, thanks!

  2. Great post! I've actually been eyeing all 3 of those books recently! Thanks for the push, I think I'll finally get them. :-)

  3. AnonymousMay 01, 2012

    Wow, thanks for this post! I'm going to be sure to definitely check out these books!

  4. i love that quote by nina garcia. it took me a long time to realize that i didn't just have to wear whatever cute top i found at target. i could decide how i wanted to look in my dream life and only purchase things that fit that criteria. hooray for deliberate wardrobes!

  5. That second book sounds super intriguing. Off to get it from the library now. And you are totally badass.

  6. So glad you enjoyed that book!

  7. I have read some Nina Garcia's books that with reading fashion blogs has made me better at making purchases and not buying into every trend. This in turn has made me happy with what I have.

  8. Love your blog = gives me pause to think on my intentional wardrobe. I am still hanging on to some things that could be let go of, for sure!

  9. I've never read any style books, maybe I should! I didn't realize Nina Garcia had written any. She must be a decent writer if she has two published and she's an editor, right? I'll give her a shot. I definitely need to get rid of items in my closet but seem unable to do so.

  10. Very intriguing. I think I will read. I need to purge and get some direction.
    Surprisingly, I do have several evening gowns and the need for them. Never thought I would! (as well as my husband needing to purchase a tux).

  11. Thanks for the book recommendations. I reserved one of Nina's books at my library!


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