The Beginning: Born Amish
I was born Amish and raised conservatively, so “style” was not a word I heard often growing up. I remember when I was thirteen, my mom made me a jumper, which was essentially a sleeveless dress. A “boughten” shirt, which is a plain button down collared shirt was added underneath the jumper to complete the look. It was my first outfit that wasn’t a dress and apron, and I was beyond proud.
Fast forward eighteen years — now I’m trying to decide what is appropriate and trendy for a designer to wear to New York Fashion Week.
About all I can tell you at this point is that there will be no jumpers involved!
How I Found My Personal Style
When I was finally responsible for my personal style, it brought me so much freedom and yet caused a lot of angst about what was appropriate, what was “in”, and what was really me.
I remember standing in GoodWill, looking at a denim skirt and trying to decide if it was really ok to wear it since it didn’t have pleats in the back. I bought it, but it took me weeks to decide to wear it in public because I was still so unsure about it.
After several years of tentatively shopping for my own clothes instead of making them, I began to feel more confident. I was still cautious about putting outfits together and usually opted for the safe color combinations instead of the bolder ones.
Since I was still in the experimentation phase of finding my style, I constantly dug through my closet and got rid of clothes that I didn’t like anymore. I would shop for clothing as often as possible and frequently got new pieces, but they always ended up back at Goodwill before long.
My closet full of clothing frustrated me every time I opened my door to get dressed. I still felt confused about my true style, even though I was more and more confident about what didn’t look good on me.
Choosing What Brings Me Joy
Then I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It helped me to finally let go of all the pieces of clothing I had been keeping just because I paid more money for them. It gave me a new perspective on my clothes, as I folded, hung and color-coordinated each remaining piece.Our clothes are a big part of the face we show to the world.Click To Tweet
We put clothes on like our armor to shield ourselves from judgment.
The Idea of a Capsule Wardrobe
As I was contemplating my half-empty closet and looking for new pieces that brought me joy, I stumbled across a blog about capsule wardrobes. The minimalist in me loved the idea of a few well-curated pieces that I was excited to see when I opened my closet.
I immediately downloaded the wardrobe planner and started writing in details. As I read over the wardrobe planner, I was so excited when I finally began to see a cohesive style emerging! I loved bold colors in simple styles. I looked for straight lines and classic shoes.
I didn’t love frills, lace, and many layers. But what was the explanation for those likes and dislikes?
Dressing My Truth
Next in my style journey, my friend Judy introduced me to Dressing Your Truth. It’s a Personality + Style Finder that helps you discover your best style based on your personality traits and skin tones.
Carol answers the tough questions such as, “Why doesn’t the LBD (little black dress) look good on me even though everyone says I should wear it?”
I immediately resonated with her mantra of showing our true, best self to others, beginning with our personality and ending with our style statement. No more confused presentation of self. I just wanted to be me and be confident with who I really was.
Experimenting at Goodwill
Judy and I grabbed a few stray dollars and went to GoodWill once again! We spent hours upon hours trying things on, looking for our best colors and styles armed with our new insights. I had the list from my wardrobe planner of basic pieces along with a few bolder color combinations.
We laughed long and hard as we pushed each other to try on things we wouldn’t have tried before.
Finding my style gave me confidence as I shopped for myself. Surprisingly enough, I now spend much less time and money shopping for clothes. I have a solid foundation of basic and quality pieces that I’ve carefully curated. Now, when I go to the store, I can walk right past that rack of muted shades, because I know those won’t work for me. No huge furry coats or frilly tops for me, I look best in straight skirts, saturated colors and simple lines with few layers.
Starting my own lifestyle brand of leather bags had a huge impact on my style and the way I thought about accessories and clothing.As my friend Sharon says, “I want to invest in pieces I can pass on to my children.”Click To Tweet
The Result: Timeless, Quality Personal Style
I now have a solid appreciation for quality, the timeless piece that will carry my style through passing trends and multiple seasons. I look for fabrics, textures, and styles that have an enduring quality to them.
Growing up conservative, there was such emphasis on our appearance NOT being important and yet looking “right” was all that mattered. It confused me for years, and I still struggle with the balance of curating my outer appearance along with my inner character. I’ve come to a peace with myself and that self-confidence shows through every piece I wear.
New York Fashion Week Style
What a surreal moment it was to hang my designs backstage at New York Fashion Week!
Let your inner self be expressed in your outer appearance. Dress your truth by showing your true self to the world at every angle.
Comment below and tell us about your journey to discovering your personal style! We’d love to hear from you.
NEXT: FROM AMISH TO TOKYO WITH MEG
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