I received an important reminder this morning about the importance of styling -that it's not just what an outfit is comprised of but also the manner of the comprising that's important. The approach to the pieces is as critical as the pieces themselves in communicating a look and creating an impression. Along with what you choose, the way you put pieces together is an integral part of the essence of style. I had planned to wear a ruffled blouse and velvet blazer which I had not previously put together and when I got it all buttoned up and checked the mirror, I had that dreadful "uh-oh" feeling. It looked like a stuffy vintage tuxedo. Ugh. "Stiff Victorian gentleman" was so not the look I was going for. Drawing board - stat! First, I unbuttoned the blazer. That helped a lot. It loosened the vibe up and made it feel less masculine. Then I unbuttoned the top two buttons of the blouse. That was better yet, creating a much more relaxed connotation. Next, I added a simple belt and took out my bun, going with a half up-do instead, which was much softer. With these styling changes, the look metamorphosized into "chill, fancy femme". Phew. Because my typical time crunch made a whole new ensemble out of the question.
I needed similar tweaks with another recent look which paired a coffee chino blazer with a blue silk blouse. I had intended to wear the blouse with a full tuck and the jacket unbuttoned for the fancy/chill contrast, but the cut of the jacket made that look much too casual for the office meeting I was heading to. Buttoning the blazer was a huge improvement, but I missed the strong shot of color from the blouse. I ended up leaving the silk piece fully un-tucked, allowing the hem of the shirt to show below the jacket. That carried the color thought the look, as well as creating an artsy handkerchief-hem effect that appealed to my sartorial sense.
It’s so fascinating to me that the same items in different hands, or styled differently, can have totally distinct vibes, based on the way they are worn. Finding unique and interesting ways to place, layer and utilize items can even become the trademark of a style aesthetic. One of my favorite modern style icons, Jenna Lyons, is known for just that. She was constantly fully buttoning denim jackets to pair with with ball gowns, leaving shirt tails peeking from beneath blazers, flipping back blouse cuffs, tying belts and working the slouchy half-tuck. While surprising pairings and proportion plays are also crucial elements of her signature, her multitude of ways to express casual fanciness and polished chill were the exclamation points that made her style so infinitely enviable and accessible. For fun, I put Jenna’s looks side by side with another of my favorite fashion goddesses, Audrey Hepburn. I love both ladies’ style, but their looks could never be mistaken for one another, even when they’re wearing similar elements! :)
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets-fashion fairy tale world, the home of my non-wrestling-related style musings and loves.