How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystalize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
My style has changed through out my life. When I was a child I considered myself a tomboy and dressed in a way that allowed me to freely run through the woods. I think that often through out my life I have fallen back on this comfort zone, especially in times of insecurity. This is made pretty obvious in high school when my uniform was jeans and a rock t-shirt. That isn’t to say I didn’t embrass girlieness occasionally, but I didn’t fully start embrassing my femininity until college. A semester in Paris really opened my eyes to everyday fashion and made me see why it was important. Fashion is the refelction of who you are to the world. I envied the Parisian women and wanted to be more feminine like them. I think that this is when I started to realize that I wanted my personal style to change, and that I could change. However, I still wanted to keep my edge and if I am being honest haven’t really fully found that balance between hard and soft. Although I am confident in my sense of personal style and feel like I know the direction I want my wardrobe to go it hasn’t quite gotten there.
How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?
I grew up shopping at Ross and thrift stores (anyone ever heard of The Dig?) I still love a good thrifting/consignment shop/vintage shopping session, but have upgraded from Ross to Marshalls. Our family was poor growing up and therefore I have a hard time spending my money on clothing. This means that I often end up at Forever 21 or the sales rack at Macy’s even though I value quality over quantity. Along with learning the lesson of frugality as a child I also grew up in an eco conscious socially minded environment. This means that after the high of a fast fashion shopping session I rather quickly start feeling a deep sense of guilt, especially if the item starts falling apart after the first wash. How deep is this guilt? When I was 8 years old I promised to never buy Nikes or shop at Gap (or Old Navy) ever again, I could only wear their products if the items were used. Somehow, I still manage to stay out of those stores, but justify H & M and Forever 21. This philosophical imbalance is what lead me to sewing my own clothes. I would love to align my values more and stop looking for quick fixes at big box stores.
These two questions combined into the same idea to me.
How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?
I was born and raised in Northern California a part of the world known for it’s casual, often eclectic, fashion. It is easy to look over dressed in my small town and yoga pants are perfectly acceptable to many. This makes it very easy for me to fall into this casual rut, especially because I have spent a lot of time doing Pilates, it’s easy to want to stay in your yoga pants the rest of the day. On the other hand my small town is very trend driven when it comes to eclectic trends like, feathers in your hair, super fancy leggings, lots of make up and a mixture of steam punk/tribal/dub step flair. I don’t think that my style matches up with the general style of my community although sometimes I make the mistake of trying trends just to fit in. I prefer more tailored middle of the road looks with just a dash of rocker chic and retro flair.
How do your day-to-day activities influence your choices?
Like I said earlier my day-to-day activities generally lead to a more casual look then I would like to be wearing. A combination of Pilates teacher training and working from home leads to an over use of casual knit wear, yoga pants, and for a slightly more acceptable look a knit mini skirt over funky leggings (my community sneaking into my style in a way I appreciate).
Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
I am really lucky to live in such a mild climate. I can generally wear whatever I want as long as layers are involved. The temperature can drop rather quickly at night and it can be a challenge to stay warm while looking classy when heading out for a night on the town. Usually we have lots of rain in the winter, but we have been experiencing a drought the last several years so I haven’t had to worry about that much lately.
In what ways does body image affect your choices in clothing? What clothes make you feel good about the body you live in? What clothes make you feel uncomfortable or alienated from your body?
My body image has created problems for me in the past when it came to dressing, I often struggle to dress my bootylicious hips and thighs. Since taking up Pilates two years ago I am feeling much more confident in my body (even though I haven’t lost much weight, everything is just a touch more toned). Now when I think about how my body affects the clothes that I choose to wear I think about which items will best show of my curves, not which one’s will hide them. Embrace ‘em ladies! I love to show of my, um, assets in low cut shirts and tight skirts, usually not together.