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Where Do I Find My Style Inspiration?

The easy answer to that question would be my brain, duh! But that would also be a lie and the only thing I like to lie about is my natural hair color. Style is weird, right? I mean, think about what you wore ten years ago, then five years ago, and then even a year or two ago. I think style is just an extension of ourselves: our personalities, quirks, interests, lifestyle, the whole nine yards. It's a visual representation of who we are (or maybe, in some cases, who we want to be). 

I like to think that I have aspirational style. I've only just turned twenty-two and I'll be damned if I think I know who I am. Do I even know what my style is? Is it trendy? Is it unique? Is it quirky? Coming up with a word to label my style seems like I'm putting myself in a box, creating restrictions for myself and making shopping and getting dressed even tougher in the morning.

But we're not talking about personal style, per say! We're here to talk about the inspiration behind my style, the reasons behind some of my outfits, the initial spark, the list of metaphors goes on and on...

*This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.*

Pin-pointing my style in the past is easy. When I was a teenager, I wanted to dress the way the popular kids dressed. I wore a uniform my entire life until twelfth grade, which would have presumably erased any and all chances of wearing "normal" clothes, but instead it just placed a heavy emphasis on what we wore to dress down days and "hangouts" outside of a school setting. First it was the trifecta of Abercrombie, Hollister, and American Eagle, scouring the clearance section for something that wasn't completely ill-fitting. Then it was yoga pants and PINK sweatshirts and you cannot forget the Northface jackets and Ugg boots to add into the mix.

While my style was tragic, I was clearly inspired by who I wanted to be: the popular kids. I wanted to keep up with the trends in middle school and early high school, to a degree. It was easier to fit in than stand out, so I followed suit. I wasn't necessarily unhappy in what I wore. I didn't understand fashion at that point. Plus, with uniforms, what did it matter, right?

Then came the preppy stage. I can, with complete certainty, attribute my three year long preppy phase to Carly Heitlinger aka The College Prepster (or now, Carly the Prepster). I lived and breathed her blog when I discovered it at the beginning of my senior year of high school. It was also dress code year, the first time I had ever been able to wear anything but a uniform on a daily basis since kindergarten. I didn't know what to do, so I devoured post after post, using my babysitting money and the money I saved from my first job that summer to add some prep into my wardrobe.

It was also around this time that I started reading Man Repeller and became fascinated by the idea of dressing, well, kind of ugly? I don't like attribute the word ugly to any styles, but sometimes I just like to wear things that other people might want to vomit all over. KIDDING. Where was I? Oh yes, the clash of Leandra Medine and Carly Heitlinger.

Who did I want to be more? Why was I struggling so much with deciding who was going to be My One and Only Style Inspiration? (As we know, it was Carly, because homegirl wore J. Crew and vests and a lot of plaid up until right before I left Cleveland at the end of my sophomore year of college).

Then, the struggle set in for real. After that, I wasn't even sure where to look for inspiration anymore because it was everywhere. If there was such a thing as inspiration overload, I would've had it. I was reading a ton of blogs, watching a boat load of YouTube videos, consuming magazines at a rapid pace, scouring the newest collections to see what was going to be hot for that season. Everywhere I looked there was inspiration and I wasn't sure how to sort and categorize it all in my head. 

My mind was oversaturated. And truthfully, my mind might still be a little too oversaturated. But, to be honest once again, I don't mind all that much.

Sometimes I look in my closet and I get inspired by something I haven't worn in a while. There are moments where I pick up a piece and a light bulb goes off, thinking of a brand new way to wear it. 

Sometimes I look at magazines and admire the way that a model's outfit it styled and try to work out in my brain what I have that I could achieve that look with. 

Sometimes I scroll through Instagram and see some of my favorite content creators sharing their looks. To me, they seem effortless. And then I try to recreate them with a lot of effort and wonder if they had the same struggle too.

Sometimes I don't have inspiration and stare at my closet until I feel tears in my eyes. Those are the days where the all black uniform comes in handy.

Inspiration can be fleeting. There are some days where I just don't feel like getting dressed, let alone getting dressed in something that makes me feel great and creative. Most days, I think clothes are a magical expression of ourselves. Sometimes magic runs out and you just need to find a little something to bring it back to you, little by little.

Sweater: Target (similar)
Dress: Saks Fifth Avenue RED
Tights: Target
Boots: Nine West
Hat: Epoch (similar)

These next photos have no bearing on the rest of the post, I just liked them because they're cute and I look really happy and who doesn't love it when they look really happy? Also, because you can see the cute little buttons that are on this slip dress that was actually attached to a light grey t-shirt that I subsequently cut off so I could wear it with black sweaters during the fall and winter instead. 

Also, no, I will never stop wearing my baker boy cap. It's my ultimate dirty hair hider and is infinitely more effective than dry shampoo.

Where do you find your style inspiration?



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