This post has been something I have wanted to do for a while now. Turning 41 this year has made me reflect back on many aspects of my life and fashion is one of them. It is a great enjoyment to me so today is a more “get to know me” post. My fashion journey has evolved over the years and began at an early age. It is by no means finished and I look forward to the years ahead. I hope you enjoy this little story of mine and allows you to know me even better as a person.
The first time I vividly remember being interested in what was put on my body was when I was around five years old as I found a green dress that was German inspired. Embroidered flowers, lace up bodice detail in the front, a layer of tulle underneath the skirt, and a bright Kelly green that made me simply giddy. My mother was adamant that it was too big for me (as well as being too expensive) and honestly, I knew it was too, even at that age. Regardless, I pleaded my ultimate plea and finally won. This coveted dress got to be worn several years and in many portraits until it was so thread bare and unbelievably small on me that it had to be put to rest.
It was around the same time that I was stubborn about how I wanted to dress vs my lifestyle (aka playing in the playground). I was a rowdy tomboy that enjoyed playing hopscotch, swinging, jumping on a trampoline, and running around on a jungle gym. Although these activities were high on my priority list, my desire to dress like a pretty, pretty princess was also very real. I remember expressing to my mom how I wanted to wear a “puffy” dress with loads of tulle as I stretched my arms out wide to describe how I wanted the skirt to go out. I also wanted long, flowing hair with ringlet curls. While my dreams of dressing like a demure little girl all while flipping upside down on the bars dangling from my knees with not a care in the world were perfectly wonderful in my young mind, it was adultly not practical. I was often not a happy camper with what my mom would put me in because it was very simple. Although I do remember making a compromise by her allowing me to have long hair if she could put it in two long braids to keep it from getting so tangled.
Later on in my teen years I desperately wanted to get a job so I could purchase my own clothes, ones that I could pick out myself. It was at that time I started my dream of becoming a fashion designer. I had a full book of colored sketches of designs. That dream started a passion inside of me that still lives today. I even attended fashion design courses after graduating high school, but I ended up leaving college at that time. I was so young and thought I knew so much. It was around this time I met my future husband where my dreams turned into something else: to get married.
Getting married to him has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made, despite my being so young and naive. For many years my focus was creating a life together and working as a payroll clerk. Unfortunately as happy as I was in my personal life, I was utterly miserable in my work life. My husband and I were also not happy living in Southern California where we both grew up because of the expenses and the crowds. And looking back, this unhappiness showed in my wardrobe. This being my twenties, it is a time when most young women really experiment with fashion, but for me it was put on the back burner.
It was at this time that I really started putting on some weight. I believe my depression of being stuck in a job I hated where my creativity was being stiffled and living in a tiny apartment where we were barely able to make ends meet meant me eating not so great to feel better. I honestly did not notice it because I was not shopping for new clothes, but rather accepting hand me downs from any family member who was cleaning out their closet. We took a big step and moved to Kansas where we fell in love with the country side and possibilities of owning a home. It was then that I got sent pictures from family from our going away party that I almost did not recognize myself. I was wearing something absolutely hideous and was much larger than I envisioned.
Living in the Midwest was a dream come true for me. I loved it so very much. A job at a local nursing home and a gorgeous new home alongside my husband felt like the life I was intended to have. Money was tight and I was still way too big for most of the clothes in my closet so I have five outfits I would rotate throughout the week for work. Even as a few extra funds were available, I got items that were very “practical” and had no real fashion sense, in fact looking at pictures, I looked much older than in my late twenties. It was like that little girl wearing the poofy skirts and sketching out fashion designs was dead.
When I got a more profile position at the Senior Apartment division, it came with a higher wage, so I decided to improve my image. By this time I was most definitely in the plus size category, but it had been so long since I had really shopped that I had no idea where to go. All my previous go-tos were either too small or too young looking. This is when I discovered Avenue. There was a local shop where I found some amazing pieces that I loved for work and then soon I ventured into getting casual wear too. It was like rekindling a flame.
After years of working in this office, I was approaching my 30th birthday. I was the resident “decorator/event planner” at work because I always had such a creative flair. I even was able to decorate model apartments which I enjoyed immensely. As my birthday came closer, I finally had the discussion with my husband about going back to college to get my degree in interior design. And that is exactly what I did. I thrived on the college courses and was invigorated by the fellow creatives attending. It was like I belonged among them and no longer felt out of place like I did in an office environment. During this time I began to really hone my personal style. This knowledge and being submersed in projects including color, texture, and pattern made me view my wardrobe in a whole new light. That girl that used to sketch designs was reborn.
Moving back to California after graduation was a bitter sweet decision. Being near family again was great, but the reality of an even more crowded area and not having the respite of open land has been very difficult on me and my soul. My fashion choices became even more broad when I first discovered Pinterest and then from there fashion blogs. I now had this passion back and I felt great in my own body so I was all over the place with my style. With a bursting closet I felt overwhelmed about what to even wear. I honestly felt like a different person every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love variety, but this was out of control. I could not even get a hand into my closet to pull a garment out it was so packed. It was like I had gotten so over stimulated that I had lost my own identity.
Then I made the big decision to fine tune my personal style because it was even causing me to loose focus on my work. When I put something on that I felt was so innately me, I would thrive and my performance went through the roof. When I put something on that was inspired by someone I admired, but was not my personal choice had it not been for the inspiration, I was reluctant and non productive. To do this I had to get rid of a lot of my wardrobe. In a way it was so refreshing and in another way it was like parting with a long lost friend.
Although I am still honing in on my personal style, I feel like it has opened so many doors for me. Beginning this blog in late 2014 was a part of this process. Being on a constant journey of self discovery has taught me to be more in tune with what is going on in my life and how my style relates to that. Fashion and style may seem like a vain or very superficial thing to some and on the surface it is. I have discovered that what I put in to my style comes back to me in positive way. It runs so much deeper than the actual garments themselves. They help me get my day off to a great start, they help me make a statement to the world that I am a creative and fun person without saying anything, they help me connect with other women. That girl who wanted to wear princess dresses while being on a jungle gym still lives on today as I get all fixed up and then get the itch to refinish some piece of furniture. I now laugh at the humor of it and enjoy this part of my character.
Today I am loving writing my posts on Designing From My Closet and have plans for having this blog as part as my career. Style is my passion and I want to share that with other women. To be an inspiration to other ladies who can relate to me is something that has brought great joy. My greatest dream is to create a place where I can help women find their own personal style, teach them how to create outfits, to dress with intention for the life that they have and the one that they want, and to love themselves for who they are today.
I hope that you enjoyed this post on my fashion journey. Dressing creatively and artistically is one of the many ways I love to show the world who I am. And today’s outfit is no different. These items are all pieces that have been pulled from my closet ranging from items I got over the past several years. They reflect who I am right now and for that I am thankful.
Having a quirky flair is an attribute I hold in high regard. And this giraffe cardigan does just that. I did however style it in a way that still shows I enjoy being polished and put together with the combination of the simple tee and slacks. Jewelry and accessories are a huge part of my style and this outfit is not lacking in that department. A double strand necklace, chunky chain bracelet, and large statement ring say that I love attention to detail.
- Tiga Cardigan: Anthropologie
- Gray Tee: Target
- Green Pants: Lane Bryant
- Necklace: Anthropologie via Poshmark
- Handbag: Louis Vuitton via Goodwill
- Ring: Avenue
- Chain Bracelet: Charming Charlie
- Lace Up Flats: Old Navy
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Today’s Postivity Note
Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.