In my youth, I experimented with every style under the sun. I would show up to class one day in a preppy collared shirt under my blush sweater and the next day floating around in the flowiest, African-print maxi dress. I never really considered personal style as something that needed to be approached in an organized, strategic manner. I was the costume designer of my own life.
When school ended, I found myself employed in a very corporate environment. My experimental outfits got pushed to the back of the closet as I adopted a strict wardrobe of dark, tailored jeans and the same blocky, button-up shirt in every color offered. While it might have been very boring, it felt grown up. This is what adults who were serious about developing a career wore right?
As time went on, many of my old outfits ended up donated or tossed until I was wearing my work uniform on the weekends too. One Saturday I stood in my closet completely at a loss. How did I end up with a closet full of clothes I didn’t like? I used to love my clothes mismatched as they were. How did I end up here?
I didn’t have a strategy to get myself out of the rut. I did what I had always done: took a trip to the mall and purchased pieces that I liked. I built a few weekend outfits that made me feel a bit better on a date night and continued to trudge through the work week in my uniform.
Out of the Dark
Eventually, a combination of a new job and experience gave me the confidence boost I needed to start expressing my personal style everywhere I went whether it was the workplace or a weekend getaway.
And the biggest lesson of all?
My personality peeking into my “professional outfits” didn’t change a thing except for my happiness.
Another thing happened…
When packing for a long weekend, I was amazed when I only needed 1 pair of shoes and set of accessories for 4-5 outfits. Organically, my taste had developed in a strong direction and my closet started turning into a wardrobe.
After years of experimenting with styles as a young adult, I put aside wearing clothing I loved for a wardrobe that didn’t bring me a single ounce of joy. I purchased what I thought I was supposed to wear and the truth is: no one cared. With experience and growth, I realized there’s always a way to bring yourself into your daily dress (whether in a professional or fun setting). And if you develop a strong sense of what you love, you may surprise yourself with a cohesive wardrobe (at least enough for a long weekend bag!).
I’d love to hear where has your style journey taken you?
What has been the most important lesson you’ve picked up on your course?
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