I first started getting interested in style shortly after I entered college. Before that, I wore t-shirts I’d received in giveaways, jeans that vaguely fit (and often vaguely not), tennis shoes, and baggy sweatshirts, and thought to myself that was good enough, because I was smart, not pretty. As often happens in these situations, I needed someone outside myself to tell me that yes, I could be smart and pretty at the same time, and for that matter, I was pretty now! This was a revelation, and it inspired me to start reflecting with my outward self what my inner self was beginning to feel. However, I had no idea where to start, so predictably enough, I went to the internet for guidance.
I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 years about style, and the most important lesson is that you have to dress for yourself first. If you dress for someone else, often you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. Dress for the look and feeling you want to have, and you’ll feel good about yourself, and that confidence will shine through. If you feel good, you look good, and that happiness shows.
A number of wonderful women online helped me come to this realization, and they’re included in my blogroll:
The lovely ladies at Academic Chic have sadly moved on to other projects, but they left their blog up as a reference. They have lots of inspiration for dressing for various body types and events (from travel to weddings to pregnancy). In addition, being academics, they ran a number of experiments in color theory, pattern matching, and capsule wardrobes, among other topics. I have a lot of their outfit ideas saved for when I’m stuck on what to wear.
Sally McGraw at Already Pretty is an amazing woman. She has a ton of important ideas about the intersection of style and body image, and uses her own journey to self-love and self-confidence as inspiration to help others on that path too. She believes in giving women as many opportunities as possible to discover positive self image, and style is one of those opportunities. She emphasizes only following style “rules” if they suit you, thrifting whenever possible (because every trend has been here before!), and above all, enjoying yourself. Also, her cats are adorable.
Angie at You Look Fab has a ton of helpful advice on dressing for the body you have today, shopping wisely, and developing your personal style. She also cultivates a very active discussion forum which is well worth checking out. The folks there are smart, endlessly helpful, and extremely welcoming.
Style is an ongoing journey and I’ve been enjoying my trip thus far, largely because I’ve had resources like these to remind me that the opinion that matters most in this case is my own. If I’m comfortable and happy in my body, I’m doing it right!