Shopping used to really frighten me. Trying things on in a store dressing room was horrifying. I'd start feeling insecure about....well...everything... my “happy” hair, the makeup I didn’t have on, the small bags and wrinkles developing from age and lack of sleep, watching the teenagers and trendy girls with perfect hair getting ready in the rooms next door. I'd pick things out that I'd love while shopping, and then I'd suddenly feel uncomfortable wearing them out in public.
Then came Jana the stylist. A friend introduced me to Jana when she was styling people for an Ann Taylor promotion. I jumped at the chance to have someone tell me what to wear. Jana approached me with a warm welcome, a glass of white wine and a smile. I recall our meeting looking something like this:
Jana: "What's your style?"
Me: "I don't have one," I said with a bit of confusion and angst.
Jana: "Let's walk through the store and point out things that catch your eye."
As we walked through the presentation racks, I started to panic. What on earth was my style? Who am I? What looks good on me? Sweatpants? Work-out clothes? My favorite day dresses? But then my fairy godmother, Jana the Stylist, started picking things out and asking me, "what do you think of this?" Once presented with options, it came so easy for me. "I love that." "I'm willing to try that." "I will never wear that." "Yes. Yes. Yes." "No. No." "Maybe, let's try it."
The next thing I knew, I was walking out of Ann Taylor with a new sense of self confidence, plus some really great pieces that I could mix and match with my existing wardrobe and some hints about how to style certain pieces and think outside of the box. I was hooked!
I sometimes struggle with knowing who I am, what I like and what I stand for. This Ann Taylor trip about a year ago taught me something. I need to start asking myself, "What do you think of this?" A year later, I'm still playing with patterns and fashion and "trying things on" in my life. I also can't look at clothes the same way. Taking time during my day to figure out how to present myself is really fun for me. I enjoy experimenting with colors, patterns, and shapes. For me, once I started leaning into making decisions about my wardrobe, the more comfortable I felt leaning into other decisions in my life. It has taught me how easy it is to know what you like and don't like by thinking about each item, narrowing down the options, trying them on for size, getting some advice about new ideas and alternatives, and then going for it to see how it makes you feel.
I turn 33 in a couple weeks. In honor of Jana the Stylist and to "trying things on," I wanted to get a feel for fashion blogging. I wanted to wear my heart out and show some ways I express myself in a creative way. Here goes it.
Photographs by Sam Probst