Curious Tuesday, as I've done in the past, but I wanted to explore the idea in a bit more detail...
Gala's question today is "what is your favourite outfit? The outfit which makes you feel most beautiful, powerful, confident & capable… & when you think (or look) back on it, what does that tell you about clothing & your personal style?".
When I first read this question, I was immediately intrigued - anyone who knows me knows that I love clothes and I always take the time to put a thoughtful outfit together. I just don't feel good if I don't do this. I mean everyone has off days where you're either late or just don't care or both, but for the most part, if I throw clothes on to cover my body with no thought to mood, colour, weather, expectations for the day, etc, I don't feel as attractive and confident as I could. It really does affect my mood for the whole day.
However, choosing a "favourite" outfit is extremely hard for me because I don't really have one. My style is sort of like my personality - eclectic, moody and experimental. My style is hard to define because it is constantly changing. I really like to try out new trends, shapes and styles and my clothing choices are based in large part upon my mood that day and how I want to convey it.
I suppose if I had to TRY and define my favourite outfit, I would say it must incorporate the following ideas: a balance between dressy and casual (I never like to look too much of either), comfort and versatility (I'm on-the-go a lot and I DO NOT have time or patience for high maintainence), and colourful/fun (I hate being monochromatic - if I do wear a printed or bright piece I tend to temper it with neutrals/plains, but I have to have some kind of colour or print in my outfit or I just feel like a snooze). I also like to have a balance in shapes - e.g. if I wear a loose top I prefer to pair it with a streamlined/fitted bottom, or vice versa. Overall, I always like to look a little different from everyone else, while still blending in.
In my 20's I have become a lot more confident in my style and trying new things. I've also become a lot more polished and creative. One thing I've gotten really into is accessories - I always wear at least some kind of accessory (usually more than one) actually and I feel naked without them. I LOVE scarves and jewelry and I tend to be attracted to colourful, "ethnic" pieces that look like you could have picked them up on a mediterranean vacation or that were handed down from a grandmother.
I'm only 5 feet tall and I have a curvy body so I do have to be careful how MANY accessories and how much print I wear - too much can overwhelm me or accentuate parts I don't need help accentuating further (like my ass, for one). However, I also don't believe in living by strict style "rules", per se. There are things that magazines (and tall, skinny girls) would say I shouldn't wear (like leggings, flats, fuller tops, etc) but I still do. As long as you feel comfortable in it and you wear it in a way that's flattering to your body type and situation (e.g. I love leggings but ALWAYS wear them with a shirt that covers the butt and hips; also, some ensembles are just never appropriate for the office), who cares?
That is what is so great about fashion! There are SO many possibilities and when it comes right down to it there are no rules. You can reflect your personality and mindset without saying a word. For someone like me, who can be shy in some situations, this is an especially great thing.
At my "goodbye party" the other night, my boss and another co-worker were raving to me about my style. My boss said my fashion sense "amazes her" and they both mentioned how much they look forward to seeing what I wear everyday. This meant a lot, partially because I didn't realize they felt this way, but also because I take great pride in what I wear. This may seem shallow to some people, but to me it's just a form of creative expression. I have a lot of fun with what I wear, and my clothes (as well as my ability to put them together in pleasing ways) make me feel really good about myself; ultimately it's something I do for my own pleasure and would do whether it were recognized by others or not, but it still felt special for them to notice the pride and effort I put into it.
The idea of clothes as armour and artistic tool is the centre idea in a play currently showing in New York, LA and Toronto called "Love, Loss & What I Wore". The play is by Nora and Delia Ephron (whose movies I LOVE btw!) and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. According to the website, this play "uses clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories that all women can relate to." The play has a rotating cast who perform in 4 week cycles; some of the cast has included the following women I LOVE: Kristin Chenoweth, Fran Drescher, Janeane Garofalo, Jane Lynch, and Wendy Crewson (Toronto). A portion of each ticket for the Toronto show are going to Dress for Success.
I recently read a review of this play and have been dying to go to Toronto to see it ever since. The idea behind the stories perfectly encapsulates the point I'm trying to make with this post - that clothes are not just about covering our bodies; they are tools for making us feel "beautiful, powerful, confident & capable", and for expressing who we are. Any outfit that does that is a favourite in my book.
I think I've pretty much answered your question, haven't I, Gala?? :)