Personal style. It’s a funny thing.
When I started this blog almost exactly one year ago, I vowed to challenge my personal style. You know, because of that whole constantly trying to better yourself thing.
I decided to set three rules for myself:
- Less quantity, more quality.
- Move away the classics, insert the edge.
- Stop… always… going… for black!
Rules that at that time, were on my mind, on the daily…
The Constant Evolution of Personal Style
As I started getting in the groove of creating content for this blog, I realized that maybe my personal style wasn’t in need of any rules. Maybe instead, it was in need of a little refinement. A realization that quite frankly wouldn’t have come without a little bit of time and a few years of age.
Since it took me awhile to realize, I wanted to share with you how I decided to edit the rules I set for myself — allowing them to actually fit my personal style vs change it.
Lemme break it down for you a bit…
Edited Rule #1 | Less quantity, more quality.
Though this definitely isn’t anything new (you may have heard it from your Grandma as I did as a young little girl), believe me friends, confessions of a shopoholic: I have spent way, way too much money on clothing. From spending my hard earned high school money at the mall mostly at Charlotte Russe, to online shopping on Hollister.com from my college town in the middle of nowhere, to making my frequent Zara, Rack, Nordstrom downtown loop in my upper 20s / early 30s just to see what’s there — always resulting in at least two shopping bags.
The (not so) funny thing about all of these instances is that I now find myself going through my closet and picking up things that I’ve worn only once asking myself, why did I buy this? Don’t get me wrong, cleaning out the closet is always necessary to maintain seasonal freshness, but when you come across almost a full closet of things you don’t know why you have — then it’s probably time to rethink your strategy.
So yes, quality. Think about these questions before every purchase: Is it something you’ll cherish? Will you feel proud having it in your collection? Is it something that will make you look and feel your absolute best with every wear? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then it might be worth the take home. If not — don’t even sweat it. You’ll be looking at it later saying WTF.
There’s often a negative connotation associated with buying clothing — that it’s vain, materialistic and can be a waste of money when you’re putting your hard earned cash towards something expensive. But what’s often overlooked is the way clothing can enhance our lives — making you feel confident, sexy — and act as a form of personal expression, which can really be hard for a lot of people (including me). Clothing can make us feel and if the feeling you get is positive, then it’s worth every penny.
And that my friends is a lesson that is learned along the evolution of your personal style. Enhance this rule of quality over quantity. Don’t buy clutter. Have an identify that is related to your wardrobe by buying pieces that are truly an expression of you.
Edited Rule #2 | Move away the classics, insert the edge.
This rule is funny, as I definitely know where I was tying to go with it at the time (add more spunk to my wardrobe), but I think it’s been molded a little differently.
It’s true, I often default to buying classics: black dresses, blazers, t-shirts, versatile denim. But on the flip side, I often find myself jumping on a trend, obsessing over stocking up in multiple versions of the latest and greatest: off-the-shoulder tops, ruffled dresses, embellished booties, flowing culottes.
So if I was going to edit this rule I’d say, first and foremost, heed the Golden Rule #1 and truly think about these purchases before you make them. Ask yourself: Do I really need another black blazer? Will I be able to wear this ruffle dress in another year? Though I can’t tell you what the right answer is, you have to listen to your gut. You can probably tell when you need to pump the breaks on adding another similar item to your closet (unless you find the mothership of all black blazers and can rid of your current stash) and you can usually make the right assumption when something like head-to-toe ruffles might not be a lasting look.
Secondly, rather than take away one thing and add another — mush them up into a personal style sandwich. If you’re like me and like a good classic look, it’s probably because this is your style. If you’re craving more edge, why not pair it with that classic look! Black blazer over a ruffled skirt. Off-the-shoulder top with your favorite denim. Embellished booties with an all-black outfit.
Edited Rule #3 | Stop… always… going… for black!
Okay, so this is my favorite. While Rule #1 was meant to be enhanced and Rule #2 was meant to be blended, Rule #3 simply needs to be kicked to the curb.
This rule was me saying, Cortney, you need to be more colorful. You need to get away from what you always default to wearing. And after going about this personal style year-long journey, I’d like to call bullshit.
I wear shades of black because I like the way it makes me feel. I like the way it makes my highlights pop. I like the way it reminds me of what Posh Spice would wear. I like the way it represents the city I live in. I like the way it makes me feel like a New Yorker. I like the way it matches with both silver and gold.
I…. freaking… love… wearing black.
So no, I won’t stop this at all. And I say if there’s something you’re trying to change about the look you naturally gravitate to, don’t do it. Embrace it.
Rule #3, bye bye.
My “Edited” Personal Style : Monochrome
So yeah, one whole year of The Grey Edit and I can tell you, I’ve never felt more in line with the brand I’ve created for myself, because it just feels like me. I’m a monochrome-loving-kind-of-girl and I’m damn proud of it.
It’s been a really exciting adventure thus far and I’m even more pumped for what the new year brings (oh yeah, forgot to mention — when my blog turned 1, I turned 32). More personal style exploration, more inspirational content and a whole lotta monochrome. 🙂
Grey Car Coat
Black & White Shift Dress
photos by @karyaschanilec.photography