Every time the seasons begin to change I begin thinking about changing my wardrobe. And every time I start thinking about changing my look I start to feel guilty.
You see, in my next writing life, I want to be a fashion blogger.
I want a website that boasts bold and beautiful photos of me sporting chic and trendy outfits paired with poems about my life or essays on the importance of women having a strong sense of their personal style.
But there’s one huge obstacle preventing me from realizing this dream: I hate shopping. I know there’s a stereotype that shopping is the favorite hobby of all double X chromosome carriers, but I’m here to tell you that stereotype is a lie.
Since I hate shopping I basically wear the same 5 outfits every week and most of them involve a midi skirt and a denim jacket because you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take classroom couture out of the teacher.
Don’t get me wrong — I like my outfits. They’re cute outfits if I must say so myself, but I am certainly no fashion-forward trendsetter. So I often find myself wanting to upgrade and revamp my look.
That said, even though I’m a bit bored with my look, I’m not insecure about it at all. In fact, I am quite confident about my style. I have Megan LaRussa Chenoweth to thank for that.
Style Yourself Chic
Megan is the blogger and style coach behind Style Yourself Chic. She lives in Birmingham as I do and while our city may not be known as a fashion capital, that hasn’t stopped her from turning her passion for fashion into a successful career. “We as Southerners take pride in our heritage and ourselves and thus dress accordingly,” she told me once.
Megan, who holds a master’s degree in fashion marketing from Parsons School of Design, started a blog in 2009 while she was working as a trend forecaster in New York. When she returned to Birmingham that August she continued her blog, focusing on Southern style, local fashion events and trends, and sharing style tips. This eventually led to a style coaching business. Megan now has clients across the country and around the world.
I sometimes ask myself if a writer should care about her wardrobe. Shouldn’t I just wear the same thing every day like Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg? I’ve seen article after article declaring this is one of the keys to their success. If I’m not thinking about my wardrobe, I can focus on my work, right?
What’s Your Style Story?
But Megan helped me realize that fashion is just another form of storytelling. We all have style stories whether we realize it or not. While chatting with Megan during my first consultation with her, I realized I had plenty.
I told her about my days as a tough tomboy and the day I fell in love with dresses. I told her about the time I foolishly changed my wardrobe to impress a guy. And I told her how sporting my hair in its naturally curly state boosted my self-acceptance and self-esteem.
Related Reading: How My Hair Became My Feminist Fashion Statement
And all these style stories can fuel my writing.
Your clothes can be an icebreaker at a party or networking event. I can’t count how many women I’ve gone on to have meaningful conversations with after complimenting their earrings, dress, or shoes.
I even think that fashion can be art, and I’m not alone in this belief. This year Megan helped the Birmingham Museum of Art curate an exhibit on fashion. And have you ever seen the outfits celebrities wear to the Met Gala. You can’t tell me those aren’t works of art!
But even if you’re wearing something as simple a denim jacket it is still an expression of who you are because it’s an expression of your style.
While working with Megan she gave me a writing assignment, which obviously I was eager to do. She told me to write a statement that defined my style.
Like a good student, I pulled out my notebook and quickly got to work.
“OK, I think I have it,” I announced a few minutes later. “Javacia is always effortlessly stylish, exuding confidence and power while still being approachable and feminine.”
I think my midi skirts do exactly this.
How to Learn to Love Your Style
Over the years I’ve gathered a heap of style advice from Megan and other fashionistas in my life. If you want to learn to love your look, here are a few tips I have to offer:
Create a vision for your style. Write a style statement and then build a Pinterest board that represents how you want your wardrobe to look.
Make your list and check it twice. Make a list on your phone of the items that you need. The list should include basics such as a nice pair of jeans, a nice pair of pants, or a crisp white top. But it should also include items that you want that exemplify your style statement. Keep this list in the Notes app of your phone so that whenever you’re out shopping you’ll know exactly what to buy.
Clean your closet. Once you have enough outfits that reflect your style statement, get rid of the clothes in your closet that don’t and donate them to a local charity. As you’re working on building a wardrobe you love, don’t get too caught up in trends. As Amanda Brooks writes in her book I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style: “There are no rules to this, except the ones you make for yourself — and even those are made to be broken.”