Personal style types

Logo by SamAfter thinking about personal style last week, I thought I’d explore the topic in a little more depth today by looking at some of the most common style types. Each one of us is unique and it’s unlikely that you will fit cleanly into any one of these styles. Instead, you might take inspiration from more than one of them and by combining traits that resonate with you, identify your own personal style.

Sporty  This is the woman who feels at home in athleisure wear. She wants clothing that is casual, comfortable, and allows ease of movement. She might be seen wearing yoga pants, joggers, or leggings with a t-shirt or a hoodie. Her shoes will be sneakers or flats and her accessories minimal. 

Casual.  Similar to her sporty sister, the casual woman likes simple lines and designs. She is focused on comfort and her look is easy-going and relaxed. She wears jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, and sneakers or flat boots with minimal accessories.

Classic  The Classic woman chooses tailored garments in quality fabrics and timeless styles. Her menswear inspired look is polished and put-together. Her wardrobe will include blazers and pencil skirts in neutral colours. Her accessories are simple and complement her outfits.

Dramatic  This is the elegant woman who invests in quality pieces for her wardrobe. Her look is striking and sophisticated. She wears bold makeup, eye catching shoes, and statement jewelry.

Preppy  Originally inspired by North American prep school uniforms, this look includes khakis and chinos, polo and button-down shirts, pleated skirts, blazers, vests, stripes, plaids, and all things nautical. Loafers are a popular shoe choice. Accessories are simple and often involve pearls.

Bohemian  The flamboyant Boho style has a 1960s and early 70s hippie aesthetic. It has a loose, laid back vibe that includes flowing maxi dresses and long skirts in natural fabrics, earth tones, and ethnic prints. Garments are often embellished with fringes, beads, or feathers. Accessories include large brimmed hats, slouchy handbags, oversized scarves, wide belts, long necklaces, big rings, and chunky bracelets. This is a style that often appeals to the artistic non-conformist.

Artistic  The Artistic or Creative woman is another innovative individual who doesn’t mind being a bit unconventional. She wears unique outfits in a variety of bright, bold colours and prints. She also likes to play with unusual shapes, silhouettes, and textures. She wears bold jewelry and statement footwear.

Romantic  This is the woman who chooses soft, flowy garments with pretty, feminine details including ruffles, bows, and lace. She wears muted or pastel colours and floral prints. She likes delicate, traditional accessories and ballet flats.

Minimalist  The title refers to a particular style, not the number of clothes in this woman’s closet. The Minimalist likes a paired down look with clean simple lines. She most often wears classic neutral colours and chooses simple, sparse accessories.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I wrote about Gentlewoman style in this post and the very trendy Coastal Grandmother style here. There are Grunge and Goth styles, but since they wouldn’t likely appeal to the demographic that usually reads this blog, I didn’t include them. Then there is the Eclectic woman. She loves to try new styles and combinations and mixes elements from many different styles to create one that is uniquely her own.

The photos that I’ve included are a very limited sampling of each style, but hopefully they are enough to give you an idea what each one looks like.

Do you see yourself somewhere in the list? As I mentioned in the introduction, you will likely fit into more than one category. For example, I see myself as a Casual/Classic dresser, but I occasionally incorporate elements from several other styles.

Thinking about personal style

Logo by SamHubby and I spent three days this week attending a conference as representatives of our local church. It was a full schedule of making connections, worshipping together, and attending sessions. There was no down time, no time for writing a blog post! We came home yesterday feeling both uplifted and exhausted! I sat down last night to write this morning’s Fashion Friday post and absolutely nothing came to mind! Nothing except the desire to soak in a hot bath and crawl into bed. All this to explain why today’s post is later than usual and why it might be a little thin in content!

We often tend to use the words fashion and style interchangeably, but there’s a difference between the two. Fashion is the clothes, accessories and shoes that are produced. They are what you see when you enter a store or shop online, but style is what you do with them, the way in which you wear those items.

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Style is how we personalize what the fashion industry produces.

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One way to identify your personal style is to choose 3 to 5 adjectives to guide your fashion choices. Check here for an exercise that will help you do that. Pinterest is another excellent tool to help you identify or clarify your own style. This post will show you how that works.

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Personal style shouldn’t be static. We all change as we go through different stages of life and our style needs to change with us. It’s important to evaluate and update our style from time to time so that our outfits express who we are today, not who we were sometime in the past.

What words would you use to describe your personal style? How has your style changed over the years?

Mindful shopper or impulse buyer?

Logo by SamMindfulness, the practice of being fully aware and in the present moment, has become a popular buzzword these days. There’s mindful meditation and mindful eating, but today we’re going to look at mindful shopping. 

Mindless or reckless, impulsive (and sometimes even compulsive) shopping is a trap that’s easy to fall into especially in this day of online, credit card shopping. Unfortunately, it can lead to buyer’s remorse, unnecessary debt, anxiety, and even relationship problems. It can also mean having a closet full of clothes, but still experiencing that all too familiar feeling of having nothing to wear. 

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So how can you move from impulse buyer to mindful shopper?

When I shop for groceries, I do so mindfully. I shop with a list. Before I leave home, I check the fridge and the cupboards to make sure that the list includes everything we need. Though I might occasionally buy something that isn’t on the list, I read labels and think about what goes into the grocery cart. My husband has cholesterol issues and I’m diabetic, so I take those factors into consideration when I decide what to buy. I don’t buy pineapple or kiwi because I’m allergic to them and I’ve never liked parsnips, so I don’t buy them even if they’re on sale and look really fresh.  Perhaps we can apply some of these same or similar practices to shopping for clothes.  

Here are 10 tips to help you make the transition: 

  1.  Change your mindset. Consider shopping a necessity, not a hobby or a leisure time activity. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyable, but if you’re simply shopping for fun, find another pastime.
  2. Don’t indulge in retail therapy. If you shop because you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up, find another way to treat yourself. 
  3. Avoid temptation. Don’t go to the mall unless you actually have a reason to be there. Don’t spend your time watching “shopping hauls” on YouTube. Don’t window shop, especially online. We all know that as soon as you look at an item on the internet, you’ll be bombarded with ads for similar items all meant to convince you to buy. 
  4. Make a mindful shopping list. This involves taking stock of what you already have and thinking about what you actually need. Go through your wardrobe and take note of things that need replacing or gaps that need filling.  
  5. Resist the urge to buy something simply because it’s on-trend. Don’t buy something simply because everyone else has it.  
  6. Don’t be seduced by sales. I’m a frugal fashionista and I like a sale as much as anyone else, but a bargain is only a bargain if it’s something you need or something you’ll actually wear. Buying something on sale is still spending, not saving. 
  7. Be cautious of marketing campaigns. “Buy one, get one half price” is only a bargain if you need more than one of a particular item. 
  8. Take a breather before you buy. The next time you’re tempted to buy something that isn’t on your list, something that you don’t actually need, especially something that’s tempting you because it’s on sale, hit pause and take time to think about it. Leave the store and come back later if you’re still convinced that you ought to buy it. 
  9. Think quality, not quantity. Shopping mindfully is about buying less, but buying better, and having a well curated wardrobe that puts an end to that feeling of having nothing to wear. 
  10. Consider cost per wear. Ask yourself if you’ll wear the item often enough to make it a worthwhile purchase.  

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As a mindful shopper, you’ll learn to make intentional choices that help you save money while feeling good about what you’re wearing. Does that mean that you should never make an impulse purchase?  No, of course not, but don’t fill your closet with them. An occasional splurge, as long as you can afford it, might turn out to be something that you love and wear over and over again.

For the most part, I try to limit my impulse buys to second-hand shopping. Once in awhile, like last week, I’m lucky enough to find something that’s on my mindful shopping list in a thrift store, but that’s not likely to happen very often. The prices in our local volunteer-run, not-for-profit thrift stores are very low. When I can buy a top, a dress, a pair of jeans, or a pair of boots for less than the price of a latte, I know that cost per wear will be extremely minimal and even if I don’t end up wearing the item very often, I won’t have lost much. In that case, I can afford to let mindfulness go out the window!   

Musing about sandals

Logo by SamWhen I took my sandals out of storage this spring, I realized how worn they were getting. That’s not surprising considering the fact that the newest pair is at least five years old! I only know that because I’ve been keeping track of all my clothing, footwear, and accessories purchases since the beginning of 2018 and there aren’t any sandals on the list!

I have a couple of pairs that are still quite serviceable, but really, it might be time for this girl to be thinking about buying some new ones!

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Fishermans sandals are very much on trend for 2022, but something about a closed toe sandal just doesn’t sit well with me. They’re great for women who are self-conscious about exposing their toes for any reason, but when I wear sandals, I want my golden summertime toes to show.

Then there’s the recent popularity of fishermans sandals with socks. That one is a definite no for me! I haven’t spend all these years teasing hubby about wearing socks with his sandals to succumb to that fad!

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What about you? Are you a fan of this look? I always say that, first and foremost, we ought to wear what makes us happy.

I’m not a girly girl, but if I do go shopping for sandals, I’ll be looking for something a little more feminine looking than the closed toe fishermans sandal; something more like this pair from Naturalizer. I like a sandal that’s casual, but a little bit dressy looking, and something that I can comfortably walk a long way in.

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Sadly, the Naturalizer stores in Edmonton closed last year and I’d have to order these online. Not only do I much prefer shopping in person, but I have very narrow, difficult to fit feet. Ordering shoes online just doesn’t work for me. So, for now, until I have an opportunity to shop and try on, I’ll just continue wearing my old sandals and musing about new ones.

And then…

As usual, this post was written earlier in the week so that it would be ready to post first thing this morning. Yesterday, after getting my monthly injection, I stopped at one of our local thrift stores to drop off a bag of books that I’d finished reading. Of course, I had to take a look around and guess what I found? Sandals! Almost brand new Clarks in my size for $2.00! Similar sandals online sell for $110 and up. I’ll still be keeping my eye out for a dressier pair similar to the ones above, but in the meantime, I’m delighted with my find. They’re comfortable and supportive and the soft sage colour goes well with my summer wardrobe.

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On a totally different topic, I recently had the privilege of writing a guest post for the parenting blog, Leaf and Steel. I hope you’ll pop over and check it out here

Capri pants… flattering or frumpy?

Logo by SamOne of the bloggers that I follow recently wrote a post listing several items that she thinks women over 50 should eliminate from their wardrobes. She used words like frumpy, dowdy, and matronly to describe how she thinks these items make us look. First on her list was capri pants! Several readers agreed with her, but I most definitely do not! Capris are easily my favourite summer pants.

To be fair, I should mention that the blogger in question did specify that “capri pants that end at the widest part of your calf, are unflattering and can look dowdy.” Capris come in a variety of lengths and widths and a few inches can make a big difference to how flattering they look. A tapered pair that ends either just above or just below the widest part of your calf will look much more flattering than a wider, baggy pair or one that ends at the widest point.

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Capris are still very much in style for 2022 and those of us who wear them find them to be very versatile. They can be worn with heels or flats and dressed up or down depending on what you wear them with. The downside to capri pants is that they can make your legs appear shorter which is particularly challenging for women whose legs are already proportionately short. One easy way to overcome this is to tuck your top into your pants. Personally though, since I’ve been blessed with long legs, I prefer to wear a longer top that skims over and hides my muffin top!

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Everything that I’m wearing in both these photos is old and has appeared on the blog before. The nice thing about living where we have distinct seasonal changes is that we have something “new” to wear twice a year! I always look forward to bringing my capris out of storage in the spring.

Do you wear capri pants? Do you consider them flattering or a fashion faux pas?

Going green

Logo by SamNo, this isn’t a post about being environmentally friendly, though that’s a very important topic. Far more important than fashion actually!

The colour green is one of the biggest fashion trends this year. Universally associated with nature, green represents growth and renewal making it a perfect colour for springtime. It’s said to evoke feelings of peace, calm, refreshment, and optimism.

As I perused my spring/summer wardrobe I realized that, with the exception of dark olive which is actually a neutral, there was no green. None whatsoever! Digging into storage, however, I pulled out this topper from several years ago and wore it to church on Sunday.

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It’s one of those pieces that I couldn’t bear to part with when I quit wearing it. I don’t remember when I purchased it, but it’s from Jockey Person to Person which hasn’t been sold in Canada since March 2015! I thought that perhaps waterfall cardigans had had their day, but while perhaps not as trendy as they were a few years ago, they are showing up in lots of stores again this season. Maybe this is the year to get a little more wear out of this one before I decide whether or not to keep it any longer.

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I wore the cardigan over the same chinos that appeared in last week’s post and a new Supima® cotton t-shirt from Uniqlo. Supima® cotton is a high quality cotton that has a much softer texture and feel than regular cotton. I have both Supima® and regular cotton t-shirts from Uniqlo and there’s no comparison. This particular one comes in 8 different colours and I bought two of them.

I accessorized the look with a thrifted necklace and a pair of simple silver earrings, both items that I’ve worn over and over again. I didn’t wear the hat to church, but since it generated several positive comments on Facebook when I wore it for last week’s post and several of you also checked out the link, I decided to put it on again for these photos. It’s also available in several other colours.

I must admit that I was also inspired to wear my green topper again by this post that appeared on Pamela Lutrell’s blog, Over 50 Feeling 40, awhile back. Thanks, Pam!

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Are you wearing green this spring?

Disclaimer:  This isn’t a sponsored post and I won’t be compensated in any way if you order the items that are linked here, but if you do, I hope you enjoy them!

What is “coastal grandmother” style?

LogoImagine yourself enjoying a leisurely stroll on a long sandy beach, sipping wine on your patio while reading a summertime novel, snipping herbs or flowers from your garden, or heading to the local bakery or farmers market for something fresh. That’s the “coastal grandmother” vibe.

So what is coastal grandmother, you ask? The term, coined by 26-year-old Californian TikTok user, Lex Nicoleta, in a video that went viral in March, has taken the TikTok and Instagram world by storm and become the hottest fashion trend of the season. In a nutshell, the coastal grandmother look draws inspiration from the aesthetic seen in Nancy Meyers’ movies, specifically Diane Keaton in the 2003 romcom Something’s Gotta Give.

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The coastal grandmother look is all about casual, breezy, seaside-inspired elegance. Think loose silhouettes and linen blends, lightweight cable-knit sweaters, striped boatneck tops, straw hats and rattan bags. Billowy dresses or button-down shirts with the cuffs rolled up. Whites and beiges. Sandals, sneakers, and sunglasses. Gold jewelry and pearls.

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The best thing about the coastal grandmother trend is that you don’t have to be a grandmother or live near the ocean to pull off this look, though the ocean part would be really nice! I must say, however, that I absolutely love the fact that “grandmother” is being associated with “stylish” and “trendy” for a change! We don’t all become fashion frumps as we age.

As soon as I started reading about this trend, I knew that I could easily pull several coastal grandmother outfits from my closet.

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Here, I’m wearing a denim shirt, purchased last spring at Uniqlo, over cabi’s Classic Blouse from several seasons ago. The pants are chinos from Mark’s, bought two years ago. The white leather sneakers are also from Mark’s. Most of these pieces have appeared on the blog before.

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In the second photo, my white jeans and striped top are both thrifted pieces. I bought the crushable hat, still available here, at Golf Town three summers ago. It’s very coastal grandmother, don’t you think? The sweater is my trusty Shirttail Cardigan, one of my very first purchases from cabi back in 2016 and still a favourite.

Don’t be surprised if you see a few more coastal grandmother outfits on the blog this summer. I’ve always been a coastal girl at heart and I absolutely love this classic, yet casual aesthetic. Now if only I had a beach to walk on!

Mending and alterations… making old new again

Logo by SamLong before I took the required Home Economics class in grade 8, my mother had already taught me the basics of sewing. Before I made the requisite Home Ec apron, I’d already sewn a skirt with a fitted waistband and a zipper. I’ve had my own sewing machine since I was 18 and there was a time when I made many of my own clothes. I even sewed my own wedding dress! It’s been years since I did that much sewing, but the skills that my mother taught me still come in handy from time to time.

Spring or fall, when I do my seasonal closet switch, is the perfect time to do any small repairs that have been overlooked or neglected during the previous season. Mending clothing is an ancient practice that needs to be revived if we want to work toward more sustainable wardrobes and lessen our impact on the environment. In a culture of disposability upheld by the fast fashion industry, mending is a slow fashion practice that focuses on care and re-wear. It rejects the idea that new is always better. While some mending jobs are quite simple, others are more complicated. Replacing a zipper, for example, might be something that you can do yourself, but if not, a tailor can do it for you and add life to a garment that you already own.

Alterations, whether you’re able to do them yourself or pay someone to do them for you, can often make an ill-fitting garment look like it was made for you. Tailoring is excellent for those times when you find great clothes on sale that just need a little tweaking. It can also help you build a sustainable wardrobe by purchasing quality second-hand items and having them altered to fit. It’s often hard to find the perfect size in a thrift store, but tailoring opens up many possibilities. A good rule of thumb when choosing a size is to go with what fits the widest part of your body. From there, a tailor can make all the necessary adjustments to make the piece look perfect on you. Just make sure that you take the price of tailoring into account whenever you purchase something that will need to be altered.

Alterations can be as simple as taking up a hem or adding a hidden snap to the front of a blouse that gapes or they can be as complicated as taking in a waistband or adding vents to a jacket. This week, I did a simple alteration that gave new life to an older top that I haven’t worn for quite awhile. Four years ago when I bought it, I knew that bell sleeves were a trend that wouldn’t last, but it was on sale for less than $20 and I thought even then that someday I’d probably alter the sleeves.

Before…

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After…

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A simple change from bell to three-quarter sleeves gave the top a much more current look and now I’ll start wearing it again!

Stuck between the seasons

Logo by SamWhen we arrived home from our recent trip to the coast, I thought that I would be doing my seasonal closet switch right away. I expected spring to have arrived while we were gone. I looked forward to putting away my winter wardrobe and bringing out my spring/summer clothes. I anticipated trying things on and making a shopping list as I know that there are some gaps that need to be filled and pieces that need to be replaced. None of that has happened! Instead, we seem to be stuck between the seasons! One minute it looks and feels like spring; but the next thing we know, the wind is howling and it’s snowing again! I know I’m not the only one who’s had enough of this!

I think the transition is going to have to be a gradual one this year. So far, I’ve put my winter coat, my boots, and my heaviest sweaters into storage and I brought out two pairs of chinos that are warmer than shorts or capris, but cooler than jeans. Today, I think I’ll go through the rest of my winter wardrobe and weed out those things that need to go. This requires discipline as I tend to hang onto things longer than I should!

The first thing I’ll do is check the hangers. Every time I put a new season’s clothes into the closet, I turn all the hangers around. Then, when I wear an item, I turn it’s hanger back the right way. At the end of the season, if an item is still hanging backwards, it’s a clear signal that I need to consider whether or not to keep it.

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Unlike those who advise getting rid of anything that hasn’t been worn during the current season or in the past year, I sometimes keep items that are excellent quality or that I love even if I haven’t worn them for quite awhile. Eventually, I enjoy resurrecting some of those pieces and wearing them again. There are some, however, that simply need to go. If they no longer fit well or I don’t actually enjoy wearing them, they’re destined for the second-hand store or an online buy and sell group.

It was snowing when I started writing this, but sunny and bright when I finished! The weather forecast is promising even better things for the next week or so. Maybe we’re finally becoming unstuck and I’ll be able to do the remainder of my seasonal wardrobe switch before next Friday. Maybe. I sure hope so!

Canadian tuxedo

Are you hooked on Wordle yet? According to the New York Times, over 300,000 people play the online game daily. I confess to being one of them. I also play Hurdle and Canuckle every day. If you’re not Canadian, you might not be familiar with Canuckle. Created by an Ottawa resident, it’s basically Wordle with a Canadian twist. Every word is related to Canada in some way. Yesterday’s word even gave me an idea for today’s fashion post!

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Logo by SamWhat’s so Canadian about denim, you ask? Each day, the Canuckle solution comes with a fun fact that explains the Canadian connection. Yesterday’s explanation said, “The Canadian tuxedo is an outfit consisting of a denim jacket or jean shirt worn with denim jeans, or denim-on-denim.”

The term originated in 1951 when American singer and actor, Bing Crosby, was almost denied entry into a posh Vancouver hotel because he was dressed completely in denim. Hotel management eventually recognized who their famous guest was and made an exception to their dress code allowing him to enter. When Levi Strauss & Co. heard the story, their designers immediately produced a custom made denim tuxedo jacket for Crosby.

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In 2014, Levi’s reproduced Bing’s famous outfit with a limited run of 200 Canadian Tuxedo jackets.

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Fifty years after the Bing Crosby incident, celebrity couple, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, created a stir when they attended the 2001 American Music Awards wearing a matching Canadian tuxedo or double denim look. I would agree with those who thought the look was a little over the top!

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But what about ordinary mortals like you and I? Would we, could we, should we wear denim-on-denim? Here are a few ways to style the Canadian tuxedo in case you decide to give it a try.

  • Instead of going full dark or light wash, mix things up with different denim shades. Go darker on top and lighter on the bottom or vice versa.
  • Swap the jeans for a denim skirt.
  • Add some contrast with a white or brightly coloured top under your denim jacket.
  • Keep accessories to a minimum and definitely don’t add denim accessories.
  • Stay away from cowboy boots and cowboy hats. You’re not trying to look like a cowboy caricature. For footwear, try a pair of white sneakers, ballet flats, strappy sandals, or even statement heels.
  • Cropped jean jackets are on trend this year. To give your double denim an up-to-date look, you could even cut off a longer jacket and fray the bottom edge for a DIY distressed look.

And now, here’s my take on the Canadian tuxedo using pieces that have been in my wardrobe for a long time… dark wash jeans, a lighter denim jacket, white sneakers, and since stripes are on trend for spring this year, a black and white striped tee.

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Comfy, casual, and very Canadian!