I'm having a fashion identity crisis.
Actually, let me step back for just a second: YES, there are major things going on in the world. YES, all of these are very important. NO, this blog post is about none of those things.
There, that's my disclaimer.
So back to the fashion identity crisis.
Maybe you can identity with one of these:
- Not being able to define your style in a clear, concise way
- Stressing over how to dress or style yourself each morning
- Torn between what you want to wear versus what you need to wear
- Grabbing from too many different fashion “eras” which leads to a confused fashion palette
- Being easily led astray by what someone tells you they think you should wear or like
- In a constant state of frustration with your wardrobe
I'm going to make the broad leap and assume I'm not alone in my fashion identity crisis, though that certainly is an assumption. But, as you may have already surmised, I came up with those points above by sharing how I'm feeling currently. Cue the sympathy music. I know, I know. It's not easy being me.
As I shared in one of the latest podcast episodes, my summer clothes have hit a wall. They're deformed, tattered, stained, and beyond repair. Every year at this time, I face the same question: what the heck am I going to replace them with?
And here in lies the fashion identity crisis.
I love French Chic style: When I first began to pay any sort of attention to my clothes, this is where I landed. I would stick with neutral, tailored pieces. Pieces with structure that fit fairly tight. I still have a lot of these pieces in my closet: a beautiful baby pink wool blazer, some great cocktail dresses… okay, well, I guess that's about it. Everything else has been worn to the nubs and needs to be replaced. I do love this style, though I find it a bit harder to meld with the farming/homeschooling/messy life that we live. I'm not walking the streets of Paris, riding the subway, and heading to an office job. Ballet flats are a joke on the farm. I go from milking a cow to cleaning the bathroom to making supper to weeding the garden. It's not the place for blazers and short dresses – though I do enjoy having these pieces on hand for church, special occasions, etc. The French Chic style is also very “natural” and “neutral” looking in many ways – does this fit with the rest of my style? And is it stupid to try to pull this off on a bloody farm or what? When I throw myself into this style, I miss the vintage nod to the past. It can leave me wanting.
I love “retro” style: Like 30s/40s glam. Oh ya, baby. The fashion in The Durrells of Corfu (search it if you haven't seen it) sent me positively over the moon. I'm not so much into the 50's housewife look, but I do have a serious affinity for this era. It reminds me of my Grandparents. There are a lot of great fashion YouTubers that do this style well, but I don't know if I'm committed enough to go all in on this. I really struggle with dressings/styling like this and making it not look like I'm playing dress-up. PLUS, I've got long hair which isn't very conducive to the hairstyles of the time.
I love “vintage” style: I'm also about a thousand hours into the Outlander novels and find myself drawn very much towards an even older style… a “vintage” style if you will. Be it 18th century Scotland, or Edwardian, or Victorian, there's a piece of this that makes my heart sing. The corset. The natural fabrics. The shape. The long hair, worn curly and pinned back. This style is perhaps where I feel most at home, though it usually is quite tailored back. If I full-on dressed like I wanted to dress, it would probably scare most people away. Just bein' honest. For me, this style often manifests as some sort of skirt, a nice styled blouse or sweater, an apron, some sort of pinned up-do, and minimal makeup. Something very feminine and traditional – Tasha Tudor-esque.
I love “Scandinavian farm” style: Okay, I made that style up. I don't know if it's actually a thing. But the flannel, wool sweater, laced up boots, vibe really drives me wild. And we live in the perfect place for it – the Pacific Northwest – where this style runs wild. Again, minimal makeup and minimal hair (often a nice bun, ponytail, braid, etc.). Like LL Bean meets Scandinavia. At the end of the day, I am a farmer and work the farm every day like one. Milking cows, carrying pails, feeding hay, filling grain bins, shoveling stalls, tending to injured animals, harvesting produce, etc. The work load is fierce and on occasion, I'm found my “feminine” style to be too feminine to get a job done – though this often has to do more with the fabric than the style itself. Sometimes I want to pull the plug and just go straight up jeans and flannel (I wore a western-style from puberty to early twenties so I know a thing-or-two about it).
Basically, I'm a melting pot. But aren't we all.
And as it goes, when you try to be and do all the things you end up being and doing nothing well. THAT is the sticking point of my fashion identity crisis currently. I want to dial it in so that I can do it – and do it well. Right now, I'm all over the place (quite literally).
Currently, I'm wearing torn Levis (farm chic), a loose blue and white stripped button up shirt with no bra (because the two bras I have are so ill-fitting I can't even bear them), well-loved Sabah's (my “euro-chic” farm shoes for summer), one of those victory curls from the 40s/50s in my hair, and red lipstick. Confused much? I even feel confused with what's happening here.
And I just received the two (costly) custom made vintage, puffy-sleeved, euro-styled linen dresses for fall (to be worn with tights or leggings and lace up boots) I ordered months ago that would've made Tasha Tudor shriek with joy. Hell of a time for a fashion identity crisis.
BY THE WAY… I'm supposed to get my hair cut and colored tomorrow and that's a whole other can of fashion identity crisis worms.
Bleach? Long? Short? Natural color? Highlights? Sleek? Curly? Fu-get-about-it.
Okay… think Shaye think… FOCUS…
We've got to solve this fashion identity crisis. It's time to DIVE INTO this problem and SOLVE IT. I'm tired already. Should we start with the hair? Probably since I've got only TWELVE HOURS TO DECIDE.
I love my bleached hair and it falls under that “Scandinavian farmer” vibe that I really love – my great-Grandparents did immigrate from Norway, after all. But… the bleach has damaged my hair (duh) and I fear it also gives off this weird fake-American vibe as well which is NOT what I'm going for.
So no more bleach.
Natural hair color? I don't even know what that is. I've been coloring my hair since I was thirteen, y'all. Once you pop you can't stop, ya know what I'm saying? So, I suppose I'll have to do some serious working with my hairdresser to figure out how to let the natural hair grow-out without any coloring. It'll take me, what, maybe four or five years to get it to grow out all the way. Four or five years to healthy hair. That's quite the commitment. Can I do it? I can try.
So no more bleach. Natural color. Long hair (for now). Stu likes long hair and I do love being able to do fun things with it. That semi-eliminates the “retro” vibe which is centered around short, wavy hair, doesn't it.
See! We're getting somewhere! Baby steps.
And now my brain is tired and I simply must go sort through my clothes. I've got to see what I've got that I can work with. I'm also going to go ask Stuart what he thinks. And I'm going to make a honey-latte (I think better with honey-lattes). Don't worry – I'll keep you updated on how this fashion identity crisis shakes out and show you some of my favorite pieces that I decide to keep.
I'd LOVE to hear how you honed your style in the comments. And I'd LOVE to hear your opinions about where the heck I should go with all these thoughts.
Let me know I'm not alone.
And I'm sorry for taking up any of your brain-bandwidth with my fashion identity crisis. It has no significance at all.
But here we are.
PS: Oh my gosh, y'all. I just spent the last hour talking to Stuart about this. What a guy! I can't wait to share what he said on tomorrow's new post. I'll also make sure to share my hair for those interested! Stay tuned!