Fashion Evolution

…She’s got style, she’s got grace, she’s a winner.

She’s a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa she’s a lady.

Talkin’ about that little lady…

-Tom Jones

… were you singing along like me? just for kicks – can you name that song? [hint, I already gave it away]

F A S H I O N ~ S T Y L E ~ G R A C E

I am certainly not a fashion expert, so let’s keep this on a personal level. I want to share my personal style, the evolution of my approach to fashion, and maybe even have you thinking about your own and possibly encourage & push you out to discover another side of your style – don’t be scared, let’s have fun with this!

I want you to think of 3 words that would describe your personal style 10 years ago and then 3 words that describe your style today. …Go ahead, I’ll give you a few minutes…

  • Three descriptive words for my personal style 10 years ago:
    • Girly
    • Trendy
    • Curious
  • Three descriptive words for my personal style T O D A Y:
    • Feminine
    • Spirited
    • Elegant

As I said before, I am no fashion expert. I couldn’t tell you what’s on trend right now, this year’s chosen color for fall, the greatest stylist or most on-point designer. However… I will admit I love watching shows that have to do with fashion. If I was ever to be invited to a fashion show, I would go without hesitation and I do like to shop. When award shows would come on TV, such as the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, etc., I absolutely never wanted to miss the red carpets! These were often more exciting to me than the actual award show! (and yes, sometimes I would turn it off when the red carpet looks had ended) I would love to see what the women were wearing [clothes, shoes, & jewelry] and even how the men dressed! It is also fascinating to hear what the so-called “experts” think about the fashion on the red carpets and what or who the muse is for fashion designers. My knowledge of the latest trend though basically comes from taking note of what is being sold in the stores – pretty solid indicator right there. Otherwise, I don’t really follow fashion blogs, read fashion magazines or stay updated with what the celebrities are wearing. I don’t have cable either at the moment, so anything I’m reading or watching is not even the most current fashion news. Could I mention a few designer names? Yes, but do I know much about them? No. I only know their names from the shows I watch, hearing it from other people, or when the hosts on the red carpets ask, “who are you wearing?”. So why do I like fashion? Why do I love clothes and shoes so much? Why do I enjoy seeing, wearing, and watching the array of designs of other people being worn on so many individuals? ANSWER: It’s the creativity. The story. The mood.

No matter what we think or say, whether we like it or not, the clothes & shoes we wear, our personal style is influenced by these designers, by fashion experts, celebrities and trends from the past. Fads show up every so often. Styles repeat every few decades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own personal style, or that you can’t express yourself and find individualism. YOU choose how much others influence you! The clothes and shoes I purchase are simply that; I need something to wear, so I choose what I like from the stores and purchase it. But how I choose to wear them, where, when, and from what store is all based on my personal style. I don’t buy items to look like someone else or try to be someone else.

Now back to those descriptive words you chose ~ are they different between 10 years ago and now? Do you know why they’re different (or possibly the same)? There could be a variety of reasons! For me, my descriptive words about my style are different; however, I see them as more of a reflection of my personality and growth over the last decade rather than fashion evolving. Did fashion and trends change significantly over the last decade? Maybe slightly, but I don’t think they changed too much. What did change was ME, duh. Many things happen in 10 years, so I hope you’re not the same person either.

Below are pictures of me from 12-13 years ago at the ages of 17-18 (by the way, this is insane looking at old pics of myself. I love it, but feelin’ sorta old lol…). This is when my personal style kicked in and my first three descriptive words come in to play (I know it’s more than 10 years, but just stay with me). My personal style, I would say wasn’t all that bad, but was definitely a ROUGH draft for my fashion sense today. I don’t know what it’s like today for girls, I picture all little girls loving clothes, playing dress up, enjoying shopping with their mom, etc… but not me. I was a late bloomer to the fashion game. I used to H A T E shopping, used to H A T E the mall, and rarely [and I mean RARELY] played dress up, except very occasionally with my childhood friend Melissa and for one tea party I remember having when I was 8; actually that tea party was fun from what I remember. It was adorable… the hats, gloves, fluffy flouncy dresses, straight up eating sugar cubes rather than putting them in your tea like all kids do, right? Maybe that was an early indicator of my little fashionista coming out? But who had time for all that? NOT THIS CHICA! Not until she was about 17. And then begins my style. My three descriptive words for 10+ years ago were girly, trendy, & curious. Between 16 and 17, I became a girly girl. I started falling in love with clothes, heels, jewelry, makeup… I LOVED getting dressed up. That’s why I chose these photos – the red and white dress was from my junior/senior (a.k.a “prom”) in 2006, the white and gold dress was from Homecoming 2007 and the purple dress was my senior year of high school’s prom. When these events came around, I was always excited to go shopping for the perfect dress. The kitten heels were exciting to buy too ~ they were my “training wheels” for the heels I wear today. When I wasn’t getting dressed up and for everyday outfits, I wore what was popular, what was on trend from American Eagle, Aeropostale ~ the low rise jeans, doc martens, layering different colored tanks and tops. I remember styling myself, my outfits based on what others around me were doing – still figuring out what I liked personally and not finding my own identity. But I also described my style then as curious because I do remember trying different things with fashion in developing my style – as most teen girls, I worked on my makeup skills with eyeshadows, color, I tried different techniques with my hair and discovered the flat iron and that my hair could be straight one day and curly the next. But it was all a test run, knowing myself, finding my own style and dressing for myself. I was more malleable back then. I was younger, more influenced and concerned with how others saw me. I wasn’t always comfortable in my own skin and most certainly compared myself to others and didn’t always see myself as beautiful. I had the insecurities most girls find themselves with.

Obviously over the years my style developed as I got older. I began shopping at stores that more suited my body, my closet shifted from one of a teenage girl to that of a woman. And the things I enjoyed changed or developed even further, which affected my style. The BIGGEST thing that had an effect on my personal style though, was how I viewed myself, how I treated myself, who I was becoming, and knowing & loving myself – who God created me to be – the body he gave me – finding my identity and standing firm in that. Earlier when I said I love to shop, I love looking at different clothes and shoes, I enjoy watching fashion/design shows, etc… this is not all who I am, I am not a materialistic person, but I enjoy all of this because of the creativity of it all; the story that can be told. I enjoy shopping for a new outfit because, for me, it’s fun and I get to express myself; not because I need the next best thing. No longer do I dress to impress others. No longer am I scared and unsure of who I am. No longer do I compare myself to others and look down on myself as not being as beautiful as the girl next to me. No longer do I wish sometimes to be someone else with a different body, with different hair. The Jennie you meet today is stronger, more confident, more creative, has more fun with her outfits, isn’t afraid of trying something new and wearing something that may seem odd to others. I love my style, I love being bold with outfits and how freeing it is to not care what other people may think of what you are wearing!! I’m a creative person over all and that creativity sometimes also comes through in my outfits. Today, I describe my style as feminine, spirited, and elegant. As a teenager, I held more pants and jeans in my closet than I do now. Today, I absolutely love skirts and dresses (dresses a tad more). I occasionally wear pants/slacks to work, but more often than not, you’ll find me in a dress (even on the weekends). My closet is filled with them! I also love rompers and jumpsuits (a.k.a adult “onesies” as some people refer to them as). Yes, they’re more difficult to wear, but they are also tons of fun and can be really cute! You just have to know the appropriate time and place to wear them ; ) My newest jean obsession are the high-waisted jeans ~ and I’d like to take a moment and thank the fashion gods that these came back in style because HALLELUJAH I don’t think this 31 year-old would be able to handle the style jeans she wore in high school and college. 1. Those jeans used to be low cut/low rise and did nothing to flatter a woman’s body, but 2. I was kinda skinny and lanky back then so the muffin-tops that those jeans would create today is a big NO-NO. High-waisted jeans are flattering, SO COMFORTABLE, and make my legs look long because I have a short torso so by the time they land on my waist, my legs be lookin’ extra long haha. Anyone that knows me also knows I enjoy a good pair of heels. Wedges, stilletos (pumps), sandals, block heels… bottom line is, for me, it’s exciting to be a girl and have options to accessorize yourself and get dressed up, and simply have fun! If I were to choose going to the beach or going to a broadway show, it would be the broadway show with a party dress and heels, no doubt. If I had the option between flip flops/sandals or a summer wedge, I’d grab the wedges! For work, put me in a pair of slacks over a dress? No thank you! Stud earrings or earrings that dangle and hang away from the ear (including hoops) – toss the studs and give me the dangly earrings! And the hats… I enjoy wearing hats more than I used to. Oh, and in the fall and winter (my favorites)!! If I have the opportunity to wear scarves, the winter hats, the beanies, headbands, I love it all! Sadly, there’s not as many cold days in Florida but this girl ain’t gonna let that stop her. I’ll fly to Chicago and wear it all! I don’t mind mixing patterns, wearing stripes on top and stripes on the bottom; I’d rather mix colors that compliment each other than be matchy-matchy and trying to look perfect.

I love embracing my femininity, I love the elegance, but I also enjoy being spirited and alive through my fashion and style. At the start of every day and when I stand in my closet piecing together my outfit, I choose to be myself, confident in who I am and comfortable in my own skin. God’s beautiful creation, unique with her own identity. A lady with style and grace.

For the grand finale ~ step back in time to an 8 year old’s tea party…

2 thoughts on “Fashion Evolution

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