Maybe, when you are wondering what your style is, and how to define it, and how it has changed, it just finds you.
A few days ago, I suddenly looked down at myself, and noticed how everything (or the combination of things) that I was wearing seemed comfortable, appropriate, and somehow “grown-up”. I especially liked this notion, as I hadn’t intended that effect – the whole outfit was somewhat happenstance. For the record I was wearing looseish , cropped, tailored black cotton trousers (of a general shape which I used to not understand: neither aggressively baggy, nor fitted; a shape which I now love, but used to associate with people who either weren’t comfortable with their style or their body. Clearly, I read that one completely wrong); a richly patterned silk blouse which I love, and which has survived being accidentally washed at 60 degrees in the washing machine; red ballet flats (a shoe I always thought pretty, if safe, and completely unsuited to my long thin feet. My mind was changed by my sister passing on a Brora pair she somehow acquired. I have worn them into the ground, simply because they somehow go with everything, and once they are on, they are easier to wear than anything else); a short black hooded, waisted, showerproof(ish) coat, and swinging from my wrist, a good old-fashioned handbag (albeit blue mock-croc).
I liked how classic and timeless what I was wearing looked like, and also how it felt comfortable and effortless, and felt like me. And it WAS effortless. The pants were my only clean, ironed pair on a Friday, the shirt was chosen for its long sleeves as the temperature is dropping, the coat was in case it rained, the shoes were for running up and down stairs all day. The Furla bag is an old (six or seven years old) one that I never wore as much as I thought I would, maybe because it is quite structured. For years I only wore shoulder or cross-body bags, and this one’s strap was lost long ago. But it turns out I like how very handbaggy it is, and holding a bag by the handle is a habit one easily picks up again. Yes, of course, sometimes I want to have both hands free, but generally I like the added layer of being conscious that I am carrying a bag.
As an antidote to feeling accidentally grownup, on the following Monday I revived an old favorite outfit – a pretty, easy tunic dress, black leggings, black leather sneakers… and I felt off all day. It felt like something I used to wear (and indeed it was, I have often worn that exact outfit), but I didn’t feel as though it represented me now, and so it felt less comfortable than Friday’s outfit, despite being ostensibly MORE comfortable. I don’t think it was the casualness that put me off, more that it felt like a throwback on my part, which reminded me that I am enjoying the new-found thrill of working out what grown-up me wears.