Discovering Personal Style


Jacket: Theory sz 00  Shell: H&M; sz 2  Sandals: Target sz 5.5 (similar)
Akoya pearls: eBay  Ring: YSL Coral Arty

Crochet skirt courtesy of Modcloth (very similar)

A few months ago, I entered a contest for which I had to define my personal style. Although I’ve had a keen interest in clothing since my early teens, and gleefully took home fashion superlatives in HS – I never really had my own sense of style. It was hard enough to find “adult” clothing that fit, without paying an arm and a leg for alterations. Whine whine whine.

Coming out of college, I wanted professionalism during the week, yet short shorts on the weekends. I wanted to look more mature, but not plain. With these goals in mind, through personal trial and error and the encouragement of friends (both helpful blog friends and a super-critical-but-well-intentioned friend who mandates accessorizing), I’m slowly developing a style that is my own.

These days I combine feminine details with tailored pieces, pair bargain finds with investments, and mix fast fashion with classic staples. I strive to look put-together, yet practical for my everyday life.
While writing up this post, I noticed how eclectic the brands were within this outfit. Theory – my all-time favorite brand for tailored suiting. H&M; – fast fashion (and select work pieces) that often come in teeny sizes. Target – adore their cheap and trendy shoes starting in sz 5.5. Modcloth and ebay – supporting independent designers and small businesses. The mish-mosh of brands in this outfit represents just a tidbit of options out there that petite women have, and confirms that size should not be used as an excuse to not have personal style.

I also noticed that none of the pieces in this outfit are in petite sizing. I stress the importance of simple alterations, especially on items in non-petite sizing. For the jacket in 00 regular, I got the sleeves shortened. For the blouse in sz 2, I took up the straps. And for the skirt in a generic sz Small, I did some DIY slimming, and am hoisting the waist up with a snug belt. I wish I had a “before” photo to show what a difference these small adjustments make, collectively.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I’ve come a long way in dressing since early posts. I hope that you guys have gotten as much out of the online community as I have.

Readers – Can you define your personal style? What factors have influenced it?

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  1. The funny thing is, I used to have a personal style which I could call my own. Very classic, very streamlined. I used Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn as my examples. But then, after about 8 years of climbing the corporate ladder, I somehow got bored of creating image and just wore whatever what makes me happy, as long as it's appropriate. I learned to have fun with clothes, something a success, sometimes a flop. I think, it's basically because after several years, I have reached a level at work where I can get away with wearing anything I want (again, as long as it's appropriate). I noticed that after a certain level, the professional women I know stopped caring about what people would think about them THAT much, because they have proven themselves (and people still talk anyway, we don't have many female senior managers in the office, most of them dress like men or my aunties).
    Sometimes I wonder though, what would I be like if I decided to stay in the US and pursue my career there instead of here in Indonesia. Perhaps it would be different? Wondering…

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season

    Posted 8.25.12 Reply
  2. Wendy wrote:

    Well said Jean!
    I love the style of Anthropology and I get most of my clothes from them. They have great tops that fit petites, especially their outerwear. They also have some items made specifically in petite sizing.

    Posted 5.28.11 Reply

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