Rediscovering my style – Part 1*

*I don’t know how many parts there will be. There may only be 1. You will not be reimbursed for any time spent offering me fashion therapy. Read on at your own risk.

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve been in a bit of a style desert recently. I’ve been trying to rediscover who I am if I can dress however I want to. Not as easy as it sounds! Taking my lead from the lovely Steph, I’m going to ‘write it out’.

I’ve been thinking about what appeals to me, in terms of style, looking at my Pinterest account very carefully, considering what outfits I wear and how comfortable I feel in them as a reflection of my style and personality, and trying to assess what’s missing.

I’ve had a good cull of my wardrobe, some things will be kept for another time when they feel fresh again, and some will go to the clothing swap. I think having less distraction in my wardrobe will help.

Perusing Pinterest was an interesting exercise. On Pinterest I have a number of boards, but four of them are dedicated to women whose style I really admire: Cate Blanchett, Yasmin Sewell, Gianna Greco & Tilda Swinton. All of these women are tall, over 30 (I’m pretty sure), striking and have unique and distinct senses of style. So, no surprises there.

Sadly most of the available images are red carpet or editorial so you don’t get as much of a chance to see them in their civvies, but I thought I might just post a favourite look of each of them here just to see what I can figure out from them, and how it might translate into my day to day life. I’ve linked my boards to the title of their name.

Cate Blanchett

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Blue and red, tailored cropped pants, bright coloured shoes (too high for day to day), interesting shaped top with geometric bright print. Cate really pushes the envelope for red carpet wear and I love her choice of gowns for awards ceremonies. I feel like looking “pretty” is not her concern, rather looking authentic and unique is what she’s going for.

Tilda Swinton

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Large oversize coatigan in a mix of 3 geometric but homogeneous prints, tailored pants with a wide tuxedo stripe in a bright colour. Shoes again too high for day wear.ย  I love Tilda’s hair and makeup choices too: bold, androgynous, individual.

Yasmin Sewell

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Although I prefer pants as you know, this outfit is awesome. The bright geometric abstract print of the skirt with the black skivvy and navy trench is amazing. Love the ankle boots as an unexpected shoe choice. This woman just has so many great looks it’s hard to choose.

Gianna Greco

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Gianna dresses in a more fashion forward, corporate way, but there’s something so chic and effortless about the simplicity of her outfits that I really enjoy. She is very structured but still feels like she has such a unique style. I love how androgynous this look is but with the bright red nails and lips.


I’m not sure that this tells me anything I didn’t already know I liked. The challenge is how do I translate these inspirations to my personal style and incorporate them into my day to day wardrobe? I’m so interested in people’s thoughts and suggestions.

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29 thoughts on “Rediscovering my style – Part 1*

  1. You know I am biased, but I figure that one doesn’t need to feel guilty about writing it out. No one is forced to read and I always learn from other people’s dilemmas! Yours is an interesting one. The commonality here is bold, graphic design, with a little but of androgeny built in (although I don’t like that word all that much..OK not at all). These looks are also clean and fresh and what I would refer to as powerful. I also note that these women are all women I would consider to have great hair for the most part. Yasmin S is known for her great curls and when I think of Tilda S I always think of bold, sleek, architectural hair. Cate B is beautiful woman who always seems to go for striking looks. I actually don’t know who the fourth woman is, but I like the sportiness of her look and love the thickness and shininess of her hair. These women all give the impression of being independent and confident. It may be that you are going through a bit of uncertainty because not only are you in a new job – challenging for anyone! – but you are also going through a big transition with your hair. It is an excitibg one, but it does take time to adapt. I am having issues right now with my skin and it takes some adjusting to the change. I know from a super hair colour disaster I once had (snow white black hair that then was “fixed” to copper colour…that forced me to lop it all off) that a change in hair colour can change everything about what looks “right” to your own eye. Even when I change my hairstyle, such as I have recently, I find that the looks that work for me change. One thing I really like about these looks you have posted is that they have structure and thereby a kind of focus. I once had a friend tell me about my state of mind based on paintings I had on my wall and how I had galleried them. He was right, too!

    Hope that armchair analysis helps a bit! I’m going to go away and do more of this myself..though promise not to write about it!

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    1. This is great! Thanks Steph. Very useful things to consider. I like this a lot: “bold, graphic design, with a little but of androgeny built in”. This feels right, and probably a good description of my outfit today.

      I’m interested in the ‘hair theory’. Definitely holds water. I feel like being in a state of flux where it hasn’t quite got to where I want is taking time to adapt to. When I get my hair right (on any given day) I do generally feel a lot better with the overall outfit.

      Lots of food for thought.

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      1. I know that I am very sensitive to both colour and texturein what I wear. Hair was a big one for me when I went through some significant changes. I used to have waist length hair, if you can believe it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Now my grey is coming in slowly so I’m finding it OK to adapt to. The skin issues are more annoying, as I’ve never had them before.

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      2. I’ve had skin ones on and off, but thankfully they seem settled now. It’s always hormones for me!
        I also used to have VERY long hair. When I cut it off, it was more of a big deal for my bestie and my dad than it was for me!!
        I think colour + texture is important to me too. Looking at my Pinterest boards, there’s a lot of velvet, embroidered and brocaded fabrics, and of course a tonne of print. My mum loves any fabric with texture too.

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  2. There is so much to love and distill from these outfits–now *I’m* feeling way inspired! Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett are two of my favorites as well, but the others are new to me–thanks for sharing them. But I really do see aspects of your own style in the outfits here, and the combination of some androgyny, bold colors or graphic prints, and general wearability seems “right” for you, if that makes sense? (And coming from an internet friend, at that!) You can definitely pull off a more edgy style–you’re a performer, you’re tall and striking, and you’re confident in who you are and what your values are. With that foundation, you can–and should!–absolutely take some style risks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. No idea about incorporating this stuff in your everyday life – but I had to comment on how fantastic this style inspiration is! Pretty sure I’ve pinned some of these ladies on my fashion board before without realising who they were.

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    1. I second what Siobhan wrote. I also struggle with the translation from inspiration shots to real life, though I’ve come to think that the problem is how ubiquitous the waifish Olsen-twin-lookalikes are in the images you can find on Pinterest. Throw on a sack on those ladies and they look effortlessly something… if you throw on the same sack on me I look like I’m about to scrub your floors.

      Stephanie’s analysis is great, also because it made me realize how little attention I pay to hair. In the words I found on a blog a million years ago, I’m at a point with my hair length and style where I “no longer have a hair style, I just have hair.” So definitely no hair advice or ideas from me!

      My takeaway so far: the Cate Blanchett shot inverts the principle I see in the other images. I see pants in either a bold saturated color or with a dramatic detail (bold stripe?) and tops that are a good background for them (black turtlenecks, black shirts, white shirts, simple tees). So that’s an outfit I see here. I love the points about texture and graphic prints in the conversation above. More food for thought for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      1. Interesting. I usually go for the Cate combo – interest on top. However when I do interest on the bottom I do really like it. I think the struggle comes in with the fact that I really don’t like plain tops – there has to be some interest. I think that’s why the sweatshirts I’ve made are winners – I can wear them with something interesting on the bottom but they don’t take over. More food for thought for me too. Great observations, thanks.
        And yes, hard that the images available are usually of people who have stylists, enviably stylish wardrobes, clothes hanger figures and endless events to dress for. I think that’s what I love about things like Advanced Style and StyleLikeU – more people that we can relate to, rather than personalities or stars.

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  4. I love the photos you chose as inspiration – the colors and graphic sculptural quality of the outfits are stunning. They seem simple but elegant: classic colors but always with a touch of the unexpected. The looks of these famous ladies remind me of your style now – I can see you rocking these outfits. You have the ‘presence’ to do that already, which is very cool.

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    1. Thanks so much – very kind. I think at the moment I have days where I feel like “Nailed it!” And then other days where I’m like I look soooooooooo BASIC! Glad that the inspiration is present in my current (blogging) wardrobe at least.

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  5. I love your choice of inspiration – I’ve always admired Tilda Swinton’s style. Stephanie is absolutely right that they all have great hair! Gianna’s effortless chic is enviable!

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  6. Very interesting! I thought the Cate Blanchett outfit looked just your sort of thing. Tilda Swinton’s too.
    It’s always hard to have a style change – i find gradual , garment by garment, works best. That way i can try out how i feel without too much commitment.
    Hope you do more of these reflective posts

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    1. Thanks Norma. Even just this bit of revisiting and analysing some inspiration has proven so fruitful. I think that I am discovering this is less about a change but more about distilling / honing my existing style.

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  7. It seems as though you like bold and unique styles. I love the abstract skirt myself. I read once somewhere that you can look at your closet or style inspiration and narrow it down to 3 adjectives. They had a list to look through which made it easier on me, but I came up with feminine, bold, and cool (they seem generic but they really fit my closet and overall taste). I started keeping a board for each style and I feel like it finally makes sense why I like what I like. I definitely donโ€™t go for simple looks. I wish I could find that list of adjectives for you, although it looks like you synthesized some good ones.

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    1. My list is longer than 3 at this stage, but certainly it’s helping! As it writing about it. It’s really clarifying things for me. It’s a good idea to start a board for each too – definitely going to try that.

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  8. I’m with you Naomi on your first two choices – love both those ladies’ style and often look for inspiration in their direction. Thanks for highlighting the other 2 but I haven’t really looked in their direction because of their colouring – I’m more Cate and Tilda/blonde and blue eyes.
    I’m over 50 and still trying to locate “my style” – it’s a lifetime quest…keep going……

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    1. It sure is! I think sometimes being able to sew makes it harder, rather than easier. Because we can make what we can imagine, it can lead us down winding paths! Thanks for your encouragement.

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  9. Hi Naomi. I think writing it out is a way to right it out. You need time to get those ideas up into the conscious mind. Writing is a great way to coax inspiration up and out from the depths of our minds and hearts.

    Visualization is just as important as the kind of analysis you’re doing through Pinterest. This means a certain amount of time on a daily basis where you go to a quiet place and envision how YOU would look, feel, move, act, think and present yourself in any of the outfits that has grabbed your attention or that you have already analyzed consciously. A little daydreaming is a good thing to. The idea is to bring what is going on deep down into the open.

    I developed what I call my personal Style Council because I had to be honest about what I really wanted to do with my dressmaking. Too much hankering after haute couture techniques was killing my enjoyment and any relation my dressmaking had for myself and women who live an everyday life. That is when I got brutal. I started reading the bios or books on advice written by modern designers who thrilled me as I was growing up. Mary Quant, Barbara Hulanicki, and Emily Wilkens brought me back home. When I want to start a new project I think of these designers, the inspiration I feel and even some nostalgia for the best of their works. Then I start applying the advice I get from my quiet time with them.

    Of course I am not really “meeting” with the designers, but getting in touch with the deeper thoughts and inspirations their lives and works trigger in me. I think if you develop the habit of a daily practice-even just 5-10 minutes a day in this exercise, your own inclinations will clearly take shape.

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    1. You are very wise Em. I love the idea of visualisation too. Sometimes I come up with great outfit ideas but I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing in them.
      I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a style council. I need to think about who would be on mine. Hmmmmmm. Something to ponder.
      Currently this is my “going to sleep” thinking time, and with the writing and viewing it’s certainly starting to feel more clear.

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