Hi guys! After quite a bit of thought and reflection, I’ve decided to restructure my blog a bit. I posted a survey on my IG and shared a similar one on Facebook, and most of my readers/followers said that the content they most want to see on ATC is styling advice, fashion trends, and life updates. So I’ve decided that I’m going to focus two posts a month on trends/styling, and two posts a month on life updates/reflections (with a bit of a fashion element woven in!). That’s my goal, anyway. The next couple of months will be insanely busy with Chris’s campaign, so I’m not sure that I’ll meet my four-posts-a-month goal, but I’ll work towards it!
Now, onto the post:
A couple weeks ago, I posted about being “stuck” in an odd in-between phase of life, and that post seemed to resonate with my readers in a big way. Quite a few of my readers are in their late 20s/early 30s, and it’s a weird place to be. One begins to reconcile their wild & free 20s with the entrance of true adulthood. Responsibilities begin to pile up. Careers are firmly established. Kids happen (or they don’t, but man, they happen to a lot of people around you!). You become the proud owner of a mid-size SUV. And you stand there, looking at your closet, thinking you must have multiple personality disorder.
(By the way, if none of this applies to you, you win! Or you’re a gypsy. In that case, you win, too!).
Over the last year or two, I’ve personally had a really hard time reconciling the wardrobe of my 20s with the wardrobe of “RESPONSIBLE ADULTHOOD.” I’ve always had a pretty eclectic taste in clothing.
Somewhere, there’s a picture of 5-year-old Tracy with a matching pink sweater-skirt and blouson-sleeved sweater bedecked with silver polka dots…and a freaking mink (fake, of course) attached at the shoulder.
I started thrifting at age 13, and my love affair with vintage followed soon after. By my early 20s, I had developed a style sense that was unique for sure (a mix of high and low fashion, vintage, and trends), but it was ME. And it worked. Over the last couple of years, it’s started to feel all wrong. It’s not me anymore, and it doesn’t work. The pieces I had loved so dearly seem…off. They’re either too immature (I’m looking at you, Forever21 crop tops), or so mature that they age me when I wear them (many of my vintage pieces worked in my 20s when I was still young enough to not look like a school-marm).
But now, at 32, for the first time, I feel…restricted. I’ve never felt the need to conform to the sartorial confines of societal norms, but as I’m transitioning into a new phase of my life, I feel as though it’s time to “grow up” a bit with my wardrobe (Before you get triggered by that statement: This post has very little to do with actual age and everything to do with the feelings associated with certain transitional stages in one’s life.).
While navigating this new feeling of wardrobe dissonance, I’ve come up with a few ground rules:
1. Invest in wardrobe basics and build around them.
A great pair of jeans, a go-to pair of black slacks, a wear-with-anything sweater – these are all excellent pieces to own at any age. I look to places like Nordstrom, J. Crew, and Madewell for pieces that won’t totally break the bank but that I know will carry me through several seasons. Then, I can add a bit of my own personal flair through a unique top, pair of shoes, or accessories. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Accessorize like you mean it.
Be purposeful about accessories. The right necklace can totally give an otherwise-basic outfit a unique personal vibe. I love to stack on bracelets that hold meaning to me or wear a vintage heirloom necklace. And one of my favorite rings to throw on with an outfit is my Alex & Ani Harry Potter ring, because, duh.
3. Sit on trendy purchases for a few days.
At the beginning of the month, I really really really wanted to buy a pair of white booties I had seen at Nordstrom last month, but they’re pretty darn trendy. Rather than just buying them on a whim, I waited a couple of days. I screenshotted a pair. I even put a poll on my IG stories asking whether or not I should buy them (and shoutout to my girl Noelle who messaged me a doppelgänger pair at half the price). I kept pulling outfits out of my closet that I know would look killer with the boots. And after three days of this vacillating, I ordered the less expensive pair. Waiting it out gave me a better perspective on whether or not I’d wear the boots and how I’d style them if I bought them. I’m learning to train my click-happy trend-loving impulses, and it’s something I’m going to continue to work on into the new year.
P.S. Watch for those boots on a future trend-spotting post!
4. If you ARE going to dive into a trend, don’t spend tons of cash on it.
With the aforementioned white boots, I was held back by the $90 price tag on the original pair I had seen (they’re here if you’re curious). I didn’t want to spend that much on a shoe that I knew I’d only wear for a season or two. Before I invest in a trend, I sometimes like to research it to see how long it’s been around (if it’s not already apparent – I’m looking at you, cold-shoulder shirts 😒) and where and when it originated. Then, I’ll do a little trend forecasting and look at recent runway shows and arrivals for the upcoming season at some of the trendier stores. Then, if it’s a trend I’m still into, I’ll do a keyword search on sites like Forever21, H&M, Asos, Zara, Chicwish, Shein, Francesca’s, Glamorous, and Target to see if I can find a similar piece at a more palatable price-point. These sites all carry trendy clothes, shoes, and accessories at pretty low prices.
5. Recognize the restrictions, and work within or around them.
This rule is my favorite, because it allows for me to get a little creative and flex my fashion chops. So, it’s probably not appropriate for a 32-year-old curvy high school teacher to wear a corseted t-shirt dress, ala Kylie Jenner, right?
God bless her, she pulls it off. I’m self-aware enough to know that this is probably an area where some restrictions apply for me sartorially. But I love the look and know that it’d be super-flattering on me (gimme ALL the waist-cinching, please!). Enter a bit of creativity.
Images by Cristin Goss of Goss Boss
Working around restrictions can present a bit of a challenge at times, but the discomfort is where we grow, right? If you’re completely stuck, Pinterest is one of my go-tos for outfit ideas. I just type in “_______ outfit ideas” or “ways to wear _______” to find fresh takes on things I want to wear. I also *adore* ModCloth’s grown-up appropriate vintage-inspired pieces, and their styling is always on point. If you’re *still* stuck, ask a friend, or feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram or message me on Facebook. Sometimes, just getting the opinion of someone else can open your eyes to a brand new way to wear a piece. You may not even like the suggestion, but it may lead you to a new thought process about an article of clothing or an accessory.
Last, but not least, when you DO decide to wear something “restricted,” wear it with confidence! Confidence can sell almost any outfit.
Well, this post was sort of all over the place, but I hope it provided some insight and value for you! How do YOU navigate your own feelings of “restriction” wardrobe-wise? I’d love to hear your ideas! Leave me a comment and let me know!
Have an awesome day,
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