Personal style is something you have whether you mean to or not. A lot of us can instantly say who we look to for inspiration — for instance I love Maja Ivarsson‘s (above) rock star style — while many times it’s a matter of working backwards from what you wear now to where you began. My personal influences are pretty all over the place, and they might not be what you’d expect.
I feel like I have a lot of different egos. No voices in my head or anything, but I wake up every day feeling a little bit different about my wardrobe and what I want to be that day. In college I used to have such a messy room, I’d have a pile of clothes and literally choose colors I liked together, steam those clothes (if I was lucky) and wear them that day. It made for some interesting ensembles. It also contributed to my staggering collection of layerable pieces. Cardigans, leg warmers, scarves, capes. Some days the hard part is getting started, and other days the hard part is editing. Here are the different influences that spring to mind in my daily process:
Jenna Lyons. She’s the big head honcho at J. Crew, and while that sounds pretty typical to like someone who is a president of a fashion line, the lady herself has fabulous taste and an eye for the uncommon. I love her personal style and how it translates to the brand. She represents my preppy southern roots and my need to look polished sometimes. My other prim influences include: Holly Golightly, Ashley Olsen, and I guess Alexa Chung, on her more casual days.
Dudes. Yep, I totally envy the way a threadbare tee falls on a bony frame and the hipless silhouette of a skinny guy. This is probably because I never hit puberty and have the super-womanly measurements of 32-26-36. With the exception of having impossibly weak shoulders, things fit me about like they would a lanky young boy, so I love things like chinos, vintage tees, and school-uniform-issue oxford shirts. And god forbid the shirts have darts in them or are cut for a woman. Or worse if they have stretch built in… ha! Talk about funny-looking. My dude icons include: Hutch Harris of The Thermals (above), Andy Warhol, and Zach Condon of Beirut. Oh, and Austin Scarlett.
Gender-Ambiguous Cartoon characters. This also might have something to do with my totally unwomanly shape. I’ve always identified with gender-ambiguous cartoon characters like Princess Mononoke and Peter Pan, ever since I was a kid. Link from the Legend of Zelda goes in that category, too.
My Own Wardrobe Graveyard. Sometimes you just have to feel invincible. For me that means wearing a mess of greyscale like I used to in my bike-riding, show-going art school days. I’ll crack out my old black skinny jeans and just build until I’ve got a disguise of layers for myself. This really only works in cold weather. It falls somewhere in between Lisbeth Salander and a bag lady. It’s good stuff. It’s why I still can’t manage to part with my facial piercings and my stretched ears. And why I will continue getting tattooed.
The best thing that ever happened to me was when I stopped trying to be one thing. A lot of people feel more comfortable when they know you as one thing, but life isn’t about making the people around you comfortable. It’s about making yourself happy. My personal style is changing all the time, and I’m always collecting inspiration from my surroundings. Do I fancy myself a fashionista? Not hardly. But I know a lot, and knowing the rules is the first step toward breaking them.
Who are your style influences? From whom or where do you draw inspiration?