PERSONAL STYLE Q&A: What it means to find it, have it, wear it
People have varying opinions on personal style. To some, picking an outfit is more of a chore than a hobby. For others, styling gives the world a sneak peak into your priorities, confidence, and true colors. I teamed up with friend and blogger Vanessa Ulrich of The Primpy Sheep to talk about personal style to discuss finding it, having it, and wearing it!
How would you describe your personal style now?
Taylor: Eclectic, retro, repurposed. My personal style spans decades and stereotypes; and I love using retro/retro-inspired pieces to prove that a look isn’t defined by one piece, but rather, how you style it.
Vanessa: Elegant, chic, thoughtful. I’m very intentional with the looks I style. My husband says I’m an obsessive perfectionist, and maybe I am. I want everything - the color, proportions, textures - to be balanced just so.
How has it evolved over the years?
Taylor: Believe it or not, I had an incredibly preppy style in college. And blonde hair. I thought brand was important for status, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve transitioned to buying clothes/brands for quality, not status.
Vanessa: I used to have a pretty minimalist wardrobe with very little color. But since I started blogging I’ve found I think more like an art director. I always aim to have one focal point in my looks, to draw the eye, and a few unexpected details that you don’t notice until later.
What are you influenced by; what/who inspires you?
Taylor: I draw inspiration from all walks of life - retro advertisements, runway looks, others on social media.
Vanessa: Editorial photography, both in magazines and from photographers I follow on social media.
What does having a personal style mean to you?
Taylor: It means I get to express my confidence and mood through my clothes. Personal style is an art and when I’ve created a look that’s both flattering and authentic, I feel accomplished.
Vanessa: It’s important to how I feel. If I know I’ve done something creative with a look, I feel energized. If I’m wearing something polished, I feel more confident.
What role does fashion play in society today?
Vanessa: It’s a way to have fun, be creative, and say something about yourself to the world. It’s also an indicator of our social tastes and norms. We are less limited by social norms around dressing than we were 50 years ago, or even five years ago. Those walls will only break down more and more.
Taylor: More and more, brands are creating clothes intended to make social statements. Graphic tees, pops of colors, wider size ranges. We are able to shift cultural and social norms through our clothes and the way we wear them.
The fashion industry is often criticized for its unsustainable environmental practices and propagation of a culture of consumption. How do you think the industry will evolve / what needs to change?
Taylor: I think there is an uproar of initiatives for sustainable style. ThredUp, Poshmark, Tradesy, Rent the Runway. To change the industry, I think we need to focus our energy on encouraging sustainability instead of fighting fast fashion.
Vanessa: I see a strong movement towards sustainable production practices, and the use of renewable, biodegradable materials like organic cotton, silk, and wool. I’m also a huge proponent of buying secondhand.
How do you decide what to wear on any given day?
Taylor: During the week, I try to balance practicality with style. My office is always cold so I wear layers; lab safety requires us to wear closed-toed shoes. When I have an event after work, I will usually wear a work-modified version of my planned outfit keeping a change of shoes in my bag.
Vanessa: Five days out of the week I’m dressing for the office, so I usually grab something comfortable without thinking too much about how it looks. Layers are essential to cope with the office air conditioning. I’ll wear flats but bring a change of shoes and a bright lipstick if I have an event after work.
How do you plan the looks you shoot for your blog?
Taylor: Truth is I’m really bad at planning which looks to shoot! I have a lot of pieces I want to capture, and sometimes I’m not sure if I should 1) re-shoot a certain piece styled differently or 2) shoot a new piece entirely. I try on a bunch of things but only wears what feels right in the moment because no matter the look I choose, confidence makes any photo.
Vanessa: The setting is almost as important as the look itself, so I’ll consider the color palette and shapes of where I’m shooting. I usually try on a bunch of different things and take photos, and then review them to see what meshes together best. It’s not effortless!
What’s your go-to piece in your closet right now?
Vanessa: My red Rothy’s flats. They go with everything and they really brighten up a look.
Taylor: Hmm, I would definitely have to say my lilac blazer is a go-to. It brings color, structure, and a chic edge to any minimal look.
What’s going to be trending this summer?
Vanessa: Pink and red. It’s a color palette that has traditionally been a no-no, but I love the power and energy it conveys. Victoria Beckham did a lot with pink and red for her London Fashion Week show back in February, and I’ve been seeing it all over ever since.
Taylor: Piggy-backing on Vanessa’s answer, two-tone and creative forms of asymmetry - asymmetrical jean skirts to two-toned denim - are definitely trending this summer.
Some questions to think about:
Do you have hallmarks of your personal style? What do they say about you?
Are you still in the process of developing your personal style? What has been your biggest challenge?
Are there pieces that you'd consider authentic to your style but you still won't buy/wear?
What do you want your clothes to say about you?
I'd love to hear one or two of your answers in the comments section; and as always, if you have any questions, FEEL FREE TO ASK! My answer is only a comment away!
To see more of Vanessa's style, be sure to check out her Instagram and website, theprimpysheep.com!
Until next time, keep it authentic!