Thursday, 30 August 2012 14:41

Your Fashion Sweetspot

Written by  Rebecca G. Wilson
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How you love to dress can point you towards the career of your dreams. When I talk about dream job, I am not talking about the highest paying, I am talking about the job you would love the most.   I was reading a NYT interview with 81 year old female scientist Mildred Dresselhaus and she said,"It's a funny thing. Being a scientist, you don't get a big salary, but it's more than you need. When you're busy enjoying what you're doing, you don't spend a lot of money." We look to the older women in our lives, our mothers, grandmothers and older sisters for advice like this and also fashion cues. One of my fave fashion blogs, Advanced Style, shows older women looking fab dressing for themselves. My grandmother not only told my mother how to dress, like a lady in below the knee dresses, she also told my mother to strengthen the weak link in her chain so that my mother suffered through being a physics major at Vassar college when her heart wasn't in it. It took all her courage to change her major to art history in her senior year.

Project Runway judge and Elle editor Nina Garcia recently tweeted a saying by artist Marc Chagall, "If I create from the heart nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing." Consider which clothes you love to wear most and what work for which they would be a good fit. Love nature colors and preppy classics by J. Crew? Maybe you're destined for a lowkey job as an editor or researcher. Maybe your style is more flashy and you need a job where you can dress a certain way and not feel stifled? How sexy can you push the envelope on your work outfits? Or maybe you can strike a balance between what's work and casual appropriate. Wear the strapless dress to the office but covered up with a vest or matador cut jacket that be taken off at a concert later. Gotta dye your hair pink and get inked? Maybe you could become a tattoo artist, hairdresser or dog walker (they won't notice). Can't stop wearing corsets and heels? Maybe you just need to become a rock band promoter. In all of this dressing up and dressing down we find our true selves.


As your life changes so does your wardrobe. I love looking back at old photos and different style phases I went through. Stylist Rachel Zoe talks about doing "an edit" on her show about narrowing down outfit choices for dressing celebrities for A-list events. Do an edit of your wardrobe and narrow down which pieces you really love and which you really need. I'm glad I've held onto some classic treasures over the years. The Trina Turk sheath dress with the 60s floral print that is appropriate now as it was over a decade ago, a 1940s vintage pocketbook with a lucite handle and my trusty Frye campus boots that were in style when my older sister was a teen decades ago. Now I have the confidence to mix a vintage Valentino 70s blouse with modern skinny jeans. As far as basics go, hold onto at least one plain white shirt in case you get offered to work for a caterer in the busy season. Keep a couple of simple long dresses if you really do sometimes work as a substitute teacher. I'm also partial to comfortable walking shoes that look great. There are some staple items that you need but it doesn't mean your whole wardrobe has to be dowdy. Sky high heels are a wardrobe staple of mine even if I don't get to wear them as often as I would like. Consider getting rid of what you never wear. Prioritize, mix and match, and listen to your gut feelings about what you feel comfortable wearing.  


Don't put off fun dressing up with your favorite clothes for the weekend or vacation. Save the killer heels for the hot date or wear them to an art opening by yourself and make the hot date materialize. Buy them a half size too big and put padded inserts in so they will still look killer but be as comfy as sneakers. Wear them to grocery store, Mr. Right might be in the dairy section. Speaking of Mr. Right, a big sign of Mr. Wrong is someone who tells you how you have to dress. It's one thing when a man makes suggestions and you dress to make him happy, it's another when a man tries to mold you into something that doesn't feel right. My ex, the Stanford educated physician, wanted me to wear micro minis to fancy restaurants. I wanted to crawl under a rock when the other customers saw how short my skirt was. At the same time maybe that skirt would work on a rave deejay who wears rainbow tights with Doc Marten punk boots. Or maybe that skirt would work in a nightclub or in the bedroom with a nicer man.  


It also takes a lot of trying on of clothes to appreciate and become comfortable with one's body. I was into punk rock music in my twenties and while all of my friends got tattooed I held back. I loved the inked look but it wasn't for me. One day I realized it's okay too be outwardly tame and I stopped trying to be who I wasn't and found my personal style sweet spot. I happen to like the retro 40s pin up look with a touch of sixties mod Jane Birkin style. It took an appreciation for vintage fashion and Jackie O's style before I understood why my mom's two toned navy and white spectator pumps were cool. Ultimately, finding my true self and a job I truly loved, writing, came about when I embraced my inner good girl. Inwardly there's a wildfire in my brain that cuts loose with words on a page.


Yes, the modern woman's future is uncertain. She has to carve her own path as friends and lovers come and go and sometimes come back again. The only thing constant is change but luckily I'm still a size 8.

Read 2369 times Last modified on Saturday, 15 September 2012 09:23

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