Ever since college, more or less, I’ve been trying to figure out my “style.” I definitely didn’t have style in high school and didn’t really care; I knew I wasn’t hip or in fashion and stuck with jeans & t-shirts. At Cal Poly, I mostly stuck with the “college uniform” of jeans + hoodies (or t-shirts or tanks), except for the brief stint where I worked for Express and abused my employee discount (though, mostly to get “party tops” that were only appropriate at whatever offensive “___ & hos” party was happening that weekend. That was also when I fell in love with their Editor pants and I basically won’t wear any other dress pants).
I tried to be more stylish when I was in Europe, but I also had to stick with comfort/travel-convenient for the most part.
The summer after Europe was my first “big girl internship” (which eventually turned into my first “big girl job”) and I had to figure out what “business casual” really meant (in my office in particular, it was really “business casual conservative” — the dress code policy didn’t explicitly state it, but there were no low necklines or even v-necks, no pencil skirts, very few bright/bold colors. Basically, anything you see in a “WEAR TO WORK” article in Cosmo or Women’s Health really wouldn’t fly). I stuck with those Editor dress pants, mainly, and simple button-downs, and gradually started buying other blouses and more casual-but-still-work-appropriate tops.
Around this time, I started thinking I should start dressing “more like a grown-up” out of the office, too. I started noticing how rare it was for some of my friends to wear jeans at all — they were always in dresses or skirts with cute tops. Maybe I should retire my t-shirts, I thought. Maybe I should stop picking up tie-dye tank tops at Target that mostly just get worn to yoga…and occasionally to the bar down the street because who dresses up for the bar nowadays?
So I started perusing fashion blogs…and mostly thought “I’ll never buy/wear/pull that off.” When I went shopping, it was haphazard and half-hearted. Sometimes I’d intentionally go saying “I need more color” or “I need a pair of denim shorts” or “I need some casual pants that aren’t jeans” but there was no guarantee I’d find that. Or I would, but then that thing would get lost in the back of my closet because I wasn’t sure how to wear it or didn’t have anything to wear it with.
This is where I tell you I’m starting a capsule wardrobe.
No, this is where I tell you I’ve finally just embraced the fact that my style is broken-in jeans or shorts with a cute t-shirt or tank top.
I know I prefer colors to neutrals, that I hate crew-neck tees, and the softer, the better.
I know I like fun tops with cool graphics or funny sayings (within reason, some phrases are funny but I don’t necessarily want them advertised on my chest).
I know I prefer loose-fit and I’m adept at layering a bright cami under a light-colored or super loose, flowy top.
I don’t like boxy, mens-cut shirts but I can occasionally work with them and I’m trying to get better with a needle and thread or sewing machine so I can alter some to make them fit better.
That said, I’m working on moving most of my wardrobe in that direction. It’s surprising how many ill-fitting, boxy, crew-neck shirts I’ve hung onto and how many of my tank tops aren’t as cute as I used to think. Because I’m budgeting hard-core right now, and because closet space is at a premium, it’s a slow process. But IF I had all the money to blow on clothes right now…here are the indie, online shops where I’d spend it:
Firedaughter Clothing | on my wishlist: They Will Run and Not Grow Weary & Hey Batter Batter Swing Batter (anyone else automatically hear/say that in Cameron’s voice? “hey batter batter sah-wing batter”)
Craft Beerd (SD local, yo) | on my wishlist: Drink LoCAL & Beerifornia
Pebby Forevee | on my wishlist: Abs Are Great But Have You Tried Donuts & Nothing Tastes Better Than Skinny Feels Except… & The Mouwntains Are Calling and I Must Go
We Love California | on my wishlist: Mosaic Bear & California Grown (basically I want anything that celebrates my golden state)
I know I’m not even scratching the surface of the rad, creative indie shops out there — what else should I add to my wishlist?
P.S. Nothing sponsored, no affiliate links