Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musings...Personal Style {Part Two}

I have continued to think quite a lot about my Personal Style since the initial post that I wrote here about it last December. I finally sat down to write out a couple of those thoughts to share with all of you.

"Personal style is about a sense of yourself, a sense of what you believe in and wearing what you like." -Ralph Lauren


My personal style is more 'dressed up' by nature. I have never been one to dress extremely casual, and didn't even own a pair of blue jeans up until a couple years ago. I like to wear dresses, skirts, and feminine blouses or tops on a daily basis. I fix my hair and put on makeup every day (except when I'm ill), even if I'm just going to be spending it at home. As I said on Gigi's post here the other day (she asked us if we are considered 'dressed up' by family, friends, other moms, etc)... 

I have been overdressing (aka 'dressed up') since the time a was a little girl. In fact, knowing my mother, it is probably safe to say that I have been overdressed since the day I was born. It is part of who I am, and what makes me, me…just like it makes every other woman who does it part of who she is. :) It used to bother me to be dressed up more than other people, but now I just don't let it. Besides, I say that we are the ones actually dressed appropriately, and everyone else is simply underdressed (society as a whole seems to be way too casual these days when it comes to their appearance, IMO). I have tried on occasion to dress 'down', but I just do not feel like 'me' when I do. Over time friends, family, and other people I interact with have come to accept that it is part of who I am, and now I rarely get comments about it. Instead, I usually receive compliments and have even noticed that other moms put a little more thought into the way they dress now, too. I say that you should stay true to yourself and your own personal style. Don't let the opinions of others change who you are. Perhaps there are other women where you live that would like to dress up a little bit more (but don't since they would feel out of place), and just need someone like you to inspire them to do so. :)

"Personal style has to do with your own confidence. And the sense of knowing what looks good on you, and a way of expressing your individuality. Putting yourself together in an individual statement is what I most admire. And when you have confidence, I think it shows." - Ralph Lauren

7.16.11
Ok...so when I say that my personal style is more 'dressed up' by nature, I'm not talking about wearing a ball gown to go grocery shopping or wearing stilettos to take the boys to the park, but in a day and age where it is not uncommon to see women at the store in pajama pants or even house slippers (yes, I have personally witnessed this), the mere act of wearing a dress and nice accessories is often considered to be 'dressed up'. Like I have mentioned before, I personally feel that society as a whole seems to be way too casual these days when it comes to their appearance...we are the ones actually dressed appropriately, and everyone else is simply underdressed (I'm not referring to 'casual chic' looks such as denim worn with a feminine blouse or nice blazer, btw...I do that occasionally, too). I personally long for a return to the days of 'Old Hollywood Glamour' where people actually 'dressed' for events (traveling on a plane, parties, church, etc.), made an effort on their appearance, and most importantly were well-groomed. Is this a bit unrealistic? Perhaps, but one thing I can do and choose to do, is try to make my little piece of the world a little more glamorous on a daily basis.

Now trust me, my life truly is far from glamorous! I have four very energetic boys who track dirt into my house constantly, do not find it necessary at all to put their dirty clothes in the hamper (choosing instead to leave them lying on their bedroom floor), and eat constantly so that there always seems to be dirty dishes in my sink, plus one of them is a special needs child with a physical disability who requires extra attention, and I homeschool the three oldest. My life is often crazy and hectic, but I find that (for me personally) taking a little time to do hair, makeup, and dress in something that makes me feel good about myself helps me face the day with more energy, a better perspective, and overall sense of well being. 

Finding Time...

I know it can be difficult to find time to take care of yourself, do hair and makeup, sometimes even get dressed...especially if you are a mother, and even more so if you are a mother of a baby or small children. I have found from personal experience over time though, that if you can spare just 20 minutes or so for yourself, that it can be done. Here is my morning routine:

*I usually wake up between 5 and 6 am, fix myself a cup of tea, check emails, start writing that day's blog post if I haven't done it the day before, and enjoy some quiet 'me' time before the rest of the house is awake.

*7:30 am -  I wake my husband so he can start getting ready to go to work. This is also when I get ready. (The boys are usually up by now, but stay in their rooms playing until 8:30 or 9:00 am when I call them for breakfast.) I fix my hair first, and normally wear it in an updo. This has become part of my 'signature' style. I have had it shorter but it just doesn't feel like 'me'. I have decided that I will continue to let it grow and always keep it longer (even as I grow older) so that I can always wear it in some form of updo. Next is makeup...after many years of practice, this really doesn't take all that long, and makes me feel much better about my appearance. Then I get a quick bath and get dressed. The entire process usually takes me around 20 minutes, (sometimes a bit more or less) and gets my day off to an earlier and hopefully more productive start. :)

 This is what I'm wearing today...

7.18.11
*8:00 am - I make our bed, then head to the kitchen to put on my apron and make my husband his cup of tea. Then I throw in a load of laundry, straighten the house and put away anything that may be out of place.

*8:30 am - I see my husband off to work and start making breakfast for the boys and myself. We finish eating and then get ready to start school.

I have found that by getting myself ready first thing in the morning and wearing something that makes me feel pretty (even if I'm not going anywhere for the day), I have a much better 'outlook' on my day and often seem to get more accomplished. It may not be for everyone, but it works for me. :)

What are your thoughts on your own Personal Style? Have you defined your own yet or is it still in transition? How do you like to dress when you're at home? Please do share... I'd love to hear your thoughts ! :)

Have a lovely day!

xoxo,

23 comments:

  1. i love the first ralph lauren quote you used. it sums it up perfectly for me.

    i also love this post. although i do wear jeans quite often, i always feel like i'm dressed. maybe not overdressed but definitely presentable and appropriate. i love that you take the time each day for yourself. i always did that too when my boys were small. it's hard to find the time but if it is a priority, you will find the time!

    i also love what you are wearing today! so cute.

    xo
    janet

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    1. Thanks Janet! I do think it's important to take time for yourself each day, and you are right...if you make it a priority you will be able to find the time. :)

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  2. I've been thinking a lot about personal style lately. My styles varies with the weather-which is strange isn't it? I wear jeans, sweaters, scarves and boots in the winter, and dresses, skirts and sandals in the spring/summer. Once in awhile dresses and tights and boots in the fall, but not not often. What I am drawn to varies from this, http://www.jcrew.com/womens_feature/NewArrivals/suiting/PRDOVR~67443/67443.jsp, classic tailored piece to this modern luxe piece, http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/vince-satin-georgette-dress/3263959?origin=PredictiveSearch&resultback=786. Though I'd style the Vince dress with a wedge or chunky heel, it is still more of an urban style than my typical classic look. My endless challenge is shopping for my casual lifestyle. I love dressy well-made clothes and fine fabric.

    Like you I am up showered, blow dried and wearing light make up whether I'm leaving the house or not.

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    1. Hi Julie! I love both of those dresses, and the color of each one is divine. I think the Vince dress would be great worn more casually this spring and summer, too. Like you said on your blog post today, you could easily wear it now when your weather is a bit cooler, and also during the summer with sandals. While it may be a tad pricey, your CPW would end up making it much less. :)

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  3. Dear FFM,
    what a great post! Firstly, I love that you have found that inner peace and joy in your daily life comes to you from certain small thoughtful acts for yourself as well as for your family. That is truly admirable. I was raised in a country where dressing and grooming are still more formal in general than in the United States. My style (I articulated to myself late last year) is classic and also urban chic (subdued sexy). :) It felt really great when I figured out who I feel most comfortable being. I also love the RL quote you put up - especially the fact that he points out that style is also about what you believe in. That is true on all levels.

    I have a 3 year old and a full time job. Weekends and Fridays (when i work from home) can be tough if I just let the time get frittered away. I have also found, like you, that the earlier the start that I get, the better my day goes. And the better I dress, the more present I feel!

    I embarked on a massive style-acquisition expedition about 2 years ago. I know this is somewht normal for new moms. For me it has been a release and a way to really come into my own. I'm glad I've done it. But I also feel the need to start giving my real life more importance and meaning. To that end, I found your description of a typical day really heartening. I will try taking me time in the morning rather than late at night (which is what I do right now, with bad TV).

    Anyway, thank you, and great post!

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    1. Thank you maqsad! In my experience, having 'me' time in the morning really does get the day off to a better start. It is nice to be able to read and 'think' without all the extra noise and interruptions. Plus it gives me a 'head start' on my day, so that I don't always feel as if I'm running one step behind. :)

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  4. I have had so many comments when people just stop by because I look all dressed up. They say, "were you just going somewhere?" When I used to take my kids to target when they were younger, people would think we were going to have our picture taken! lol. I try to be "fixed up" by the time my husband leaves in the morning so he can remember me looking cute. He also likes to pick out something to wear that is in the same color scheme as my outfit so it helps to be dressed early. :)
    xoxo,
    Sandee

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    1. Hi Sandee! I do the same thing for my husband, plus I freshen up my makeup and 'fix' myself up a bit again before he gets home, too. :)

      Oh, and I've also gotten the 'were you just going somewhere' comment before, too. So sad that people think you have to be going somewhere to look nice these days!

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  5. FFM we have so much in common, right down to hairstyle. As you know I chopped my hair shorter last year but have since grown it out as I have finally embraced the updo as my signature hair style. It is easy and it suits my lifestyle and wardrobe, so neat that you have come to the same conclusion!
    I also wear my apron over a dress or skirt every day and I always wear a little makeup, a bit of concealer, mascara and always lipstick, it takes no time and it makes such a difference.
    We do live in an age of underdress and sadly I think the manners are reflecting that as well.
    I know that the grace and beauty you present to your husband and children every day is so appreciated by them, they will always remember the care you take for them, it's a sign of your devotion to your family!

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    1. Dani, I completely agree that we do have so much in common! Not only in our clothing preferences, but the way we take care of our households and ourselves, among other things. I am also in complete agreement with you about manners being reflective of the times. I am working hard to teach my boys their manners, not only at the dinner table, but for every area of life. :)

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  6. I'll chime in "me too" on many of your points. I'm one of those "overdressed" women as well, though like you I tend to view everyone else as being underdressed. It's always been hard for me to "dress down" --in fact, for many years I never even owned a pair of jeans. My waist is two sizes smaller than my hips, so it's hard to find pants that fit--because skirts are easier to alter, you find me in the most of the time.

    And, like you and DaniBP, I have long hair that I usually wear up. My very straight hair won't hold a set or style of any sort, so it's so much easier to wear it in a twist, chignon, or ballerina bun than having to fuss with a blow dryer and curling iron every morning.

    Sometimes it's a little difficult to deal with the stated or implied "Why are you so dressed up?" I prefer to think of it as just being myself. Thanks to you and the others in the blogosphere I know I'm not alone! :-)

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    1. Hexicon, you are definitely not alone! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment today! :)

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  7. FFM - great post! I remember being 5 years old and my mother (who did NOT care for style) sent me for kindergarten graduation photo in the most god-awful dress. I was mortified, when I saw what the other girls were wearing and my mother could just not understand my distress! Now I do love to dress up and while I do not necessarily get the "you are so overdressed" (I do work in a professional environment) I do get the "you wear colour!", since everyone else I work with wear black or grey.

    I think style evolves, but I tell you, style (and more importantly, my family, gets me up in the morning!

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    1. Thank you WMM! I'm so sorry to hear about the dress you had to wear for your kindergarten graduation photo! Luckily something good did come out of since you turned out be a woman who not only loves to dress up, but also embraces color. :)

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  8. This is such an interesting post to me because, I too, am considered by me peers to be overdressed. When I was in junior high, a few girls used to tease me by calling me "princess", as if dressing nicely made me an unapproachable snob. Now, at the age of 39, I am quite comfortable with and proud of my style. It's funny, now that I am a SAHM, my personal style is quite casual to me, but my friends always comment on how put together I always look. I agree, it doesn't really take much to pull yourself together, but those few extra minutes make a huge difference. I guess I have my mom to thank - she still will not wear jeans outside of the house!

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    1. ifky12: It feels good to get to a point in life where you feel comfortable with your style, doesn't it? I agree that the few extra minutes it takes to pull yourself together makes a world of difference in the way you feel and handle the entire day...it's definitely worth taking the time to do it. :)

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  9. FFM, thank you for this post and sharing the glimpse of your daily routine. I wish I woudl wake up earlier to start my day but I am really a night owl so I go to bed late and wake up in the last minute. I would also not leave house without my hair done and some make up on. I don't get comments about being overdressed but that's because I work in office environment and most people dress similarly if with less color like WMM said. I have to tell this is one of the reason I like my job, it gives me an opportunity to dress up. I had a surgery couple of years ago and I was working from home for two months, I could not wait to go back to my pencil skirts, lol. So I really admire SAHMs like you or Dani, who still find the motivation to dress up, I think it sends different message to the kids and a husbands and everybody around, I LOVE to see some women in my neighborhood that always look nice, despite having a busy life and few little ones to take care of.

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  10. I am always dressed, hair styled and a little make up on. I feel the same way, FFM. It makes me feel put together and ready to face my day, whether I'm going to work or cleaning my house. Also like you, people in my life have come to accept it as the way I am and I no longer get comments about how overdressed I am. I still get those from acquaintances though, or people who don't know me well or see me often. I live in the most laid back place in the country I swear, and most people dress very casually and often inappropriately so, such as the woman at the funeral I recently attended in black spaghetti strap top and denim capris with flip flops. I'm not judgmental, but gee whiz, to a funeral?! In a house of worship? Ah well, to each their own.

    This was a great post, FFM. I get so much inspiration from your blog.

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    1. Thanks Desert Flower! I think we are at a tie when it comes to living in the most laid back place in the country. ;) Like you, I honestly cannot believe how inappropriately a lot of people dress these days, especially when attending weddings, funerals, and church.

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  11. Good morning, FFM! I enjoy this subject and have talked about it often. I'm a "cronically" overdressed women living in the laziest, least fashion savvy city in America...Portland, Oregon (my opinion of course). Sure it rains alot and everyone is outdoorsy and athletic, but that's no excuse to wear your yoga clothes and rain gear to every occasion! I just wish people would dress for the occassion. Last year I purchased a whole new wardrobe and I bought what I consider my true style. I like classic and vintage styles and cuts in pretty bright colors. I like a classic "American" look....capri pants, button downs in pretty ginghams and stripes, straight and pencil skirts, dresses and I love accessories. I have LOTS of purses, scarves, gloves, and lots of jewerly. I don't wear high heels...I love flats and very low heels. My signature hairdo is a pixie, which I've worn almost my entire life. I like a defined eyebrow, winged eyeliner and a bright full on lipstick. If I were to describe my look inspiration is the 50's woman...NOT pinup! A real 50's lady. I don't like "sexy" or revealing clothing. I like to look conservative, but with bright colors and patterns. I'm more casual at home, but when I do my shopping, errands, etc. I always dress nicely. And I'm always asked by women "where are you going ALL dressed up?" and when I say "just doing my errands" I hear "dressed like THAT!!!". This used to make me mad, but now I just smile and think to myself "lady, you would be happier if you would clean up and dress up to do your errands and shopping". I experience the friendliest salespeople, clerks, and people when I look nice. I get the best service and help too. People respond very nicely to me and smile and give me nice compliments on my clothing. People like "pretty"....it makes them happy. I wish more women would realize that their boring everyday errands and shopping are so much more pleasant and enjoyable when they take time to fix ourselves up.

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    1. Hi straycat! You are SO right that everyday errands and shopping are much more pleasant when you take the time to fix yourself up before leaving the house to do them. I really wish that more women would realize this, too. Like Coco Chanel said: “I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” Thank you for stopping! Have a lovely afternoon! :)

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  12. This is a great post, FFM! I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing. :)

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