The million dollar question here is, does our evolution to style stop at some point? Does it? For one, my whole quest and journey to blogging was to chronicle my evolution to personal style. But it all became moot at some point. At one point, I had nothing to write about. And sometimes, when I’m commuting to work and observe women dressed in commuter shoes and blazers with shoulder pads, or with really poofy bangs and heavy eyeliner, or in black platform sandals and skinny jeans and a waist belt with lots of gold chain necklaces. Then I look down and observe the menswear blazer over my shoulders paired with high-waist denim cutoffs and boots and think to myself: Do women reach a style apex at a certain point that they just can’t recover from? And, I say recover because it’s like we get stuck in an era that we believe both defines our “truest selves” and also encapsulates a heyday.
When I discovered menswear blazers and reworked Levi’s denim shorts in 2010, I legitimately underwent a transformation. Suddenly, I had all the clothes that I could ever need and thus just had to figure out footwear. Needless to say, I was also in my twenties and had launched my first namesake blog in tandem with a major switch to my career journey. I was also so in love with my best friend of 7+ years who then became my really amazing husband for 7+ and going strong! – and all of it made being alive so much fun. Everything was new! And changing! In a good way! My 20s were off to such a cool start. Look, it’s not like I’m inching towards the end of them while grasping for the inside of a garbage dispenser, but a lot of life happens in your late 20s, which no one had told me about before I googled, “why are the end of my 20s so hard?” (Saturn rising, apparently, but also, you start to realize things you don’t like about yourself that have always been true but which you never previously acknowledged or recognized.)
When I settle into a pair of jeans and reach for my blazer, I think that I’m trying to recreate my early 20s. That makes me feel like Regina George’s mother in Mean Girls, who just didn’t get that she wasn’t her daughter’s peer decked in Juicy Couture terries. The thing is, though, I don’t even want to go back to my early 20s. I was so confused and unsure and spent most of it feeling like I was in the process of emerging from that awkward teenage days. I’ve been mentally ready to grow past my former self since I first wanted to start trying for a baby (and if not then, definitely last August when I bought my first pair of sensible trousers). Is it weird that my style hasn’t technically changed to reflect that? That I could still want to look like a former version of me, even though I don’t necessarily want to feel like her? Could I simultaneously feel, on the one hand, this intense sense of imposter syndrome when I wear clothes that are indicative of a former me, but on the other, completely self-understood? Is that feeling of self-understanding actually just my comfort zone?
It’s all so confusing because here I’ve been operating on the premise that style is a reflection of where and who we are in real time. Like a temporary tattoo. But maybe that’s not true at all. Maybe the magic is in the tension unwittingly created between who we are and who we were and the progress it took to get to the present.
For what it’s worth, I am eager for warmer weather — with my vintage denim jeans, menswear blazers, et al.
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