bohemian

(noun) : a person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.

I’ve been attracted to the bohemian, Free People, aesthetic for many years now, but I never really believed I could pull it off. Maybe I like it because I am a Type A personality; I might be imaginative, but I certainly don’t live outside societal bounds or push the limits very far. I am a rule follower. But clothing allows for a little eccentricity without real risk, at least on your days off. My favorite thrift store in town occasionally carries clothing from Free People in my size and I’ve begun snatching it up when I can find it.

boho

boho 

Moving allows for reinvention. I can be anything I want to be; I’m not barred by past assumptions. And I realize I never really was.

fall prints

I ordered three StyleMint tees on sale through an eBay flash sale and am quite excited about the outfit possibilities (if they ever arrive; I’m prepared to leave some unsatisfactory feedback about shipping times).

fallprints

fallprints

To control my shopaholic tendencies, I try to pair new items with items very similar to what I have in my closet, to brainstorm in a practical and frugal way.

Outfit 1: Thrifted and altered polka dot cardigan; StyleMint tee; handmade knit skirt; knee high socks, Minnetonka moccasins purchased on eBay for $10; ModCloth watch (I don’t actually own that one…yet – Christmas present?)

Outfit 2: StyleMint tee; (of)matter necklace purchased with credit; high waist jeans; Target cardigan (my favorite from last season); Vera Bradley Saddle Up bag in Ellie Blue purchased for $30 on eBay (regular price, $68)

What I enjoy about having this blog, one with an open title, is that there are no rules. I can write on local events, daily experience, and style without worrying about whether or not I’m staying within my own guidelines. There are no guidelines! I think that personal style is a superficial topic. But I also think it’s fun to assess my wardrobe. Getting dressed is like drawing on a chalkboard: an outfit is temporary but it can still be thoughtful and inspiring.

On a slightly different note, I’m fairly certain that I need to go all secondhand/fair trade with my purchases. To use an evangelical term, I have felt convicted – for at least the past 9 months – that supporting companies that source and produce their goods in countries without fair labor standards is unethical, is sinful. If you followed me at my old blog, you’ll recall that I instated a “Secondhand Year” challenge, in which I determined to buy only secondhand and fair trade items for the entire year. I failed due to my own greed and lack of motivation. But I want to pick it back up. Even though keeping up with trends is the worst reason to shop ethically, I realized that it’s not as difficult as one might think to be fashionable and moral at the same time; it just takes a bit more effort. A combination of thrifting, buying secondhand on sites like eBay and etsy, and purchasing from fair trade companies provides a variety of products and price ranges. Companies like ModCloth also allow you to search by “Made in USA.”

I will stop rambling now and allow you to get on with your day.

personal style

I have always had a lot of confidence in my taste and ability to mix and match patterns and colors to make visually interesting outfits and rooms. I think I have a good eye and know what suits my body type. But occasionally, I get stuck. In college, I had a fun time experimenting with style, color, and form. After graduating, however, my job as a framer required a lackluster uniform of khaki pants, brown closed-toe shoes, and modest tops (and an ill-fitting, blue vest emblazoned with the corporate logo). That paired with a professional need to look my age (I was often mistaken for a high schooler) took a toll on my daily style. I had a style blog the whole time, too, but I didn’t always feel that put together.

I recently asked a ModCloth ModStylist to take a look at my current comforts and help bring me out of my box of striped tops and plain, knit skirts. I had low expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised by the result. It helps to get an outside perspective on personal style in the same way it helps to talk out any other issue with a friend. I came out of the brief interchange with a more defined sense of my taste and renewed enjoyment of getting dressed in the mornings.

The polyvore set ModStylist Amy put together is below (click on the embedded set to view product information; you will be redirected to polyvore). I let her know that I am most drawn to floral and polka dot prints, have a pear-shaped figure, and admire Kate Bosworth’s style, as well as silhouettes from the 70s and 90s.

Looks for Leah

Looks for Leah

I don’t see myself wearing boyfriend jeans or platforms anytime soon, but I appreciate that my comfort zone has been stretched. I particularly love the polka dot-floral combo in the center and the dress on the right. Amy did a great job of choosing basics with visual interest, which is right up my alley.

After viewing her recommendations, I put together my own set of prints and styles I like:

personal style
Even if you don’t feel stuck, or don’t have a specific occasion to prepare for, you may want to take advantage of ModCloth’s free ModStylist program. It was a fun, quick, positive experience.