A Metaphyiscal Journey in Quantifying Visual Style

by jennine on February 15, 2008


Waking up and figuring out what to wear is a ritual that most of us clothed people have to go through every single day. As Mr. T says, “Everybody’s gotta wear clothes, if you don’t you’re gonna get arrested.” As boring as it is, in ritual, sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s panic inducing. If you read this blog with any amount of regularity, you’ll know I document my daily attire. In nearly a year, I’ve documented 201 days of wearing clothes, and the other 164 of them… well, I’ll just let you wonder.

It used to be before the internet, that I would shamelessly copy my friends in their fashion sense, then I would copy people on the street, or who I saw at a concert, or out shopping, or in a magazine. I was pretty limited to geography and whatever magazines the local shop carried.

Now things are different. More and more, I am influenced by the internet, and it’s starting to show in how different the dresses I pick are from what other people are wearing around here. I wonder if that’s happening elsewhere, it must. I mean, I can’t hardly be the only one. So then, how do you quantify your own style?

First: Get ready

Every so often, I like to do a mental house cleaning of how I’m dressing myself. There are little pieces that stick in my mind which will inevitably surface in my dress. Particularly when I’m going through some change, like clearing out my closet, or moving to another country.

Second: Look for the similarities

Then I take whatever images I can find… the internet has made this even easier, right now I’m editing my wardrobe, so I kind of look for things I have, and look for things I like, and try to see the similarities from what I have to where I think I want to be. For instance, I love Chloë Sevigny’s ruffly dress, I have a Dianne von Furstenburg dress that has a similar cha cha cha feel, and CuteMess’s Twelfth Street dress is super cute, I have to remember I just got a patterned minidress.

Third: Look for appropriate attire

I may love the look of, belted fitted clothing, but on days like today, where I feel like my stomach is going to fall out of my body, I need to wear more comfortable clothes. I know already, that I will never leave the house in a track suit unless it’s prior to 7am. I also look for stylish women who can do ‘effortless style’ because, god knows, I’m not anywhere near there. But I won’t get there unless I try. Which brings me to my fourth point…

Fourth: Imagine my ‘Ideal Style’

Now that I’ve had a look at what I have, and what I need, sometimes I’ll realize I already have what I want. Just looking at the whole picture will help me to realize that I don’t have to go rush out and buy brown leggings, because I already have brown tights. And when I look at the pictures of what I like, I can pretty much say that there are elements already in my wardrobe to work with (like I already have blazers and thick belts, colors like red and grey). But having an image in my mind allows for a more natural progression, over time I’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t work. For each person it’s different.

Seeing everything together makes it easier to assess what my style is, and where I want to go, and most off all, it makes me realize what I already have (like ideas to play with feathers… look at that collar! wow!)


Images from: Chloe S. FabSugar; CuteMess; Two Fashion Week ladies, AltaMiraNYC; Cool Blazer, Face Hunter; Feather Collar, Somewhere off Face Hunter; Fanny from Play like a girl; Green coat from the Sartorialist; Une Fille Comme Moi, and of course Edward S. Curtis…

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Patti February 15, 2008 at 5:39 pm

My jeans are KILLING me today! Bleh! :)

Hailey February 15, 2008 at 6:49 pm

You’ve shown so many outfits over the year!! I’m impressed. You may not be efortlessly chic but I don’t think most chic people are - it takes effort! But yes, looking it is the main goal of most fashionistas, myself included.

WendyB February 15, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Mr. T is my new idol.

Stylish Thought February 15, 2008 at 8:36 pm

I think everyone today tries to be stylish and effortless… and i don’t see anything wrong with that.

rorosto February 15, 2008 at 9:18 pm

That Mr. T video is amazing.

Fashion Tidbits February 15, 2008 at 11:44 pm

it TOTALLY requires effort, never have i seen such an oxymoron as ‘effortless chic’ :P

susie_bubble February 16, 2008 at 9:05 am

Hmmm…. I don’t think I can document a process of my style… must give this some thought!

muhajababe February 16, 2008 at 10:53 pm

wondering if its happening elsewhere ..? it is ! i get more inspiration from bloggers than from magazines, in fact; blogging saves the effort of passing by a bookstore, i do buy mag’s but maybe not as often as i used to a few years ago. As for style, gals like you taught me how to work my wardrobe so i can get stylish looks from older pieces, where as magazines always give you the latest and newest. I think dressing to look stylish isn’t effortless; but its also very unique in that i can mix old with new, colors, frills etc and its my own outfit.
thanx for the cool site and good luck! i look forwarf to seeing coveted in europe ;)

candid cool February 17, 2008 at 9:21 pm

so true, i think sometimes when we go through our closet we find out that we already have those things that we want.

Christina February 18, 2008 at 10:15 am

This may seem strange, but your Mr T. reference and video just made my day.

Claire February 19, 2008 at 7:24 am

yes! about being influenced by the internet. I stumbled on some boots in a completely uncool shop, which I’m calling my odd funny normal boots - everyone I know here in London thinks they’re strange/possibly ugly because no one here is wearing them (yet!) - then I realised I’d seen similar ones on a couple of blogs I read regularly and they’d kind of seeped in…

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