My style, at 28

This summer I tipped the age scale and officially landed in my late 20's. And I've noticed my wardrobe and my approach to putting together an outfit has changed over the last several months too. I'm not saying that I feel compelled to change my personal style because of another birthday gone by, but yet I've really landed in a spot where I can say I know who I am and what works for me.

Fashion is forever changing, with endless trends echoed by the runways, designers, fashion magazines, even clothing stores dictating what's the newest, modern look and where we should speed our hard earned dollars in order for our closet to be relevant this season. But style, that's where we get personal. What you wear and how you wear it isn't just for being a statement in itself, but a reflection of what suits your body type, what flatters your colouring, what's practical for your lifestyle, and what makes you feel comfortable and what just makes you feel pretty.

About 9 or 10 months ago I came to the realization that I needed to stop buying heels. Oh how I love the look of pretty stilettos (and especially how they make my legs look!) but they just don't fit my lifestyle. Where I needed to invest my money, if I wanted or needed a new pair of shoes, was flats. I don't spend my days in an office or behind a desk. I'm constantly driving from one place to the next, sitting on the floor with kids at work, chasing after my friends' toddlers, or running to the next place I was supposed to be 10 minutes ago. In a city like Saint John, where everything is sprawled out, you do a lot of walking and driving to get where you need to go.

It's been a few years now that I embraced an indifference when it came to the size label on my clothing. There would be times I would not switch sizes or squeezed myself into a pair of pants just because the size- a number that only I, the wearer, could see. Now I realize how ridiculous that is. I currently follow the philosophy that everything should have some degree of stretch, going up a size is always better than the muffin top, and that you should always buy quality pieces rather then just follow particular brand-names.

Never settle for an article of clothing that does nothing for you. I used to love the idea of a piece of clothing but then grow tired of it quickly because I realized it didn't flatter my body or it was just run-of-the-mill. I no longer let a tag tell me that a particular body part is too big or not the right proportion either. No piece of clothing can fit every woman, so we should except that not everything that says it's our size is going to look right on. Sometimes things need to be tailored to fit right, and sometimes you should just toss the item aside in the fitting room and say "Next!". If a trip to the fitting room doesn't work out, I now work with the frame of mind that those clothes just didn't fit my body rather than thinking my body didn't fit into the right size.

I now know what clothing is going to fit my body and what angles and cuts I should go for or avoid. I shop for my body rather than shopping for a particular size. I dress for comfort. I wear my hair in a quick-easy-to-style manner, that takes 5 minutes in the morning. Waves it is- free-flowing or pulled atop my head in a quick bun.

If I could sum up my own personal style rules into 5 quick, easy steps:
  1. Go for clothing that is just as comfortable as it is cute. I've learned that if I'm comfortable, I'm usually not as distracted and more likely able to focus my energy onto what I'm doing!
  2. Ensure that an outfit is audience or location appropriate- when in doubt, dress up rather than dress down. That way you'll be safe and won't waste time fretting how you look compared to others.
  3. An outfit is about the fun details- whether it's how you layer, accessorize or mix colours together.
  4. Following brand-name hype isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Picking items that fit my budget, are made of quality material, fit well, and don't look cheap are key. 
  5. Knowing what fits and flatters your body is the most important factor when it comes to having good style. For me, I avoid shorter tops that stop mid-way over my hips, pants that are ill fitting to my proportions, and clingy fabrics. Skinny pants and tops that go in at the waist are the most flattering for my shape.

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