Fashion Cents: Patent Leather Confidence

So a bunch of us were chatting on Twitter about how we don’t really know how to dress ourselves and we want to dress like adults who have Serious Jobs but not be boring or frumpy or make ourselves seem younger because we are not confident in how we dress.  And I was thinking about how over the past year, what with the unemployment and all of that, I haven’t bought a whole lot of stuff.  What I have bought is stuff that I know that I need, that is high quality (save for a few tide-me-over cheap items), and that I wear all the time.  But more importantly, I bought stuff that makes me feel good.  Not in a bad-retail-therapy kind of way, but in a, “I am excited to get dressed in the morning and go to work” kind of way.

May favorite of my new wardrobe additions is one that has been in the works for awhile.  In my first year of law school, I bought a pair of green Nine West flats which are super cute and I wear with my brown suit and green shell.  Or black suit and green shell.  I love them and they jazz up an outfit.  So at the time, I decided I would get more colorful/fun flats.  I bought a pair of zebra striped ones that are Dr. Scholls but they hurt my feet so badly I can’t wear them to work.  So when we were last at my in-laws and I hit the Ecco outlet, I had my eye on a pewter pair I knew I could wear to work.  Instead, I came home with these (which, since it’s the outlet, only set me back $40):

I love them.  They make me feel sassy and stylish, but the buckle says, “I’m still a lawyer.”  I love wearing them – although I still don’t know what to wear them with, besides black suits with white shirts.  Or gray suits with white shirts.  Suggestions welcome.

I had been wanting a pair of red shoes for awhile now, and so when I saw these, and the price was good (especially good for Ecco) and I knew I would like them because I like my other Eccos, I went for it.  They have breathed new life into some of the pieces in my wardrobe I was tired of, like my constant supply of black dress pants and white shirts.

A few other acquisitions have been a new gray plaid suit, which is a variation from my other suits, dress pants, and a few other pieces, like tank tops to wear with my skinny jeans.  I find that unemployment has been a bit of a blessing in disguise in a lot of ways, but a big one is that I have had time to sit back and reflect on what things I want to add to my wardrobe, I have to consider what I want to pay for those pieces, and I have to be sure before purchasing them that I will get enough use out of them.  I’m also much more likely to invest in a high-quality item now than I used to be.  I don’t want to have to shop for new work clothes in a year when everything is threadbare.

I’m still a long way from having a sense of “style”.  I know what I like – but I’m not quite sure how to put everything together and wear it to work.  I also don’t feel like I can pull certain things off – like I want a white summer suit jacket, but I’m not sure how to wear it.  (I get that one arm goes through one sleeve, etc.) I don’t know how to wear certain shapes and things like that.  So I still dress like my career center told me to for interviews for anything serious – interviews, court, etc.  In between, I work as I go.  How does everybody else go about developing their personal style?  Anyone else sort of in the dark going, “hmmm….this works….I think…”

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2 Comments

Filed under Fashion Cents

2 responses to “Fashion Cents: Patent Leather Confidence

  1. You can wear the red Eccos with… get this… ANYTHING. Red shoes are neutrals.

    As for how to develop a personal style… trial and error. The most important thing, I think, is developing a good sense for fit and formality. The rest you can kind of work on over time until it feels natural.

  2. Yeah, I’m fumbling a lot with my professional outfits. Academia provides a lot more freedom to dress how you like than other professions, but more freedom often means more confusion too. AND I look young, which creates some issues when I teach. (I’ve been mistaken for a college freshman as recently as last year.)

    Like you, I’m just trying to find pieces I love and trying to build around those. I am also trying to eliminate some silhouettes and styles that I don’t think are working for me (e.g. crewneck cardigans). It’s a work in progress.

    And I LOVE those Eccos!

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