How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
As an awkward teen from a conservative, religious, rural town, I was terrified to dress in anything too immodest. I went the opposite direction and wore very baggy clothes and crewnecks. No one told me to, I just didn’t feel comfortable wearing anything else. And I wore tennis shoes everywhere. My mom actually tried to make me dress cuter. She specifically addressed my tennis shoes and the fact that I never wore spaghetti straps.
As I got older, I went with a bit cuter cuts. It probably had something to do with being given some financial freedom with clothes shopping. Every year, my aunt or my mom would give us a big chunk of money for back-to-school shopping and we’d drive 2 hours to the nearest mall and buy clothes there. Or we’d go to the malls in my aunt’s city, which were more upscale.
I remember falling in love with a pair of off-white/light tan J. Crew pants and the comfort and colors of Gap clothes.
In college, I felt more comfortable in my own skin and started dressing modest-but-cute like all the other girls at my school. I started wearing makeup then, too.
I personally hate change and don’t deal with it well, so when I go shopping, I tend to avoid the trendiest things, because I know in a year or three those things will be “out.” I go for more classic pieces and cuts that will survive many fashion changes. But I like switching things up every once in a while–just not as often as the fashion and advertising companies would like me to.
Being classy is important to me, although at this phase of my life, that’s something I only manage to achieve on Sundays.
How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying
habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?
Modesty, beauty, color, aesthetic appreciation, femininity, but doesn’t value body over mind. Also, I don’t want to idolize fashion or my appearance or people’s opinions of me. But that’s really hard.
How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics
and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?
I grew up in a rural, white, conservative area. So lots of “country” themed things. As a result, I still like plaid, denim, cotton, gingham, and lace–but I don’t like cowboy boots or cowboy hats or bandannas or fringe or overly bedazzled clothing (gag).
My mom likes glitz. I adopted that when I was younger. As I got older, I realized I really didn’t care for the over-the-top sparkles and glitz or giant flowers. Or giant anything. I like subtlety better. But I do still like hints of sparkle or glitter or shimmer or shine. Anything that plays with the light…Subtly.
I learned early on that I hate polyester. In my hometown the summers were 85-100 degrees from May until September. Polyester clothes were the cheapest available clothes and I figured out that polyester is awful for hot weather. Or when you get hot and sweaty just from running around a lot.
I also figured out that I should avoid shirts that fit up into my armpit, unless I want everyone to see how much I sweat. :Z
How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other
communities you’re involved in?
The city I lived in for 8 years is young and trendy, but they also put their own spin on things. Now I live in a city that is like a bigger-population version of my hometown.
I go to a conservative church now with a mix of ideas about Biblical mandates on appearance. Some of them don’t wear makeup or dress fashionably, but some of them are very stylish.
How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
I’m a mom of two very young kids.
Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
I live in a place with seasons. Fairly warm, dry summer, perfect-weather fall, cold, wet winter and slightly less cold, and still wet spring. It bugs me to no end that fashion is based on a southern California climate! I can’t wear half that stuff in the winter and definitely not the spring.