Change

Recently I’ve been feeling the pains of a serious style rut.  I’m bored with trend items, I’m bored with my own personal wardrobe, and I’ve been craving something that will jumpstart the sartorial (and perhaps, life?!) transition that I’m really wanting. 

I’ve been on shopping trip after shopping trip recently, my head filled with visions of grandeur as to the wonderful treasures that I would undoubtedly find.  The whole host of new items that I would acquire, providing me with a new wardrobe and a fabulous new sense of personal style.     NOTHING.  I have come home from all of these shopping trips with nothing!  And let me tell you, I love to shop.  I find few things more satisfying than that of a successful shopping spree.  So you can imagine my severe disappointment as I experienced this seemingly unrelenting succession of unresolved, unsuccessful shopping escapades. 

But as much as I love clothes, and find fashion to be the ultimate form of self-expression, I thought about the other things that I’d been wanting to do to kind of kick my personal style up a notch (aside from throwing out my entire closet and starting fresh).  So, I got a tattoo and chopped seven inches off my hair.  Now I’m not recommending that everyone do this.  Because certainly inking something permanently onto one’s skin and drastically changing one’s hairstyle is not for everyone.  But I happen to love dramatic changes and as a result of mine, have felt this resurgence in the ownership of my own personal style. 

My point is this: change.  We all crave it, and we all need it.  Fashion is the most rapidly changing industry in existence; as Heidi so eloquently puts it: “One day you’re in, the next you’re out.”  And obviously, if you’re craving something different, there’s a reason.  There are all sorts of ways to reenergize your style, to refresh your personal self-expression.  I like to go a little crazy, perhaps you’d be satisfied with something a bit more subtle.  Either way, change it up, sugar.  Keep yourself feeling fresh.  

Cuffing It

I have seen a lot of trends come and go. Sometimes I jump right on the bandwagon that happens to be rolling by, but more frequently I find myself wishing I could participate, but knowing in my heart that I probably shouldn’t. In recent years, 2 very big trends have come along — skinny jeans and leggings. Both of these trends absolutely terrified me at first, but I eventually learned to embrace them. Maybe not the best idea at 42, but I’ve made them work for me. Now, all of that being said, I am always pleasantly surprised when a hot, new fashion trend hits the circuit that is a trend that I can actually wear. Not only wear, but rock. Imagine my surprise when I saw pictures of Katie Holmes walking around in oversized boyfriend jeans, pegged. Now I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of pegged jeans. However, Katie helped spawn a trend revival of cuffing your jeans. This is a trend I can embrace. I am not a thin woman and, on top of that, I was not blessed with thin ankles, BUT in a pair of straight-leg jeans with a messy cuff and a super-sexy platform, I am H-O-T hot. Seriously, the cuffed jean, if done properly (rolled to about 2-3″ above the ankle bone) is insanely flattering! Leggings and skinny jeans… Awesome? yes. Universally flattering? maybe not so much.

Cuffing It

Cuffing It

Point-of-view

 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I love certain stores and designers and the reason is always the same: It’s all about point-of-view. In my opinion the reason that businesses are able to stay successful, strong, and relevant — even in a struggling economy — is because they are consistent. They have a point-of-view. There is something that they specialize in, something that is innately who they are, that always manages to come through. I’ve heard myself lately telling store owners that what I love about their stores is that not only do they have a very distinct point-of-view,  they have the courage and dedication to stick to that point-of-view. They created stores out of who they are. They have grown and changed and evolved as people, but the feeling is always the same. I have a couple of favorite Chicago places that I feel embody this, but I’ll start with this one:

 

 

Martin Grant at Helen Yi
Martin Grant at Helen Yi

Helen Yi

The lady. Pretty. Classy. Sophisticated. Cool. Everyone that knows this store — regardless of whether or not they know Helen herself — knows that Helen Yi is a lady. You can tell when you walk through the door that Helen loves beautiful, feminine, stylish clothes. And she loves being a woman. She obviously created a store dedicated to this point-of-view. The individual styles and trends may change, but the feeling is always the same. Each season, Helen manages to go out and find great designers. Not just “the next big thing,” but great designers that speak to her distinct point-of-view. Because, after all, that’s who she is. That’s what she loves, that’s what she’s passionate about, and that’s why you go to her when you want to feel like a lady.