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Definining my style part 2: why do I wear what I wear?

After part 1: what are the cornerstones of my style?, here’s part 2: why do I wear what I wear? I found this fascinating to think about, and I’m not sure I got to the bottom of it, but it was fun! right then:

Probably the most defining characteristic of my style is that its colourful. But why do I love bright colours so much? I guess for me, bright colours are happy colours. They’re not sophisticated like black and white, or soft and beautiful like neutrals (there is nothing to say that brights can’t be sophisticated and beautiful of course – but I would argue that typically they’re probably not) – but they are FUN! this is how I see myself most (and want to see myself) most of the time, not elegant and mannered and beautiful, but interesting and fun to be with.

14 August 2008

Colours for me are also a thing of youth, and while I don’t want to be younger again its important to me to indulge my youthful side, especially now that I have a fairly demanding proper job in which I am increasingly having to be professional and smart. I want the clothes I wear in my free time to signal to myself and the world that I’m off duty and ready to enjoy myself.

9 November 2008

There is also a much more prosaic reason for the bright colours, which is that they suit me. I have yellowy/light olive skin, brown eyes and mousey brown hair, so there isn’t that much contrast in my natural colouring, and if I wear neutrals, especially browns, I end up looking really washed out and boring. Similarly, black and white on other people looks really striking, but on me, the cleanness and crispness is somewhat spoiled by the non-colour of my hair.

The colour blocking is also due to a practical reason. It wasn’t anything I’d planned, but I discovered that simple jersey clothes are fantastic because (1) you can get them almost anywhere (2) they are cheap (3) if they are made from poor quality fabrics (which too often is the case and feels almost unavoidable these days) this is not as immediately obvious as with prints (4) anything really goes with anything, making for a myriad of possible combinations (5) they make a great ‘blank canvas’ against which to wear more elaborate items and, or course, accessories.

29 June 2008

The other thing that massively influences my style is my body shape. I am somewhere between an hourglass and a pear shape (hips/bum are definitely bigger than the boobs, but both areas are quite prominent), with a (comparatively) small waist. To make the most of this body shape, I almost always wear something that is fitted at the waist, quite often with a belt to further draw attention to this area. Anything loose and billowy makes me look like whale by making it appear that I have a big belly as well as big everything else.

24 August 2008

I have two silhouettes, both of which exaggerate my shape. The first is a knee length pencil skirt look with a tight top. This is basically for the days when i am feeling fabolous and think that having a sticky-outy bum and ‘birthfriendly’ hips (this is what it in called in German, which I find hilarious. German is such a literal language) is a good thing and should be celebrated. The second involves big 1950s swishy skirts. The logic here is that they hide my big thighs and by being so big make my waist appear smaller.

31 August 2008

** I originally wrote a big long rant on dressing ‘modestly’ here, but then I thought I better think this over a bit more first, so took it out. I might blog about this at a later point, if I can get my thoughts in order.

So anyway, what about you guys? why do you like what you like? what do your clothes say about you?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sal 11 June 2009, 3:05 pm

    I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone be so articulate about the why's of her own style. Impressive, lady!

  • Oranges And Apples 11 June 2009, 4:10 pm

    Thank you! I did spend ages thinking about it!

  • Morena G.Y. 11 June 2009, 11:11 pm

    Franca!
    You're style is so so adorable. And you're one of the few people I can think of that can possibly pull it off so well.

    I love every little piece you wrote about your style. 🙂

    And to answer your question, I think what my clothes say about me is that I understand what looks good on my body. And whatever I'm wearing on a given day…it's usually reflecting my mood. Although I wear black quite often, and that's definitely not how I feel. I'm usually happy. 🙂 I just like the classic/chic-ness of black.

  • Diana 11 June 2009, 11:42 pm

    experimenting is all part of the fun! i love that blue and yellow combo! the colors look like they wouldn't go but when you put them together they fit so well. thanks for the inspiration!

  • Libby 12 June 2009, 1:13 am

    I especially love the top two outfits… I just love that bright top! It's so cheerful! I'm also crazy in love with your colorful belt. I like bright happy colors, particularly turqouise and middle toned fuschia/ purpley colors because they look good near my face and make me smile. Other than that, I try to dress practically, and to always wear at least one thing that makes me laugh.

  • M 12 June 2009, 7:45 am

    These 2 posts about your style were really good. I enjoyed reading all the descriptions and loved the pictures. You are definately very articulated about your style and your preferences and I really like the way you combine things. You have a style that suits you perfectly, that makes you ….well…I suppose it makes you look you, even though I don´t know you.
    I love it when people wear a style that is definately different from mine but that I tottaly admire. 🙂

    As for the chalenge of describing my own style…you definately inspired me to do so….but it will take me some time to be able to organize my thoughs, and understand my own style (especially because it is hard to grab which are the main characteristics of it…and I have tried to before). If you don´t mind me copying your idea I will probably use it on a further post and will let you know when I do so. It would be very interesting to have several fashion bloggers doing the same!

  • Oranges And Apples 12 June 2009, 9:18 am

    Thank you for your kind comments!

    M, I'd be very flattered if you did the same thing on your blog! I'd love to see lots of people do it!

  • Make Do Style 12 June 2009, 9:28 pm

    Brilliant! As I always tell my students – colour loves colour. And you've proved it.

  • ambika 14 June 2009, 10:23 pm

    You know, for all of my love of clothes and understanding what I'm drawn to, I've never really analyzed why. I definitely should do this someday.

  • miss m. 19 June 2009, 6:08 pm

    i, too, LOVE color. pretty much any color, as long as it is rich and saturated and not wussy. i don't think i own any pale pink, for example, but i've got four YELLOW dresses. Color for me is about living out loud, and also, cause i used to hate accessorizing.

    now, of course, i'm in a huge accessories phase, and i'm afraid that between my love of prints and my love of color, i look like a midwestern jewish version of m.i.a! 🙂

  • kspectaria 3 July 2009, 2:18 am

    Goes well with your orange cat

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