Sweater of the 70s, Revisited

Before I took the pixie plunge, I was a firm believer that my hair had little to do with my confidence and self-esteem. What I would learn, only after the big chop, is that my confidence (wavering though it is) is derived from every aspect of my appearance, including (or perhaps especially) my hair.

 Like my style journey, my hair journey has been a long one. 
Having never had a haircut until the age of sixteen, once I could drive I fit a decade's worth of haircuts, colors, and styles into the two brief years before I got dreadlocks. 

In my obsidian days, I tried on many hairstyles but I could never commit to the upkeep of standard-issue-goth black hair and couldn't handle the outrage of concerned relatives and acquaintances when I would dye it ("but your natural color is so pretty and rare!"). 
And all those funky scene haircuts? Not with my terribly misunderstood hair texture. 

Dreadlocks were my last stab at trying to look "cool" and, well, I just didn't.
  It wasn't until I chopped my locks, one by one, into the kitchen sink at my first college apartment that I understood a little of what my hair was capable of--- it was healthy, had tons of body, and loved being set in foam rollers. 

I had already started wearing vintage clothes when I started seriously setting my hair, but once I did, the whole look came together in one incredibly satisfying way. Finally, after years of trying to look "cool," trying to find some way to work my frizzy red mop into my overall look-- I had finally found a way to connect my hair with my personal style. 

 After the pixie chop of 2015, I came to realize that all that cohesiveness between my hair and my wardrobe had spoiled me. Without my long locks and meticulous roller sets, I was lost. With my hair cut short, I had no idea how to dress and no idea how to take care of my hair in its natural state. 
With my 30th year looming on the horizon, I think I realized what a horrible predicament this was for an "adult," so in the months since I've been working to change that, to learn how to take care of my natural hair and relearn how to get dressed.

Chopping off my hair, in a roundabout way, lead me to face the fact that my style choices so far have been somewhat based on mimicry and costume. 

While I have always loved what I've worn, I've always had a picture in my head of what/who I was striving for-- Siouxie Sioux, Robert Smith, Clara Bow, Rita Hayworth... pictures that went beyond inspiration and into imitation. Times when I haven't had anyone to copy (the dreadlock years, the pixie year) I was less certain in my appearance and fashion choices and less satisfied with the results.

Try as I might to make the gamine look work for me and my short hair, I just couldn't pull together a look that matched with the images of Audrey Hepburn and Jean Seberg I had floating around in my head.  

In the past, I've been known to cast aside garments and outfits because they didn't look vintage enough, goth enough, cool enough.... or whatever I was going for at the time. Even if I really loved a garment or an outfit, if it didn't fit that mold I had created in my head, it was deemed unworthy.
To think of all the outfits I could have worn and would have enjoyed if my view of personal style had been just a little broader and a little less based on imitation.

I suspect these boots ended up at the thrift store because of the dark spot near the toe. They are so very comfortable, and such a nice heel height, I'm definitely willing to look past that, especially because they were only $1. 

Chopping off my hair cut ties with that anchor of mimicry that held me in the safe harbors of fashion. Unmoored, I drifted to uncharted style territory still fearfully clinging to floating fragments of the old way, trying to tread water to preserve and conform to the old molds and idols. 

In some ways, learning how to take care of my natural hair taught me how to swim on my own. My natural curls would never fit the molds I had laid out for myself, so it was time to push off and swim into waters unknown. All those years in the safe harbor of style have been good training, but now, as I approach my 30th year, it feels as if it's time to really take advantage of these uncharted waters, craft a style of my own and stop floating along on that of someone else. 

It's time to unapologetically wear what I like, embrace my unruly curls and be the grown woman I should have become a long time ago.

It's amazing what a haircut can do.

Earrings-- thrifted
Sweater-- Mom's
Dress-- yard sale find
Necklace-- TJ Maxx (?)
Booties-- Easy Spirit, thrifted

I've written about this sweater before, back when I wore it in 2013. I spoke about my hesitance to embrace my love for it because it was from the 1970s, an era which I apparently (and wrongfully) abhorred, but decided I would wear it because it belonged to my mother.
 In the years since, it has become one of my favorites; incredibly cozy and just the right weight for this climate, I'm always looking for an excuse to wear it.  

The booties are very much the same in that I'm always looking for ways to wear them. A thrift store find last year, just as the weather was turning too warm for suede, I remember standing in the shop, holding the booties in my hand, stroking the suede, stressing about spending the dollar to buy them for fear that, even though I loved them, I'd never be able to work them into my wardrobe. 
I'm proud to say they've been worked into a lot of outfits this winter with this one being perhaps my favorite.

The earrings were a recent thrift store find, and though they're more orange than brick red like the sweater, I love them so much just had to wear them. I'm hopeful I can make some similar earrings with beads that match my boots for the next time I combine these elements in an outfit. 

2017 vs 2013
While I'm still absolutely in love with how I styled this sweater back in 2013, I'm in love with how the 2017 styling makes me feel, right now, at this very moment. 
It feels honest, it feels comfortable, it feels fun, it feels free-- it feels like me.

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