It has been a while since I've actually enjoyed writing this blog.
At times it has felt like a chore, trying to churn out posts thinking I should be worried about blog traffic, statistics and engaging an audience.
There have been times in the last few years that I look at bloggers who got their start around the same time I did, and who now have a wildly popular blog and an immense following, and wonder what's so much less interesting about what I'm doing. Ultimately, I've found myself making comparisons and feeling "less than" in the process which was, really, the exact opposite of what this blog was intended to do.
When I first started blogging, I never expected anyone to read or to follow, it was just for me.
I remember sitting in my college apartment thinking how wonderful it would be to have a catalog of all my clothing while simultaneously dreaming about working on a design project and keeping a journal. Blogging ended up encapsulating all of that for me, giving me an excuse to write, take pictures, design logos and put together fun outfits. This blog was a place of my own, to decorate and enjoy; my own little corner of the internet to celebrate myself and the things I love.
Somewhere over the last eight years, I've lost that focus and that joy.
I've tried to measure success by what others get out of my words and images, rather than what I get out of them or what I will get out of them years from now. I have become self-conscious about who was reading my words and seeing my pictures, worried about what they thought of me. With each outfit post, I was always stressing over where to photograph, often dismissing a location as not interesting enough or overused, ultimately resulting in sharing fewer outfits and enjoying the blog even less.
I found that I was no longer celebrating myself but trying to sell a less authentic version in exchange for trying to reach the unattainable goal of very minor internet notoriety.
Starting with my first post of the year, I've turned off the comments section for the blog and started taking pictures in my driveway with my garage door as a backdrop. By doing so, I hope that I can turn the focus of the blog back to expressing my authentic self in writing and clothing rather than worrying about what will garner the most views and comments.
I have always enjoyed meeting folks through the blog and truly appreciate each and every kind word that has been left for me.
I am thankful that in all my years here, I have never had one unkind or insensitive comment.
In the age of Instagram, a big, cumbersome, personal style blog is starting to look a bit like a dinosaur lumbering towards extinction. But, with so many years and memories wrapped up here, this blog is a fossil I cannot bury. I am excited about this fresh start and excited to take joy in putting cursor to page here once again.
My last post was cause for some much-needed introspection.
Before writing last week, I had no idea just how important my wardrobe is to my identity and how representative my style choices are of my emotional state.
I've always marveled at how other people manage their wardrobes-- like those that, barring comfort and perhaps color, are entirely indifferent to what they wear, or those that have a static personal style that remains unchanged for much of their lives. It seems so strange to me that everyone's clothing choices are not inextricably linked to their identity and idea of self.
Why is it, though, that I am so attached to my clothing?
Perhaps in another life (or in this one with practice) I would have been an artist. There are often times when I imagine things that I do not have the skills to create-- paintings, drawings, films, jewelry, buildings, my brain is always busy creating things that my hands will never be able to produce.
Outfits, however, are something I do imagine and can create.
I get such joy and pleasure in planning an outfit. In the shower or late at night when I'm lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, I'm piecing together outfits, sometimes seeing an ensemble fully formed in front of my eyes. There are other times, though, that I head into the closet and hope inspiration strikes while I'm standing there, caressing dresses and skirts.
Sometimes inspiration does not come and, as a result, my closet is decimated-- nearly every garment yanked from its hanger, tried on repeatedly and left cast aside in a pile on the floor. During these inspiration droughts, the phrase "I have nothing to wear!" may or may not be uttered and perhaps, in times of hormonal rage, tears may be shed, taking me back to the frustrations of adolescence and cold winter mornings before school when I struggled to find something that was cozier than my PJs and bathrobe or that looked just right on my awkward teenage body.
This outfit was certainly not premeditated, nor was it carefully pondered while gazing wistfully at a closet full of clothes. Like the short pants and snood ensemble earlier this month, it was born out of urgency as I was trying to make it to the flea market, thrift store, and post office early on Saturday morning.
This polka-dot blouse, a relic from my obsidian days, is a staple of expedited ensemble planning and is often the starting point for my in-a-hurry outfits. These slacks have been my around the house pants lately, and not finding a skirt I was excited about, I threw them on hoping to be able to wear booties with them, which, in the end, their wide cuffs did not permit.
Instead, I zipped my fall boots over my pants, threw on my brown jacket and, at the last minute, tied on a paisley scarf hoping to unite brown and black. Had I opted for, or had time for, closet decimation, I would have pawed through my sweaters for this cropped little number to replace the polka-dot blouse-- perhaps next time.
This is the first time since my obsidian days that I've worn boots over my slacks and doing so here in the land of flip-flops is, according to the odd looks I got, a bold move.
It was only after I returned home and looked at myself in the mirror that I realized where this whole outfit came from-- the boots, scarf, the jacket, and why I had put them all together:
Amelia Earhart (a long-standing inspiration of mine), Elinor Smith, Harriet Quimby... the inspirational aviatrix.
True I wasn't about to fly solo across the Atlantic or the English Channel, nor did I get a pilots' license at 16 or test pilot any planes (though I did take the controls in my grandfather's plane once as a little girl), but it's amazing to reflect on the accomplishments of these brave women while appreciating their functional and memorable style (have you seen Quimby's purple satin flying suit?!).
I wonder if all those years ago these women realized as they posed for pictures that they'd not only be remembered for their aeronautic accomplishments but for their fashion sense as well.
It's a wonderful thing to look to the past this way and realize that many of the images that I have emblazoned in my brain for fashion inspiration are not just models and actresses, but trailblazing women of sharp mind and pioneering spirit.
Scarf-- flea market find
Feather brooch-- antique shop
Jacket-- Christmas gift, 2005. Mossimo brand.
Polka-dot blouse-- Newport News
Slacks-- thrifted. Coldwater Creek brand.