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Monday, November 26, 2012

Personal Style

Day 331

Sadly, we lost another family member recently. My 89 year-old mother-in-law passed away suddenly. She was healthy, independent and feisty so this came as quite a shock. Decisions have to be made during these times that we are usually unprepared for. One such decision was choosing her final outfit.

My mother-in-law was a very stylish woman who loved clothes and fashion. I share that love and it became our common bond. Yet, when my sister-in-law and I faced the closet to choose an outfit, I was  struck with panic. This decision could not be made lightly. We pulled things out: tasteful dinner suit, party dress, the suit she wore to her own husband's funeral just 15 months ago. We could choose something she wore to a wedding or even a pageant gown. We realized that we had to put aside our memories of the outfits and wonder what she would choose. What was her personal style?

The idea of identifying one's own personal style has become pivotal in my no-buy odyssey. It's only occurred to me in the last month or so how important it is to discover your true personal style. Not what a magazine says you will look good in. Not what retail buyers will try to entice you with, not with the style of a celebrity and NOT with your style of 20 years ago. Your personal style is what you think is beautiful and what makes you feel confident and comfortable. The colors, textures and shapes that almost always work for you. When you build a wardrobe around your own personal style, dressing is easy because you love everything, it fits well and it's comfortable. You may need help defining your own style and I am trying to figure out a way to help do just that.

For me, the items that truly define my personal style only make up about 25% of my current wardrobe and they are the things I wear 90% of the time. Even doubling that collection, I will have fewer clothes yet more to choose from. This realization has been groundbreaking for me and I plan to expand on it.

As for my mother-in-law, her outfit choice became easy. My sister-in-law and I chose a fitted jacket in a gorgeous shade of red, a black pencil skirt, a leopard print blouse and matte gold jewelry. We nailed her personal style. She would have been thrilled.

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