Answering My Own Questions

I’ve decided to start a new series of posts on the topic of personal style.  One of the reasons why compulsive shoppers buy too much relates to our effort to cultivate a look that works for us.  We look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, so we hit the mall to try to improve our appearance through new clothing, shoes, and accessories.  Unfortunately, this rarely works, as we typically have not done the necessary “pre-work” of defining the style statement we want to create.

Styling Client Questionnaire

In my work as a wardrobe consultant, I always asked my clients to complete a questionnaire before we met for a closet audit, styling session, or personal shopping trip.  Not only did this questionnaire help me to learn more about my client, it also assisted them in gaining clarity on their goals for our work together.  While my questionnaire was honed over time and revised based upon feedback from my clients, I never actually answered the questions myself!

Answering Style Questions

Two years later, I finally answered my own questionnaire!

It wasn’t that I believed I had everything figured out, I just never thought to complete my own questionnaire!  Now that I’ve been blogging for a number of months and better understand my issues related to shopping, clothing, and style, I believe it’s beneficial for me to answer my own questions now.

In this post, I share my answers to many of the key questions from my “Client Pre-Consultation Questionnaire.”  If you are struggling with your wardrobe and style, I invite you to respond to these questions as well.  If you feel comfortable sharing some of your responses in the comments section below, I’d love to read about what you learn (and I’m sure others would, too).  Also, if you have any insights for me based upon what I wrote, I’d be interested in reading those, too.

Now it’s time for me to answer my own questions!

Describe Your Current Style

List 5 or more adjectives or phrases which describe your current style.

  1. Classic – I prefer timeless shapes and styles over trendy statements.
  2. Conservative – I don’t like to show a lot of skin or wear anything very tight or ultra-sexy.
  3. Comfortable – I don’t like to wear anything that feels too constricting or binding.
  4. Uniform – Too often I rely on “formulas,” some of which I’ve grown tired of.
  5. Undefined – My style is hard to pin down and is in flux at the moment.

What about your current look do you like?  What do you want to change?

I like the colors and patterns I wear, as well as many of the shapes and styles, but I feel there is too much “sameness” among my outfits. I wear too many knits and many of my garments are quite similar.  I would like to incorporate different types of fabrics and garments into my wardrobe and focus more on higher-quality, more “special” pieces. I would also like to add more creativity and a bit of “edginess” to what I wear.

What is the biggest challenge you face each day when you look into your closet?

I have far too many clothes and my closet feels overwhelming!  Even though I have pared things down considerably, I still feel there are too many garments from which to choose.  I also feel that I lack the “special” pieces that would create the types of outfits that would inspire me.  I have a lot of basics and a lot of knits, but I lack blouses and “wow” pieces.

Are you going through a transition that is leading you to want to re-evaluate your look?  If yes, what?

I feel like much of the past decade of my life has been a transition!  Ever since I left my corporate job in 2003, I’ve been trying to find a career/business that is a good fit for me.  I’ve tried several entrepreneurial ventures that haven’t taken off and now I’m in another phase of working to reinvent myself.  I’m also entering into my late forties and have changed a lot of my life priorities in recent years.  I’ve embraced the concept of minimalism and simplicity and would like my closet and wardrobe to mirror the rest of my life in this respect.

Describe Your Ideal Style

List 5 or more adjectives or phrases which describe your ideal style.

  1. Sophisticated – I’d like to keep the “classic” vibe but take it up a notch.
  2. Creative – I want my outfits to be more artistic and show more of my personality.
  3. Edgy – I’d like to be a bit more eclectic and unexpected in what I wear.
  4. Comfortable – This remains a priority with me for both physical and emotional reasons.
  5. Minimalist – I’d like to have a small, functional wardrobe filled with high-quality pieces I love!

Is there a celebrity – or several – whose style you admire?  Why?

  1. Kate Middleton – She always looks classy, sophisticated, stylish, and beautiful.
  2. Cate Blanchett – I love the artistic and creative nature of her outfits, plus she always looks elegant and sophisticated in whatever she wears.
  3. Jessica Alba – She really knows how to do casual in a way that looks effortless, cool, and classy.
  4. Carey Mulligan – I love her real-life style, as well as her style in “The Great Gatsby.” She always looks elegant and stylish while maintaining a classy image that I admire.
  5. Gwen Stefani – While many of her looks are too “edgy” for me, I love her black and white ensembles and feel her hair and make-up are always flawless.  She’s quite striking and I admire that.

On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for you to follow current trends?

This varies, but I would say around a “5.” As I get older, trends are becoming less and less important to me, especially as I embrace minimalism and simplicity more fully.  I used to try to buy a bunch of new, trendy pieces each season, but I’m now trying to buy fewer, higher-quality items.  Ideally, I’d like to get to the point where I purchase a few new items each season. That way, I can incorporate a few new trends and keep my look current without stressing too much about being “in” or becoming a “fashion victim.”

Some Body and Life Details…

What do you feel are your best features (face and body)?

I always encouraged my clients to tell me at least five things they like about their appearance, so I will do the same!

  1. Eyes – Relatively large, expressive, and a nice shade of brown.
  2. Smile – I’ve often been told this is my best feature and maybe I agree…
  3. Height – Although it can be difficult to find clothes that fit me well, I basically enjoy being tall and having long arms and legs.
  4. Arms – Long and lean and well-toned, especially for my age.
  5. Narrow Torso – I like that my upper body is slim and I often enjoy accentuating this feature with my clothes.

What aspects, if any, of your figure do you want to downplay?

  1. Wide Hips – My hips are several inches larger than my bust and I often feel “pear-shaped.”
  2. Larger Thighs – Pant legs are often tight on me!  To fit my hips and thighs, I often have to buy a larger size and take in the waist several inches on pants, jeans, and even some skirts.
  3. Varicose Veins – My legs and knees look quite “veiny,” which is why I prefer knee-length skirts and dresses.

What types of things do you do for fun and leisure?

I would like to cultivate more interests, as shopping used to be my main hobby and interest!  I enjoy walking (perhaps I will branch out into hiking), movies, personal development (workshops, classes, etc.), writing, and reading.  I sometimes struggle with what to wear when doing certain activities, especially in terms of footwear.  I have “fussy feet” and find many shoes uncomfortable in short order.  I also feel too “dressed up” when I’m out and about in San Diego, as people dress ultra-casually here.  I’d like to find a way to dress appropriately for my environment while still remaining true to my personal style preferences.

Wrapping It Up & Coming Attractions…

While I did not include all of the questions from my pre-consultation questionnaire in this post, I have answered the most important ones here.  I actually found it very helpful to answer my own questions!  It gave me a better idea of why I feel dissatisfied with my clothes and my style.  I see a fairly large discrepancy between my current style and the ideal style I’d like to cultivate.  This provides a good starting point for the upcoming work I’ll do on my style.

In future posts, I will present more style-related questions and style challenges.  I’ll use my own ideas and the ideas of others as I work to refine my personal style.  I believe that as I feel more comfortable and satisfied with the style statement I present to the world, I’ll be less tempted to over-shop.  When I do shop, it will be more to fill in legitimate wardrobe gaps, rather than as a means of searching to define myself.

Will You Join Me on My Style Journey?

If you are at all dissatisfied with your current personal style, I invite you to join me as I embark upon my style journey.  Answer the questions I pose and embrace the style challenges I introduce.  Share your ideas for new challenges and your insights from taking on previous exercises.  Join me in cultivating an inspiring and workable sense of personal style.  I believe this will help us tremendously as we endeavor to become “recovering shopaholics.”

*** Special Notice for My UK Readers ***

BBC One is working on an upcoming documentary on shopping addiction.  They are looking to talk to people based in the UK who struggle with this issue.  The documentary is being made by a small team and will be a sensitive portrayal of a serious problem that many people face.

The flyer below outlines what the documentary team is looking for and how to get in contact with them.  CLICK HERE to download a PDF copy of the flyer. 

BBC Shopping Addiction Documentary Flyer

The documentary team is looking to talk to a wide range of people – some may be in treatment for this addiction already, some may have taken positive steps towards recovery, and some may be in denial about how bad things are.

Those who participate in the documentary will be filmed over a period of time during the autumn of this year. The documentary team would spend time getting to know the participants, hearing about their addiction and how it affects their lives, and would look at potential treatments on offer for them.

37 thoughts on “Answering My Own Questions

  1. I haven’t the answers to your questions right now, but they are definately going to get me thinking. I am one of those moms who wers the most comfortable thing she can find in the clean clothes pile even though I have a closet and a half full of those clothes I used to wear. I don’t know what style I am right now or what I am heading for, I am really looking forward to your posts on this topic leading me.

    • I’m glad you found this post helpful, Beth! I was surprised at how much it helped me to answer the questions I had posed to so many other people. Your practice of wearing the most comfortable thing in the clean clothes pile is very common. We often do what’s easiest, but you likely have some gems hidden in your closet. I hope my future posts will help you get to a better place with your wardrobe!

  2. I am embarking on a 13 month journey to change my body and look (I’ll be 65 in 13 months.) and started going to the gym today as the beginning step. As you know, I do follow Project 333 but I really want to replace much of my wardrobe as I get more physically fit and still have it fit my lifestyle. Thanks for sharing the questions – I’m going to answer them and think about my fall 333.

    • Your upcoming journey sounds exciting, Juhli, and I’m sure it will be very rewarding for you! I hope my questions will be helpful to you, as well as the upcoming posts I do on personal style. Project 333 really helped me a lot in SO many areas! If I hadn’t taken on that challenge, I would still be unaware of many of my style issues. I am now more okay with the concept of less, but like you, I want to use that “less” to my best advantage. Good luck to you! Please let me know how it goes.

  3. Another great post Debbie! For most of my life I would do what you mentioned above-keep shopping because I wasn’t happy with my look or the clothes in my closet. I kept thinking I would find the “magical” piece that would pull everything together. The last couple of years I think I’ve been shopping for different reasons because I am pretty happy with my look and the clothes I own. Before I read this post I assumed it’s because I have come close to buying out the mall. When I gave it some thought it was for a different reason. I invested some money in good quality, neutral basics. Good jeans, sweaters and tops in grey,black,brown, and taupe. The same with dresses and pants. Good quality camel and black boots, black flats, etc. This is what pulled it together. I love artsy, bohemian tops and dresses, but they are now accents rather than the main part of my wardrobe. I also bought some artsy,bohemian jewelry that I loved. I can now have the look I like no matter what I’m wearing and everything seems more versatile.

    You could probably achieve the look that you’re going for with accessories. For example, if you had a pretty simple summer outfit of black capris and a white knit top. If you wanted to look sophisticated you could add a neutral scarf or long gold necklaces. If you wanted to look edgier add long gunmetal chain necklaces and a leather wrap bracelet. If you wanted to look artsy add a colorful scarf or turquoise jewelry. That way you could use many of the things you already have that you like, but think are all the same. Then add a couple of blouses that you really love and maybe one or two other special things and you could keep your wardrobe and the amount of things brought in small. Just a thought!

    Thanks for making me think!

    • Thank you for your insights and suggestions, Tonya! I agree that the edginess I desire could come through accessories and I wouldn’t necessarily have to buy a bunch of new clothes. I definitely don’t want to set up the overshopping cycle again because I’m not totally happy with my style. Like you, I want to have some good quality basics. I have some covered, but others will gradually come in as I find the right pieces. I definitely want to get and keep my wardrobe at a smaller, more manageable size. Accessories take up less space and are often less expensive, so it’s a good area to focus upon. I appreciate your advice!

  4. This is fun and a lot of food for thought. I am definitely a classic leaning towards casual, non-trendy, modest (I’m 57, need I say more???). I am tall and slender and in fairly good shape. I prefer clean simple lines in neutral colors and I accessorize them with a scarf and/or necklace. No bling or custom jewellery, but I own a handful of nice pieces that I don’t mind wearing all the time. I am from Northern Europe now living in the deep South and though I tried, I finally gave up on wearing the more flamboyant clothes and accessories. That was an expensive learning curve trying to fit my streamlined clean original style into the world of more is more.:))
    My biggest fashion revelation was finding theviviennefiles.blogspot. Until then I thought that I looked the same day in day out. Which I probably do, but now I am okay with it.
    For my style icons I would mention Meryl Streep, Ines de la Fressange, Janice Riggs.

    And Debbie, you have a beautiful smile and if there is a next life, I want your hair.

    • I guess I should have added that I am now at a point where I am happy with my closet contents and style. Your blog keeps reminding me of staying focused and I appreciate the little nuggets of wisdom I gain. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Thank you for your comment, Cornelia. I’m glad that you are happy with your closet and style and that you were able to get back on course after trying out the “more is more” style of the deep South. I wouldn’t be comfortable in those styles, either! I love all of your style icons, too! The Vivienne Files is a blog I read every day and I appreciate Janice’s wonderful insights. She really knows how to combine basics with fun accessories to create different looks. I’m glad my blog helps you to stay focused and provides you with nuggets of wisdom. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, too!

  5. Thank you Debbie for the invitation to join you in your style journey. Your questions are definitely searching and will make it much easier for anyone who answers them to discover their own style. The idea of choosing a celebrity or two whose style one admires is very helpful especially if the body type is the same. I have used this as my body type is similar to Audrey Hepburn (shame the face is not so similar 🙂 ) so wear more narrow pants, skirts and dresses and shorter jackets.

    • I’m glad you liked this post, Megan, and found the questions helpful. I love Audrey Hepburn, too! If I would have thought of non-living style icons, she would have definitely been on my list. She always looked ultra-stylish! Not everyone can pull off her style, but if your body type is similar (I’m sure your face is quite lovely as well, even if you don’t look like Audrey!), it will be much easier to make her types of looks your own. But even when people are shaped much differently from their style icons, there are always ways to translate the key elements of the looks. But having a better sense of the direction we wish to go in is an important first step of the process.

  6. Hi Debbie, this is a wonderful website and you are building an amazing community here. Given your psychology background I thought I’d share this article with you:
    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20130802/retail-therapy-might-not-be-so-bad-after-all?src=RSS_PUBLIC
    It gets at some of the nuances between healthy and unhealthy consuming. I hope it’s ok to post this here (if not feel free to delete the comment, I won’t take it personally) 🙂
    I think your writing has a frank, authentic voice that helps you really connect – a lot of people feel shame and confusion about this topic and deal with it behind closed doors. What you’re doing here is important and can help a lot of people. I can imagine you must field some not-so-nice comments so I just wanted to offer a word of support. Also, I’m a numbers person too and I love your detailed analyses! Hard data is so powerful. 🙂

    • Welcome, Claire, and thanks for your comment and the link to that interesting article. I enjoyed reading about the recent research findings around shopping. I think I used to think I was a “happy hedonist” with my shopping, but I was actually more someone who used shopping as a medicine or panacea. Self-awareness is key in terms of why we shop, as it is with pretty much everything. Thanks for your praise of my blog! Happily, most of the comments I receive are positive and encouraging. I thought I might see more criticism, but I’m pleased that most comments are supportive. I think that people are happy to feel less alone with a problem that is often trivialized in our society. Compulsive shopping is a real problem for many people, but we often keep our feelings to ourselves due to feelings of shame or fear of ridicule. I’m happy that my words have resonated with so many people. That’s actually helped me a lot with my recovery!

  7. Hi Debbie, thank you for this interesting blog post. I feel compelled to come out of my lurking mode to share what helped me tremendously in defining my personal style. I was looking to spice things up because I had been wearing the same very basic and casual clothes for a long time. But when I ventured out of my confort zone and bought more edgy pieces, they made me feel dressed up and were not nearly as flattering as I hoped they would be. Your answers above to your own questions make me think that while you’re looking for sonething “sophisticated” and “edgy”, you might not have a very clear idea of how to translate those words into an actual look. There’s this stylist, David Kibbe, who wrote a book called “Metamorphosis”. The book itself is out of print and hard to get, but I found his guidelines and a vibrant community right here: http://seasonalcolor.yuku.com/topic/1340/Illustrated-Kibbe-quiz-spreadsheet-Kibbe-Style-Guideline and after finding out which style I am in his definition (I’m a Soft Classic), I can now go to a shop, barely look at 90% of the pieces, and still find the one dress, or blouse, that makes me look fantastic. Maybe you’d like to try this out?

    • Thanks for de-lurking and sharing this wonderful resource, Sundaykind! I had seen David Kibbe’s name before, but I had not read his book or taken his test. I did a brief go-through of the test late last night, but I want to do it again with my husband because I wasn’t sure how to best answer some of the questions. My preliminary result was either Dramatic or Dramatic Classic, but I will verify later what my definitive result is. I’m thinking I will try to get the book even though it’s very old because it seems fascinating. The reviews on Amazon were very good, too. New copies of the book are very pricey, but the used ones aren’t too expensive. I love to read style books, but many aren’t all that helpful. This one seems like it could be! Thanks again!

      • Just wanted to follow up regarding my Kibbe results after I took the test again with my husband’s help. I came out as a “Dramatic Classic.” I got close to the same numbers for Dramatic, Classic, and Natural, but was pointed toward Dramatic Classic because I got the highest number for Classic. I think I will get the book so I can learn more, although the information on the Yuku site was pretty good! Thanks again for posting this excellent resource, Sundaykind! I hope others take the quiz and benefit from it, too.

    • I did the Kibbe quiz too – by far the best quick style quiz I’ve ever completed as it includes most of the advice that I have slowly acquired by trial and error. I’m a pure Dramatic. I do believe this because according to many other style quizzes I’m either a Dramatic or a Dramatic Classic. This explains why classic clothes often bore me and feel too safe. I love high fashion and would love to wear Winter colors but my personal palette is a softer Light Summer palette.

      But I love pure, geometric shapes, bright color and very bold, simple and chunky accessories like cuffs in pure silver or steel or big cocktail rings. I have several dresses from COS with exaggerated shoulders or very clean, architectural lines and they are some of my favorite clothes. Lace, unstructured clothes or Liberty patterns and anything very crumpled and ‘natural’ make me very uncomfortable. I dislike lightweight fabrics (flowing, crumpling viscose is a pet hate of mine) but feel fantastic in structured clothes like Chanel type jackets and Katherine Hepburn trousers. I generally don’t wear pattern or florals, but make some exceptions. One of my recent sales finds was a very structured cotton tweed DvF dress – it holds in all my wobbly bits and feels fantastic: http://tinyurl.com/marog8t

      Debbie, lots of your clothes are Classic. But I can see the Dramatic in you too (your frame seems to require dramatic, bold clothes) and some of your current clothes may be too tame. Because of your beautiful frame, you can wear solid colors and large scale patterns – small ditsy patterns are the wrong scale on you. Also check your personal color scale. In photos, you look cool-toned, like a Winter – if that is the case, warmer and browner shades can look a bit dull on you. You look dazzling in cool greens and blues, I really like some of your coats. I think it might be a good idea to avoid anything dainty, fussy or finely detailed.

      When I purged everything that was the wrong style for me – fussy or lacy clothes, small-scale prints, limp fabrics, anything crumpled or distressed – from my wardrobe last year, my clothes started really feeling like a second skin.

  8. I did David Kibbe’s quiz about ten years ago. I am a Flamboyant Natural. It was very helpful. I will check out your link!

    • Did you read the book, too, Deby? It was late when I saw Sundaykind’s comment and I have been out and about today, but I did a brief run-through of the test and skimmed the information. I look forward to spending more time with the material. The fact that you found the quiz helpful makes me want to delve deeper into it. Thanks!

      • I have the book, Debbie. I bought it from Alibris. Its out of print, so you can only find used copies. If you follow the links that Sundaykind provided, you can take an online quiz in two parts that is pretty accurate. I still tested the same as I did with the book.

      • Thanks for your reply, Deby. I took the test again with my husband’s help and came out as “Dramatic Classic.” Would love to learn more! I’m an information junkie, so I will likely get the book. It seems like it might be more helpful than some of the other style books I’ve read.

      • I like styling guides that have a basis in mathematical proportions. Anither one that is very good is The Science of Sexy by Bradley Bayou. This is a more recent book nd you should be able to find it at the public library.

  9. Debbie, I am going to fill out your questionnaire and participate, but are you looking for tus to post our answers here? I don’t mind sharing, but it might be a long reply! I’ll try to be succinct. Stay tuned.

    • I’m glad you’re going to answer the questions, Deby! Just post whatever you feel comfortable posting or share any insights you may get from answering the questions. If you want to post everything, that’s fine with me! Your comments always add a lot of value to the discussion. I know I enjoy them and I’m sure many others do, too!

      • So I answered the questionnaire and have had some unexpected realizations about my appearance and wardrobe choices!

        To my pleasant surprise I discovered that I am quite satisfied with my wardrobe now; not only does everything fit well, but things coordinate in terms of style and color much better than ever before. I can’t think of a thing to change or add spring/summer to make me happier. Getting dressed has become much more effortless since The Great Culling.

        Interestingly I found as a result of my extensive culling that I needed to get duplicates of certain key items so as not to run out of clean clothes before its time to do laundry. We are on a water saving program in my home this summer due to our previously profligate use of water, so now we are more mindful of how we do laundry and use water. At the beginning of my diminished wardrobe, a few times I literally found myself without a necessary garment to wear, so I have added duplicates of certain key things I wear often.

        Another way I do duplicates is to get two tops in the same color: one is casual, one is more dressy, and both go with the same set of bottoms.

        But clothing is only a fraction of one’s overall presentation. I realized that although my wardrobe is now great, I definitely need improvement in a whole other area, one that has never been broached in this blog.

        In describing my ideal style, I said I wanted to be more “finished looking”. Because I often work at home, my habit is to get completely ready for work in the morning in terms of bathing and dressing (in my now nicely curated clothing), including jewelry–only to UTTERLY FORGET to style my hair or put on any makeup.

        I like to take a shower in the morning to wake up, and as I have long thick hair, I bundle it up in a huge barrette and headband–and then I forget about it–for hours. A few afternoons ago, I caught sight of myself in the mirror at a restaurant at lunch, nicely dressed, with my hair still tied up haphazardly from the morning’s shower and no makeup–can you say aghast!? What if I were to meet someone important to my future looking like this?

        So my new daily mission is to remember to fix my hair and put on makeup in the morning because great clothes are not enough! Do any of the rest of you who work at home forget to do these key elements of your grooming before you step out in public because you are so preoccupied with what you are doing work-wise that you just forget to look in a mirror in the rush of the day?

        Prior to answering the questionnaire, I had certainly given plenty of analysis towards my worst and best features, but I never sought to define my style much. 10 years ago I did David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis and at that time I thought I was a Flamboyant Natural, but the other day, prompted by those great links posted by Sundaykind, along with pulling out my old copy of the book, realized that I am actually a Soft Natural–and fortunately I have been instinctively choosing silhouettes and details that are right for me.

        But I had never before given much thought to what celebrity looks I admire. It was fun to think about this and identify a few ladies who have subconsciously inspired me. Even though all three of these women are 20+ years younger than me, and while I wouldn’t choose the total look of any one of them, each one expresses certain style elements that I like:

        Angelina Jolie: I like that she wears solid muted colors, with plain tailoring that is either flowing or else perfectly fitted, but never sloppy. Nothing extraneous–her clothing always perfectly flatters. A few years ago, she wore a grey gown with gold jewelry to the Golden Globes and the effect was so elegant that the very next day I tried gold jewelry with grey clothing instead of the ubiquitous silver, and loved it.

        Kelly Osbourne: I always notice how Kelly styles herself on Fashion Police because we share a similar exaggerated square shaped jawline and my neck is also a bit short. I am always looking for pointers to make my jaw line look slimmer, more refined. I think Kelly knows how to make her interesting face seem very beautiful. I sometimes think her actual outfits are a bit over the top and I do wish she would lose the lavender hair though…!

        Kourtney Kardashian: The first time I ever saw a Celine Mini Luggage Tote was on the arm of Kourtney in a random street photo from November 2011. I had been looking for the perfect black bag, and there it was–I just had to figure out WHAT it was! From that point I began to pay more attention to K’s personal (not public) style. What I essentially like about her personal style is that she chooses quality over quantity, plus she has a practical streak. In private life she often wears flat (but fashionable) shoes and comfortably casual stylish clothing appropriate for a mother/entrepreneur that is very different from the tarted up looks for publicity. I like that she wears the same favorite classic things over and over. She also chooses simple solid colors and interesting tailoring details.

        One of my wardrobe goals is to have fewer prints, so I admire the way AJ and KK seldom often choose interesting sophisticated solids instead of complicated prints. I am coming to realize that some of the splashy floral and watercolor print skirts I have collected over the years are less flattering than I had previously thought, so I am taking up the study of dressing in solid, complex colors…like truffle (lavender grey beige) and soft grey teals, along with black and ivory, for example.

        Well, I hope I wasn’t too verbose and you derived some entertainment from my answers!

      • Thanks so much for sharing some of what came up for you through doing the questionnaire, Deby! I really enjoyed reading about what you learned, the celebrities you admire and why (you made some great points and I love the style of those you mentioned, too!), and the resolutions you have moving forward. You’re right in that I have never mentioned the grooming aspect of style. I think this is because I veer too far in the other direction. I always do my hair and make-up even if I don’t think I will be going anywhere on a given day. I do this partly for myself (to feel better about how I look), partly for my husband (we are usually working in our home office together), and partly to make it easy for me to go somewhere when I want or need to. I reason that I can just change my clothes from my at-home lounge wear to something nicer and quickly get out the door. I wish I could be a bit more relaxed about my appearance, but I’ve had that perfectionist streak for as long as I can remember. I’m working on relaxing more, but I’m doing it more with my clothes, at least at first.

        That’s so great that you feel “set” in terms of your spring/summer wardrobe! You’ve worked hard to get to this point and I hope you feel proud of yourself. I am not quite there, but I’m getting there. As I peel away the clothes that don’t work, I’m learning more about what I want. That way, when I buy, I will hopefully have more success stories instead of mistakes! I wish you continued success with your wardrobe and style. Thanks so much for your openness in sharing with all of us!

  10. Those are great questions! I have a similar style background, classic with comfort-oriented leanings. I have tried to shake my style up a bit because being too classic can look a tad too safe and dull (think female politician, or politician’s wife). The most inspiring style book I’ve found is ‘Paris Street Style’ by Isabelle Thomas:
    http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Street-Style-Guide-Effortless/dp/1419706810

    I am not keen on the cliches of French fashion (breton shirts and Repetto ballet flats), but the book if full of very stylish Frenchwomen and each of them has a special knack of staying true to her personal style. That’s what I’m trying to do: wearing clothes that feel great and effortless to wear. The blogs Le Catch and Mode Personnelle often do looks that I really like and find very inspiring. One of my personal style icons is Vika Gazinskaya – she has a very clear and daring personal style. I’m not as flamboyant but I really love her ‘out there’ designs.

    Reading style books and blogs can be very dangerous though. They always create new ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ and after reading them it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of buying. After three purchase-free weeks I went to the mall yesterday to check out the sales racks, ending up purchasing a bracelet, a pair of pants and two dresses. I’ll make some returns, but still, avoiding exposures seems to be the only thing that really works for me.

    • Thanks for your comment and the book recommendation, FrugalFashionista. Looks interesting! I know what you mean about classic styles having a tendency to veer into the territory of boredom. That’s how I’ve felt with my looks from time to time. I am happier with my outfits when I inject some other elements but still remain true to my basic classic leanings. When I took the Kibbe quiz mentioned above, I scored as “Dramatic Classic” and was directed to include some dramatic elements to what I wear. I need to read more, but that sounds about right… I plan to look up Vika Gazinskaya, as I haven’t heard of her. Love the name, though!

      You’re right about the danger of style books and blogs (not to mention magazines and catalogs). I’ve had to unsubscribe from many blogs and lists, as I would frequently see others wearing things and then go online to buy them! I think that when one is new to shopping less, avoiding exposure is a good thing. That’s why I didn’t go to the Nordstrom sale. You’re doing very well overall, though, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You didn’t do too much damage with your shopping trip and if you return what you determine you don’t really need, you can course-correct as needed. Just keep taking things day by day, as I am, and we will both continue to progress on our journey!

      • More on the subject of reference books, I just picked up an interesting style guide entitled How to Look Hot in a Minivan by Janice Min. Ok, I dont have a minivan, and I’m not the mother of a school aged child–but– I spend a lot of time running errands for my job, my rental properties, and my disabled mom. I feel like I ought to have a minivan! A typical day might find the front seat loaded down with groceries and the back seat of my car loaded up with landscaping supplies! Sometimes the dog is with me too. I need to be able to hop easily in and out of the car at all times without getting hung up in my clothes. Minivan or not, this guide struck a chord with me as a “mobile project manager”! I want to look pulled together when I’m out there pumping gas! This book is great and gets to the heart of how to dress for the kind of real life many of us have.

      • I love the title of that book, Deby! Thanks for sharing. I’ll add that one to the list of books to check out.

  11. I am definitely going through a transition… just turned 50 and am in the middle of a weight loss journey. I am a henna artist/facepainter — looking for an eclectic, creative look, but DO NOT want to dress like a clown. I want to look more polished than t-shirts and jeans, but without the sacrifice of comfort — and everything has to be washable if I’m facepainting. Currently I also have a day job as an admin assistant, but know that job will end early next year… not sure what my next job will be; I hope to work from home, if possible.

    Thanks for sharing your journey; I hope to join you!

    I recently discovered Orthaheels and also all the cute orthotic shoes at the Walking Company so shoes are taken care of.

    • Welcome, Natasha, and thanks for your comment. Your job sounds cool! I can understand your challenges in dressing for that role, as well as your more traditional day job. Working from home is great! I’ve done it since 2000 for the most part. It can be difficult to manage time and priorities, but overall I love it! Thanks for mentioning Orthaheels. I have “fussy feet,” so I will check them out!

  12. Thanks for posting this questionnaire. I had a great time answering the questions and actually surprised myself with some of my answers.
    I posted the answers to my blog, BTW. Wouldn’t want to take over your comment section with such a lengthy comment, so you’ll find it over here:
    http://greedyminimalist.blogspot.nl/2013/08/debbies-styling-questionnaire.html
    Also, I did the Kibbe quiz and think I’m a Dramatic. I’ll ask my daughter to have a second look with me, and see what she thinks. It’s always hard to assess yourself objectively.

    • I love that you answered the questions and did a blog post about it, Leah! I loved reading your responses and I encourage others to check them out as well. It’s great that you also took the Kibbe quiz. I think it’s a good idea to have someone else double-check your response. When I first did the quiz myself, I came out as Dramatic, too, but after reviewing the questions with my husband, I scored as Dramatic Classic. Both sounded fairly accurate. I need to read more to get a better sense of it. I plan to get my hands on the book soon…

  13. Loved this post! I have finally figured out my personal style but now do not know where to shop. Do you maybe know any resource (besides hiring a personal stylist) that would help pick out brands, designers, stores, etc based on one’s style?

    • Welcome, Des, and thanks for your comment. Congrats on figuring out your personal style! That’s not an easy thing to do, so you should feel proud of yourself. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a resource that recommends brands based upon one’s personal style, but I’m sure such things are out there. What I would recommend is to either use a personal stylist within a store (i.e. Nordstrom – such services are free) or to find style bloggers you like who provide links to where they have purchased the items they’re wearing. You may have to poke around a bit to find such bloggers, but once you find them, you can be pointed in the right direction. Good luck!

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