committing to a look

there's a pretty great interview online with Carine Roitfeld, ex-EIC of French Vogue. she addresses many of the gossipy questions surrounding her departure with coy diplomacy. but one thing Carine says in the interview particularly resonates with me:

Style.com: Now a lot of editors—Anna Dello Russo, Giovanna Battaglia—have become street-style stars, but you started it.
Carine: Because I have a specific look. Black eyes, hair in my face, high heels. Maybe it was a strong look in the streets that made me the first one. Anna is funny, she has an incredible look. And Giovanna, she is very chic in an Italian way. And there are other ones coming. I’m sure there is a lot who want to push me out of the way, because this is fashion. It’s never very faithful, you know, and people want change all the time. This is the purpose of fashion, so I don’t know what is going to happen with me. But my look is not going to change very much. 

Carine's point that in spite of the fact that fashion isn't faithful, that it's all about change, but she's going to stick to her 'look' regardless is something i've been thinking about. maybe because i'm no longer a teenager and over the past few years have been building up my own style point of views... well, let's take skinny jeans for example. if i had a uniform, this would pretty much be it.

AA t-shirt, seven jeans, rag & bone leather jacket, HOPE stockholm nude pumps, vintage Coach kelly bag

however, with the end of the past decade and in the recent spring and fall shows, there's been a lot of talk about the return of the '70s, a wider leg silhouette to pants and jeans, etc. but given that i'm not terribly tall, i've found that a skinny pant is the most flattering on me and what i like to wear most, and i honestly can't really imagine wearing bell bottom jeans again (been there, done that) or any other denim style really.

does that mean i'm in a style rut? is this how women of a certain age who end up on makeover shows (if you've watched TLC's What Not To Wear, you know what i'm talking about!) started down the slippery slope? what's your 'look'? what's your favorite denim style that you can't imagine parting with? 


  1. You're not in a rut. You're well-edited! I continue to covet that bag. It looks chic with every outfit. Definition of style, IMO.

  2. I think you look great :) I have four pairs of jeans - a pale gray skinny jean by Comptoir des Cotonniers, a loose straight blue jean by Acne, a dark blue wide-leg by Banana Republic and an M&S ecru cropped pair. At the moment my favourite pair is the gray skinny one, but I think I will start wearing the wide-leg and cropped pairs once the weather warms up. The skinny is the only pair that works with all the winter layers :)

  3. Ooo it's definitely a tricky one - where is the line between being true to your style and getting into a rut?
    I think it's easier to avoid the scary 'What Not To Wear' rut if your style is based on something classic that has proved timeless over decades and decades. A style that is your own but is aware and sometimes softens to encorporate current moods. Perhaps it is when you lose touch with what has become passé - like being loyal to fish net tights or something that you're in dangerous territory!?
    Or if you are a slave to seasonal trends, changing your style to match a season and then think 'this trend is 100% me' and then it passes and you are left behind in a rut. So perhaps the answer is - be classically stylish, not a slave to trends that will pass (as you most definitely are). xx

  4. Whenever someone looks at me linger over yet another grey cardigan, I tell them "I'm consistent". I think it's inevitable that you start "settling down" with a few things that you love and work for you. I don't think of it as a rut at all.

    That said, I always like to look at new ideas and inspiration - I remember an intw you posed with Sally Singer where she talked about the desire to be "part of the conversation". It's always nice to see something that's different and yet resonates strongly with yourself. It's part of keeping an open mind and not getting too insular.

    I discovered skinnys when they became fashionable in about 2006-present? And I wonder how I lived without them because it seemed that with them, my style all came together. I like a wide-leg sometimes but I'll never do a proper flare (terrible on me). But I'll definitely stick to skinnys no matter what because they are one of the things I feel defines my look.

  5. Brilliant interview. I've always found it interesting that the big hitters in fashion are always the ones with a strong look who, despite trends, stick to the same silhouette. I don't think this means you're in a 'style rut', on the contrary you're dressing to suit your body shape which results in you looking chic and comfortable.
    My denim staple is definitely a high waste - it makes me look long and lean. I love a 70's flare, but they often look better with a heel and I'm definitely a flats kind of girl!


  6. haha i see it the other way around -think one ends up on those shows (which i do enjoy admitedly!) because they dont know what looks good on them.
    think id be hard pressed to give up my denim mini.

  7. I agree with pretty much all the comments so far. You're not in a style rut. You have found a look that works for you and you're sticking with it. It's a fantastic look! Nothing wrong with that!

    Maybe I'm mistaken, but my interpretation of Carine Roitfeld's discussion of her "look" has more to do with the type of attitude and feelings that her appearance (outfits, make-up, etc) conveys. I don't really see it as being a "uniform" or a specific silhouette.

    As for trends, and more specifically, wide-legged/flared jeans, I have a different take. Personally, although I love wearing skinny jeans and definitely am the type of person who has a "uniform" (usually built around a striped shirt and a cardigan/jacket and skinny jeans), I'm hesitant to say that I'll never give up my jeans in favor of a pair of wide-legged pants. It seems that as trends become more pervasive and adopted by more and more people (of different size and shape), it becomes easier to see how a pair of wide-legged pants that you previously thought looked terrible on you could be worked into your wardrobe. Right now, I have a hard time seeing myself wearing wide-legged jeans again. But if I do adopt the look, I think this time around it will be a fresher take on what I wore 5-10 years ago and reflect the style evolution that I have experienced since those days.

  8. kristin: haha, thanks for the style support :) the bag is great - one of my favorites now for night and days when i don't want to schlep a ton around.

    ammu: it is interesting how the recent incarnation of the 80s tapered jean is way more practical. i think the tweaks to so-called '80s style' is much more sophisticated and wearable this time around. i'll always wear my leggings and skinny jeans with boots in fall/winter for sure!

    olivia: i agree - it's also an issue of what looks good on one's body type. i went through phases of trying to make every style of denim work, and i think the skinny is the one that's best suited for me. and yeah, i guess i've some stubborn favorites (leather jacket, tee and jeans) that i'm not going to give up regardless what the seasons dictate...

    lin: i remember it was in 2006 when i got my first skinny - a pair of 7 for all mankinds! for me it's also the cohesive foundation to about 95% of my looks, mostly because i'm not a skirt or dress person really. and yeah, i hate having to hem pants if i can help it, so skinnies are easier to wear that way as well.

    alexandra: high waist is definitely great - and yeah i'm with you that wideleg and flare styles are more 'high maintenance' with regard to shoes. one of my pet peeves is also getting the hem of your jeans dragging on the ground and therefore picking up all sorts of gunk. a problem that is endemic to wideleg/flare styles. so the skinny jean suits the germophobe in me as well :P

    son: good - i think all those 'rules' that dictate should women of a certain age wear such and such are all bunk. if you're dressing to suit your body shape and wear it with conviction, then that's all that matters :) i mean, look at Anna Della Russo! no one is going to tell her that she's too old to wear a mini with bare legs and sky-high heels.

  9. Thanks for posting the article, very enjoyable. I think your signature look is great! It's a very interesting question, regarding falling into a rut ... I do think many women of a certain fall into a rut when they start to have children. Many things happen then ... your body becomes nearly unrecognizable in a short period time (and I'm talking about post pregnancy), all your expendable time and money is spent on your kids. Something like updating your wardrobe is the last thing on your mind. It's difficult to say whether if your style remains the same for decades that you'll never look dated. I mean, I love pleated, tapered pants but can remember a time when pleats were a big no no. And having seen both the rise and the fall of the bootcut jean in my adult life, I would hesitate to say that skinny jeans will stay forever.

  10. jennifer: aww thanks :) yes i think you're right - at least for someone like Carine (or Emmanuelle Alt or Anna Wintour, etc) there is an entire idea behind their 'look' that translates to make-up, hair, and the 'mood' behind their clothes. i don't wear make-up other than some lipcolor once in a while, so i guess i tend to think more in terms of the key pieces that i wear all the time right now. but i suppose my current 'go-to' uniform is indicative of the idea or 'mood' behind what i'm naturally comfortable in. i think that it's got something to do with a certain sharp androgyny and clean lines. i think it'll be interesting to see what i feel like my style is when i'm 30!

    S: you bring up such good points here. i'm not at the point of thinking about how motherhood would affect my relationship to my body or my wardrobe, but that's such a common thing that is referenced on so many of these makeover shows (What Not To Wear has built seasons upon the idea of the 'mom makeover'...).

    and as to your other point about looking current/timeless in spite of committing to a certain style, it all points to the fact that fashion is a game with time. of course you can take it as a cynical thing (status symbols, competition, coveting The Next It Shoe/Bag/Look, etc). but it's also about trying to win over the markers of time - thereby trying not to look 'dated'. the whole process is very personal and universal at the same time - i'm looking forward to getting wiser and playing the style game my own way in the coming years!

  11. Food for thought. I've wondered too if I'm going down the slippery slope. I think my look the past few years, with very few variations, is messy, long hair in my face, rosy cheeks, and some dress. Lately, I've noticed I'm more into the classic look, which, several years ago at least, I thought I'd never be into.

    Thanks for posting.

  12. Hmm, I see the excellent point you are making. It's kind of like thinking to the 80's. It's very easy to recognize certain 80's looks ... and yet, when you look at Yohji, for example, through the 80's to today, his collections look not so different then than they do now. Yohji definitely transcends trends, yet he seems to be able to accomplish this by not looking like anyone else ... he is his own genre. It seems harder to translate the same idea on a more accessible level. But then again, committing to a look doesn't mean stagnation ... one can evolve over time while keeping the essence of one's look. I certainly wish to accomplish this!

  13. I read your post while I was in Paris and haven't gotten around to comment it until now.. and it would be like echoing the other comments so I'm chiming in that you're not in a style rut but rather, as K.Line said, you're absolutely well-edited.

    Personally, when it comes to style, I really like a sense of consistency. I feel there's something very mature yet challenging about a consistent style, and I think one can be consistent while updating one's look or following a new trend. Perhaps that's how one can find new and unpredictable mainstays of one's wardrobe, as with the skinny jeans-wave that took off in 2006 or something..

    Apropos of jeans, I've been faithful to skinny jeans ever since I was 14 years old. Cheap Monday and Acne were the only brands that made skinny jeans back then, so I was the only one in school strutting around in skinny jeans. My partiality towards looser jeans/skinny boyfriend jeans was kindled perhaps a year ago or so.. I realized that I looked too forced when wearing ultra-skinny jeans. I'm all about looking effortless and never overdone, but still dressed and well-groomed. Perhaps it has to do something with me becoming more mature. A couple of years ago I was kind of obsessed with maintaining my skinny frame, so I would force myself to wear too tight jeans so my jeans wouldn't expand and become loose. Fortunately I like having meat on my thighs and wearing slightly bigger jeans now.

    Sorry for long comment!

  14. I wear skinny jeans all the time too. Sometimes I wish I'd wear more loose pants, because I love the look. I've had two children since 2007, and it's the best feeling when I could wear my skinnies again after the pregnancies. I was obsessed, didn't want to wear anything else. Skinny jeans look good with all types of shoes as well, from sandals to ankle boots. I find that harder with wider silhouettes. I don't think I'll ever want a different denim style. I hope it's not a style rut, and that it's more about learning to be consistent about what you feel comfortable with.

  15. jocy: it really is a fine line, no? i posted an interview with Sally Singer a while ago that addresses this quite well. but i think it really is a significant personal thing to realize that some part of your tastes/personality is set on certain things, and you feel like you could still see yourself wearing something even after Fashion dictates that the style has passed...

    S: yes exactly! i aim to do this very thing...because i feel like i'm very close to establishing an 'essential style' for myself. :)

    fleurette: your thoughtful comments, whatever the length, are always appreciated here :) after years of trying basically every single style of denim offered, i've finally honed in on tight skinny and slouchy skinny jeans as the ones best for me. i think both cater to my moods very well. of course, there are some days when you just feel like wearing one or the other. i love how Jane Birkin wore her high waisted widelegs but they swamp my frame. oh well!

    garderoben: you're totally right - this is another reason why i'm addicted to my skinnies. i have a bit of a boot (ankle and tall) addiction and skinnies work perfectly with both! and yeah, i think so long as it continues to look good on me i'll stick to certain style consistent pieces. :)

  16. Hi, just saw your blog for the first time. i wrote something similar too.

    Cheers to mommyhood.


  17. Hello, I'm a new reader to your blog and truly enjoy your writing and sense of style. I find it is the women who don't know or forget themselves that end up on shows like What Not To Wear. I assume that since I am in my 40s, I am on a "certain age". I do have a definite style but it is not stagnant. I think it's less about following trends than knowing one's body and not being afraid to challenge one's image of self.

  18. Wang taitai: thanks for stopping by! :) you look gorgeous in your post!

    Lisa: thank you! i agree completely. shows like WNTW of course capitalize on exaggeration to entertain the viewers, but regardless of how campy makeover shows are, there is a profound phenomenon that they're addressing.


feel free to join in on the conversation! :-) FYI, comment moderation is ON, so it may take a little while before yours appears. house rules: comments that are spam, rude, or otherwise unrelated to the post will be deleted.