Fashion is the way I introduce myself to the world, every day, without saying anything.

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photo by Ashley Caroline.

photo by Ashley Caroline.

I spend a lot of time observing other people (women in particular); part of it is just that I’m an observant person, and part of it is an overwhelming curiosity as to why they are the way they are. I think this is in part why fashion excites me so much. Is there a more obvious way in which we communicate to the world? We give so much of ourselves away when we get dressed, I can’t tell you how that excites me. 

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve asked readers and friends to tell me their style philosophy. I didn’t define the term, I simply asked for them to make their own interpretation and write out a few sentences. This exercise has been inspiring, reassuring, and has taught me so much about style. Below are the (amazing) responses – I’ve placed in bold what I want to remember when shopping / getting dressed. Enjoy!

I don’t know if I would call it a philosophy, but it’s all about how I feel in the clothes I’m choosing. Style for me comes down to confidence and comfort.

Becca, Actor + Blogger

I think I realized my style philosophy is about comfort and trying new things. I personally love wearing items that have an unexpected pop of color, even if it’s a neutral color, minimal make-up, open-toed shoes (because I think my feet are my best feature) and mixing delicate, feminine fabrics with more rugged looks (sheer grey t-shirt with a black faux-leather pocket? I’m buying it. Even better if the faux-leather is an unexpected color). Oh, and as a general rule, if it’s a twirly skirt, It’s mine. And, that’s me!

-Jessica, Program Administrator/Luxury Travel Assistant

“Don’t sneak” is my life philo and a darn good one, I think. Primarily bc I ripped it from a beautiful StoryCorps episode! Wisdom of a parent encouraging his son to never hide who he was because it invites others to then demean you.  Simple, rippling truth, that works on so many levels – don’t sneak.  Don’t feign who you are and what you want in your relationships, your career, and yes how you present yourself to the world.  If that means crazy eyeliner that makes you happy or always wearing the right size jeans so you can sit and squat and jump and strut the streets with confidence….

– Kendra, Actor

I like to call mine “mom-chic.” Cool enough to still feel somewhat youthful and independent after preschool drop-off when I’m walking around sans kiddo, comfy enough to get down on the floor and play baby dolls at a moment’s notice, and un-precious enough to not care if it comes in contact with snot, markers, or greasy little fingers. 

Nicki, Photographer

 Second hand is great, especially city or here in the northwest corner. Scarves a must in the winter. I also like folksy/international/homemade look. I read your posts to get a sense of what’s “au courant”…

– Ginni, Physical Therapist (my beloved MIL!)

A great outfit can make all the difference.  I am a firm believer that what you wear can help elevate your mood and in my line of work, it can help give you confidence and present you in a better position of power.  If anything, it makes you look put together and even feel a little bit more put together…even when your life may be in some kind of chaos.  My mom and I text each other whenever we’re wearing an outfit that really strikes that “I’ve got this” chord.  It’s a great feeling that can really lift you up (however, outfits that aren’t comfortable, just aren’t worth it.  You should feel confident and comfortable).

– Carolyn, Associate Media Director, Advertising Agency

Comfort, casual, and confident is how I want to feel when getting dressed every day. With some French cool-girl-chic thrown in for good measure. As I’ve gotten older and more aware of my own body, values, and priorities, I’ve been trying to move away from buying something just because it’s on sale or looks good on someone else and really focusing and investing in pieces that will make me feel comfortable, casual, and confident today, every day, and 5 years from now.  

Cara, Marketing & Business Insights, Blogger

I have always liked a very “classic” look, maybe with a little bit of an (age-appropriate) style-driven edge to it.  That being said, my life – for a long time now – has not involved the whole dressing-for-work-ethos.  Currently, my style is an abundance of work-out clothes (love Athleta!), functional and comfortable equestrian clothing, and looking-like-a-cool-grandma while chasing 1 to 3 toddlers around! My biggest fashion fear is wearing something too “young”, and I am constantly quizzing both my daughters for any hint of that.

-Kathy, my Mom

Wear what makes you feel special.  What you wear is your calling card, so don’t be afraid to express yourself.

– Lee Lee, my sister

My style philosophy is all about feeling comfortable and confident with a simplistic approach. I lean towards neutral earth tones and gentle patterns while adding a delicate necklace or earrings. 

Ashley, Photographer

Black black black. It feels chic, but it’s effortless. I never have to worry about matching. Plus it hides the coffee stains.

– Liz, Actor

My personal style philosophy is to always have fun, never take myself too seriously, and let my style naturally evolve. Visual impressions are usually the very first you’ll ever have on someone, so it should be your introduction to the world, instantly telling someone exactly who you are and what you’re about! In the end, the most important part of style is having the confidence to pull off a look and that’s what sets someone apart because it means that you truly know, love, and embrace who you are.

– Kate, Founder of Kate & Co Events

In my formative years I was an emo kid. Fast forward to the present; bangs, black-rimmed glasses, and band T Shirts are still a part of my everyday style. The 90’s grunge look has a huge influence on how I dress, as I love to mix / match plaid with black lace and florals. I love rings and necklaces in excess. When I’m not living in my Doc Martens, I’m in Vans or Chucks, and I’m almost always wearing a beanie. The way I dress is definitely influenced more by music than anything else.

– Gillian, Actor + Musician

In general, my philosophy is to wear what feels good and what allows me to have an open energy. Too tight? My energy’s restricted. Too loose? I feel weighed down. Wrong color? Wrong vibes. For me, style is about balancing energy with creativity and leading with what makes me feel slightly cooler than I actually am. And graphic tees. Always and forever.

– Courtney Romano, author and maker of words, art + communities

…As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned how to embrace my femininity in a way that’s comfortable to me. I have also found that with life experience, comes an evolution in personal style. I’d say that my style now is based in a neutral palate with a few accent pieces that can be worn in several ways. I’m a huge fan of a wardrobe that can span several seasons. Layers are my best friend and I’d like to think (like many do, I’m sure) that my style has a subtle Parisian flair from my time spent studying in Paris and growing up with a French influence courtesy of my father and his side of the family. 

– Kate, Production Coordinator

I just reread these and am teary / beaming. What beautiful, illuminating words. How many times did you read the word confident? As women, we need every opportunity afforded to us to feel confident, in charge, independent, capable, etc. When you get dressed this morning, take these words with you. I know I will!

Have a wonderful Monday.




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Courtney Romano
Courtney Romano
5 years ago

Allie, this is awesome! I got so inspired hearing other women’s intentions behind their clothing. I want you to make this into a video so so so so so so badly. Like you’re not already busy enough 🙂 LOVE THIS.