Redefining "it": A quest for personal style

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It has been almost ten months since I made my last purchase as a fashion victim. Last summer, I decided that I needed an It bag. I saved my money, bought it, and loved how It felt effortlessly draped over my shoulder. The initial excitement gradually faded, like feelings for a handsome man with a boring personality. It no longer felt special when I saw similar versions of mine on the shoulders of women everywhere. I disliked that the designer’s emblem was printed over every square inch of the bag, too. Finally, I decided I was no longer going to be a walking billboard carrying the same bag everyone else had. But I was puzzled by the question: Why do I no longer want to have It?

In The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, author Nina Garcia, the opinionated Project Runway judge and fashion director of Marie Claire writes, “Style is a deeply personal expression of who you are, and every time you dress, you are asserting a part of yourself.” Her words made sense to me. My It bag wasn’t expressing who I was. And so began my personal quest for style, and I started by redefining what It meant to me."

Garcia explains, “When trends begin to fade, these are the items I can always turn to with confidence.” Her list is a continuation of the Ten Essential Items from her first book, The Little Black Book of Style. Her style revolves around timeless, classic pieces that will endure through the trends. Garcia proclaims, buy items that you really love, that you’ll want to wear five, ten, fifteen years from now. The first question I now ask myself when choosing an item for my closet is: Do I love It?

In her signature, opinionated tone Garcia walks her reader through her neatly organized closet. She offers tips on quality, material, fit, and where to buy most items at every price point. Her advice about how to look for quality in a fishnet stocking, a cashmere sweater, and fur is helpful and practical. She also offers tips on how to wear it certain items--only one piece of animal print at a time, please. When choosing a pair of jeans, or any item for that matter, she reminds readers that, “Fit is everything.” Out of this came the second question I ask: Does It fit?

The One Hundred is meant to be a guide for women, not a list to be strictly followed. Each item should be edited for the person wearing it. She writes, “Thus, if you are not editing some of the items on the list to suit your personal style, you are not playing the game correctly or for your benefit.” While # 92 Vans and # 19 a Charm Bracelet aren’t items I’ll be putting in my closet, I am in search of # 49 the Little White Dress and #87 Turquoise and Coral jewelry to wear with it. So the third and final question is: Does It reflect who I am?

Garcia writes, “Repetition is a sign of style. There is a name for women who wear a new outfit every single day: fashion victims.” I’ve been building my style around three essentials: scarves, stilettos, and silky shirts because they make me feel good when I put them on. While I will pair my stilettos with jeans or a pencil skirt, depending on the occasion, the basic elements remain the same, and remain a reflection of who I am. So, with the help of Nina Garcia, I’ve redefined It. Do I love It? Does It fit well? Does It reflect who I am? If the answers to these questions are yes, then It belongs in my closet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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