Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Signature Style: Culling the Inspiration

All thrifted

I find that there is an apparent sartorial gap between what I like and what I'll actually wear.  For instance, I really really like the cropped pleated trousers with heels.   Reality?  When I've tried that on, I feel like the biggest DOOBER in the world.  In case you're wondering what a "doober" is, the best definition is something like this...


      NOT a look or feeling that I'm going for.   I WILL take that fruity drink though!

What I want to feel like is HER! 


 A little bit over the top....dramatic.....yet very elegant.  Yup!  Old Hollywood glamour!  THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!  Okay, so it may be too much for running to Starbucks, but once again, I'm after a FEELING. If I can't look like I just left Mr. DeMille at the Hollywood Cantina, I can at least FEEL like it!

Closing the Gap

So, there's still this gap between "I REALLY like that!" and "I could sooooo WORK that look!"; because ownership is key, right?  And in order to "own" a look, we have to feel good in it, NOT just like the way someone else looks in it.
Here are some ways that I'm funneling all the looks that inspire me into elements that I can actually use in my wardrobe.  So many styles catch my eye and my fancy, but realistically, for my own sake, those need to be edited into what becomes "Serene style".

1.  Look for the common thread.  It hit me as I was reading comments and looking over my last post, "Hey wait, they all have belts on!"  BINGO!  Personally, I love belts and what's even better?  They love me back!  Obviously belts play a major part of my signature style!

2.  Try EVERYTHING and then be honest.  As I mentioned earlier, I LOVED the cropped trousers and heels on just about everyone I've seen wearing them.  Especially The Style Sample....

This girl has AMAZING style!  
But they don't look like that on me.  We have different bodies and silhouettes.  So now when I see this look, I can say, "TOO cute!" and then just move on.  No room on my mental inspiration board for "tried and found untrue" styles!

3.  Pinpoint what's captivating you.  What is it, ultimately, that I'm really feeling about the look above AND the pics from my previous post? 

Answer:  Long lines.  Flow is elegant to me.  It doesn't mean it has to be monochromatic, but I like to take in an entire look and not be distracted by pieces of it.  That's what really draws me to all these looks.

As a style-ophile, I find inspiration EVERYWHERE!  But to get to my signature, culling these inspirations is crucial. 

 What's the common thread of looks that you're drawn to?

BTW, Pam at Over50feeling40 has talked about how she shops to create her signature "Pam" style and she uses The Foundational Five.  It's a list of five criteria that an item must meet before she allows it into her closet.  Brilliant! 



  1. I love your skirt so much.

  2. Thanks Sacramento! It's a favorite of mine too!

  3. First off, the skirt is amazing..I love it!! Thanks for the plug on the Foundational Five...it really has helped me so much with purchasing decisions...it is easier to walk away from things when I know they do not fit into my style. This total look for you is lovely...you have always had a strong sense for timeless, classic fashion with a creative twist...that is Serene Style. In answer to your question on my purse post...I would have loved to buy one, but with my husband still unemployed, there is just no way. So sad!

  4. Oh NO! Pam, I hate that you had to leave the purse behind, but how I DO understand! One of the many reasons I'm thankful for thrifting...

  5. First - you look fabulous and I adore that geometric skirt. Next - I agree with your style analysis. To admire a look on someone else is grand, but we also have to make it our own and it has to fit our personality. I love a structured suit/menswear on some women, but I don't like the look on me. xoxoxoxo

  6. Thanks Patti! Goodness knows, I've tried every off the wall look out there...but am learning to single out what I know I feel good in. I describe your style as powerfully feminine!

  7. Serene, I too love the skirt! You have the best luck thrifting.
    I realized that I am still trying to define my signature look. What I see in my mind is not always what comes out in my photos. In my head it is always better.
    I will get there someday, I just need to work it out..,

  8. Debbie, I think you have such a fabulous style....elegant American southwest...You seem to always have such striking pieces paired with the simplicity of denim or straight slacks. But maybe we never really get to our signature but are continuing to grow it?

  9. Serene~Flowing lines--I like that! And you and Sacramento are belt lovers. I can see you are having fine defining your signature~keep on enjoying dressing, GF!
    Always have loved that skirt--THAT is very me!

  10. What an interesting post! I love that you have figured out your style and what works for you and what doesn't. I find it extremely difficult to narrow down my style to specifics. I love SO many different looks. Recently I have been playing around with the old glam Hollywood look though, and even channeled some Jean Harlow/Marilyn Monroe at a recent event--it was SO fun. You have made me want to seek answers though...so thanks!

  11. Serene, you look so foxy and gorgeous in this outfit! Yowza! I especially love the unexpected pattern on that skirt. Also, I love the new header, did you design that yourself? I want to do a new header too but it is taking me forever to decide on what I want it to look like. Happy Thanksgiving to you! XO, Jill

  12. Glad you added the Google follow button, I'm following you starting now! XO, Jill

  13. I'm so glad you're back and feeling refreshed, I've missed your positive and stylish voice in the blogosphere. Congrats on the big move, it sounds like you have lots of exciting new chapters beginning. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  14. What a gorgeous make over you've given your blog, Serene, I LOVE IT!!!!
    Yes, deliberate over use of exclaims, because your new blog layout deserves them.

    I love this post because it shows how you can focus on your style, yet appreciate others. And you show that style and our understanding of our own personal style is ever evolving. You look fab, the skirt is the shit (pardon my french, but it's a compliment so permissible I hope) and you look absolutely chic and elegant and beautiful.

    And Style Sample has serious style. I said those same words before I read them in your post-.WOW. ZAH. -Bella Q
    the Citizen Rosebud
    Enter my Karina Dress Give-Away!

  15. This was such a nice post! I also love that look but it's not so Ally. What IS Ally (but doesn't look so great on Ally) is cuffed pants. I have a long torso so I can't do any kind of crop or cuffed jean even though I really want to! So, inspired by you, I will now analyze what I like about the look and make it work with me :)

    PS- I'm so glad you're back!

  16. Yes, I just found your blog by chance and I'm madly in love with your skirt and your fashion style. This post was very inspiring for me and made me think of your guidelines,

  17. You look very chic :) finding a signature style will probably help you when it comes time to clean out your closet, you'll know what you like and what you don't. The common themes I see in your outfits are elegance, feminine, yes belts lol, long lines and clean shilouettes.

    I never really thought about my signature style haha I don't even know what my style is really i just wear stuff i like and it somehow works. I have noticed recently that I seem to have a lot of stripes and polka dotted items.

  18. I'm still experimenting with a few different styles, because I locked myself into a pretty basic look for several years as I was starting practicing law. I like watching you play around, but you always look like yourself... like you are comfortable in your clothes (and skin).

    Love that skirt!

  19. you definitely have a signature style that's you. I like that outfit, glam and elegant, which is very you.

    Your question on High Point thrift store, it's in Singapore :-)


  20. Smart analysis. I should follow your example and advice.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Great skirt! And you're right, belts are wonderful accessories for defining a waist. I couldn't help laugh at your description of the satorial gap - boy do I know all about that one!

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! ~Serene