Wednesday, January 18, 2023

when I found my own personal style, 1.18.23

 


Happy Wednesday, friends! For today's post, I want to share a story with you that will tell you a little bit about how I became who I am today. It has to do with clothing and my own personal style, which is why I titled the post "when I found my own style". I'm giving Kellyann a shout-out, because seeing her post something similar to this last week is what inspired me to share this today. Before I start, I am going to start with the beginning and tell you about my beautiful mom.



 
She's in the middle...isn't she beautiful? This was in August of 2021, when she, Trish and I were on a fun Saturday out together, eating at our favorite local Mexican place for one of the last times before they closed their doors (Poncho's). Mom has never looked her age and has always had the greatest sense of style. She tried to instill this in me as a young girl, but bless her poor heart, I was stubborn. I'm actually STILL stubborn. I'm sorry, Mom! You know how when you're a young teenage girl, you don't listen to your mom? That was me, so though what she said did seem to go in one ear and out the other, it really stuck with me through the years. 


Unfortunately, as it happens when we have children and get older, I started gaining weight and became very unhappy with my appearance. When I was like that, I stopped caring about what I looked like. I was busy and in the throes of raising young boys, so most days found me in comfy clothes (jeans/yoga pants, or shorts and t-shirts) and no makeup. My husband will tell you even today that he thinks I'm the most beautiful when my face is bare. I love him so much for saying that, and also, how sweet is he to tell me that often? I am so thankful for the husband he is to me. He is also why I am who I am today, because of his love and kindness.

I'll give you an example of how I used to dress. The picture right under this is when we went camping a few times every year. Even though we were outdoors for vacation, that's how I dressed all the time. Jeans or yoga pants, shorts, pullovers like the one I have on (and that is still in my closet today), or t-shirts. That's how I dressed all the time and is why I hate t-shirts to this day. 



And this picture below is of me (I know, it's shocking) on the day I turned 40. First, know that I will never again have dark hair like this, and secondly, the year I turned 40 is the year I started wanting to care about how I dressed. I started wearing makeup more (almost everyday), I took more time with my appearance in the ways of how I dressed and in wearing jewelry. And I went back to being a blonde. 





(A little comparison for you. This picture above was two Saturdays ago. And to remind you of why I'll never be a brunette again. 😜) 


Fast forward now to me meeting a good friend who helped me find my own style. This is my friend Melanie, and this picture was taken of August 2022. (Click her name to follow her on Instagram.) 



We officially met for the first time while we decorated the choir music suite about eight years ago. We discovered we had so much in common! We're both moms to four boys, we homeschooled our sons, we are both close to our moms, and we both have sisters that we're very close to and best friends with.


Melanie used to sell Premier jewelry, and had always helped support their family by doing so, but when they went out of business, she decided to try something new. She'd been crossing over into becoming a personal stylist, so when Premier closed, that's what she did. She became a personal stylist, and is still that for me today and is always faithful and kind to answer my texts, and she opened her own online boutique, Ann & Grace Boutique. I'm linking to her Instagram, because she was such an inspiration to me. My mom laid the foundation and still leads me in example by how she dresses, but Melanie added another layer that was different to me, as well as new and exciting. Mom, I want to be just like you when I grow up! Melanie, I also want to be like you, and I want to stay occupied with doing something I love. I'm thankful to the Lord for both of you, and that I've had you each as examples and friends.


Melanie has a motto that has become something she is known for, and that greatly spoke to my heart (I'll say it to you like she says it to us)—I want to help you look your best, so that you can do all the things God wants you to do, and be who He made you to be.

Isn't that beautiful? Now you see why it resonated within me. I wanted to look my best, which made me confident in who I am and in Who I belong to. And that is how I came to be who you see here each day on my blog. It's how I came to love getting dressed, and taking care with my appearance. It's how I had two wonderful women mentor me in this, the first being Mom, and the second being Melanie. I'll share some examples of how I dress these days, most of which you've already seen.













I will add a caveat here, and that is that there are some things I love about myself and some things I hate about myself. I've learned to accept it all, as we learn when we get older, and I am trying my best to live a healthier lifestyle. 


Something I love about myself is my hair and the great skin Mom taught me to care for. I can hear her voice in my head every night when I walk upstairs to go to bed: "Jennifer, don't forget to wash your face!" Something else I've read over the years that adds to what Mom told me is that no matter how much money you spend on good makeup, it's hard to cover up bad skin. If you've never taken care of your skin, it's never too late! Start today, wherever you are in age and life. My hair and skin are both from good genes, and one I don't work at (my hair), and the other I do. Something I don't love about myself is my weight. I will never be skinny, but I don't ever want to be. My man likes me with curves, and those are his words, not mine. I do want to be healthy, though, which is why I've resolved to make changes in 2023.


Here are a few great things my mom and other friends have taught me to think about as I dress for the day. 


*Don't try too hard. It's when we try too hard that we look overly done with makeup. A little bit of makeup goes a long way. Blend, blend, and blend some more. Lines of foundation that are seen on someone's face are never attractive. Don't  be too heavy handed with the eyebrow pencils/shadows, don't use too much mascara, don't line your eyes too heavily (stick to the outer corners under your eyes only), and go easy on eyeshadow and blush. I like lighter neutral colors for my eyes, and bronze colors for my blush (or just bronzer that I use as blush).



*About lipstick—neutrals are great in the summer when your skin is a shade or two darker and when you're wearing brightly colored clothing. However, if it's in the winter and your skin is a little lighter during the colder months and regardless of the color of clothing you're wearing, consider a brighter shade of lipstick. Just make sure it doesn't clash with what you have on. Personally, I love reds with bright pinks and vice versa, but when I'm wearing a brown colored shirt or vest, I want my lipstick to match that somewhat. I would reach for neutral lipstick on this kind of day, or even a brown lipstick that I lightened up some. One of my favorite shades of lipstick at the moment is a dark brown that's by the brand MAC. Consider going bold with your lip color! It's fun, it makes a statement, and it's easy to reverse if you absolutely hate it. 


*When you're choosing clothes that are already in your closet, or that are new or "new to you", consider your body type. What do you feel most confident in? Everyone is different here. I'm always self conscious of my stomach area, so you'll never see me in fitted tops, unless it's a fitted top worn under a third piece. Find your style and wear it as much as you want! Because I don't love tight fitting tops, my personal style is that I like flowy tops (like ponchos) that are long enough to cover my bum, and I wear them with a tight fitting tank top underneath so that if the wind blows, I don't flash anyone. And yes, that did happen to me one time, and not only did that happen, it happened AT CHURCH. This brings me to the next thing Melanie taught me:


*Consider a third piece! Melanie taught me to dress in a column, which means a couple of different things. One way to do this is to dress in black pants and a black fitted tank or shirt, then adding a color pop in the third piece, whether it's a vest or cardigan. Another way to do that is to dress in black pants, with a black third piece, and wearing the pop of color as the outer top.


*The final thing I learned from both Mom and Melanie is to not forget jewelry. I learned that with my big hair, little earrings get lost, so my motto is, go big or go home. If I am not dressed in a shirt with a V-neck, which is the most universally flattering on every body type because it elongates the body, I wear a longer necklace that makes a V to give that same illusion. I learned how to layer my jewelry from Melanie, whether in an arm party (as she says) with bracelets, or in differing lengths of necklaces, like in these pictures that I also shared above.




So, those are some ways that I became who I am today and how I found my own personal style. If I had to describe my personal style in a few words, I would say that I definitely lean toward a style that is a  little bohemian (I love loose and flowy things, with a bit of something funky thrown in), comfortable (in my clothing choices), and minimal. I'll leave you with one last piece of advice that is original to me.




More than dressing a certain way or using jewelry to complete an outfit, it's the most important to cultivate inner beauty. I love what 1 Peter 3:5 says on the topic of inner beauty.


Thank you for reading my blog today, friends! And thank you for always being so kind in your comments and the time it takes to do that. I appreciate each of you so much and I pray for all of you often. I pray I always point you to Jesus, because He is ultimately why I am who I am today. I bear His image, and I hope the light you see in me reminds you of Him. Love to all! 

18 comments:

  1. I love this! Column dressing is really smart. You should also read Susan After 60 for her educational posts about dressing for your body type.
    I say this is a very similar way - if you feel comfortable and look your best you can be your true confident self to do what you are meant to do in the world. Something like that! I also think it's so important to know your colors or what colors make you feel happy. I only shop those colors in my color coded consignment shop. I also think people get too hung up on sizes. How do you want it to fit? Go a size bigger and sizes aren't even standard anyway.

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  2. People's styles are interesting (and of course the story(ies) behind them). My mom was beautiful but didn't wear make up, nail polish, get her hair done, etc. I was always a little more into looking put together as far as make up but I've always kept in mind how good and natural one can look without it thanks to her influence. Then when I became a mom of girls, I became more convicted that I should focus way less on the external to set the example that we are way more than what people see. Women are judged so harshly for how they look. I always tell my girls they are beautiful on the outside which goes away/ withers just like the Bible says but most importantly they're beautiful on the inside. I like to dress nice and look good but I don't want to spend a lot of time on it! Your style is nice and it's great that you are comfortable in your skin and with your style. To me that is definitely what counts! Thanks for sharing your story ;)

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I can relate to some different parts here. What stood out to me is "not trying to hard." I believe that. When an outfit comes together easily and I don't have to fuss that's when I am happiest!

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  4. So many good tips here! Thank you for sharing :)

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  5. Interesting post. I don't do make-up much, but I'd like to sometimes. I enjoyed your video. It was interesting hearing your voice. I had it in my mind your voice would be a little higher. But it's a very nice tone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your mom is a very beautiful lady. Take care and have a good day.

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  6. It is always interesting to read parts of others' stories. Even with their style, etc. and how interesting the part that our moms play in that...whether good influence or not and whether intentional or not. My mom (like your mom) was naturally beautiful and she always put her best face forward (no pun intended!) She was always trendy and fashionable - but very appropriately so. And she had naturally beautiful skin...just like her mom. I work at it much harder than they both did - but I do try my best. At my age, you would think I would be more "comfortable in my own skin" but I'm not; however, I sense that in your post. And it is very attractive!!

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  7. I love this idea to always look our best... during COVID - it all went downhill for me. I wore sweats & my hair stayed in a bun for over a year. UGH! I love your style so much! I think because its everything I'd wear - LOL
    & BTW, I love those glasses in your pic after the brunette pic.
    I love jewelry so much but I just dont have a place to store it - so I never buy new pieces. I love it on everyone else.

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  8. Jennifer, loved this post and I can relate to so, so much of this. I didn't know you until a few years ago, but I have always loved your style! I think we get more confident as we get older in our appearance as we accept how we are.

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  9. I love your style! I wish I could take you shopping with me! 😂 I’ve pretty much fallen into the category you talked about when raising your kids…yoga pants and a tee. They’re just so comfortable, but I do try to dress better when I go out in public. My problem area is my big chest. 🙈 And I find that cute cardigans and sweaters only make it worse, and it makes me sad because I love cardigans. I’m still trying to find my style, so I did enjoy your post very much. Thanks for sharing this!

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  10. Amy, I went and followed Susan After 60 on Instagram. Thanks for that! And I agree both about colors in your range that look best on you, and not getting hung up on sizes.

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  11. Maria, me too! And I love what you shared about your mom. It's interesting that we basically become like the ones we're around the most. My mom always had her nails polished (and she would do mine), and she always looked nice. I do agree with you on how you've taught your girls...it's similar to the verse I shared. What is on the inside is definitely what matters most. Thanks for sharing part of your story too!

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  12. Thank you, Cathy! Isn't it funny how we think someone will sound in our own minds? I do that all the time. 🤣

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  13. Jennifer, I agree! And you are so right. I actually commented that very thing back to Maria before I read what you'd written to me. It's so interesting how we become who we are. So many factors play into it all. I am sometimes comfortable in my own skin...and others I'm not. I feel good right now, so that's making a difference in how I carry myself. I thought about that tonight as I was at church. I bet your mom was so pretty! I'd love to see a picture of her.

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  14. Rebecca Jo, that year did the same to me! Not with hair, but with dressing/not dressing. I got so tired of it, so I started making the effort everyday and felt better. Thank you for that! I love those glasses too...I didn't buy them, but found a six pack on Amazon that were very similar and have been wearing. Every time I wear them, I get compliments, so I guess other people like them too! I'll mention them in Friday's blog post...

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  15. Thank you, Mandy! I was the same way when my boys were little...and you know what? I wouldn't trade those years for anything in all of the world! There will be a day when you'll have time and energy to spend more time on just them. I don't encourage you to rush it, though! Time really does fly. Have you tried Pinterest? I didn't mention that here, but Amy from Coffee and Cocktails at the Casa taught me that. It's helped me mimic some outfits! Thanks for your sweet encouragement!

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  16. I loved reading this! You have really inspired me to think about my work wardrobe. I love fashion and getting dressed up nicely on the weekend and when I go out. But because I work in a preschool I am usually less than creative or even inspired to wear anything nice. I seem to wear the same things because they are bound to get ruined. But the problem is that I don't feel great about myself during the week. I'm going to take lots of your good advice and make a bigger effort this year. Especially when it comes to hair and makeup. Thanks for the great ideas, Jennifer.

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  17. Thank you, Ruth! That is sweet of you to say. I feel the same way- someone else inspired me as well, so I love the thought of passing things on to help others. I wish you well in this! I started small with one or two pairs of pants that I could rotate and that I loved, and I went to our Marshall's or TJ Maxx (I'm guessing like your TK MAXX) for inexpensive shirts that I loved and felt confident in. You could start that same way! Then, if something gets messed up, you won't be upset, since it didn't cost much.

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