Know Your Style


The inimitable Iris Apfel

Last week, I watched a documentary about the style icon Iris Apfel. She is an interior designer who has amassed a collection of one-of-a-kind clothing which she pairs with gobs of unusual jewelry pieces. Her sense of style is so unique that the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute featured her collection in an exhibit in 2005. According to Wikipedia, “Apfel consults and lectures about style and other fashion topics”. By the way, she is 95 years old.

I was fascinated by the close-up portrait of the inimitable Iris Apfel. I think it was her confidence that I found so compelling. She is not afraid to wear something unusual, or to pair together several pieces of oversized jewelry. Her outfits have an inevitability to them — they look like they were destined to go together.

Fascinated as I was, I also knew that this is not a style that would work for me. Iris clearly has the energy and the interest to shop for unusual items, and the patience to experiment with matching up different pieces. I like my wardrobe to be comfortable and easy. And I hate shopping!

This was brought home to me a few days ago. Now that the weather is cooling off,  I am moving into my fall wardrobe.  I put on a shirt that I had not worn in a few months. I perused my jewelry collection to find a piece that would complement the open neckline, and selected a necklace that consists of four separate strands with silver and clear beads on it. Every time I looked in the mirror, I felt compelled to straighten out the strands, which had a tendency to get tangled up in each other. Within a few hours, I took that necklace off and put it in a pile of items to be donated. I also took a similar necklace and added that one to the pile. They are just too complicated for me!

The next day, I took the opportunity to rearrange my necklaces now that two of the more voluminous ones had been removed. (They hang on a contraption in my closet that was actually designed to hold belts or ties.) The end result is that it is now easier for me to see all of my necklaces. I was much happier knowing that I could more easily reach the ones that do work for me.

Does your wardrobe consist of aspirational items that really don’t match your style? It’s important for you to understand what you will really wear and what you won’t. Clearing away the items that aren’t truly “you” will make it easier for you to see and wear the items that do match your true sense of style.

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