running away from the circus

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Dress: vintage, via theater sale

Coat: vintage, via brick-and-mortar vintage store

Shoes: Kmart (yeah, I know)

Everything else: thrifted

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It’s probably deeply narcissistic to assume that anyone but me cares about my ~style evolution~. But – “narcissist” is pretty much the first definition of “blogger” anyway, so it’s not like I had far to fall.  And I do want to address the fact that my style has well and truly changed.

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I am no longer the empress of power clashing, and I haven’t been  for some time. I am no longer drawn to heavy bangles, to colorblocks, to thrifted weirdness. In fact, I barely thrift anymore. I would love to, but the ratio of gems to dross is so low it’s barely worth my time. And I have reached a point of preferring one glittering gem, one perfect vintage dress, to bagsful of pieces that only sort of work.

The latter used to be a main feature of my style: throwing cloth & color at my body and seeing what stuck. Remember this? And this?  And this, this, this? I’d haul home bags of weird wrinkled stuff, whatever I could carry, and end up donating half of it later anyway. Which, honestly, was not the healthiest behavior. There was something frantic about it, something compulsive. We point and laugh at hoarders, but I’ve always known, on some uncomfortable level, that I could very well become one. Backing away from that, from what I’m pretty damn sure was just my OCD wearing a socially acceptable guise, has been a relief.

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I knew I was pulling out of quirk and into vintage elegance, and I even mentioned it this past summer, but it didn’t feel real until last week, when I got rid of most of my clothes.

And I do mean most. I listed sixteen dresses on Etsy, with about ten more to come. I passed on certain pieces to friends and my mom, and I still have two brimming trash bags waiting to be donated. I ditched things I once thought I would never give away. And it feels awesome, honestly. I’m setting myself free from frustrated potential: “oh, but I could use this for an outfit, one day.” Nope – if I’m not wearing it now, if it feels more like a mask than a second skin, it’s going to a better home.

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My closet feels weirdly lean now. It feels curated. It’s full of dresses: most ’60s and earlier, some modern reproductions. Gloves, hats, and vintage pearls. A few nice coats. Only the most comfortable shoes, and only the tights without any holes. Just a couple of skirts, and only three blouses.  I’m just not wearing separates anymore, not on the regular.

Make no mistake: I’m still eccentric. But that eccentricity is more about textured coats and fabulous hats, about gloves with pearl buttons, than about wearing everything at once. I wore an aggressively twee dress a few weeks ago, with colored tights & clashing cardigan, the whole kit and crazy caboodle, and I felt, in a bad way, like I was wearing a costume. I think I’ve officially grown out of Garanimals and into Greta Garbo.

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I see bloggers now who dress the way I used to, and I cringe: it’s just too busy. But I feel bad for cringing, because I started out as a blogger intending to break all the rules. There’s the weird letdown that comes with remembering that you used to be subversive. Rules are neutral, though. They don’t have to be stifling. Choosing structure can be a joy all its own.

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2 Comments

  1. I feel this so hard. I’m in the middle ground of wanting to commit but being afraid to commit. I feel better wearing vintage and I just pushed most of my separates to the back of my closet… but that “what if?” is still there. What if I regret it? What if I miss that item? What if I change again?

    Sigh. The struggle is real.

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