I remember a hotel I stayed at in New Orleans had the most wonderful lobby and every night they served hot chocolate and peanut butter sandwiches as a "midnight snack". The service items were ornate silver, they had delicate teacups and plates, the seats were all gold and burgundy and mahogany Victorian, men in tuxedos drifted about to ask if you needed anything. It transported me to a different world... and I loved it! But it is not my style for every day. I can enjoy it occasionally and have a lovely experience with it, without needing to bring the french-creole southern style into my space. (I could probably work men in tuxedos flitting about waiting to serve me into my style, but that's probably a different post).
Being aware of how you choose to bring different styles into your life is a fine line that I'm still figuring out. With decorating for example, the husband and I have different styles and we are still working out how to incorporate those into a suitable balance. We are getting much better at it as time goes on.
I think life experiences, like the New Orleans hotel, allow you to sample different flavors (that may change your style statement over time) and partnering with someone else is going to force you to blend your style statement with another and will take some effort to get right. But here's where you must stick to exactly what suits you: your clothing.
How many of you have perfectly good, beautiful pieces in your closet that you NEVER wear? Either because they don't go with anything else in your closet or they just never feel comfortable or you actually grew to hate them? I do, I do. That is because they are outside of my true-to-self style statement. I have put some thought into why I buy things like that and have created a few rules for shopping:
Stupid stuff I've bought by breaking the following rules.
- Shop with someone who knows you and does not influence your instincts too much. You want to be able to ask an opinion and get an honest answer... for you... not for them. I think that makes the perfect shopping buddy, someone who can look at something and not think of themselves. Here's an example, I would wear pastel but my mom is much more comfortable with rich, saturated colors. So when she comes out in a pretty burgundy shirt that I might choose in a pale yellow I would never say, "Why don't you try the yellow?". I can look at it from the perspective of her style and her closet and her taste and give my opinion. Yes, I just called myself the perfect shopping buddy... so?
- Shop with care when you are having a life experience. On vacation is a great example. If you are in Miami and are shopping for a dress to wear to dinner that night you have to be careful you don't splurge on some flamenco number that you will never wear again. Another example, I know that most people don't "do the mall" like I do. If they have valet parking I use it, if they offer champagne I drink it, if they have an expert in house I talk to them as much as I can (like a shoe guy or the dress lady who has dressed the social elite for 28 years). I take my time, I try on lots of things, I make it a glamorous and enjoyable affair. This could influence some of you in a way that may take you out of your true style. My bohemian or natural or edgy friends could find themselves trying on white sailor pants with a navy striped fitted sweater if they aren't careful. I would probably be a good shopping buddy and steer you away from it, but be careful, I might encourage it and offer to buy for half price later on....
- Try not to shop when you are emotional. This is like the rule of not cutting your hair after a break up. You make bad decisions when you are angry, sad, or struggling emotionally in some way. I have bought baseball jerseys, sarong dresses, western shirts, and other dumb purchases. Well, dumb for me. So I say that once you are in a better place, THEN go shopping, and call me...