Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's Your Wardrobe Personality?

My sister's new venture also includes personal style analysis, a concept which I find intriguing. Jessica of Chronically Vintage also posted recently on the topic, which prompted me to have a go at analysing my own 'wardrobe personality'.

(via pinterest)

Although my style can easily be filed under the umbrella category of "Vintage", and most definitely "Feminine" (androgyny is not something you'll find in my closet), within that broad spectrum there are many different style personalities. My day to day wear mirrors the sweater-girl style of the classic pin-ups by artists such as Gil Elvgren and Edward D'Ancona (I'm not saying I look like a pin-up, just that I wear similar clothes!).

Then I have my sophisticated, classic, ladylike side, at home in tailoring and forties tea dresses and sleek pencil skirts with hats and dainty gloves.

Not that I'll ever be that chic

Ladylike fashions in Vogue, 1955

Then there's my cartoonish, kitschy side which manifests in nutty applique circle skirts, plastic jewellery and a penchant for bright colours and cherries and novelty prints.

Telephone print skirt with telephone dial belt! (via elegant musings)

These are probably the 'dominant' personalities in my wardrobe - and often they overlap (my plastic jewellery doesn't necessarily look out of place with a chic dress). But that's not all there is to it. There's also a bit of a preppy, collegiate side - over the cooler months I live in my 1950s corduroy pinafore (jumper, in American) dress, and I'm always drawn to tartan, plaid and checks although I don't have nearly enough in my wardrobe.

Collegiate fashions in Sears, 1957

Neither could I do without the check skirts and peasant blouses of my romantic-gypsy side (when I was - oh I don't know, nine - I had a pair of costume jewellery clip-on earrings with dangling miniature coins. I wore them all the time).

Spangles advert from 1956

There are also, inevitably, many style personalities that don't fit with me at all. I know I keep saying that everyone should wear what they love etc etc, but sometimes you really can love something but it's just not part of your own style personality. I can't 'do' the ethereal, bohemian style of the Bright Young Twins, who have an effortlessly ethereal style with a slightly bohemian edge, floating around in Edwardian nighties and button-up boots paired with tweed and 1930s furs.

The Bright Young Twins (Triplets?)

Neither can I quite pull off goth - I admire the style (especially after my trip to Japan a few years ago) - Dita von Teese and Helena Bonham Carter both have slightly gothic tendencies and I love them. But I could never resist the urge to incorporate something a bit colourful or wacky. Besides, it's not a look that sits well with a headful of bouncy golden curls. I wouldn't make a good goth.

Gothic Dita (source)

Girlish flourishes like frills tend not to sit well in my wardrobe, either. Casey often has a slightly classic-meets-girlish edge to her outfits - she's drawn to ruffles, scalloped detailing, Peter Pan collars and pretty bows. Fleur also has a soft spot for a touch of ruffle.

The mid forties was big on girlish detailing

Another thing I will never, ever be is minimalist. Loads of people look amazing dressed head to toe in black and camel, body-skimming fabrics with the most understated of accessories. But yeah, not gonna happen.

Working out your wardrobe personality (personalities) can be a great help to defining and refining your own style - and realising why even though you love a look, it doesn't necessarily work for you.

What are your wardrobe personalities?


  1. Interesting. I don't think I have one, it is just "vintage" sadly. I feel most comfortuble in 30s-40s evening wear (full length bias cut type things) or naked. Heh. Sometimes I wish being naked in public were acceptable.

    Must work on refining my style a bit I think.

  2. I think I have style Bipolar! I wear a 'vintage' style everyday, basically 40's to 60's but boy does it vary! I go from grown up and sophisticated to full on flirty 50's and kitsch, 60's mod to 60s mad men, Rockabilly, granny chic etc. I have phases of loving a style and weraing it everyday then not touching it again for month.

    Like you I would say I am never underdressed or understated. I love all things bold and I love colour!

    Whatever my style it is always fun for me and I feel good! :D

  3. I am still working on figuring mine out but you are right-once you do figure it out then you have a better sense of the styles that work best on you and the better you look and feel. I look fwd to reaching that point! Great post! xox

  4. I think it also depends on what 'work for you' means. I'm no fan of Gok Wan's idea, for example, that deep down we all want to look 25-35, middle class and hourglass (not that I don't think many women do, and that it's a good look - it's just not for everyone). I think it's another media pressure for those people who don't want to look modeil-tall and angsty (the other media ideal).

    My predominant styles would be kitsch, 'retro' (i.e. post 50s vintage) and indie-rock. Oh, and drag queen... there's quite a bit of drag queen in there.

    I don't have a style I wouldn't do, except maybe that kind of boxy professional bland suited look (I do wear suits, but never bland/monochrome only).

    1. By 'work for you', I mean 'work for your personality' (in your case, a boxy monochromatic suit doesn't fit your ebullient personality :) ) as well as in other ways.

      xx Charlotte

    2. I appear to have missed out goth pirate from my list too (which today I am wearing to work). ;)

  5. This is great food for thought! I've never thought to define my wardrobe personality. I think I'm one part influenced by 1940s land girl and more masculine styles, with smart trousers or overalls and knitted sweaters and crisp blouses and berets, and one part deep-seeded 50s kitsch lover, with a penchant for novelty prints, bright colors, plastic jewelry, silly brooches and the like. And I pull in little bits and bobbles from other eras-- a little modern, sometimes a little early 60s or late 30s, too. This post is a good reminder that you don't have to love just *one* thing, wardrobes can be full of multiple personalities. :)

  6. I think our styles are very, very similar (though I favor fewer gloves and hats). But I also wear things like, say, sequined mini skirts from Express, and really big hoop earrings. Great to think about.

  7. I've always summed up mine as 'Modern puritan versus the inner hippie'. Really it's mostly very streamlined and simple, textures or woven patterns rather than prints, with the occasional burst of frivolous indulgence.

  8. I adore that you took a look some of the many diverse, beautiful sides and personalities of your wardrobe, too, dear Charlotte. We share many in common for sure, as well as a general love (I'd dare say "need") to ensure a sense of femininity in all that we wear.

    I sincerely appreciate that you included my post on this topic here, thank you very, very much.

    ♥ Jessica

  9.'ve given me a lot of food for thought. I'm going to need to take a look at my own style now :) Wonderful!

  10. Our wardrobe personalities are quite similar, as I too from day to day have the pin up sweater girl look as I find that it is a nice look which can be pulled off with minimal effort, as well as also dressign in my 40's things, with pencil skirtsm suits and dresses. I can be a bit of a minimalist, as I do not tend to wear much jewellery, I only have a small collection of vintage jewellery, such as pearl necklaces, as I dont really tend to wear much plastic. I am also a big shoe and bag fan, I am obsessed with them, my outfit has to have the perfect matching shoes otherwise I do not feel as good about what I am wearing. I always wear things that make me feel good, otherwise whats the point?
    Thanks for the post, Love Lil x

  11. How about giant dressing up box? It's how I feel on the day, and I'm all over the spectrum of "vintage" for that reason. From the Edwardian era downwards. An old Goth never dies, she just adapts!

  12. You and I are SO similar in style. I do love the Bright Young Twins though, and all things "Edwardian/white tea dresses". I have some definite bohemian tendencies so I'd have to include that!

  13. Interesting post as this is abit of a dilemma for me. I actually have a petite hourglass figure and look great in pre-1960's styles, but prefer androdgeny and sleek modern cuts! I admire these feminine styles on others so that makes it even stranger! I can only assume that I have been overly influenced by my very lovely but practical Mum and the requirements of my muddy country life with dogs and children!! X

  14. Great and interesting post! you can renovate your wardrobe with stylish headwear and fashionable clothes to rock this winter!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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