Let me start by saying that I hate wearing neutral tone outfits (a combination of pure black, greys, and beige tones). I’d like to think of myself as a relatively happy, cheery, and positive person to be around (on most days), and the pop of color that almost certainly exists on me every day usually reflects that. I also swear against wearing sweatpants or pajamas in public, and would never be caught dead in a random assortment of clothing items thrown together without a care in the world.
However, since COVID began, I’ve found that my motivation to constantly dress well has declined significantly. In March, I raided Nordstrom’s online sales in search of cute loungewear – matching tie-dye sets, cotton jumpsuits, and cropped sweatshirts – in an attempt to keep morale high even when I was just at home alone. By May, I had descended into lazing in an oversized t-shirt all day, so when I went out to meet another human being outside of my household for the first time in July, I was absolutely flummoxed.
My wardrobe is my life – if you know me, then you know that. So, how was it that after years of crafting my personal style meticulously, I couldn’t even figure out how to pair pants and a shirt? I put wedges on and promptly proceeded to trip over myself. I tried a magenta top on with bright mustard and navy striped pants. I braided my hair all to one side. And then I looked in the mirror; I looked like discarded JoJo Siwa merchandise and was a complete and utter mess.
Putting outfits together is just a blend of muscle memory and creativity. Muscle memory reminding you of the things you’ve worn before; pairings you loved, combinations you hated, and just keeping a general memory log of your past experiences that help inform your future choices. Creativity comes in to play in quite an obvious way – for me what I wear is how I feel, or how I’m trying to feel. This is where the hatred of bland color palettes comes in; if I’m in all black (please call someone, I’m not okay) I’m either incredibly upset or mad or just unpleasant to be around in some way, but if I’m in all yellow then I’ve never been happier and I promise I will cheer you out of whatever mood you’re in. What usually happens is a blend of neutral whites or beiges and a pop of red, green, or blue.
My style signature is earrings. You’ll never find me without a matching pair – usually something dangly and unorthodoxly shaped; I love one of a kind, handmade, showstopping pairs. My dress sense also definitely falls on the preppy side. I can’t remember the last time I wore a plain pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. The thought of stepping outside in something so, for lack of a better word, drab, barring some sort of strange themed party, horrifies me. Some of my style icons are Amal Alamuddin Clooney, Blair Waldorf, and Audrey Hepburn (I love her sleek cuts and minimalist style but am well aware she wore all black on occasion) so you can see why.
So, in July, my hopeless self turned to my earring collection for a shred of sanity as I’ve done so many times before. Every beautiful, unique, crazy creation was laid out in front of me as I let out a huge sigh. I picked up a pair of red dreamcatcher-esque earrings, put them on, and stared at my closet renewed with a completely new sense of purpose. I knew I had to start with red, so I instinctively grabbed red pants. The white shirt, white stilettos, red lipstick, and natural makeup look fell into place seamlessly not long after. Nothing else required a shred of thought; once I had the pants in hand, the blend of rose gold and silver rings slid themselves on and I instinctively pinned my hair into a messy bun. After hours of agonizing over mismatched looks that looked like various unicorn’s upchuck, I got ready in a matter of minutes.
Today, I’m wearing those red earrings again. I started my morning in a red, navy, cream, and white striped skirt changed into a pair of skinny jeans and knee-high red heeled boots, and am currently typing away in a sweatshirt and baggy pants. The earrings, however, have been a constant. Whether or not I wake up inspired and excited to start my day or get dressed, I can always count on my array of earrings to get me through it.