I have been following Arielle Charnas’ ‘Something Navy’ blog for quite some time now, so when she shared the story of how and why she started her blog and its’ style evolution as part of her call to fellow fashion bloggers to join her in the ‘breakthrough blogger’ contest with H&M and Bloglovin, I couldn’t help but get inspired. I spend a whole lot of time thinking about fashion, trends and style, but not often enough do I stop and ask myself questions like ‘what is my personal style? What does it say about me and how has it evolved through the years?’ So when I read about this great contest I decided to participate mainly because I wanted to have a chance to reflect on my own style evolution and go down my fashion memory lane.
I’d like to think my fashion journey really began when I moved to the US from Belarus in 1997, when I was 13-years-old. Growing up in Russia with an older sister and a fashionista mom, I remember clothes and style in general always playing a big part in our home. There was a lot of talk of getting to buy a certain imported dress that no one could get their hands on, or discovering a lipstick from Germany that would get a proud front row seat at my sister’s little vanity. That is until I would steal it and subsequently break it, while trying to teach myself proper application techniques. I liked everything about fashion from a very early age, so when my parents told me we were moving to America, San Francisco to be exact, I remember screaming for joy and being giddy with the anticipation of what this new amazing land would have in store for me.
When I stepped off the plane and ventured out into the city everything looked shiny and new and I had the feeling that I had just traveled in time, to a future, which was a lot prettier than what I was used to. I was fascinated with malls and the idea that you could spend hours and hours wandering to different stores and trying on anything you wanted. I would beg my mom drive me to one, where I would then spend countless hours browsing through the racks. But what I remember the most, was the feeling of exhilaration I got when trying on something that was completely different from the norm. An over the top gown that I had zero reason to consider buying let alone being able to afford! A leather jumpsuit and eight inch platform heels with spikes. A vintage pencil skirt suit from the 50’s, which later would get a not so nice reaction from my classmates. I wanted to play dress up! I saw each potential outfit as an opportunity to become a different version of myself. To play a character. “Today I am preppy Veronica. Tomorrow I will be rocker Veronica” I would come to school wearing a girly summer dress one day and jeans embellished with thousands of safety pins (that had taken me months to make) and my hair painted pink the next.
I was lucky enough to have a small group of girlfriends who loved my ‘creativity’ and even went out on a limb with me sometimes, but the rest of the school definitely did not understand why someone would venture out past an Old Navy sweater/Polo shirt combo. You can imagine sometimes this made for a not so happy high school existence. I would yearn for an occasion which would allow me to wear a tulle ballgown or a pair of embellished crystal heels. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of sweatpants with no shore in sight.
But even so, my love for fashion only grew, and when I started attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising to study fashion design, my chameleon style was welcomed with open arms. I learned that it really is true that the ‘clothes don’t make the man’ but just the opposite. You as a person have the power to define yourself as anything you want and clothing is a tool which helps make that statement. It can put out a message, make us feel good, give us that extra bit of confidence we all sometimes need. Personal style doesn’t have to be set in stone. It can flow like an ever changing tide and change, just as our personalities and views do over time.
Now ten years later and with two daughters of my own, I still go out on the fashionista limb. This blog in particular has been a huge part of helping me feel like I can still experiment with fashion and not get stuck in any particular box. I still feel like a style chameleon, though a more grown up and refined one. There are definitely less crazy fashion risks in my life now, but I still love the idea of putting on a different fashion hat every day and stepping out as a slightly different version of myself. And this was the inspiration for these three looks, featuring my favorite H&M pieces. I wanted this post to reflect my style and its’ fluidity in three different ways, but also in a combination of them as a whole. So tripod in hand, flower crown made, and my photoshop skills on the line, I ventured out to try and make this concept come to life. This is me. All of me. The edgy, the dreamy, the casual, the bohemian….the girl who said “I will be me” and followed her truth.
Thanks for reading,