Favorite Things Friday: Authentic Personal Style

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I loved working at Nike and Polo Ralph Lauren and learned so much from the interesting and incredibly stylish people I had the pleasure of working with in both companies, but I have to confess that I felt a lot of pressure to fit in.

At Nike Design, I worked with professional athletes and incredibly cool, funky people who wore vintage, designer, or edgy clothing, custom eye-glasses, and really great shoes. I fit in as best as I could and tried not be intimidated.

At Ralph Lauren, everyone dressed as if they were from very old, very wealthy families. It was as if everyone just came to work because they needed a diversion from riding horses and reading in their wood-paneled library all day, wearing houndstooth plaid jackets and crocodile loafers. In reality, Ralph was probably the only person who actually lived this way.

Those years at Nike and Ralph Lauren, were all about paying attention, learning about details, fabrics and clothing styles, and figuring out how the elements that appealed to me could be incorporated into my own unique look.  It has taken me a long time to get comfortable with my own personal style, and there are still plenty of days when I feel unsure about how I look, but I keep exploring to find that sweet spot where I feel comfortable and special at the same time.

I have learned that style is not about choosing a designer look to emulate. Personal style is about putting together a lifestyle, a home, and a wardrobe that works for you and makes you feel good. It is the picture you create when you pick the way you live, the possessions you choose to have in your home, and the clothing you wear. It is the way people think of you and how you position your “personal brand” – whether you mean to or not. Personal style is the one thing that we have total control over and one of the most important tools we have for connecting with other people. Authentic personal style comes from being brave enough to be the most and the best YOU that you can be in every way.

Do you think about your personal style?  What do you wear to feel the most “you”?

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4 Comments

  1. Sara Tetreault Reply

    Annie, I had to laugh at your recollection of working for Ralph Lauren! Of course, I still have a pair of jodhpurs that I can’t get rid of. You never know when you might need a pair ~ hah!
    You have great style, both in what you wear and in your life.

    http://gogingham.com

    • annie kip Reply

      OMG – jodpurs!!!! Yes, that was a big fashion statement at Ralph Lauren! You never know when you will need them, best to hang on to them!

  2. Rita@thissortaoldlife Reply

    Oh, I think about these kinds of things quite a lot. Because, like you, I think what we wear and put in our homes cannot really be separated from how we live. For me, I think that we cannot develop a personal style without figuring out who we really are. I spent far too many years trying to figure out who everyone else was, or who I thought everyone else wanted me to be–and so I never had/found a “personal style.” Once we start figuring out who we really are, style in our homes and wardrobes naturally evolves.

    http://www.thissortaoldlife.com

    • annie kip Reply

      Yes, Rita, I agree. I know you and Cane are doing that with your home and I love your “Un-Design” direction. Maybe we have to let things just be what they are before we can decide what to keep or edit out. That is probably true for personal style too – you have to let yourself like what you like without influence/expectations from others or trends to find a look that is all you. The more naturally it all evolves the better!

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