Walking down memory lane to define my personal style

I have loved a good style moment since 1991. Faux fur, pink, stripes, and the most subtle hint of jewelry clearly made me a very happy camper. And apparently a pair of sunglasses, minimal pops of color, and a great pose while looking away from the camera really made me feel like my best self. I love these two photos because they show how I liked to dress way before other people’s opinions infiltrated my thought process. I would argue that at the age of one-ish, I had a clear sense of my personal style. It definitely had to be comfortable and a little bit of pink never hurt. This is still true.

As I gear up for Fall fashion while clinging on to every last bit of Summer, I find myself in a social media induced “panic” to buy all the “need to have” pieces now. I call it panic because that’s what’s happening inside my own head, but in reality everyone seems really excited for the new season to start. With every fashion and style Instagram account showcasing the “It” Fall pieces, it’s getting more and more difficult to tune out the noise and live in the Summer moment.

It’s also getting more and more difficult to avoid the temptation of buying pieces that I can’t even wear right now. Like I mentioned in my to buy or not to buy blog post, I am trying to be more mindful about what I buy in an effort to be smarter with my money and have pieces in my closet that I will want to wear season after season.

So I decided that it was time to pause and reflect on what has changed and what has remained the same over the years with my style. I hoped that by looking through old photos, I would have a clear sense of what worked and what didn’t work for me, so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have noticed that I always hashtag, personal style. I even use it to categorize my style blog posts. But I realized that with all the “panic” I’ve been feeling to own all the Fall trends, do I actually know what my personal style is? Could I define it if someone asked me to? As Luxe Strategist mentioned in her Fall Shopping: Six steps to a wardrobe you love without overspending blog post, being able to define your personal style is crucial to making smarter shopping decisions. (P.S. her personal finance blog is informative, interesting to read, and an incredible resource.)

In this blog post, I will be sharing my honest thoughts about my looks from 2007 till now. 2007 is also the year that I joined Facebook. So thanks to Facebook and my need to document everything that happened over the last decade (!), I have these (often cringeworthy) photos to reflect upon. And hopefully by the end of this journey through memory lane, I will have figured out what my personal style is in a sentence or two.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

Let’s start with Fall 2007/2008. 

In one sentence: I really liked pink and sometimes I bought things that didn’t fit me.

Next up, Summer/Fall 2009. Also, when I started college and thought I knew myself.

In one sentence: A time when I regrettably wore low-waisted jeans, loud prints, a lot of plaid, and a really overpriced, impractical bag.

Are you ready for this St. Patrick’s Day look?

This was Spring 2011. I had just failed my Economics exam and thought to hell with it, let’s “party.” My two friends and I went to the parade and bought these “cool” green tiaras? I honestly think that’s the best part of this outfit.

In one sentence: You can’t tell from my smile but everything I wore was such terrible quality and I was inadequately dressed for a cold March day because I wanted summer to happen already.

Spring 2011

These next six photos were from my month in Italy in Summer 2012. I felt like I was really experimenting with my style. There’s this kind of clichéd freedom of expression that comes from being in Europe.

In one sentence: I wore a lot of dresses, one bag that often got caught in my hair because of the chain strap, and had a lot of fun experimenting with my style while in Italy.

In one sentence: My Zara pants worn three different ways in the pictures above were the best 39.90 euros I’ve ever spent.

The next two photos were also from Summer 2012. This was after my month in Italy. Vadim and I were on a resort in Cancun. Also, marked the beginning of having Vadim take my outfit photos.

Summer 2012

In one sentence: That dress was too complicated and those sandals were a terrible, impulse sale purchase.

Summer 2012 look

In one sentence: I don’t like tank tops like this because it’s impossible to find a bra to go under it, and I regret getting rid of this skirt.

Spring:Summer 2013

What I wore for my college graduation, May 2013.

In one sentence: This dress had a hole in it and I decided to keep it anyway and those shoes were final sale and so so painful.

The four years after that consisted of oversized sweaters and leggings. Because there was grad school and post-grad school. I needed all the comfort to get me through it all.

And finally, the look I’ve been wearing on repeat lately.

This look is all about comfort and a desire to hold on to summer via my bag. I’m also wearing a boxy, crewneck tee here because I think it shortens my torso and elongates my legs. Flats are still my preferred shoe of choice. And I still think a denim jacket is the perfect transitional layering piece.

Shop the look: 
Denim Jacket: similar version here
T-shirt: similar version here
Jeans: Evidnt (I dedicated a whole blog post to them here)
Flats: Rothy’s (they’re made from recycled bottles and are machine washable…I wrote about them here)

Now that I’ve done a thesis on my personal style evolution, let’s see if I can define my personal style in one or two sentences.

My personal style is all about comfort, versatility, and practicality. I prefer simple pieces that I can transition easily from day to night and through each season. I prefer mostly neutrals and rely on pops of color or details to elevate my basic pieces. I still like occasional stripe and pop of pink.

Okay, that was clearly more than two sentences. I could probably expand on that. But it really does come down to timeless, simple pieces for me. This is not to say that I won’t indulge in the occasional trend but it won’t take over my closet.

I decided to shorten this post. I was babbling on in the earlier version and going into way too much detail. I was in such a mental “rush” that I felt like I had no time to edit it down even further. Hopefully this was entertaining and maybe even inspired you to walk down memory lane to define your own personal style. Because after all this is merely a source of inspiration and not a prescription for what you “need” in your closet.

What are some of your most memorable style moments?  

P.S. I’ve started added affiliate links to the pieces I talk about in my blog posts. This means that if you purchase an item through my links, I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. This is an effort to fund this blog and keep it filled with relevant and valuable content. As always thanks for taking the time to read my blog and especially this incredibly long blog post.

I’ll see you in my next one.

Sophie 🙂


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This is not an ad. All opinions are my own.

  • Man, it must have taken a LONG time to gather up all those images. I’ll spare people my old pics. I used to be a little punk with short, choppy hair and I’d wear long johns under shorts!!! I was the fash-fashion, mall queen in college because I had no access to nicer stuff. It was just lack of awareness. I also didn’t wear makeup until I was an adult, and had no idea that doing your eyebrows was a thing until a year or two ago. And I can relate to the long torso thing, so high-waisted is where it’s at for me, too! Low-waist just makes me look so much more out of proportion. Maybe I need to get a short, boxy tee now, because all of mine are kind of long. However, there was always a common theme since I was a teenager. I was always attracted to boyish clothes that didn’t really show my body very much.

    Thanks so much for the shout out! Also, you were such a cute bb.

    • The most challenging part was sifting through the really embarrassing ones haha. Short, choppy hair sounds so cool though! I know what you mean-whenever I would go to a mall I wouldn’t leave until I bought something because then it would have been a “waste” of a trip. Times have changed though. Yes, definitely try a boxier cut tee…it has been a game changer for me. I used to force the whole v-neck look on myself but it just never worked for me. I know what you mean about boyish clothes-I feel myself gravitating towards them now haha-I envy my husband’s clothing options, it’s just so simple. And everything that is made for men always seems 1000x softer than women’s clothes.

      It was an easy shoutout- your posts are always so helpful and inspiring. Thanks, I really wish I looked as cool now as I did then. Probably something to do with expressing yourself without judgment.