The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
I have two supervising attorneys, one I’ve worked with for about 20 years, give or take a few minutes. He’s the same one who complimented my “new” ankle bracelet last summer – the same one I’ve worn every summer for ten years.
So this morning we’re talking in his office, and as I get ready to leave, he asks, “What’s with this new and improved style you’ve had for the last three or four months? You’ve really looked great. I like it. What’s going on?”
Well, first, I was a little bumfuzzled that he even notices what I wear. Second, you can’t help but wonder if you looked really bad before…
Knowing that blogging, mine or anyone else’s, is not an area he follows much, I explained I had taken my paralegal blog in a new direction over the last year or so. While I had always posted about budget career deals since the start of the blog in 2008, I didn’t start sharing my own outfit posts until a little over a year ago.
I started focusing more on budget career dressing, because when I attended large gatherings of paralegals, that seemed to be what they were most interested in – other than how to use their new iPads. Readers wanted to know where I shopped, what other style blogs I was reading, and what I was wearing. Many told me they were inspired to try thrifting career clothes because of this blog, or were using more accessories to liven up their more conservative career clothes.
I also told my boss that when I started trying to find other career style bloggers to read, besides Corporette with its Wednesday business suit recommendations often in the $500 – $1,000 range, I couldn’t find very many style bloggers like me. You know. Middle-aged. Limited Budget. Not a model. Unable to afford J. Crew or Anthropologie even on sale most of the time.
So I decided to put my small wardrobe where my mouth is, even though self-photography is not something I’m comfortable with. I always managed to take all the family pictures or magically disappear when others were taking them. I was a homely kid, a kind of awkward plain woman in my 20s and 30s, and a little lost when it came to dressing my 40s body, especially when it got sick for a few years and I was too tired to care what it looked like.
I also learned a lot about re-mixing an existing wardrobe and adding more exciting thrifted or inexpensive elements from some of my favorite style influences: Megan, Sal, Sheila, Patti, Kasmira, Lydia, Melanie, Gracey, Psyche, Mongs, LeeAnne, and Tara, just to name a few. I learned my old clothes had more infinite re-mixing possibilities than I’d ever imagined, and was inspired to try stepping outside of my comfort zone more often (not too far out, I do work in a law firm.)
A slow and gradual weight loss due to a neurological condition that took a long time to diagnose has also been responsible for my changing wardrobe. I’ve even had to give away clothes bought last year that are now too big. Taking outfit pictures has not only helped me see I was wearing clothes that were swallowing me whole, but that certain cuts, styles, and colors really do a lot more for my figure challenges than others. I’m short, slim, with broad shoulders, long arms and a big head. (Thank you, T-Rex).
So, I’m not actually responsible for my new and improved style; many of my readers and new style blogger friends are. This blog is actually turning into a journey of self-discovery for me, as I espouse solid middle-age and even celebrate its pluses (and try to use fashion to minimize its minuses); as I try to express my artistic side with a more interesting wardrobe; and as I try learning to use my camera as another artistic outlet. I’ve always loved taking pictures of (other) people, and I’ve always loved clothes. And I’ve always told my paralegal readers they didn’t have to have a lot of money to have a gorgeous interview suit and a working wardrobe that expressed confidence, professionalism, and great personal style.
Thanks to my boss for making me stop and acknowledge that my style is changing, and that maybe for the first time in my life, I have many days when I leave the house feeling like a beautiful woman.
Where are you in your own style journey? Still finding out what really works for you, or completely satisfied with your own unique style?