Style From a Young Age
My sense of style started at my mother’s knee when I was just a little girl. My mother was what they call a ‘city girl with style’ and who better to emulate than one’s mother? I would watch her lay out her outfits and accessories. A mother is a phenomenal teacher. Believe it or not, I also watched my father. While he dressed conservatively, he also had a distinct style, loving beautiful fabrics and the finer things.
Lastly, I remember my mother taking me along with her when she shopped in Chicago. On occasion, she had clothes to pick up and she could not find parking so she would park in a No Parking zone. She would leave me in the car–it was safe in those days–to tell a policeman if one appeared that she would be right out. Her shops were in areas where there was a lot of foot traffic and to this day, I can see the stylishly-dressed women walking past my mother’s car.
Real City Style
In those days, women dressed like women. They wore suits, high heels and even gloves. To this young girl, watching out of the window of her mother’s car, these women all had real city style.
You must remember, I was a small town girl who grew up in Kankakee by the Sea. My mother was born and raised in Chicago, shopped for her wardrobe in Chicago and has real city style. In my formative years, my mother and father and the elegantly-dressed women walking down the streets of Chicago were very influential in shaping my sense of city style.
To further my sense of city style, my mother educated me with her wise words of advice. My father taught me through his appreciation for the finer things. He didn’t discuss his attire, but I noticed his choices of fine fabrics. He did not have the wardrobe of a king with closets filled with shoes and shirts. Instead, he possessed a king’s taste in finery. I replicated my mother’s style. I copied my father’s appreciation for fine fabrics. They were the roots of how I began to gain my sense of city style and better yet, my personal style.
From Honolulu to Chicago
Over the years, my style has never changed. It is basic with an edgy twist. My taste in fine fabrics matches my father’s. Obviously, I do not have an exact formula. When I lived in Honolulu, a city with a population of one million people, I dressed in my basic style with a twist. It was a little edgy yet still casual–lots of white cotton, given the humid city in which I lived. When I moved to my beautiful Chicago, I dressed with the same style, but the city had a different heartbeat, spirit and attitude. As a result, I upped my twists and edginess with accessories and boldness in detailing or a pop of color, but I always kept things simple.
The Black Tie Event
A month ago, my ultimate concierge and I had a black tie event. I walked into the party and was greeted with a maze of black. The decor was black with big draperies in black silk. The linens were black, the lighting was low, every woman was dressed in black and the men similarly donned black tuxedoes.
There were two women at the affair in white: my girlfriend and myself. I wore black straight-legged pants and a silk white top that stopped under my waist with a long train from the back of the blouse. The french cuffs on the shirt had three large pearl buttons and at the neckline, there was one large pearl. The other buttons going down the shirt were concealed. At my neck, I wore a maroon velvet tuxedo tie. No jewelry aside from pearl earrings and my wedding ring.
It was basic with a twist and a little edgy. I could wear this in Paris, London, New York or even Honolulu. This is a great representation of my style that I would wear in any city.
Eclectic or Simple, the Choice Is Yours
What is the formula for gaining a sense of city style? Be you. There are tons of opportunities to be creative in the city. You can attend a black tie event as I did and not wear the basic black dress or tux. On other days, wear your denim with a great handbag, a leather jacket and comfy shoes. Just remember–you have your signature so embrace it with confidence. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your fashion. Be as eclectic as you choose or as simple as you wish.
Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, New York, are as eclectic as their inhabitants. It is hard to pinpoint one specific style because each city has distinct elements, just as we do as people. Truth be told, I am constantly surveying the fashion world and adding a little here and a little there, continuing on my journey and building my sense of city style.
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