What do your clothes say about you?

Gamine – Day 14

I think I’ve finally figured out why Gamine style is really bugging me.  After all, I like the clothes a lot.  They’re comfortable, cute and easy to wear all day.  What I don’t like is what I think the clothes say about me.


What we wear says volumes about who we are.  All day long we’re all just subconsciously profiling people based on what they are wearing, and depending on what they are wearing, we make our first decisions on whether or not we’re going to like them.  I don’t mean this in a negative way, like racial profiling, I just think people are always searching for connection with each other and clothing is the conduit to potential bonding.

For example, if I see two moms at the park and one is dressed like me and the other is wearing a bejeweled pink shirt that says, “Diva-licious”, who do you think I’ll end up talking to?  Well, probably the mom with the diva-licious t-shirt because my kids will strike up an instant friendship with her kids and for the next several years I’ll be seeing this woman on a bi-weekly basis and planning family trips to Hawaii together.

But on any other circumstance I would pick the mom dressed like me.  We would probably have way more in common and our deep friendship would no doubt make our lives richer and more fulfilling.

Therefore, I don’t feel Gamine truly represents me.  Gamine done badly (as I have achieved several times) makes me look like a really organized mom whose house is always clean and whose life is planned down to the minute for the next five years.  And that is not me.  One quick look at my children’s tangled hair and the food rotting in our refrigerator will tell you that order is not my strong suit.

My style needs to tell the world just that – here’s a non-perfection seeker coming your way with lots of children and animals that likes to share snacks and joke around.  I won’t look in your pantry if you don’t look under my car seats…

Can anyone tell me what style that could be?





  • One of the advantages of a personal style journey over 40 is that you are much more certain of who you are, period, which makes it easier to translate into life choices that fit and reflect that, whether it’s what you wear or where you live or what you do.

    At the end of this year, you’ll have 12 months of clues about what you like and what you don’t. Your style will come from what you enjoyed wearing: colors, patterns, lengths, shapes, etc. Find a couple of signature pieces and build everything else around it. (And have fun!)

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Thanks so much, Heidi! I think you’re right. I already feel like I have such an education in fashion. I can’t wait to find my style.

  • Jenn says:

    I know the feeling. My oldest has started kindergarten this year and I feel like I have to step up my sartorial game. You know, so people take me seriously and stuff. But I can’t figure out how to do that without feeling like a fraud. Or like I’m in costume. I bought the Lucky guide to style after discovering your blog but I think I’m a California Girl and Bohemian with a soupcon of Arty mixed in. Hardly “take me serious” kind of clothing. Maybe I need to get a little Gamine or American Classic up in my wardrobe.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Maybe we shouldn’t be taken seriously. You know? When I’m in Gamine or American Classic I feel way too serious. It’s just not me. I’d rather be the relaxed jokey mom — the one you shouldn’t count on to organize something. I think I’m kind of a mix between California girl and boho too — except for the California girl string bikini — three kids later and no thanks. I’d lose the string in a fold of skin!

  • Amiable says:

    This may be my favorite post of yours yet (and I’ve read most of them, I think). You are so correct that we need to consider not just what we like to wear, and find comfy, but what our clothes portray about us to others.

    I’m finding for myself that different parts of my life require different styles. I like to go for Euro-Chic (or something portraying authority) when I’m out representing my work at a conference or something. If I’m visiting a customer on site, a bit more casual, but still portraying something with authority. For other times, I’m pretty much like you – I’m a mess, my life is disorganized, and I don’t mind if I look just a bit disheveled – or rough around the edges. I like that look.

    And style-wise, it’s okay to not fit in a box, or to make your own box.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I totally agree. It’s nice to have a little bit of everything to suit your moods and the different areas of your life. I always sort of admire women that have a particular style though that totally suits them. Even if it’s someone like Gwen Stephani, whose style is just hers — it so represents her personality. That’s the ultimate goal for me — to find a style that’s purely my own, which would mean I would know fashion and what suits me totally.

  • caroline says:

    I love love, love this blog. And I am so happy that you have given me the word “gamine” because in many ways, that is my style. Euro-chic wasn’t quite hitting it. American classic…clooooose…but . Gamine. My inner Audrey (Hepburn or Toutou, depending on the day) thanks you. But I’m wondering how a thirty-something (or a 40-something, or *gasp* 50-something) pulls it off

    It will be great to see what you come away with at the end of the year. Once you know what you will inevitably know, I wonder if instead of a “style” that fits you you will look for the “uniform” that does the most to express who you are. Like: you love the maxidress (July) plus a structured denim jacket (American classic) with scary toe shoes (Sporty Chic). That can be your daily go-to. And the viola, it’s the “Holly Style.” It could be an intentional pulling together of the elements you like from some of the styles into a cohesive, intentional “uniform” that give you the “youness” while keeping at bay the tendencies to flop around in yoga pants and a torn Hootie and the Blowfish shirt (yes. i have one).

    So all that’s to say, it may not be a particular “style” but about making it look like you are in control of your wardrobe. When it feels you have no control in your life.

    Keep up the good work, my vicarious fashion guinea pig!

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words! They keep me going! I was wondering that about style — I wonder if I’ll actually be a style or I will just find my own style — either way I will have gained sooooo much more knowledge and confidence in the fashion department. This year has been amazing for me…

  • shellybean99 says:

    So it sounds like you’re veering into Stepford territory! I relate really well to gamine style, but I gravitate towards it’s minimalist and retro aspects. What appeals to me about it is that it’s a quick way to project “feminine” without having to wear a lot of makeup or big bright patterns. Then again, I’m the petite and neat type. I also tend to relate to sporty styles and to American Classic. Because really, I think the most realistic thing is that everyone has a mix of styles. :)

    In terms of “here’s a non-perfection seeker coming your way with lots of children and animals that likes to share snacks and joke around” style, what about an “artsy” style. That’s what I think about when I think laid back and creative…

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I think you could be right about the artsy style. I need a laid back style that doesn’t look sloppy, but chic. I need to veer away from stepford territory!!!

  • Mary Beth says:

    I think the trick to gamine, is that there has to be one, super-subtle hint of ‘Italian resort sexy’ in the look, or it comes off as either Bree-from-Desperate-Housewives, or Doris Day-trying-too-hard-to-look-like-a-girl.

    I am going to mull this over some more, but I have at least one more cup of coffee and about twelve hours of driving during which to do this :)

  • GotNoGam(in)e says:

    That’s the whole crux, isn’t it? Most of us are wonderfully complex people who can’t be easily labeled, so why should our sartorial choice fit just one category?

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Yes, we need to come up with our own style or at least a mix of styles to that best represent who we really are…

  • Lesia says:

    I think that by the end of the year if not sooner you’ll have the confidence to dress according to your OWN style and won’t have to rely on a style book or someone else’s advice. Maybe you’ll keep your favourite items from the year’s fashion experiment, the items you felt most like “you” in and liked best, you might make a few fashion “mistakes” but it won’t bother you, maybe you’ll dress differently on different days, but I’d bet you’ll end up gravitating on most days towards a look that suits your lifestyle and personality and shows the world who you are and invites compliments and approaches at park.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I think you’re right. I’m not sure I can categorize myself in own style — but the only way I figured that out was by trying all the styles. It’s been so interesting!

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