Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Style Relection...Sporty Girl vs. Preppy Girl

So, after (nearly) a month with no shopping, I have found that the world didn't end and also I still have tags on things in my closet! Such an awakening. Its made me think about how I often find myself reaching for the same "old reliable" pieces that make up the Liz uniform...pieces that no matter what I have just bought, I can count on to be on my mind when I select an outfit for the day.

I have this contant fashion struggle, I think from being an East Coaster, between being preppy classic or sporty girl. On a given day, would I rather rock a Patagonia fleece or a cardigan belted with ballet flats? THIS IS MY BATTLE WITHIN. And I can guarantee that if I am wearing the cardigan, I look around and wish I was the girl in the fleece. And if I am that girl in the fleece, I look around and wish I was wearing a silk tank and blazer. For me, I have been thinking about the list of items that are always at my fingertips as I get dressed that fall into my Sporty Girl or Preppy Girl motif....

I suppose this one almost goes without sayin in 2009, but because of my office situation I can wear jeans almost any day I want, and even when I worked at Corporate Headquarters, my bosses were in jeans 4 days a week. I have loved discoverig new pairs and old favorites over the past couple of years, but I can clearly say that my jeans style is dark, boot or flare, and comfortable. I always pick the darkest blue wash and shy away from whiskering. This probably makes all my jeans look the same, but to me there are so many small differences that make just one pair "right" for a given day.

My sister teases me that if its chilly, I will probably be rocking a fleece or down vest. The beauty of the vest is it often solves this Sporty/Preppy problem for me by allowing a cute sweater to peek out beneath its sportiness. I interchange a Marmot black fleece vest and a JCrew navy down vest in my rotation here.

Red Sox Hat:
This may polarize some readers of the Yankee persuasion, but my standard navy Red Sox hat is definitely on this list. I have worked on its fading for 6 years now and think I have it close to right. It works with any color, including black which I often combine. It covers a bad hair day or a ponytail. It declares my team love. Definitely in on the outfit on a sporty day.

Rainbow Flip Flops:
These I picked up from the west coast...the best flip flops ever created. I have had the same pair since the first year we moved here in 2003. Mine are a double layer tan leather and they have perfectly molded to my feet and are SO COMFORTABLE. Plus, they go with anything. Plus, I will hopefully wear these for years. Not suitable for work--only Sporty Girl days.

Other Sporty Girl Favorites:
Converse All Stars!
Hunter(ess) Boots
JCrew Men's Sweatpants

For better or for worse, I love the simplicity of turtlenecks. Perhaps, to a fault. Perhaps, too much. Perhaps my friends have called me out for it with an eye-roll. I think it is a pattern that has stuck with me since high school, when I used to wear a white cotton LL Bean turtleneck under any given sweater, to wearing black turtlenecks when I was heavier, to now I just hate being cold. I have tried to cut back on the Tnecks...just a bit.
Scoopneck/Graphic Tees:

Button Down Polo Oxfords:
Even if it hangs in my closet for months, the yellow striped Polo Oxford I have has magic every time I put it on. As soon as I button it up I think, WHY don't I wear this more often? Why don't I have 4 more colors? Its so comfortable! And classic! And put together! I love wearing the casual classic with a pencil skirt, or dressed up with bermudas or capris.

A Whole Lotta White and Ivory:
My love of pearls has tranlated into loving the simple look of a white or ivory top with jeans or a dark pant. Certainly not rocket science, but as I get dressed this clean and simple formula has become the ormula instead of the exception.

Pointy-Toed Basic Pumps:
Shoe trends have been coming and going recently...peeptoes, round toes, strappy edgy pumps. But my shoe taste has been pretty consistent for years--basic leather pointy pumps with a medium heel. And a few more unusual colors have been my favorites--I had a gray suede pair that I wore into the ground along with the original JCrew cognac pumps and a pair of Cole Haan perforated white pairs I found on Saks clearance.

Pearl Earrings:
ALWAYS always in my ears. I feel like my face is incomplete without them.

Other Preppy Classic Girl Favorites:
Navy Pinstripe Trousers
Tory Burch Flats
Fitted Blazers
Neutral Scarves
Scoopneck Anything

I know I am leaving stuff off this list, but its been neat to remember my true style and learn to stick to it in this month where I have been shopping my closet. As I looked through the new clothes that still had the tags on, I realized that perhaps some of them hadn't been true to the favorites I rely on. For example, the Rolling Ruffles tank which I bought to be more "fun" ended up going back--I just kept feeling haphazard and bulky in it even though I had bought it for its cool "style".

Do you have more than one "style"? What are your alwaysfavorites? Do you have a signature piece? A signature color you wear all the time? I would love to hear what you know is true about your style!


  1. This is a fantastic post! My signature piece(s) are the diamond earrings that my husband gave me on our tenth wedding anniversary almost 6 years ago. They are a really nice size and they go with everything. I really just need to get rid of all my costume jewelry earrings b/c I never wear them. I also wear the tanzanite and amethyst/diamond earrings he gave me b/c I am a purple girl but the diamond earrings win out most every day. He also gave me two diamond necklaces...one yellow and one white gold as well as necklaces to match the above purple stone pieces.

    As far a clothes, I am a chino fan...of JCrew's. Any color of chinos is what you will see me in most days. I just don't find jeans all that comfy but I do have a few go to pairs that I like.

    Sporty: I also love my Cabela's baseball cap. It is the prettiest shade of blue and my hubby thinks I look cute in it.

    I totally id with the turtleneck thing! LLBean turtlenecks are still in my drawer in a rainbow of shades. Since moving to a warmer climate I have finally gotten over my MANY years addiction but if/when I move back to the cold they will have their rightful place again.

  2. Hi Liz...I wouldn't even separate your style into two categories. Why not just say you love "great basics". Seems to me your describing the backbone of a wardrobe that really doesn't go out of style.

  3. What a great post! I have discovered this about me as well--anytime I try to buy something outside my comfort zone, 90% of the time I end up not wearing it only once or twice. I think our styles are pretty similar overall. With a healhty amount of Anonymous 4:35AM thrown in. Oh, and I must go find a baseball cap I like to cover up bad hair days!

  4. Oh my gosh! I ALWAYS have the battle within about whether or not to be sporty or preppy! I also live on the East Coast in a VERY outdoor-centric mountain town in NC. Being preppy is only saved for the sorority girls at the college. I love my outdoor gear...patagonia fleece/down jacket, patagonia dresses, prana pants, chacos...I am always trying to make the decision with which look I want to go with today. Many times I can kind of mesh the two together. For example, today, I'm wearing an ultra-cute patagonia dress with a cardi and adorable flats.

    Glad to see that there are others out there with the same dilemma :)

  5. Yes! A fellow "Patagucci" fan! Patagonia does a great job of creating cute clothes in flattering cuts -- I love the Intercontinental pants from a year-and-a-half ago, I own three Duway skirts and am making myself return two more that are pretty but just don't fit, and I practically have to tie myself down to prevent myself from buying more dresses from them every year. I also like prAna, and just discovered a really cute coat from Lole; I've been curious about Athleta too, except it's so expensive. I'm always wondering what the dressiest situation is where I could get away with my Patagonia wear -- people say they wear the Morning Glory dress to weddings; maybe I could too?

    It's probably not a coincidence that I'm with you on liking the classics too: Basic cuts and classic neutrals, not too much with the frills and furbelows, but good lines that hold up over time. (I wear Ann Taylor mostly because it fits me better and more reliably, but just spent way too much at J. Crew.) Maybe something to do with the fact that you have New England roots (I'm guessing from the Red Sox hat) and I live there now?

  6. Another Patagonia fan over here. I walk to school about a mile (and the campus is pretty hilly) so I tend to reach for my old asics and men's patagonia down pullover hoodie. Funny, but flats are my super fancy shoes. Awesome post!


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