Style is a formula. (Is that something a stylish person would never, ever say?) Personal style at zero is basic coverage, plus all of the things you like, minus all of the things you don’t like or suspect you can’t pull off.
Over the years I’ve drifted from kinda outfits to uniform. There were piles of v-neck sweaters, and two orange dresses that I’ll say no more about. Today, I’ll wear something if it’s black, gray, or gray with a hint of hue, if it’s simple and stretchy, if the sleeves have breathing room, and the hem hangs long, but it doesn’t have to do all that at once. I’ll stray from gray-black for jewel tones. Special wash-and-dry labels are a deal-breaker, unless it seems like I can get away with a Gentle Wash Cycle and Low Tumble. Cotton has long been my closest ally, and I’ve never owned anything in silk. At least, not intentionally, and probably not for long. I admire and hate wool, for being so warm but oh-so-itchy on my sometimes sensitive skin.
You won’t usually see me in logos, bell sleeves, ruffle sleeves, crew necks, or Halloween costumes. Okay, maybe a ruffled sleeve now and then, but mostly because the rest of the top was inoffensive. My all-time favorite Halloween costume involved green paint, green clothes, and halved Styrofoam eyes on my head. I was a frog, and I was nine. Every year since has been a struggle to think of something amusing AND simple. Please, just let me check IDs at your Halloween party, or be the bartender. Everything else is unmanageable.
As for dresses, the length always hits with strange effect assuming it’s not too short or too long to begin with, and because dressy shoes are stiff, thin, narrow, and slide across the floor, I’ve avoided them for most of my life. The last time I found myself trying to solve the “What to Wear” dilemma with a dress, I bought uncomfortable shoes, and these I wore once. The dress is my partner, my comic foil, except I never asked it to be. And yet, as I’ve been told repeatedly by friends, a dress and Doc Martens is perfectly acceptable, and if I wait until my late 30s to embrace this lesson, I already know the perfect Sinatra song to sing as I do (it’s not “Accidents Will Happen, tyvm).