LYRIC O’ THE DAY:
You took delight in taking down all my shielded pride, until exposed became my darker side
--Dark Entries, Bauhaus
There are women out there, the ones who are deemed by grocery store tabloids to have style. Their makeup is a homage to the feminine ideal and their hair always falls into a sculpted creation that would make Vidal Sassoon weep tears of Aqua Net.
I am not one of those women.
Other than a brief flirtation with explosion bangs and a heinous spiral perm in my high school years, I’ve never truly had a look, let alone “the look”. The only consistent part of my appearance has been my crayon yellow hair and green eyes. Everything else has fluctuated through trends and levels of self-esteem.
It’s been a life-long effort finding my style, or perhaps my lack thereof. I went through the prerequisite I’m-wearing-all-black-because-I’m-a-tortured-soul-that-listens-to-and-really-understands-The-Smiths stage in my adolescent years, but never quite left it. Black is slimming, after all. The nineties left me with bad habits as well. Despite nearing forty, I still like sparkly things and buy some beauty concoction that contains glitter at least once every six months, which is probably pathologic.
My husband rolls his eyes when I paint sections of my hair pink or wear sequins on a random Wednesday. I’m a fan of leather and have to be careful in the local Harley store to avoid excessive fondling of the jackets. I like skulls. And snakes. Lacy stuff. Black boots. Costume jewelry I pick up at garage sales. And tattoos. There’s nothing like a beautiful tattoo.
Most days I resemble the love child of Stevie Nicks and Steven Tyler when I leave the house. I turn on my inner soundtrack, and it’s usually playing Gypsy. Barracuda during certain portions of the month.
But does my outward appearance truly represent my style?
The slickly packaged flesh presented by the media isn’t true style at all. Style in the real sense of the word has nothing to do with trends, fashion or otherwise. There are no rules to style, no right or wrong, good or bad, which may be why jeggings are so popular.
Only since I started writing did I begin to understand that style comes from within. Writing is all about style. It’s how you choose to address your audience, what you want them to feel from your words. With strategically placed punctuation or a hanging participle your point can completely change. You can provide salvation--or destruction. So can a mullet, I guess, depending on what state you’re in.
True style requires more than just the latest issue of Cosmo and a credit card. It’s an expression of yourself--a personal brand created not from the perception of others about you, but from the perceptions that you have about yourself.
Probably the most important part of style is that you can’t have it until you’ve figured out what you’re trying to say. Otherwise, it just comes across as a great big mess. Like legwarmers and fluorescent jumpsuits.
Katherine Anne Porter may have said it best: "You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being."
What defines your style? Is there something that people associate with you or your writing?