Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cramping my style

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 GypsyBarracuda 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?


  1. Every now and then, I revamp myself, determined to be stylish and quirky. A few days later I lose interest and slide back to my haphazard usual style.

  2. What a great post! You never really know how other people perceive you anyway...far better to show your confidence by being yourself and expressing who you are.

  3. I've just come over from Lydia K's blog to wave a big welcome to blogworld to you!

    I think outward style is definitely your own individual taste and media led stylists shouldn't dictate - but there are also very handy tips that are out there too to help you find your own personal style - and to refine it. Personally I love leg warmers - they really do what they say on the tin!

    Take care

  4. Had to come over and check it out. Lydia said to tell you she sent me and that would get me a free reuben sammich?

    Seriously, though. I'm a 50 yrs. young male, so I may not relate the best to the subject matter of this post. But I CAN recognize excellent writing when I see it!

    Consider me a new follower.

  5. It's poor husband I feel for...

    Popped over from Lydia's blog, now following!

    Moody Writing

  6. It's not easy being a romance writer. I was recently told by Miss Prettywell, editor of Rosebud Romance, that my main characters need to be attractive and likeable. Who knew?

    I hope humor defines my style.

    I'm a follower and love reading your posts.

  7. As far as clothes go, I wouldn't recognize you in a suit, m'dear.

    My writing style? It keeps changing! I'd pretty adaptive so I think I put on the voice of whatever story I'm writing and just go with it.

  8. Oh, love this post, Julie! I also came over form Lydia's blog. You have a great person doing PR for you!

  9. Hi Julie, just found you from Lydia's intro on her blog. Happy to meet you. Interesting question. I'm always surprised (or even shocked) when people label me as 'x style,' because it never sounds right. Not sure what's true, but I think I'm gonna try that legwarmers and flourescent jumpsuit thing. It sounds awesome.

  10. Hi Julie. Nice to meet you. I came right over from Lydia's blog.

    Style, hmm what is that? Sad to say I don't really have one, lol. I need to get out more, lol.

  11. This post left my skin tingling. 'Gypsy' is one of my favorite songs and Stevie is my girl. I'm still trying to get the guts up to wearing feather roach earrings.

    Instant follower. Absolutely love what you've written, here. Big thanks to Lydia!

  12. Been sent over to say hello by Lydia K. So Hello. Welcome to the blogoverse!

  13. OMIGOD! Thank you all so much for stopping by. Lydia should probably consider a run for political office given her influence. I have been exceedingly fortunate to know her. I never knew what people meant when they described someone as an old soul--until I met Lydia. She is just so wise, and when you talk to her you feel like sunshine is radiating right down on your face. She's stopped my insanity on more than one occasion.

    Looking forward to getting to know you all and again, thanks for reading!

  14. Hello there- I'm a new follower. Style- well I'm still working on mine- most people comment i capture emotions well, but otherwise still figuring it all out. Great post and I look forward to getting to know you better. I've been apart of this writing community for almost a year now- in August- and I can tell you it is one of the most amazingly supportive places I have ever been associated with. I hope you find it rich with support as well.

  15. I'm visiting from Lydia Kang's blog. I played around with different styles until I found one of my own with my look and with writing.

    Look-wise, I always had curly hair, but longed for bangs with a bob. The last two years, I take the time to straighten it to look hipper. I wish this stuff existed when I was really young.

    Writing-wise, it took me a while to figure out my character's voice. Now I'm much better!

  16. Hey Julie! Visiting from Lydia's blog. Welcome to the blogging community.

  17. Found you at Lydia's blog. Fun post! Thank goodness I'm a girl and never had to go through the mullet stage!

  18. Lydia sent me over, and I'm glad to be here!

    My style is still growing and changing, and I'm sure it will continue to do so with every book I write. Though I am learning to write "cleaner" the first time around, which helps with revisions.

    Happy to be a new follower!

  19. I'm still finding my writing style. I've uploaded three chapters of my work in progress into one of those, "who do your write like" things and it gave me three separate authors.

    My dress style? I used to take special care to dress as much like a hippy or a gypsy as possible-scarves, bells, and things. Now I put whatever on that's comfortable and avoid the mirror. :P

    I had purple hair for a while. My motto: "If you're going to bother dying your hair, it may as well be a fun color."

  20. Hopping over from Lydia's blog to say hello and welcome to the blogosphere! It sounds like we have the same "non-style!" If I could, I'd dress everyday by meshing the styles of Stevie Nick's and Jennifer Aniston, in Along Came Polly.

    Great to meet you and looking forward to reading more from you :)

  21. I asked my best friend, Sandra, if there was something that symbolized my style when it came to writing.

    "A Barf bag," she snickered.

    Ah, friendship. The banana peel in our emotional lives, right?

    I came over from Lydia's blog to say HI and welcome to the community, Roland

  22. I'm supposed to have a style? Not 'whatever is clean and pretty wrinkle-free'?? Piddlepop!

  23. Came on over from Lydia's blog.

    I have a style...stolen from many people. MWAH HA HA!

    Not really. My writing style is pretty sarcastic which is okay because I write MG/YA and teach that age. They are sarcastic individuals peppered with humor. Great post and following!


  24. Hello, popped over from Lydia's blog. I got my hair cut for free when a Vidal Sassoon teaching salon opened near my college. I looked like Peter Pan. Thus endeth my search for style.

  25. I loved this post! Hurray for Lydia K for pointing out you and your blog. As far as style goes, I've given up trying to figure it all out. I go with my gut a lot and do what feels right, for better or for worse. And yes, I wear a lot of black. Just love it.

  26. my style just comes...sometimes it comes with a mistake...I just cut my hair, and it was a mistake...I was looking for something new and instead I found something weird

  27. I'm no fashionista at the grocery store either. My daughter, on the other hand, seriously has the best fashion sense that I've ever seen! She did not get it from me!

  28. Thanks to everyone who posted--I've been having a blast visiting all of your blogs and getting to know you. I also have been trying to address you personally, but just realized today that I am doing it wrong on gmail, so apparently my greetings and salutations are now somewhere in internet limbo, like the mate to the lonely sock that haunts the dryer every third load. Bear with me, I will figure it out!

  29. I wouldn't say I have a particular clothing style, but I like to think it comes through in the way I speak and treat other people. Like you I think black is wonderful, but I haven't worn sparkles since ... well, yesterday when I was hanging decorations at my daughter's grad event, and I brushed against a sparkly star decoration!

  30. Well, nothing to add about writing persay, but the part about punctuation speaks to me. How many mishaps could have been avoided with proper punctuation?? "let's eat Grandma!" vs "Let's eat, Grandma!". Punctuation saves lives people.....


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