Stylish Thoughts – Building a Colorful Life


Today I’m excited to be introducing the lovely Vix from Building a Colorful life who lives in Oregon in the USA.

1** What is the secret to great style?

As many of my posts center on how I’m learning to dress myself after decades of being style-impaired, I’m still trying to unravel that! While I think everyone grows into their style in different ways, your blog and other style books have really helped me understand how silhouette/shape, fit, color, and alignment with my personality all come into play. [I think situational appropriateness plays a role in style, but let’s face it—that’s boring.]

Two things which have helped me along the way: I’m open-minded but not easily influenced, and I’ve reluctantly become better at planning before buying.

2** What’s your secret to making yourself stand out?

That’s actually a loaded question for me. For a long time, standing out seemed like it would get in the way of friendships and goals. So I went in the other direction, one a long-time friend described as “black, baggy, and covered in cat hair.” Once I started being more intentional about my visual presentation, I was relieved to find the majority of people responded positively.

Nowadays I feel most confident when I’m wearing colors that I know enhance—or at least minimally detract from—my personal coloring + clothes that fit + items that feel like “me.” That doesn’t mean I always hit the mark for myself, let alone that others would agree!

3** What is the one thing you would spend a lot of money on?

I’ve always prioritized spending on wellness-related activities + fruits and vegetables + whole grains + good fats like olive oil and nuts. Bonus: spending that way is great for skin, hair, and nails. If there’s money after that and we’re talking clothing etcetera: jackets!

4** What is your current obsession?

I have a long-term, ongoing obsession with draping; as a kid, I loved Greek goddesses for more than their powers! Given I’m a woman with an H/Rectangle body shape, I’d be ecstatic to wear many a Madame Gres or Donna Karan creation but get my fix from others. My counter-obsession is with very streamlined, minimalist looks like 70s-era Halston. Or Armani.

5** How would you describe your personal style?

I skew classic/modern classic, but by faking my way through the Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design book I came up with categories that better help me purchase and pair things: “Minimalist Magpie” and “Contrarian Classicist.” [Though there’s the little matter of an unacknowledged love child, the Persnickety Bohemian.]

In general, I like touches of retro, I adore softer fabrics that move with my body, and at 40+ I’m finally comfortable dressing in ways that play up my womanly attributes.

With all that goes on in the world I don’t take myself too seriously, and I find this is apt to come through in my accessories. Or in the fact that I recently realized I’ve gradually moved to dressing like my DIY kitchen backsplash….

6 ** The one piece of advice most women need but don’t get?

I don’t know about most women, but at 5’4 I like to wear tonal or monochromatic outfits that give me a longer, sleeker line. When I decided to add flattering colors to a closet full of mostly-black neutrals, I could have used more advice on how to think through my purchases so the color-color ones worked with each other and the neutrals.

Though I rarely buy “outfits” due to logistics and pickiness, the last few season I’ve limited my color-color purchases to specific ranges. Suddenly it’s easy to wear tonal combinations because hey, I have the perfect scarf to wear with a deep blue T, or a plum jacket that works well with a brown and rose sweater! Who knew?!

7 ** What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?

Hearing—and then really, truly absorbing—that clothes and accessories should work for/with one’s body vs the other way around. This was a huge reframe for me. The more I move from an “eh, it’ll do” attitude with off-the-shelf items to embracing tailoring and shoe stretching—and further to seeking out custom or heavily customized clothes—the happier I am with my body and its somewhat interrrresting proportions.

8 ** What is the one thing you wouldn’t spend a lot of money on?

I love beautiful fabrics and look for quality in my clothing, cosmetics and so on, but I feel no need to pay for a label.

9 ** Who inspires you?

Women (and to a lesser extent men) who are seemingly fearless and/or a bit reckless…adventurers, pioneers. I live vicariously, try to take risks of my own, then go back to living vicariously.


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Hi Imogen —

    Thanks again for the opportunity to share my perspective and dang-those-are-enormous photos — especially as much of the credit for getting from A to B over the last several years goes to you and your blog posts.

    [And if you ever wonder if your polyvores and visual learning tools are worth the time, please know that at least one person appreciates them greatly!]

    • Thanks VIx, it’s great to know that all those hours spent putting my polyvores together can make such a huge impact on even one person’s style journey. I am truly flattered and really touched by your words.

  • Love it! I really like the two color capsule shots, and the jumping in the skirt 🙂 Working with local designers sounds like a pleasant and clever approach. Also like the tweedy jacket with red bits and a red necklace. Will be checking out your blog for sure! I like the answer to spending priorities, too, good reminder.

    Our of curiosity: what industry do you work in? In mine what you wear would be a bit too creative, but I can definitely use inspiration from your style in some elements.

    – tall & slim anon

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