Today’s Stylish Thoughts interview is with Dallas Texas (USA) based blogger Grechen Reiter of Grechen’s Closet and Conscious Closet Consulting
What is the secret to great style?
I have no idea. People like to say that it’s grace, poise, self-confidence, etc., and that it starts with how you feel on the inside, but I’m not sure that’s all there is to it. Style is personal and relative. One person’s idea of great style may be another person’s “trying to hard;” there are so many variables.
If I had to think about people I have seen or know who I think have “great style” I would characterize them as “owning” their look fully & completely. I may not want to wear what they’re wearing, and they may not even be wearing anything particularly flattering, but if they walk about as if they’re saying “here I am!”, and they look comfortable in their own skin, then they have great style.
How do you balance new trends with a more timeless look?
I don’t! I’m not sure anything is “timeless” anymore; nothing stays the same for very long. Even “classic” styles like a slim black pant change in terms of hem length or whether they’re high-waisted or slouchy. I wear what I like, and what I feel comfortable in. I do love it when whatever’s “trendy” is something I love anyway though (like Birkenstocks or maxi dresses), because then I have a wider range to shop from and add to my wardrobe for when there’s a shortage, or that particular item is not “in style.”
Do you have a signature piece or style?
No. I have a brand I identify most strongly with, and I know my friends/husband can say about certain things “that’s so you,” but I stopped trying to pinpoint my style or create a uniform (beyond only wearing specific colors) when I noticed myself getting more and more frustrated trying to fit myself into a box.
The one piece of advice most women need but don’t get?
Don’t worry so much about a signature style, or having a uniform. If you do, you do, but if you don’t, it’s okay too. I thought for the longest time that there was something wrong with me that I didn’t want to wear the same silhouette all the time – I like to switch from fitted to flowy and everything in between. Once I came to terms with the fact that I don’t have a uniform, it’s become much easier for me to identify what I wanted to wear and be more comfortable with my wardrobe.
What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?
It’s not style wisdom per se, but wisdom nonetheless…the only constant is change. I struggled for so long trying to finalize everything. I wanted to create the perfect wardrobe of all the things I’d want to wear for years, and then not have to shop again. I thought I knew my style well enough to be able to do this and be happy with the results. And surprise, surprise, it didn’t work. How can it? And why would I want it to? Some of the things I thought I’d want to wear forever (ballet flats for example), I haven’t worn in several years. And some things I didn’t think I’d ever want to wear, I find myself reaching for. I don’t want to deny myself room to grow and change sartorially, and for goodness’ sake, why would I ever want to be finished shopping??
What’s the worst current trend?
Fast fashion, constant deep discounts, and buying with a singular focus on price. I would like us to get back to thinking about the value of what we buy, and the true cost – in human and environmental terms – of our clothing.
How would you describe your personal style?
I don’t try to anymore. I stick to white, black and gray, with a little olive green or burgundy thrown in here and there, but other than that, I don’t try and classify myself as boho, or classic, or edgy, or whatever. I don’t fit into any one style construct, and I’ve given up on trying to force myself into one.
I LOVE Grechen:).
Finally someone I can truly relate to!
The third look is particularly good for you. As you can see the white t-shirt fits you properly–very Jennifer Aniston! The first two looks, not so much. The first photo shows both a sweater and shirt that are too large for your frame. The armholes need to be at your shoulder, not down your upper arm; and the sweater bunches up at your wrist–not so good. If these items fit you properly this would be a great look for you. The second photo is of a dress that is at least two sizes too big. Again, the shoulder seams should hit you right on the shoulder, then this type of dress should skim the figure, not have big drapes of fabric for you to swim in. Also, the back seems to be so low that it could become a tripping hazard! You are very fashionable and I think with a trip to the tailor and a couple of tweeks you will be projecting exactly the image you want. Best wishes to you!
I had to add – if you read Grechen’s blog you will see she is already projecting exactly the image she wants:). She’s one of the most thoughtful and consistent bloggers on the ‘sphere!
One of the things I love about bloggers sharing their stylish thoughts is that they may have a different way of thinking about style and what they love than me or you. The lagenlook is all about oversized layered clothing and is a very different style to classic, where every garment must fit perfectly at every point.
I agree with your comment. Frequently, Grechen will wear outfits that are unbecoming and too flowing for her figure. She doesn’t have the willowy frame to pull it off. I also think that she’s still obsessed with shopping, even though she’s made progress in culling her clothing.
Thanks for your thoughts too Katie (I live in a different time zone from you so be aware that I may be sleeping and definitely don’t approve comments in my sleep). I’m happy to publish comments as long as they are polite and add something to the conversation. If they are just plain bitchy or trolling then I don’t see why they should be published. As a professional image consultant people worry that I will be judging what they wear. I never offer unsolicited feedback on outfits as I think it can be perceived as rude. I am also very aware of my language as women who put themselves out in the media are often so attacked if they don’t have the perfect “model” figure for even thinking about wearing clothes that don’t hide every lump or bump. We should be supporting each other rather than attacking or bringing each other down. I like that Grechen offers a different viewpoint from you and I about style. You don’t have to agree with her, and that is the joy of style, that we can be different, that we don’t have to fit a cookie cutter.
In her defense, not that she needs it, it IS her job to shop and report on sales, items she’s purchased and what works or doesn’t work for her. It is truly what her blog is based on.
I love Grechen’s blog…she is so true to her own self.
Amen to that, Pam!
So pleased you featured Grechen. I really love her blog and style. She has such a funky vibe and is a great alternative to lots of classic styles that I don’t relate to at all! My fav outfits in this post are the harem pants and black tank dress.
Actually I feel that Grechen looks very good in these photos, with an easy confidence. I might add a bit of minimal jewellery or a long scarf, but not everyone likes these – in fact although I like the look of them, I don’t actually wear them myself. Also black, white and grey is a very easy wardrobe to wear, no faffing about in the mornings looking for colours that go together. I have Finnish inlaws and loads of Scandinavians wear this type of look, it seems to go with their pale hair and skin, they often look great in extremely cool colour combos of black and white like this. You see these easy types of garments in these colours everywhere on the streets of Helsinki. I don’t know what Grechens height is, but most Scandis are quite tall and if not willowly, statuesquely tall and impressive. In fact this is the type of clothing
I secretly yearn to wear myself, but never have the confidence to totally go for. I am 5ft 9in and not willowly, I am a tall hourglass with bust and hips the same width and waist 9 inches smaller, take a UK size 12 and am age 61. Everything I read says on hourglass says to go for girly curves, spotted forty style dresses and the belted trench, which looks far too formal and stiff for me, I am a casual sort, even if I love to appear stylish. Would this style suit me as well as Grechen, I dont know?
Also I have mid brown hair and moss green eyes, although very pale, neutral toned skin, so grey never seems to look right on me. I envy anyone, like my husband, who can wear grey jersey so easily, it looks so stylishly effortless. I tend to stick to jeans, jersey girl shaped T shirts and tops, short shaped cardigans and patterned jersey dresses when I go out, although to be honest, I often feel a bit frumpy even in these. I don’t possess a classic skirts or any type of jackets or proper trousers, as most of my age group seem to, I feel like someones great granny, or dressed up to go to a wedding, its just not me.
I think that Garden Goddess, in her comments above, quite misunderstood Grechen style of clothing. This way of dressing is worlds apart from the formal types of dress we once wore. I used to be a seamstress and make all my own clothing, yes, shoulder seam placement etc was so important, but we are talking about oversizing as normal here!
Grechen you are LOVELY! (Apparently one shouldn’t use all capitals, but this needs emphasis for sure!) 😉 We have a friend who always says: “That’s just you being YOU!” which, in female terms means that you are confidently owning your style and looks great in his opinion.
Imogen always feature women who are so interesting and not scared to fall outside of the “norm” (whatever that would mean). I too would rather choose to stand out in a crowd, rather than to be ‘cookie cutter’ or to look like everybody else. But you said (and illustrated) it so beautifully – that is only possible when one really owns your style and is confident in your own body. And I think the latter is maybe more significant than I realized, since if we are confident in our own bodies, what we clothe ourselves in, is secondary, and we will automatically look and feel good.
And since you are not judging yourself by comparing yourself to ‘norms’ and ‘styles’ – you are also accepting and non-judgmental of the choices that others make – we need more of YOU in our world!
Grechen, thank you for sharing your great style and confidence with us – you are inspirational and I admire you!