Wednesday, July 25, 2018

How My Style Changed After Moving to Maine

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Maybe it was moving to the top of a mountain in Maine and spending all winter in yoga pants while the temps outside dipped below -10˚f... perhaps it was getting out of the big city and moving to a place that judges more on how sensible and adventure-ready your footwear is than how trendy or cutting edge it may be... whatever the reasons, my style philosophy has dramatically shifted since moving back to Maine. And I'm all the better for it – my closet too.

Over the past few years, I've been culling my wardrobe in an attempt to pare down (and also save up for a much-coveted Vitamix – finally bought it last week! 10/10 recommend for the smoothie-obsessed out there). After working at URBN HQ and surviving more than one grab-it-and-run sample sale, when the dust finally settled after our move home, I found my closet cluttered with pieces that I didn't feel a connection to and definitely didn't need. As much as city life can offer a wealth of style inspiration, the constant exposure to new trends can also lead you to purchase things you don't need and don't fit with who you really are. The same can be said about working in the apparel industry – so the two combined is a particularly volatile mix. Arriving back in Maine, I found myself feeling more at ease, less stressed, and more in tune with who I actually am and what I actually value. I also looked around and realized I needed to get rid of a lot more stuff. When we moved from my mom's place to Portland, I donated and listed even more and found it easier to say goodbye to the pieces that no longer served me. Like heels – the thought of wearing heels here (save for the occasional wedding) is downright laughable.

An interesting side effect of this has been a return to the type of clothing and style of shopping I've always loved, but mostly parted ways with while living in Philadelphia: Vintage and thrift. I stopped thrifting in Philly for a number of reasons. I didn't have the time, the city was so enormous that driving to a worthwhile thrift store was an all day event... there were a lot of reasons. But like I said, with my return to Maine my philosophy has shifted. While Portland provides plenty of style inspiration, that inspiration is much different here than it is in a larger city. There's value placed on scrappiness and ingenuity, a kind of unselfconscious, honest creativity exists. What's typically thought of as "Maine style" is actually just Maine tourist style. Look, a blue and white Breton shirt paired with white shorts is fine, but we all know you're from away. Mainers are the ones wearing secondhand LL Bean paired with a dress from the '90s and workboots they've had for years (a VAST generalization, I know, but a quick stroll down Commercial Street on a Friday afternoon all but confirms this).

Anyway, I've found myself drawn to more of a mix lately. Mostly secondhand, with a few key pieces thrown in where it's worth investing: A great pair of shoes, jewelry, a solid bag. And maybe a new clothing item here or there that I know will get a ton of wear across at least a couple of seasons (like the skirt I'm wearing here). Somedays may lean more vintage, others current pieces. Do I still occasionally purchase something that would be considered fast fashion? Yes. I'm not immune to it, though I also consider these pieces to be "investments" and weight heavily the pros and cons of making a purchase. As in, I'm aware of the implications of fast fashion and I'm purchasing this item (usually about 1 or 2 pieces per year, if at all) because I know I'll wear the hell out of it, not because I need a quick fashion "fix".

There's a lot I could say about shopping secondhand – it's certainly more eco-friendly (something that has come more into focus for me moving to a place where there's a lot of value placed on the environment), it allows me to create a more unique wardrobe, and it's definitely more affordable – but I'll save it for a follow up. Sometimes a new environment is all you need to get back to who you are, and I'm just happy I'm here.

Details: Tee & jewlery: All vintage // Bag & sunglasses: Moorea Seal // Skirt: H&M // Shoes: Soludos
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Unknown said...

You might have already talked about this elsewhere (if that's the case, sorry! New-ish reader!) but how did you decide on Poshmark as the site to list your stuff on? I have a ton of stuff I'd like to see, but I feel like there's so many online options out there, I'm having a hard time choosing which is a good fit for me.

Michaela said...

I'm also a very thrifty shopper and I don't know where I'd be without my local two-story Goodwill. I even wrote about it here:

I think it's much better to have a wardrobe that you know you're going to use for years and since I don't really follow trends that much, thrifting is perfect because I'm just looking for something that speaks to me and not necessarily to everyone else.

I love the way you blend different pieces together - from casual t-shirts to frilly skirts. It looks so effortless, comfortable and YOU! :)

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