How I Lost My Style

How I Lost My Style

How I lost my style. Growing up, both my mom and my grandmother had great style. I don’t think I ever saw either one of them without their nails done or in less than a polished look. My mother was a genius at shopping high end and designer labels and paying a fraction of the cost. I grew up with certain fashion rules, like proportions, proper fit and good quality fabrics.

I remember, when I was in high school, designing a t-shirt for my mom. It was the image of a sunset on simple white tee. What no one helped me with was the placement of the image and it wound up being too high. My mom loved the print and wore the t-shirt, but it did teach me that the details in what we wear are super important. An inch or so lower and that shirt would have been 100 times better.

Growing up with this influence around us, my sister and I could not help absorbing some of their wisdom. For years I loved experimenting with fashion. From masculine inspired button down shirts worn with vests and ripped jeans to feminine floral dresses and pretty much everything in between. Hey, I even won $100 once for an outfit I had put together. Then something happened. In retrospect it was over several years, but it felt like a finger snap and my style was nowhere to be seen.

how I lost my style


I think it slowly started happening when I moved across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver. My husband was constantly working and I was lonely and left to my own devices and so I started to gain weight. It wasn’t a lot of weight at first, maybe 10-12 pounds, but enough to make me feel uncomfortable and to make my clothing start fitting differently. I stopped dancing as intensively as I had been and there was a lot of very inexpensive (and fresh) sushi around which made it a recipe for disaster.

Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you live.

-Lilly Pulitzer

Then I became a personal trainer which led to me becoming a Pilates instructor and that’s when it got worse. At first it was okay since I was working a lot, but I was also wearing sweats everyday and having a stretchy pair of pants on doesn’t help. The elastic never really feels tight and topped with a looser tee, there’s no way you are going to notice those 5 or 10 extra pounds.

You wear the wrong clothes. I’m one of those people who changes into their comfy sweats when they get home after a long day. If you find yourself spending too much time in sweats, however, give yourself a reality check and put on those fitted jeans or your favourite skirt. Comfy sweats are great but a stretchy waist band is not. –WHY YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT

After a few years of spending money on really fun and “pretty” workout gear I suddenly realized that there was almost nothing in my closet that I really loved and certainly not much that fit the way I wanted it to.

By then several years had passed and I was no longer in my 20s and I had no idea how to dress my new body or for my new age-decade. So I hid. I got my comfort from over-sized tops and skinny jeans. On top of everything else, my husband and I were in the midst of renovating and selling homes while I was trying to run my Pilates studio, all while dabbling in other industries. Although I never stopped loving clothing, it stopped being a part of my everyday life. I had no great reason to buy a lot of it since we didn’t go out a lot and Vancouver is a very casual city.

Time passed and then I started having some health issues. I was tired all the time, I had brain fog and I was gaining weight without even trying. I started exercising more often (I had never really stopped, but wasn’t very consistent) at a higher intensity. My interest in clothing dropped further and I just wasn’t feeling up to shopping and trying on larger sizes. Now, I know that we’re always told to love our bodies no matter what, but when you don’t have time to get used to a new shape, how are you supposed to like or even appreciate it? There’s just no way. It’s not going to happen if none of your clothing fits.

This whole process took a few years. I wasn’t particularly miserable or a total recluse during that time, but one day I woke up and realized I hated my current clothing and what was worse, I didn’t even know what I liked or what looked good on me anymore.

Suddenly, every time I had to go out or meet someone, I felt self-conscious and that impacted me a lot. I wasn’t as outgoing or interested in meeting new people and not as driven or ambitious. Basically, I wanted to hide.

And that’s how I lost my style. I’ve since slowly started getting it back but it has taken a while. Has this happened to any of you? I’d love to know your story and how you are handling it!

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Caroline has worked with international designers in fashion retail and completed professional makeup courses when working in the beauty industry. Her love of writing, photography and film inspired her to work at the Canadian Film Center and then to earn a BFA in Screenwriting. In addition to her blog, Style On The Side, you can see her work in Huffington Post Canada and other international websites.

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