The Elements of Style
Lisa is a mom of two future world-changers and wife to one tattooed accountant. As a Noonday Ambassador since 2014, Lisa loves that Noonday has become an outlet for her combined love of fashion and merchandising as well as nonprofit experience. Today on Flourish, Lisa shares her tips for developing a sense of style that is all your own.
I transferred to an arts school in Chicago my sophomore year of college. As I walked down Michigan Avenue with my stylish new briefcase and Starbucks in hand, I felt nothing short of Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. I was at Columbia College originally for fashion merchandising and later switched to journalism—with the hopes that I would be writing for a fashion magazine one day.
When I had received the lists of textbooks to buy, one of my magazine writing courses had listed “The Elements of Style” by E.B. White and William Strunk Jr. Imagine my excitement—I thought I was literally going to be reading about style and get class credit for it! Instead, I found out it is a book well-loved by journalists, as it explains all the serious ins and outs of grammar and writing.
Fashionable style doesn’t really come with a cut and dry, black and white manual like the one I had to read for journalism. But actually, that’s what makes it so fun! As a Noonday Collection Ambassador, I get to help style women at my Trunk Shows. It’s quite often that I come across ladies that aren’t sure if or how they can pull a particular look off.
So how DO you find it, if you feel like you have no style? And how do you hone it if you do? Here are some “elements of style” some of my fellow Noonday Collection Ambassadors and I have picked up along the way!
What Makes You Feel the Most Like You?
First and foremost: determine what you feel good in. What makes you feel confident? Sexy? Beautiful? YOU? LaToya Tucciarone, an Ambassador from Georgia, says, “Style to me means being comfortable in your own skin! So, one day I may feel boho, another day hipster-chic, etc. But I always ask myself, ‘Am I dressing for me and no one else?’ Jill Edwards, an Ambassador in Texas, agrees, saying, “In my younger years, I was so traditional and had a really hard time thinking outside the box. A lot of that was driven by fear. Fear of not being good enough and always trying to prove my worth.”
What’s Your Body Type?
Noonday Collection Founder Jessica Honegger has spoken and written often about struggling with a sense of worth and her struggles with body issues in the past. She says, “My style has evolved from constantly wanting a different body to instead owning it and dressing for it.” The first time I learned this was while wedding dress shopping. I loved the way that mermaid dresses (tight bodices, poof at ankles) looked on others and on the hanger…unfortunately, for a 5’3 gal that carries most of her weight in her middle? Not a good match. This lesson taught me that I can admire styles and find them beautiful, but ultimately, I need to understand what looks best on my specific figure.
Jessica goes on to say, “I have a curvy and hourglass shape, so even though I may love some of the more modern/boxy shapes out right now, they aren’t the best for me. My style is usually balancing flowy with fitted. I love that ultimately my accessories are what end up making my style personal—much like a home’s walls end up defining a space!”
Pick a Style Muse
Who is your style muse? I recommend having a few celebrity women you love to follow and find them on Instagram or google some images. These can serve as inspiration, help you see what trends she is wearing, etc. Is there a woman who has your coloring or hair color? Probably the colors that look best on her will look great on you, too. More importantly, find a few muses from REAL LIFE. Real women.
Jessica Honegger serves as a real-life style muse for many in our Noonday Collection community! I love seeing how she styles her Noonday for glam galas and casual work-from-home days. You can always search #noondaystyle on social media for some real-life inspiration from our Noonday Community! LaToya, one of the Ambassadors I mentioned earlier, recently started a fun and inspiring insta account that you should definitely go follow: @Blackgirlslovenoonday.
Become a Student
…and take notes. When I am checking out other fashionistas, I am noting things like: When someone wears an ankle bootie, what kind of pants is she wearing? Is the pants leg cuffed? Cropped? What kind of shoes are gals putting with the back-on-trend flared jeans? I love the choker necklace style that’s back in—how are my muses styling this with other jewelry? Scarves? When you see an outfit that you love, take note! What is it about it that you love? Is it the color combination? Pattern mixing? The structure…or lack thereof? If it’s a real-life lady with style—give her the ultimate compliment! Ask her where her favorite places are to shop and let her know her style is rockin’.
Taking it Further
Let’s say you feel comfortable in your style but think it could be a bit more honed. What’s the next step?
- Clean house. Time to get real with your closet and get rid of clothing that you don’t wear, don’t love and doesn’t fit your aesthetic. Again, it’s not like I don’t love buffalo plaid button up tops—I just know that I will never feel comfortable in a top that structured. I bought it as wishful thinking and it’s time to give it new life. Now more than ever there are places to make a little bit of cash when cleaning out: Poshmark and thredUP are a couple of my favorite resale sites.
- Research brands, both high-end and affordable, that have lines offering the look you are going for. Knowing these names helps when you’re overwhelmed at clearance stores like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack. I usually head to the Free People rack first and foremost whenever I’m shopping there because they’re my go-to for my current flowy bohemian vibe. Knowing what your favorite brands are also helps if you get to the thrift store or are perusing resale sites.
- Capsule wardrobe! Admittedly, I’m not quite ready to fully commit to this concept myself—It seems overwhelming, but there is so much help in the form of blogs and Instagram accounts. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is really buying things that you can build around—creating multiple outfits and looks from only a few staple pieces. A small way to start? With your jewelry! I love that Noonday Collection has so many pieces that you can wear a multitude of different ways, giving your same clothes a new vibe by just changing out the jewelry.
4. Shop your values. Since you now have a more defined, specific look and style you are going for, it’s easier to shop intentionally. I love looking for brands that are eco-friendly, fair trade, made in the USA or give back. Kelsie Kunkle, an Ambassador from Iowa, says “Over the last few years, my wardrobe has come to match my belief that we have power in our purchases. Ethical fashion has paved a way for me to be fully ‘me’ by using Noonday Collection accessories and other ethically sourced clothing to combat injustice.”
The biggest element of style, from my perspective?
Fashion is powerful. Style is empowering. As fellow Ambassador Jill said, “I love how fashion can actually set you free to not only love and accept yourself, but also opens the door to do the same with others. When we get to the place where we are not constantly focused on ourselves and our struggle of self-acceptance, we are free to see the needs around us.”
Noonday Collection so beautifully weaves these two themes together: style and fashion plus a recognition of the needs of those around us: from the women we meet at Trunk Shows to the Artisans we advocate for across the globe.
“Fashion has always been able to help transform people by projecting their inner beauty outward, but fashion also has the power of transforming the world by preserving cultures and creating dignified jobs,” says Kelsie.
A Noonday Collection Trunk Show, says Ambassador LaToya (@blackgirlslovenoonday), is the perfect opportunity to put some of these practices in place! “You have a wonderful Ambassador there working as your advocate to encourage and affirm who you are and your beauty—and who doesn’t want that?!”
Meet Lisa Thomson
Lisa is a mom of two future world-changers and wife to one tattooed accountant. Back in college she began as a fashion merchandising major, switched to journalism and might have had a music major at one point. When writing for a fashion magazine didn't pan out, Lisa found herself in marketing for nonprofits. As a Noonday Ambassador since 2014, Lisa loves that Noonday has become an outlet for her combined love of fashion and merchandising as well as nonprofit experience. She hasn't started singing at Trunk Shows YET, but the music major could still come in handy!