Developing Personal Style – Fashion Fears


For the second time in my life, I’ve been facing an interesting predicament when it comes to clothing. I’ve identified a style and way of dressing that I really love and would like to explore, but even after realizing this, I’m a bit afraid to move forward with it.

The first time this happened, I was a senior in high school who had never expressed any real interest in fashion previously. I was a late bloomer, and it took me until the end of high school before I started to feel the urge to dress the way my peers were. But, I kept my feelings on the matter to myself, and didn’t make any progress on the fashion front because I was afraid.

My fear was that people would notice, say something to me, or even make a big deal of it. So instead of calling attention to myself by making any kind of change to the way I looked or dressed, I waited until I had fled town to the safety of college, where no one knew me and I could start fresh.

This time around, I’ve realized I’ve been holding back on the style I really enjoy, but am finding it tricky to get over the fact that it’s a bit daring, and I might stand out in a crowd if I let loose. I’m too self-conscious of a person to embrace that without some anxiety over the matter.

My fear is rooted in worries about what other people think, but there are many other ways to be afraid of dressing the way you want, such as the fear of ruining or staining items you’re emotionally attached to, or the fear of conforming, just to name a few.


Read More Developing Personal Style »


So, my question to you is…

Have you ever held back on expressing yourself through style because of fear?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: CynthiaC.M.

    You know, those who dress “weird” are those who get press. Around here, someone who dresses like me will rarely be stopped by street fashion crews and photographed. I have never been photographed. However, I’ve found that those who DO dress a little different criticize people like me, saying that we’re “boring” (I’ve noticed many so-called “fashion bloggers” who go on and on about how Kate Middleton is nothing special. These same bloggers also don’t like classic style figures like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn). Honestly, I can’t help myself. I am who I am and what I wear has a lot to do with how I was brought up. Blame it on strict private school dress codes!

    1. Your comment made me think of the Bill Cunningham documentary. The passion both he and his photography subjects feel about fashion and style and those things the rest of us would find “weird” is so touching and inspiring. As a fashion lover, you should definitely watch it. =)

  2. says: Dana

    When push comes to shove my style fears are usually tied up with body self-consciousness. ‘I like this look on her but what will it look like me? My body’s too curvy for the menswear thing. I’m going to look short & fat in that’ – it’s sucky because all these fears do is rob us of the joy of wearing what speaks to us and while I know that it doesn’t seem to help as much as I’d like it to. I am still working on it, trying to balance what I feel makes me ‘look the best’ with what I genuinely want to wear. It’s a fine line since I also think personal style should be one of those things independent of what society considers ‘normal’ or ‘beautiful’; unfortunately I can’t offer any answers but you’re definitely not alone. Hopefully the fact that we’re willing and able to talk about the things that scare us will help push us to do more. That’s my Jiminy Cricket of the day :).

    1. Thank you for your comment “Jiminy Cricket” Dana! hehe. I get those nagging body self-conscious fears too, like, “I’m already so short, won’t I look crazy if I dress like that?” or, “the girls who pull that off are REALLY pretty, and I’ll never look stylish like they do.” It’s sad to let those thoughts deter us, and they certainly have for me. But I’ll admit that getting older (as much as I hate getting older) is slowly helping to ease those thoughts and care less about those things. We’re all works in progress. =)

      Best of luck on your style journey!

  3. says: Ashley

    First I’d like to say, I also appreciate this style and you blog has helped me realize it! I certainly think that clothes should make you feel confident, so if this style of dressing helps you feel strong and confident, then go for it! Sure, it’s differed but isn’t that what fashions all about?

  4. says: Fanny

    Kelly, I think you make one hell of a dapper lady. :) I think fashion blogging is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and to explore. If it is what makes you feel most comfortable, who cares what other people think.

    I personally feel restricted every day — I am entering the science field and I know one day, I will be in steel-toed shoes and a hard hat rather than in skirts and heels. There goes my calling for a lady-like wardrobe, hahaha. :(

    So please, do whatever you want. :) It sucks so much to have a wardrobe that don’t feel entirely you.

    1. Ugh…I know about the science field and being fashionably stifled. I once bucked the trend and wore 3.5inch heels to work thinking it would be an easy day and I could get away with it. I ended up needing to fetch a huge glass jar of sulfuric acid from the other side of the facility, and I won’t need to tell you how dumb of an idea those heels became. What I did was I ended up dressing really really nice on the weekends, when everyone else in the world was more than happy to wear ratty t-shirts…hehe. Good luck with your new career! =)

      1. says: Fanny

        Thanks, Kelly! I have one more year of grad school, so I will figure out the wardrobe dilemma in time. :) I will probably resort to dressing up on the weekends, or changing to sneakers at work.

        Have fun on your style adventure!

      2. says: SewPetiteGal

        I didn’t know you were in science! I worked for years as a pharmaceutical chemist – always pants, closed-toed shoes, glasses (wasn’t allowed to wear contacts around chemicals), & hair tied back – very limiting.

        1. Hello fellow science labber! I was doing R&D cell culture and antibody development for a cancer therapeutics company. Oh wow, I got away with so much when I was working in my lab. It was in a stylish part of Los Angeles and all us young kids hung out and wore skinny jeans and kitten heels. And I never ever wore my hair up. Too stylish for safety, obviously. =P

  5. says: New Petite

    I’d say go ahead with what you feel works best for you. There is no point in holding back for people who might point fingers coz they will point even if you dress to blend. Life is too short to waste your time thinking about what people might think.

  6. Yes, most definitely and quite recently I went through something like that. Toward the end of my (first) stint in college, I met my husband. We started dating and got married and got pregnant with our first child. Well, my wardrobe wasn’t very adult and I was in SUCH a huge transitional life phase that I just let my personal style go by the wayside (even though this was not how I was prior). Well, after baby #1, we got pregnant with baby #2 and we both went back to school. Not that this needs to be said, but I had absolutely no time to consider my personal style even though that’s what I desperately wanted. Before I graduated with my bachelor’s, we had baby #3 and I was breast feeding (which seriously limits your style options, especially if you like belts, haha). When I was done nursing her, I was ready to reevaluate my closet and my style. The thing was, during all this time, I had established really great, close friends and work. I was so incredibly afraid to bring attention to myself by changing my style. I didn’t want them to think I had ‘changed.’ I was afraid they wouldn’t see that I was simply finding my style again. It seems silly now, but I worried over wearing different clothes for MONTHS until I decided I should just wear whatever I want to wear. Around the same time, I started thrifting quite a bit and talking about it with my coworkers (some of them are die-hard thrifters like me). In order to bridge the gap between my ‘old’ style and my new ‘style,’ I would bring my thrifted items in to the office to show my close coworkers. Kind of a ‘look what I found at Goodwill!!!’ kind of a thing. And I’ve eased right into the kind of style I love and have wanted to project for the last few years.


    1. Thank you for the comment Rebecca! Wow…life came at you all at once! This unmarried, mom only to a pomeranian, salutes you! I’m so glad you not only found the opportunity to start playing with style again (because it’s so fun!) but that you also found a creative way to integrate the style you want into your life. Congratulations and best of luck! =)

      1. says: PF

        Amen! Thank you. After reading AN blog, I became brave and wore what I wanted to work (I was a manager after all). I learned that my style preferences weren’t that far off from what is considered “great style”. I didn’t always get it right but I felt powerful from the bravery.

  7. says: Q

    I had an epiphany in high school. I used to be the person who thought “Wow, I wish I had style like her” or “Wow I wish I could pull that off” And then one day I decided, you know what, WHY? Why shouldn’t I be able to wear what I want? Why can’t I decide to be girly one day and rocker chic the next. Ever since then, I decided to just wear what I want and strut my stuff. I’ve made lots of “oh…. can’t believe I wore that” moments, but I feel freer. I don’t feel like there’s any style I can’t tackle. And now my friends are always like “you have such a cool eclectic style.”
    I think once you get over the mental block and the boxes and limits you put around yourself, you can dress however you want. People may comment about it at first but eventually they’ll just decide “oh, that’s just her style.” And then you become the person that other people look at and think “wow, I wish I could pull that off.”

  8. says: Jillian

    I really appreciate this post. I started a quest to develop my personal style earlier this summer. As I really started delving into what I loved (and took an online style course), I found that I really like the ladylike retro inspired look (ie. ModCloth and Ruche). I experimented with more color, dresses, and feminine blouses, but I’ve been a little hesitant to take it farther than that for fear of what people would think because I live in a very casual place. But, I really do think I just need to go for it and express myself through my clothes and stop worrying about other people’s reactions. Am I dressing to please them or myself? For the record, when I followed the link to your pin board, I was surprised because I feel like you already do a great job of dressing in the dapper lady style. I don’t think you have anything to worry about!

    1. Thank you Jillian! I also live in a very casual place so I totally understand what you said about being afraid to take your style farther. I’m traveling to New York City for the first time ever next month, and I’m overjoyed at the thought of wearing anything I want and fitting right in, even if it’s only for a few days. Regarding the pin board, I’ve started delving into that style on the blog, but am still worried about wearing it in real life. I ended up changing my whole outfit earlier this summer for an event because I thought my bow tie would be too “weird” and when I wore a tie to drinks with the boyfriend, I could barely pay attention to what we were talking about because I was so busy looking around at all the people I imagined were staring. Yet wearing these things on the blog where anyone in the world could see it doesn’t phase me. Weird huh? =P

  9. says: Richa

    Your post is soo timely! I’ve been feeling the same way and you really hit the nail on the target. Like you, I’m actually a bit shy about wearing something I’d really like to wear because I feel I’ll stand out. I just don’t like that kind of attention on myself..but regardless, I’m making attempts to grow out of it. In fact, I just wrote a blog post on a similar topic recently. If you have a moment, please check it out:

    And by the way, I love your style. It’s different and unique, so don’t let others get in the way of you being you! :)

  10. says: Phoebe

    Kelly I just want to encourage you to step out and don’t hold back. You are a beautiful individual and life is to short to worry about what other thinks. And no matter what you can’t please everyone. Be your beautiful self and express yourself the way YOU want to b/c no one can be you. :) On a side note, I love your style and would love to see your pintrest board style brought to life in your blog posts. :) I have an affinity to menswear too….and I think it looks fab on women! :D Be Bold Kelly and be you b/c you are appreciated for who you are. :) xoxo, Phoebe

  11. says: Petiteish

    I work in medicine and because of the conservativeness and heirarchical structure of the hospital (everyone – patients, colleagues, superiors- is apt to judge me at any possible moment), I significantly rein in my style. I’m afraid to wear to anything that could be viewed as too trendy, too revealing, too tight, too youthful, too loud, etc. etc. There are many things in my closet that I love but am afraid to :(

  12. says: Annabelle

    Living in New York has been enormously liberating on this front. Sure, you could argue that there’s pressure to perform because people are so fashion-conscious here, but the fact is, you could be wearing VIRTUALLY ANYTHING on the streets of Manhattan and people would not look twice at you. (I’m talking 13th century Japanese robes and full space suits here.) Anything in my closet? Doesn’t even tip the scale. It makes it a lot easier to step outside wearing something risky.

    1. This!! Yes!! I’m visiting NYC for the first time in my life next month and I’m overjoyed to hear from others that I can wear whatever I want and fit right in. Can’t pack the ties, bow ties and pocket squares fast enough! LOL

  13. says: Carrie

    First off, I love that whole pinboard. Well-fitted blazers, ties, pocket squares = heavenly!
    I am terribly afraid of real (or imagined) stares as well. Right now, I have a neon green cardi hanging next to a purple pleated skirt. I love the color combination, and have tried them on together, but I haven’t mustered the courage to wear it out of the house yet. Where I live people dress very casually, all the time, and I also work in a field (education) that is somewhat conservative in terms of dress.
    When I love something but am not quite sure about wearing it to work or class, I usually wear it for a “dry run” – out to run errands, pick up books at the library, etc. That way I can see how I feel about it in a low-pressure setting that’s full of strangers vs. people I know.
    Looking forward to seeing you fully embrace your style! :)

  14. says: Ana

    I think that you have to do what makes you happy. Many of us go out of our way to keep up our blogs and domains because it is an outlet for the creative side of our wardrobe to be expressed. As you know, I was a “lurker” for a long time…in fact, until I met you! But, you were one of the biggest advocates for tailoring for us short girls and my wardrobe has not only benefitted from that, it has grown tremendously. I am no longer afraid of designers because I know I can take their offerings to my tailor who will make them fit me perfectly. If this is what your heart desires, go for it! I love all of your pins and I can’t wait to see you incorporate these touches in your posts to come! Have fun, Kelly!

  15. says: Aubrey Dang

    I dont care so much for what people think as much as I care for practicality. I feel lucky that I like the style of clothes that I happen to need for work or to play, and that they happen to mix & match well. However, I know a friend whose style is grungy/edgy and much much too casual for her line of work. When I go into her closet, it’s like 2 people store their clothes there. But even with that said, I admire the fact that she keeps it true to herself, while understanding appropriateness of certain situations. So while she conforms to her job’s dress requirements, during her off time, I see that she finds joy in letting loose and wearing whatever her heart desires w/o care as to what others think. Life’s too short, wear that tie to dinner w/your bf, or mb u can try just wearing a tie & a blazer, no shirt underneath. They’re not gonna know what to think…that you like adrogenous style or that your man’s got a woman who likes to role play in the bedroom. eh? eh?! hahahah =) good topic today.

  16. says: Amanda Fultz

    Absolutely. Although never warranted or requested, I feel that someone always has an opinion to share on my attire, and it’s usually a sideways compliment or sometimes a straight up insult. Perhaps it’s because I work in retail currently (high school job turned pay for college job, so I’ve been there a while). At 22 I feel that I have a good balance of youthful and mature style, and I just am not on board with how some trashy college girls dress so you won’t see me in a skirt barely covering the goods or something overly tight without a balancing piece (tight skirt and blousy shirt, for example). I can mix it up with pieces thirty-something professionals probably wouldn’t try, like high-low skirts and studded boots and the like, but when I wear something as classic and chic as a pencil skirt, blouse, and amazing accessories, I get told things like I look like an old lady or a school teacher. It holds me back from wearing some of my great pieces because people seem to have an issue with a 22 year old being classy. If I looked dowdy or frumpy I’d understand, but I know I don’t. All this said, it sucks to feel like my style can’t truly come to fruition because of other people’s opinions. Reading these petite fashion blogs has helped me express my style though, and I’ve been entertaining the idea of starting one myself to help find my style. On another note, I do tend to let some of my clothes sit unworn because I worry about sweating in a top or getting something on it and it being dry-clean only.

    1. says: Bella

      Amanda, I can relate. When I was just out of college, I got my first job as a high school teacher at a private girls school. I always dressed very professionally, but stylish and sometimes trendy, so the girls like it. But some girls were snarky and would ask me why I got so dressed up all the time, and I could tell that some of the teachers thought it was weird to see such a young woman dressing so maturely. It did make me cower a bit in my clothing choices. But now I think back and I can see that I really looked good. I should have ignored the snarky comments and looks. They were probably just jealous that they didn’t have the body or the inspiration to dress that way. Keep being you. Dressing maturely is a very good thing because it tells the world that you are serious and you have drive. I am sure you do not really look like an old lady. You probably look like a very sophisticated young woman, and that is a really beautiful thing.

  17. says: Janki

    Reading your post feels like I’m seeing my own thoughts on e screen! Before I go into my own “me too”, I want to thank you for doing this. I feel like many of the bloggers I follow never feel self doubt or self consciousness with their style. I wondered if it’s just me.
    I feel this way now too. Often when I wear something cute or daring (a state,ent necklace, a scarf, etc) I feel weird when someone comments on it. It’s like I wonder if they thing “who is she to wear that?” or “why is she trying so hard, it’s just work!”. It almost seems easier to have the boring uniforms of pants and button down or shirts and tshirts.
    I have to share this. When I was in 8th grade I loved this cool Guess jean jacket and for my birthday my dad splurged and bought it. But, I never wore it. It wasn’t because I didn’t love it…I felt like I was a poser if I did. Like those jackets belonged to cool girls not nerdy short little me. I’d try it on in my room, but never felt like I could wear it. I felt like I’d gain too much attention. Sad, eh? It’s almost like I felt I didn’t deserve it.
    Now, I don’t feel like that, but want to get to the point where’d my out together look seems effortless. I see ladies who dress well and never judge, but for soe reason can’t seem to assume the same about them to me.

    Thanks for letting me share, and for your honest peek I to your own style evolution. I love your blog, especially as a curly girl too!

  18. says: Tina

    I’m not sure if this topic has been addressed yet, but I currently live and work in an area where people dress casually and strangers can be disrespectful towards others. I take the bus and walk to and home from work, but being a lone female in her mid to late 20s, wearing anything vaguely feminine invites creeper behavior. Cars slow down as they drive by, strangers will honk, whistle, shout, try to chat me up, etc. I definitely rein it in for work. I’m comfortable dressing the way I want when I’m with the bf or friends, and when I’m in the SF bay area (every other week). I figure noone sees me often enough that I can get away with an “Oh I wear this all the time, maybe you just didn’t notice.” I think everyone feels at least some trepidation about what they wear at some point, be it style or safety related. I’m not sure how others deal with it but I just keep in mind where I’m going, what I’m doing, and who I’ll be with.

  19. says: SewPetiteGal

    I feel similarly. Living in a small-ish city in the midwest generally means the palette around me is a bit bland. I tend to avoid being flashy. Which is also why I refuse to tell any “real” people about my blog. I don’t want people to think, “oh wow, S is so into THAT kind of stuff?” The blog and weekends are my outlet. I want to tell you to go for it and dress as you’d like, but I don’t really take that advice myself :l

    For what it’s worth, I love the dapper ladies look and all the menswear inspired pieces you’ve put together on your blog so far!

      1. OMG, I felt the same way… I was really hesitant to start a blog since it meant it’ll be public and my info and self will be out there in the “unknown” web. It took me 2 years since having the idea to actually have the courage to start one and I was afraid of being judged by family and friends. And after I hit that publish button, I almost started to research how to delete it immediately. LOL. So glad that I am not the only one. I am using my blog as a way to keep me accountable for improving my style and continuing to be creative.

  20. says: mariettevandenmunckhofvedder

    Dearest Kelly,When I was a teenager I was very bashful but after my formal education in fashion I’ve learned to understand what goes best for my body, for my lifestyle and I’ve dressed accordingly. Still I own pieces that are over twenty years old,but I can say that I have kept my figure since I was 15. No, the fear is gone and rightly so. Once after immigrating to the USA my husband and I started to dress like the locals. Yes, wearing street pajamas on a trip and figuring out that we got checked more thoroughly at airports like Singapore. In a hurry we gave away those outfits and never ever let go of our own style. Which worked very well, internationally and at home. YOU have to feel happy inside your clothes and no magazine or so-called fashion fad can dictate otherwise. That is for the impulsive buyers, for the rudderless… Being an international consultants was even more of an eye opener to me, especially in the so-called fashion style and trends. That is a very narrow-minded idea as the world consists of the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere. For that reason we do have at one given moment summer and winter or spring and fall. Is one half of the world ahead or behind? I learned by shopping at boutiques the world over that any given style is available somewhere in the world. Yet, so many women BELIEVE in the one style to follow suit. Too bad! My advise is to develop your own personal and favorite style and go for it. That’s the best way to go.
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette’s Back to Basics

  21. Dearest Kelly,

    When I was a teenager I was very bashful but after my formal education in fashion I’ve learned to understand what goes best for my body, for my lifestyle and I’ve dressed accordingly. Still I own pieces that are over twenty years old,but I can say that I have kept my figure since I was 15. No, the fear is gone and rightly so. Once after immigrating to the USA my husband and I started to dress like the locals. Yes, wearing street pajamas on a trip and figuring out that we got checked more thoroughly at airports like Singapore. In a hurry we gave away those outfits and never ever let go of our own style. Which worked very well, internationally and at home. YOU have to feel happy inside your clothes and no magazine or so-called fashion fad can dictate otherwise. That is for the impulsive buyers, for the rudderless… Being an international consultants was even more of an eye opener to me, especially in the so-called fashion style and trends. That is a very narrow-minded idea as the world consists of the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere. For that reason we do have at one given moment summer and winter or spring and fall. Is one half of the world ahead or behind? I learned by shopping at boutiques the world over that any given style is available somewhere in the world. Yet, so many women BELIEVE in the one style to follow suit. Too bad! My advise is to develop your own personal and favorite style and go for it. That’s the best way to go!
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette’s Back to Basics

  22. I gotta say, that style is so, so you! You should absolutely go for it.

    I’m going through a personal style revamp myself right now. I’ve lost a lot of weight and I just don’t like the clothes I have in my closet at all. I don’t like a lot of the normal everyday stuff you can find in stores, and mostly subculture stuff catches my eye. Go figure. I want to incorporate more of that kind of stuff in my everyday wear and make it mine and that’s really what you have to do! :)

  23. says: Cher

    Fear of tripping and falling on my face? Yes. LOL. That usually stops me from wearing 5 inch heels on the Metro. Fear of standing out? Mmmm…only when it came to wearing fedoras, which I recently got over. I’ve always loved fedoras, but I’ve never lived in a city where people wore hats in general, so I felt a bit self-conscious even though in the fall and winter I’m always wearing some sort of headwear. Then one day I decided I was going to wear the fedora to run some errands and I realized, I really LIKE my hat. And apparently a lot of other people do too, so why should I be afraid to wear it?? So now I do. And probably too often. :P

    Sometimes I have a fear of wearing out my favorite things so I don’t wear them as much. Does that make sense? I hate it when my favorite things have worn down. I want them to last as long as possible, so I don’t want to wear them. Haha. It’s such a strange reasoning. Similar to, I don’t want to wear this because I’m afraid it will get stained. But, I bought it to wear it, and it was meant to be worn. I’m not really getting my cost per wear if I don’t and it’s not doing anything by sitting in my closet untouched.

    As to the rest of my wardrobe, I’ve always just worn what I liked with no regard as to what others thought…BUT, I am always aware of the “dress code”. In a lot of ways my style is very classic and somewhat “conservative”, particularly my workwear. I do realize that there are times when certain things are inappropriate, and I trust my own instincts on that. I also know that my style isn’t really “quirky”, so maybe that’s why I’m comfortable wearing whatever I like without regard to anyone else’s thoughts because I’m fairly confident that what I’m wearing isn’t outrageous and land me on WNTW (usually). Maybe if I was attracted to that kind of aesthetic then I would be more fearful to wear those things in public. But life’s too short to be forced into a fashion “mold”. Fashion should be fun and involve risks and you should wear things because you love them not because you will blend in. Mistakes always happen, and there’s always going to be someone who is going to hate what you’re wearing. But the great thing about personal style, is that it’s YOUR style and only you have to like it. Rock those boy blazers and pocket squares, Kelly! :D

  24. says: Nikki

    Kelly, your “Dapper Lady” pinboard made my day! I recently looked back at your outfits with ties because they have stuck with me as style inspirations, and I am dying to wear a tie, too! I haven’t done it yet either, due to similar fears that others will make comments. But I keep thinking about the Dr. Seuss quote, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I think your style is awesome, and I hope you take the plunge. You have already given me courage to express more of my style just through your blog posts. :)

  25. says: Bella

    Yes. I have always wanted to be a woman who wears heels (but afraid of them), and thanks to your blog, I now know how to do that!!

  26. says: Kim,USA

    Hi my first time to come to your blog. I was googling about “petite wearing scarf” and found Sally’s blog “Already pretty” and found your site. About the question, I do not withheld my own style. I go with the trend but with the twist…..I consider my height 4″11 ^_^, and I am in my 46’ish. So If I see models wearing shorts I know for sure with my age I do not look good with short shorts so I tend to change it with pants or skirt. Because of blogging I am confident to show my own style, I know what colors I look good, I know my body shape, skin color, etc ^_^ and now my friends told me I am so fashionista, lol! Well just because I know how to dress up and in fact I shopped 99.9% at thrift stores and still look great! ^_^ Thanks for the space! Have a happy weekend!

  27. says: steph-zn

    Wow reading this post makes me feel like I am reading about myself. I worry far too much about what others think about me… I too want to try out different styles but I feel so embarrassed if friends or family notice this change and compliment me on it so I find that I try new styles only when I know its just my hubby and I or I am meeting new people. It kind of comforts me though to read from some of your other readers that they feel this way too. Thanks for writing this post!

  28. Kelly, you will look amazing in whatever you wear. I think that as long as the clothes are appropriate for the situation, you should go for it. After a few weeks nobody will even notice anymore. You can read a good book or something to keep your mind off of it in the meantime!
    Personally, I think my style changes so rapidly that nobody even thinks twice, lol. Maybe I’m just oblivious to comments or stares, but I’m ok with that!

  29. says: FashionMaven

    Yes and No.

    When I was in high school, I initially wanted to be cool, so I worked to look like everyone else. But there were still sparks of me doing my own thing (I had that whole menswear thing down pat – but only did it once in a while)… but I always went back to what everyone else wore. Eventually my Aquarian nature took over and I just went for it and wore whatever I wanted. I still remember wearing knee high boots with a cute floral shorts suit that everyone thought was awesome. I famously (well, at my high school at least) designed my own prom dress and had it made for me. I still have tons of designs in my head that I still haven’t gotten made.

    I did the same thing in college – wore whatever I wanted. I had my own style and I wanted to express it.

    After graduate school and weight gain, I got much more timid in what I wore. I wore more baggy items and generally tried to “disappear” until I could get back to my previous size. I’m still not that size yet – but I finally decided to redefine my style and express it anyway. It’s sort of edgy classic chic. Classic because it endures, but edgy because I hate being predictable.

    The only thing I’m worried about now is being too influenced by all of the style blogs I read. I used to thrift a lot more and got queasy about germs and bugs, etc.. so I’ve gotten less creative.

    I need to work on my creativity.

  30. says: phiphi

    i love this style that you have been pinning. it will be fantastic on you. i have held back on style because of fear – mostly because where i work, it is very conservative. as i got older, it was getting harder to “suppress” that because it’s really who i am. so i brought colour, and shoes into my wardrobe. the kind i like not what i was expected to wear. now, it’s “just P”. i can’t wait to see you rock this more. xox P

  31. says: Lily

    Kelly you should go for it! Those styles are so cute and I think you can totally pull them off! I love menswear on petite women. I am about the same size as you and just play around with whatever I like. However, due to a recent foot surgery I have had to give up heels for flats and loafers. Where I live females dress more womanly, so I felt a bit self conscious having to change my style to one that is not common. Surprisingly I really love wearing loafers. They’re so comfortable and I think they look especially cute on petite women! To be honest I do get women telling me I wear grandma shoes…but then I get guys complimenting my shoes ’cause it’s something they’d like to wear too…haha :) Wear whatever makes you feel good girl…go for it! :)

  32. says: Aarti


    It’s ok to be afraid, but I love your style and think you should go forward and express your choices.

    I’ve always loved fashion – clothes, shoes and accessories. But I’m extremely conscious of my height. I’m really short and look like a kid. I was afraid to wear dresses, thinking it makes me look even more young, I wore loose clothes and pretty much cheap stuff.

    A year ago I came across few petite fashion blogs. Jean’s ( and your blog gave me a lot of inspiration and courage to redefine my style and try out new things.

    I started wearing more dresses, mixing and matching outfits. Taking inspirations from both of you, I’ve been able to change my wardrobe. My colleagues have only good things to say about my style now. I get compliments often and I’m getting over the fear of expressing myself.

    I’m really glad I found your blog.


  33. says: TOBeautyReviews

    yes I totally have! High school is a tricky time in life. You are trying to find out who you are and find your individual self but you don’t want to stand out from the crowd b/c that was usually something negative! Even now – I wouldn’t really know how to categorize my personal style but I know I’m fairly safe without taking risks. I also never jump on trends b/c usually I feel like the trend wouldn’t suit me or I’d be trying to hard (most recently printed pants and peplum) so I can definitely relate to this post!

  34. says: isidore256

    I love the styles on your pintrest page! I’ve read in several places before that 2 weeks is the amount of time people around you will comment on a major style or haircut change. So, if you can steel yourself for 2 weeks of questions on your bowtie, after that you’ll be home free. I say go for it!

  35. says: Anon

    I know exactly what you about fear of what others think. Most of my coworkers/classmates are some of worst dressed guys ever (stained free tshirts with holes). And yet they are the most critical about the details of how girls dress, unfortunately confirming my fears that people do notice. Long story short, in my field there’s seem to be the opinion that the more put together looks, the more time they most spend getting ready and shopping, and therefore they are either not smart or serious. Ridiculous, isn’t it? But over the years I’ve found that incorporating gradual and subtle style changes works for me. So by the time I’ve implemented a “style change,” I’m comfortable in it causing less unwanted attention and if you have any critical coworkers they may not notice.

    1. says: s.

      ugh, i can totally relate. i once straightened my hair and came into work, and got chastized for “not spending enough time” working. please. i think i am going to try your gradual thing. thanks for the tip anon!

  36. says: Sarah

    I’m in the exact reverse situation! I am so sick and tired of my boring, frumpy wardrobe! I would love to have a clear vision for what I want my personal style to be…I neglected it during grad school and now don’t know how to regain it. I used to wear fun, spunky things all the time and the other day I realized I had walked around all day in “mom jeans.” Be brave! People who stare or comment might just be jealous like I am! I wish I had my sense of style back in focus!!

  37. says: Jennifer

    I think your existing style already contains a lot of Dapper Ladies elements. Don’t be afraid to take it to the next step! You will look great!

  38. says: Elizabeth

    I think the real question you should be asking yourself is: why do you care so much what people think? You are an attractive young woman with a strong personal style that is not only interesting but flattering, and in no way outrageous or weird. Diane Keaton started the quirky menswear trend and made it her trademark. She is admired for her style! Never ridiculed. Ask: why is it hard for you to trust in yourself? Often, we are not afraid of being ridiculed, but of being admired, for we are frightened of our own power and strengh shining forth. Your visit to NYC can be a chance for you to “try on” the fashion persona you crave. I’m sure you’ll find it liberating and less scary than you imagine, and I hope you continue to dress the way you like when you come home.

  39. says: idow

    Go for it girl! Have you seen the latest editorial of…channeling Dick Tracy. You know if you go too far, readers will “gently” try to reel you in :) ! I always favor the comfort of pants & pantsuits, but I never forget 2 or 3 feminine touches (i.e. red lips, feminine purse, jewelry and of course pretty colored nails).

  40. says: lisacng

    knew fashion/clothes was such a personal thing, huh? I say you look pretty
    “dapper” already and you rock it, girl! I love your menswear-inspired
    looks yet also very feminine too (hello leather skirt and wide-striped skirt!).
    I’ll semi-quote Stacy and Clinton when I say, “What’s wrong with being
    noticed?” “Wouldn’t you want to be noticed for looking great?” I
    say “YES!” I’ve had similar want-to-be-the-wallflower syndrome and
    wear nice but boring clothes, and no accessories. But reading your blogs, and
    some others, I’m stepping out more and more and trying to find
    “style” and not just wear clothes. Thanks for being an inspiration,
    just by being yourself!

  41. says: Adriana

    I had no idea other people thought this way! I have wanted to get a tie for ages, but I was nervous about seeming “weird.” I work at a law office with a business casual dress code, and I get comments whenever I wear a dress into work: “Why are you so dressed up?” Really, the answer is it looks polished to put on a dress and it’s very forgiving of my breakfast burrito…
    I’m glad to see you’re trying to branch into something that feels more “you,” even if it is a little daring on the conservative side. I am not petite, but I love your blog. Beautiful style and excellent tailoring is fun to read, regardless of size!

  42. I can relate. I was thinking about this last night actually. I think my fear is of looking TOO PERFECT, too put together, too fashionable. I’ve been told I’m intimidating or “fancy” for looking so “together” all the time. I guess my fear is being alienated or making others uncomfortable. But then I remind myself that there’s always going to be someone that misunderstands o feels insecure; I just have to keep telling myself that it’s not my problem, and that I can only control myself, dress myself the way I want – and I choose to be stylish. I just have to let ME shine though my clothes, I’m still working on that one.

    But YOU, you look great. I guess we all need to be a bit more true to ourselves.

  43. says: Law Moda

    My first instinct is to go for it and do you!! But it’s really hard to do so in a professional environment. So, often, I’ll try to work in unique little things (i.e. a little vintage brooch) that make me feel different, but don’t overpower my outfits in a way that makes me look unprofessional. Of course, weekends are all mine to be as quirky as I want to be!

  44. says: A

    hi, i just wanted to say i’m so glad you posted this because i feel the same way sometimes. i’m petite and i’ve followed your blog for the past couple years and it’s been so helpful and i think you have great style! someone else mentioned this in the comments but i wanted to chime in. i have concerns about developing a personal style that might not make me look professional, mostly b/c i’m petite and like extra petite’s blog has touched on, i want to be taken seriously by others. i’ve always dressed a bit conservative even though i’ve always had an interest in fashion. within the past few years i’ve incorporated a few pieces into my wardrobe that i feel reflect my ’emerging’ personal style (which isn’t really out there to be honest), but i found that i still don’t wear a lot of those pieces to this day. one example is my leather jacket. i wanted one for years and saved up for it, did my research on styles/brands and finally found one that i am so happy with, but i’ve only worn it a handful of times. it’s just not professional and i haven’t found many appropriate occasions to wear it. i still struggle with not wanting to stick out too much yet i really admire bold dressers who have great style and are comfortable in their skin. i think it’ll always be a balancing act for me, so i compromise with small accents like one bright color or a piece of edgy jewelry. thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. keep up the great work with your blog!

  45. I wouldn’t say I had trouble with how I dressed, there were time were I didn’t like my style, but because of my upbringing I wasn’t allowed to dress who I was inside. What I had trouble with was my voice. I thought if I spoke up or asked questions, everyone would see me as more strange then they already saw me. but as I grew older I realized that what people think of me doesn’t really matter if I don’t like myself. so over the years I learned that my voice like how I dress was/is who I am. and It didn’t matter how other saw me, It only mattered that I liked myself and I was comfortable with how i projected me and mine.

  46. says: welovetea

    I’ve been exploring this concept lately. I’m lucky that I had a consistent style in high school, but after I traveled around the world I got exposed to so much that it began transforming my style piecemeal. I didn’t think consciously about what I was doing, so sometimes I was classic prep and sometimes I was full-skirted steampunk. It was pretty schizophrenic. I’ve been slowly working toward a blend of “daring and wise” to convey my personal style. Just having a catch-phrase like that in my head helps me when I’m debating whether or not to buy a new wardrobe item.

  47. says: AA

    This means so much to me. I was incredibly shy until two years ago (I’m a senior in hs), and it was because I was afraid of change. I wore tshirts all the time. Then I started to thrift a lot, and wore some very… unique… outfits. I mean, I’m all for being creative, but a lot of mine were just bad– i hadn’t developed much of a style. I honestly don’t know how I got myself to do that– it would have been much easier to wear what everyone else was wearing, fit in, and gradually develop my own style. But it was like I just closed my eyes and jumped in, which was the opposite of my personality. Then I got a pixie cut, and that completely changed my life. It was something that I couldn’t hide– I had to face the comments(which were positive), and I survived. I like what someone said about how people notice a major change for 2 weeks, and then they get over it and it becomes you. That’s very true. Making a major, unalterable, unavoidable change like that forced me to get over my fear of change and move on with my life how I wanted. I’m so glad I did, and thank you for reminding me that there are still areas that I can continue to grow.

  48. says: Karoline

    Yes!! I am so angry with myself for it! I should wear what i want to right? I love high heels. Love, love, love. For daytime. With jeans. But nobody wears them here. Only if you going out or to a party. Whenever I dare to wear I just end feeling stupid and like everyone is staring at me. “Look at that vain woman!” And of course, when you feel uncomfortable like that, you don’t display confidence and don’t look attractive. It’s a vicious circle. I wish I was braver!

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