“Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” – Ralph Lauren
Fashion is ever-evolving, never staying in one place for too long. But style, is inherent. Imagine a little style seedling being watered and nurtured over time by life experiences, relationships, dreams, and environment blossoming into an individually unique flower. That’s how I imagine style.
My style seedling started blossoming at a young age under a dusty rack at my small-town consignment store, thanks to my thrifty momma. Growing up in a rural West Tennessee town means the shopping options are limited, and the closest mall is 60 miles away! When I got bored of hiding under the rack reading a Babysitter’s Club book, I started perusing the racks for myself. In no time, I was hooked on the thrill of finding the “cool” brands that LFO sang about and instantly proclaimed myself a bargain hunter.
As the years flew by from high school to college then law school, I lost sight of why I enjoyed digging through people’s old stuff. I became a bit too bougie for my britches. My style was clouded by the new arrivals from the trendiest boutiques or the outfits worn by my favorite fashion blogger.
Then, I dipped my toe into the real world. Things changed. Quickly. I asked myself, “Why am I obsessing over this Instagram outfit that costs more than my mortgage, and she probably didn’t pay for?” That wasn’t ME. I was still that little bookworm hiding under a stack of clothes elated to find an abercrombie tee for $5. My mom started picking up a few professional pieces for me here and there at her local Goodwill, breathing life back into my inner bargain hunter.
Shopping at Goodwill is my therapy. When I’ve had an emotional or difficult day, I turn to the racks and racks of clothes to soothe and calm my racing mind. It’s the hunt, the thrill, and the far-fetched dream I will one day stumble upon a Chanel tweed jacket.
It’s not only the actual act of shopping at Goodwill that makes my heart skip a beat, but also the stories the clothing once told. A la Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I believe every item I purchase had a life before me and will continue to have a life after me.
I imagine the previous owner galavanting through the streets of Paris in a vintage floral midi skirt or wearing a polka-dot blouse the first night she met her future husband. But let’s be honest, there’s a better chance I just bought an 80’s western shirt from a has-been country star that unloaded all of her memorabilia at Goodwill before boot-scooting out of Nashville.
Clothes help me express my style, but my style is patchwork of my story and the stories of those that owned the clothes before me.
Trying to pinpoint personal style in one word or phrase is ludicrous. Your style is an extension of your true self. Your style is a mural of your life. How do you want to tell your story without ever saying a word?
Betsy is a 20-something navigating the waters of adulthood with champagne taste on a beer budget. When not perusing the racks of the local Goodwills, Betsy is cheering on the Vols or eating her way through Nashville one hot chicken sandwich at a time. She lives in Germantown with her 16 year old Himalayan, Gracie. An attorney by day and blogger by night, you can visit her at www.goldwilldigger.com or @goldwilldigger on Instagram and Facebook.