Style Lesson: Don’t Try Too Hard

First, I want to thank all the participants in Visible Monday this week for your creativity and enthusiasm. What a delightful, confident group you are, bringing your own special style sense and flair to the party. Thank you so much.

I am in my dream city, New York. We are again renting a small apartment in the West Village (yes on Sarah Jessica Parker’s street, but I haven’t bumped into her or Matthew yet. : > ). I brought along a very simple capsule of denim, black, gray and ivory clothing, with colorful scarves and bangles. I have been inspired by Une Femme d’un Certain Age, who travels to Paris so gracefully with just a few basic pieces.

My style mantra here has been “Don’t Try Too Hard.” As I have the privilege to study some very stylish women, as well as the effortlessly chic young women of the Village, a theme jumps out: “casually-thrown-together” is appealing.

There is a certain look, more seen in the toniest neighborhoods, that is not-me. I don’t judge it for those who enjoy it, but it is not authentic or comfortable for me. It includes very well coiffed hair, perfectly polished makeup, and carefully coordinated ensembles with nary a seam out of place. When I try this look, I end up looking well, silly. I do admire the grace of the women who do it well.

So every morning I choose a pair of jeans or black knit skirt, add a cozy gray or cream sweater, my best walking boots, and a vibrant scarf. The wind is going to blow my unruly hair around anyway. Ahhh, I feel good. Red lips are always okay, right?

I hope your day is fabulous and fulfilling. Thanks so much for reading and participating; you rock.

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  1. Hi! I can clearly notice that you really get the sense of what you are speaking about. Do you an education that is connected with the topic of the blog entry? Many thanks in advance for your answer.

  2. Imagine achieving that look and living a halfway real life!  They take hours to get it – well, I tell myself that when I just can't be arsed!

  3. Hi Patti

    Have a wonderful stay again in NY- I should talk to Mr D to go there again, so jealous of you!
    Always a pleasure to be part of the Visible Monday Gang and yes we Rock!


  4. for discovering a city and strolling through the streets i think comfortable elegance is better than a sophisticated look, it gives you more liberty to do what you want.

  5. Glad you're finding approaches that work for you! I really admire (but feel quite bedraggled next to) those who manage "perfectly polished," which can require a whole lot of invisible work to maintain. I think the real enemies though are comparison, judgement, and "shoulds" leading to inauthenticity – how we direct our efforts rather than amount of effort, say. 

  6. I know you will have a fabulous time in the city!  Will be following your posts as you share your adventures with us.

  7. Hm.  I think its best to go for authentic.  One wonders what Schiap might think of modern day street style.

  8. I think you have the exactly right idea. When you feel good in what you're wearing, you'll definitely look chic. I know I always need an element of something wild in my outfits to keep me feeling like myself. Enjoy your time in the city!

  9. Hi Patti! Have a wonderful time in NY! I've never been there–it's on my to do list–wanna visit the city some day.

  10. Over the long weekend we just spent in NYC, I saw so much of that effortless casual chic that I had that exact same epiphany, i.e. "Stop trying so darned hard." My closet is getting a serious edit, some of it is going to be consigned to get a few more classic pieces, and I may even try a 30-day capsule wardrobe to practice not trying so hard 🙂

    I'm so jealous, Patti! We stayed in the east village and loved it.

  11. It sounds like you're enjoying yourself, in a relaxed way. Being picture perfect takes a lot of time and hard work, not what holidays are about right?

  12. I wish I could remember the fashion writer to whom I owe attribution for this:  I paraphrase, "I want to look like what I'm wearing was considered, not contrived."
    I've never managed the uncontrived look with any sucesss … it always takes me a lot of time to achieve anything close.  I'm working on it, though!

  13. I'm a big fan of "not trying too hard." It's easy and fresh, not stuffy. Plus, the red lips let people know this is your style. And a little wind will only improve things. Sounds like you're having fun in NYC. Such a great place!

  14. I love both styles, but lately I tend toward the second…it is a great NYC style.  Savor each moment and try to get some street style shots if you can…woud love to see them!

  15. Hope you are having a wonderful time in New York, one of the best cities I have ever visited! Your approach to your wardrobe while you are there sounds just right. xx

  16. ooh! Enjoy your dream city, all my best to SJP & her family if you do cross paths 🙂

  17. Hi Patti, thanks for the mention! I agree that perfectly polished look is hard to carry off. Enjoy your stay in New York!! 

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