I heart new clothes … almost as much as new books

Is that a bad thing? I hope not, because while I consider myself smarter than the average bear and a total bibliophile, I kinda have this soft spot. Maybe it’s my girly side, but that soft spot lives in my closet.

I was thinking about this the other night, after derby practice when one my teammates said I was all “fashioned up.” I’ve also been called a fashionista among my journalism colleagues. This makes me laugh because up until this year, really, I have felt completely inadequate in the fashion department.

Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t grow up with a lot of money — or at least, I didn’t have the money to buy the latest and greatest. My “look” throughout much of high school was limited to what was on sale at Kohls, which in reality wasn’t that big of a deal considering I don’t think I would have known what to do with myself left at the mall with $500. Plus, when I did have money, I inevitably went to Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle or some other other tragically overpriced, over-perfumed atrocity.

Anyway, I’ve always felt two steps behind “fashion.” Not being very cool or popular in high school didn’t help, either. I just figured I had the brains — so what if I wore the occasional awkward t-shirt that didn’t fit me correctly?

Strangely enough, though, I think going to Miami actually helped my fashion sense in a way — even though I was knocked down even further on the economic ladder, I began to feel comfortable with myself and my “taste” (whether that be for bluegrass music or excessively long Russian novels). I was also exposed to an insane sense of style I didn’t know existed in the midwest, discovered the early days of online shopping and even splurged on a fabulous red trench coat at the Limited. I also had to buy “interview” clothes, which forced me to look beyond Kohls and their ill-fitting pants.

My year spent working at Half Price was sorta a gap year — when you’re making $8 an hour wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I was merely concerned with buying groceries and making sure our heat worked. But now we have “expendable income” (aka, real jobs). Now that I’m six years and an entire state away from my self-conscious years, I feel even more comfortable with myself and, knowing no one knows me around here anyway, am willing to take a few more risks. Like tights. More dresses. Boots. Short haircuts. (Seriously people, I was afraid of these words in high school.)

And now I’m a fashionista? I don’t know about that. I won’t deny that I’ve always liked “looking nice” — not really dressing up but I like feeling put together. And I’ve found a whole host of stores that suddenly scream “Laura” whenever I step inside: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Modcloth, Banana Republic, Target. I know, I’m a 20-something hipster. This is all going to change in 10 years, whatever. But I’m liking this period in my life. I like liking what I’m wearing. I like receiving compliments. I like nice clothes and styling outfits I never would have thought possible before. I like reading my fashion blogs and copying them — now that’s what the popular girls did in high school, not the quiet English major.

I’m still the same practical me, though. I still agonize over shoe purchases knowing I’ll wear them to death and I want them to be versitile. When I have a gift card, I’ll spend months trying to decide what would be the best, most efficient use of that cash.  I still hate buying jeans because nothing fits me. I won’t necessarily drop $100 on a t-shirt. I almost bought a $200 pair of purple cordoroy skinny jeans at Anthro last weekend … and I still sorta heart them  … but I restrained myself.

But oh, the call of the closet. Check out my latest purchase from Modcloth, which I purchased using a $75 birthday giftcard.

$70 for a sweater is nuts, right? But it’s oh so pretty. 🙂

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