I love reading stories about style bloggers and designers who were fashionable even as 3-year-olds because it is so different from my story. I am a very unlikely fashion entrepreneur.
For a long time in middle and high school, the only jacket that I owned was a green Mexican poncho that I had received as a birthday gift from a friend. Never thinking to Febreze the jacket, much less wash it, I wore it until it fell apart when I was sixteen.
In warmer months, I swapped my ratty jacket for a uniform of band t-shirt and khaki shorts.
Once the poncho was laid to rest, I raided my Dad's closet and found his old leather trench coat. In my teachers' eyes, I went from drug user to drug pusher. Neither description could have been further from the truth. In reality, I was just a dorky high schooler, more concerned about cost and practicality than style.
Everything changed when I studied abroad in France during junior year of college. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by men and women who dressed well.
That's when I began a gradual stylistic evolution, purchasing a black button-down as my "going-out shirt."
I swapped my baggy K-Mart t-shirts for Threadless t-shirts, and bought not one, but two! corduroy blazers.
More importantly, I stumbled across the world of men's fashion blogs. I went from having never heard of Levi's to knowing the difference between longwing and captoe dress shoes, and notch and peak lapels. My blog consumption quickly expanded and an eBay addiction was born.
I knew that I had come a long way when a NYC friend's girlfriend complimented me on my boots and jeans. Robin received much of the credit for "teaching me how to dress," but I am entirely self-taught.
Though I still have a long way to go, at least I know that my leather briefcase and duffel are better than everyone else's.
This will be something of a recurring series under the heading "Dressing Up," where I expand upon a particular point or nuance in my sartorial evolution.