The danger of dresses

Shoes and a dress. Some people would say that that hardly counts as creating an ensemble, but alas, sometimes summer Sundays in sweaty Austin call for just that. I hadn't worn this dress in a while (it was first seen here and last seen here) and I had it in my "sell to Buffalo Exchange" pile but decided to give it one last go for Jude's baby dedication with our church last Sunday:

[Photo by Filky]
date: 10 July 2011 | occasion: baby dedication
dress: BB Dakota (prize) | shoes: Lulu*s (also a prize)

This dress, and others like it, is dangerous. For the past month of so I've been mulling over my "style" (which, between us, has been a little bit of a snooze for the last year and a half), and I pinpointed that I can get stuck in a rut of dresses. Beware: I'm about to navel gaze...

I've been feeling pretty safe in my style for a long, long time now, and I feel like I'm just now crawling out of that. Somehow in the process of doing this blog I anointed myself the "relatable" one. My modus operandi has been "The kind hearted folks who read my blog do so because I have an average body, modest budget, and I wear really normal clothing." And it's because of this that while shopping, I had been getting things that I thought y'all would think could be called "relatable". And admittedly, because of this, I lost some of my spunk.

A little background: In high school and college I dressed so "out of the box" that I was often unfairly judged: leather pants to chapel, vintage platforms to graduation, monster truck t-shirts with trousers. People asked to borrow my clothes for Halloween (clue number one that I may have been dressing strange!).

I've lost touch with that sort of fearlessness, but I don't think it's just because I've gotten older. Part of me wonders if that's because in the back of my mind I know that on any given day more than 2500 people are checking out what I'm wearing. And I'm supposed to be the relatable one! If I suddenly stopped being relatable, would people start hating my blog?

Right now, I am the best I've ever been at bargain hunting and online shopping. I have been introduced to scores of new boutiques and independent designers. With the proliferation of style bloggers, I have thousands of new folks to use as style inspiration. This should not be the most boring time of my closet's life. Right?

I live in one of the most accepting, stylish cities in the United States. It's a place where I can wear a kimono jacket with moccasins and cutoff shorts and no one will bat an eyelash. So ever since I've cleaned out my closet, I've been a lot more mindful about what comes in (this includes purchases and courtesy items). My recent acquisitions have been brought in with a much more thoughtful eye and heart. I love the last kimono jacket I got, my leather shorts, my insane beaded jacket, and the lace dress I found at Thrift Town.

I've been trying to get back to wearing things that make me smile or things that would cause a stranger to strike up a conversation with me. My hope is that you'll be okay with me both ways: nutso harem pants or a basic summer dress. I'm trying not to play it too safe too often.

Anyone else feel like they're stuck in a style rut? Let's help each other get out of 'em, okay?