Style Patronus: Mary Kate in the "Greenwich Village Look"

My Mary Kate Faves || Allegory of Vanity

Mary Kate Olsen: my style icon since forever. What is it about MK, or any of my other style icons for that matter (posts about them are coming: watch this space...) that makes her so mesmerizing to me? Of course, half of the equation is just down to personal taste and what appeals to whom. But the other 50%? It's an elusive formula that is about as mesmerizing as the icon herself, especially since I think it's one of the keys to dressing well and achieving a personal "look."

My Mary Kate Faves || Allegory of VanityMy Mary Kate Faves || Allegory of VanityMy Mary Kate Faves || Allegory of Vanity

With all my incessant, obsessive reflecting and my fumbling escapades through the dense forrest of trial-and-error (more error than anything else, a reality that us experimental types can attest to), I feel like I'm finally starting to get a clue.... But this only comes after, I repeat, after I found myself plunging headlong into the darkness of clueless frustration and the imploding heaviness of uninspired apathy. There was the light of revelation at the end of that long tunnel: I finally started to get "it" (yes, exactly, the nonspecific, all-encompassing "IT") "It" finally started to dawn on me, and I began to feel inspired once again, or should I say, I began to feel truly inspired for the first time, ever.

Ok, so now.. I'm going to try to articulate this as succinctly and concretely as I can. Here goes:

So, I've concluded that when it comes to personal style, there is the girl and then there are her clothes. The former is (or rather, should be) the focus, the latter, mere adornment. Together, they blend seamlessly to conjure the infatuating persona of an "icon." (Quotes are essential here as there are all kinds of icons, all with different looks and unique appeal. I, for one, am mesmerized by a diverse number of them.) The point? The character/persona/personality (whatever you want to call it) is already there; the clothes only accentuate it/help express it. The hardest thing to learn is that the clothes do not invent it. The key? The inspired dresser both understands and is comfortable with this reality as well as herself, whether consciously or not. The result? She's creative, but she doesn't try too hard. Actually, she doesn't try hard at all; what she wears is part of her: her second skin.

And therein lies the tricky part, the part that's been taking me ages to figure out. It's like one of those existential "Who am I?" conundrums. I see now that figuring out my personal style involves a lot of figuring out myself, too. Who knew getting dressed could be so deep? After all, it leads you through the same detours and requires the same kind of honesty and openness. Because in the end, it really comes down to this: liking what you like and listening to yourself (now that's what I call confidence!)