A few years ago, I saw the movie Bonjour Tristesse. I fell in love with Jean Seberg’s outfits in that movie. It inspired my aesthetic for some time.
I loved a lot of her looks in the movie, but this chic Givenchy dress occupied a special place in my fashion dreams:
So back in 2018, I had a special occasion to go to, and I found a dress by Gal Meets Glam that was clearly modeled on it:
When I found it, I was so excited. Having a dress that was at least somewhat a facsimile of the original seemed almost too good to be true. The skirt was different, and the fabric and color were as well, but the part that I really loved–the chic, geometric bodice–was there.
When I wore it, however, I just didn’t feeling like myself. I paired it with a pearl bracelet, and while the outfit worked together, I felt separate from it. At the time, I wondered if I was just a little old for the look (I was 31 at the time).
But what I should have done is take my own advice. At the time, I had created my own archetype, Grown-up Punk, based on the style statement exercise in my old workbook. There is nothing about this look that says “Grown-up Punk,” no matter how much it appeals to me on paper. I have since further developed this exercise into Personality Squared, and now I really understand why it felt off–and it has nothing to do with my age.
My Personality Squared combination is Sophisticated-Sporty-Edgy. I could see an argument for the clean lines of the dress being Sporty, but otherwise, the fabric, print, and bow detail are all Pretty, and the design line is perhaps more Playful. Playful is not something I’m opposed to as long as the Sophisticated-Sporty-Edgy combo is still coming through, since when I was younger my combination was Playful-Sporty-Edgy, but I have to be careful with it if I want to feel like myself. In this dress, I just felt like I was trying to be someone I’m not.
What would a dress that felt more like me look like? I think the original Givenchy dress would have worked a lot better. The black would have made it more Edgy, as opposed to the very Pretty color and style of the one I have. The skirt also made more of a statement, so even though there is still a Playful element to the design line, I think that it is also a design line that speaks to my FG clothing needs, and it would look chic on me.
But there is another dress that has occupied a place in my mind for many years, and it’s this Prabal Gurung dress Diane Kruger wore:
Now that I have identified myself as Sophisticated-Sporty-Edgy, I see exactly why I love this dress so much. The bold color choices work for both Sophisticated and Sporty, the clean lines are Sporty, and the overall design is Sophisticated. Edgy comes through in the black, but I could add more of an Edgy quality with accessories featuring studs, for example.
There was a time on this blog where I was exploring my style and trying to make myself fit into the style types I had decided suited my physicality, rather than looking at what I actually liked to wear and felt like myself in. I knew why things felt off for me from a Flamboyant Gamine perspective, and why, once I went with 4/3 instead of 3/4, from a Dressing Your Truth perspective, but now I also understand from the perspective of my inner world, and what feels like “me.”
You can find out more about Personality Squared and purchase the workbook here, and I’ve also started a YouTube channel. You can also find me on Facebook and on Instagram @stylesyntax.