Friday, August 15, 2008

Making a personal style story

1. Nurture regard for someone or something, fictional or real.
2. Consider what details make this person or thing special.
3. Apply these elements to your own life.
4. Avoid emulating your inspiration too much, because caricatures are less charming.

The library where I work is in the process of switching to a new Internet chat reference system, and I was asked to choose a "pen name" to appear when I am online. We decided on a literary theme, so each of us librarians was to choose a representative book character.

Understandably I found this assignment to be very difficult. Which book? Which character? There are so many... And, even though I am an adult services librarian, I found that I identify more with the book characters of my childhood than with heroines that I've met more recently. Wouldn't you prefer to be Ramona Quimby (age 8) or Charlotte Doyle over Tess Durbyfield or Nora Helmer, to name a few easily recognizable figures? Children's literature characters tend to be almost all-around appealing.

But, considering my new screen name reminded me again that assuming other identities on a small scale can be very fun. It's not just about books or online chatting, either. It's about personal style, and smart dressers know that they can take elements, indeed, from literature but also from art, music, film, past times, current events, other places, etc. It's not copycat or costume dressing at all; it's really a matter of inspiration. There's a particular pleasure in wearing an outfit that's personally special, lending a kind of storytelling to everyday life.

Let's consider Autumn's current fascination with Scandinavia. Like a lot of people, Autumn was happy to read Astrid Lindgren stories when she was small, and my sister nowadays enjoys a trip to IKEA. A recent browse on YouTube revealed Lotta pÄ BrÄkmakargatan, a character of Astrid Lindgren's, on screen, and Autumn agrees that you don't have to speak Swedish to find little Lotta's authentic emotions amusing.

Autumn's outfit pictured below has the good humor and charm of Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries. It could be considered plain by some standards, but the well-edited design and well-appointed colors are apparent. The fashion is made-up of a long-waisted pink pastel sweater top (with pockets for change and other small items, that are very cute!) and a neutral-colored pleated skirt. The beige shoes with buttoned straps and complimenting ankle socks are subtly playful. I especially like the uniqueness of the socks for this ensemble.

I have visions of well-cared for children playing outdoors in the soft summer light as grandmothers dutifully sit and knit complicated woolen sweaters for the coming cold...

It's wonderful to be the main character of your own story!

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