It’s my birthday week so I’ve decided to post a few random reflections on the last year, as well as thoughts about the year ahead.

Every few years I think about my fashion sense … not in terms of keeping up with the latest trends, but how much time and effort I put into coordinating my wardrobe. I am surrounded by those who I consider to be some of the savviest fashionistas known – my friends know how to put together flawless assembles ranging in cost from $10 to hundreds of dollars and make it all seem effortless – so I am often left thinking that I need to “step my game up.” Sometimes I do well, other times not so much ;-).

What I know for sure: I love classic, clean looks with a little bit of quirk or hidden detail – think Banana Republic meets Ann Taylor with a splash of Anthropologie. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for bohemian dresses or skateboard sneakers, but I have learned to honor my personal style and maximize it. More often than not, I am conditioned myself dress along the conservative side. I took leadership positions very early in my professional career, often being the youngest in the room or the only one of something – woman, African-American etc. Much of this lead me altar much of my external presentation to adapt to my environment and in hopes of increasing the likelihood of being “taken seriously.” I am a minimalist. I believe in buying what I am going to wear and getting rid of what I won’t or haven’t. I rarely buy more than one of essentials, like eye glasses, basic belts, etc. My budget matters … always. My financial fitness comes first so when I am preparing for an event, my very last instinct is to purchase something new – I am more likely to piece together things from my wardrobe and buy something new last. I value my time and that of others. If I am running late, my priority is to get out of the door. Period. Point blank.

My shortcomings: I will always choose comfort over style. When going out the first questions I ask are where am I going; will I have to walk or stand for a long time; and what will I be doing once I arrive. I think about how much I am going to sweat, how many people will be around and even what sort of seating arrangements I will have. All of these factors come before I ask how cute my outfit is L. I can be a little lazy about putting things together. For some, coordinating comes easy – for me it takes great time and effort. Which earrings? What scarf? Which shoes? Sometimes it’s easier to throw on the first thing I see and go. My weight fluctuates … a lot. Not being my ideal weight is NO excuse for lacking style, but it is a barrier for me. Weight gain means buying new clothes or more often, a false hope that I will soon fit into my old clothes so I delay buying new clothes. For me, it also makes shopping harder and I am less inclined to buy things I love versus opting for more lose fitting clothes that conceal more than accentuate.

What I like: dresses, skirts, blazers, fitted jackets, scarves, boots, strappy sandals, heels, wedges, jewelry that does NOT jingle 😉 and prints. I do not fancy: sneakers (or any kind, other than for exercise), suits, baggy clothes, skirts/dresses with too much fabric, or oversized anything.

One of my goals for the year ahead is to do better ;-). Plan ahead to incorporate a few new pieces into my budget and wardrobe. Wear the things I have; choose a new accessory to try each day. While I admire the fashion sense and style of many around me, I’ve realized that my style is a little different … that’s okay so my job is to honor my own style and work it. Wish me luck .. and please feel free to offer suggestions!!!