I have no memory of when Marian M, May’s Facebook Group Member of the Month, joined our robust Facebook community of women. All I remember was this pleasant person named Marian suddenly appearing in my feed with encouraging comments, questions, and suggestions. Soon, Marian was like a piece of furniture who seemed to have always been there with her pleasant nature and positivity.
Then one day, Marian posted her first outfit to the group, which she felt quite proud of, it had accompanying text about her initial hesitation to join the group, assuming her limited wardrobe didn’t offer her anything she’d be proud to wear until that moment. Her outfit was marvelous, so her, and received rave reviews from the members. Her comment about her hesitations also reminded me of the people you hear about who put off going to the gym until they lose a little weight to stave off embarrassment from other gym members. I am glad Marian didn’t hesitate to join the group where she has been and continues to be embraced, encouraged, and supported no matter where she is on her style journey, just like everyone else. Plus, she’s fun to have around.
To get to know Marian and her style a little better, I asked her to fill out the same questions I ask all featured Facebook Group Members. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Location: Saanichton, British Columbia
Q: What do you like most about being a member of Bridgette’s Facebook Group?
A: Many things! The support, the positivity, but mostly I really like the interaction — the comments, suggestions, laughs, and side conversations about where to find a certain dress, or packing tips. Also, because we’re focused on realistic fashion, style, and helping each other out, I find the Group is a safe and familiar place where I can let the craziness of the world fade into the background for a little while. I look forward to the moments in my day when I check in to see what’s new in the Group.
Q: The biggest benefits you have received from being a Group member
A: Well, I bought a dress that was recommended by another member, and I have worn it at least 11 times in the last month, so that’s a good thing! But a really interesting benefit is that being a Group member has helped me see myself as others see me, and that’s generally a lot better than how my perfectionist inner critic sees me! The Group members provide honest, genuine input which means even more because I’ve never met them before.
Q: What would you tell women who haven’t joined The Group yet?
A: Maybe you feel like you’re in a style rut, or you’re moving into a new phase in your life, or you have a special event coming up but feel like you don’t quite know how to navigate through it — then this Group is for you. Even if you don’t plan to comment or post, it’s definitely worth joining just to learn from other women and see how we grapple with the same questions and challenges when it comes to fashion and how to make it work for us in our busy lives. Belly laughs are a members-only bonus benefit. 🙂
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It’s definitely on the casual end of the spectrum, but that’s where I feel most authentic. I want to be able to hike in the woods, work in the garden, or go into town without changing more than my shoes and coat, and still look pulled together. So sporty-casual-unique-stylish-with a scarf on top, if that’s a style! I admit it’s not always easy to pull off, so I’m working on adjustments.
A: Through scarves. I’ve been relying on them for more than 25 years to inject color and interest without having to spend a ton of cash on clothes in colors I can’t find. My personal style grew from that. Also, my style fits my lifestyle: I’m an outdoorsy woman who likes natural fibers, but I also enjoy art and fashion, and I can drool over a Furla bag or gorgeous pair of pumps with the best of them!
Q: What advice do you have for others trying to find their style?
A: Always go with what feels authentic for you, but know there’s a fine line between authentic and safe, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the uniform you wear because you don’t know how or don’t have time to put outfits together, or because of something someone said to you once. Give yourself permission to try something new, to step a bit out of your comfort zone, but always be true to yourself. And never be influenced by the influencers — they do not have your best interests in mind.
Q: What fashion issues are you currently struggling with?
A: Space and pants. I live in a tiny house with a 26” wide closet, so having eight pairs of pants isn’t an option. All my clothes, shoes, socks, underwear, jewelry, and scarves have to fit in that space. So I need pieces that can multi-task. I struggle to find basics in colors and fabrics that work for me, and pants in particular. Right now I have four pairs of pants that I can wear in public; of those only three are okay for work, and one of those is dodgy.
A: The merino dress from Wool& that another member recommended. I had limited expectations because the style isn’t ideal for me, but it has turned out to be what I’ve worn since I got it. The fabric is durable and forgiving, and it’s a muted soft red that fits with nearly everything in my closet — and POCKETS! The other item is an unlined deadstock wool cocoon coat from Smoking Lily that works through our volatile Victoria weather. I get at least two compliments every time I wear it, and I will be naked and lost when it finally dies. Also, metallic Gizeh Birkenstocks and classic chisel toe Blundstones.
Q: If you could go back and change the way you dressed in the past, what would you change?
A: Probably not much…maybe I wouldn’t have worn those acid wash jeans (I’m looking at you, 1983), and maybe I wouldn’t have been afraid to dress a little sexier.
Q: Is there a fashion purchase you made that you found more useful than you thought it would be?
A: The dress from Wool&! It works with tights, bare legs, and even jeans (I’m on board with the dress over jeans look). Also, an Echo scarf that was too big for my petite frame, so I cut it in half lengthwise, sewed the edges, kept one half, and sold the other. It works with nearly everything I wear and I wear it a LOT.
Q: What about a fashion purchase that you thought would solve all your problems, but didn’t?
A: An expensive fuzzy brown sweater that I thought I would wear every day in winter with everything. If fact, it looks like a sack on me and the neck drives me nuts. What was I thinking?
Q: How do you envision yourself when you look your best?
A: Comfortable and uncomplicated, yet polished and pulled together, in uncommon colors and walking with a bit of swagger. Not looking like everyone else.
Q: What are your biggest fashion goals for the year?
A: I have a big wardrobe gap that worries me: I have absolutely nothing semi-formal or dressy to wear, and not a single pair of dress shoes. Goddess help me if I ever get asked out for cocktails! I need to fill this gap.
Q: What is the best fashion advice you ever received?
A: It’s not advice, exactly, but more of an epiphany I had after becoming a member of this Group: go ahead and admire what other women wear, but don’t be driven to emulate them if their look is not who you are. Shop and dress for the lifestyle you have or that you’re actively moving toward, not for the fantasy one you think you want. Keeping this in mind has recently saved me from a couple of expensive wardrobe mistakes.
Q: The first thing you take off when you get home?
A: Shoes, then contact lenses. Sometimes, if it’s been a day, and I just don’t want to hear anyone anymore, it’s my hearing aid – LOL!
Q: Favorite color(s) to wear
A: Muted fall colors: greens, ochres, and soft reds, with some oyster and soft black thrown in.
A: Consignment (Poshmark or bricks & mortar) and independent online shops that feature natural fabrics or great work-together pieces for active lives. If I could afford it, maybe some pieces from Alabama Chanin.
Q: What makes you happiest?
A: Being in nature.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Art, nature, poetic lyrics, beautiful color combinations, spontaneous conversations with strangers.
Q: Use One Word to Describe Your Style
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