Elegant Eclectic - Can we chat?

Hi Ladies,

On my boyfriend shorts post, Angie suggested I might in fact be heading more towards an elegant eclectic look.

Interestingly, yesterday I had been pouring over pictures of three women (outside of YLF) whose style really inspire me, and they are all quite different. Doing this I found myself questioning how I could be so attracted to such differing styles (though I do see similar elements).

The three women are

#1 Emmanuelle Alt
#2 Anna Wintour
#3 Oddessy Home (don't know her name)

In my mind, I would happily embrace the style of any of these three women, however in reality...

I don't have the height or the figure to truly pull off EA's long lean and slender silhouette. Her RATE look is so appealing but I can't leave the house without make up and doing my hair :)

Anna's look at times is a little "mature". She does the minimal maximal thing wearing strong patterns, accessorizing with her signature stacked necklaces yet I find many of her outfits still quite streamlined and very pleasing to the eye.

Perhaps if my lifestyle was different, I could see myself wearing Oddessyhome's wardrobe everyday (and in the past I have in fact worn many outfits not unlike some of hers) however it lacks variety on one level, is very minimal, is black :) and I don't think I would ever tire of it. It also has what I have always referred to as an 'alternate' vibe but perhaps Avant Garde is the correct term.

So the definition of 'eclectic' is 'a person who derives ideas, style or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources'.

Do you find yourself influenced or inspired by a broad or diverse range of styles?

Is is possible to pull all those influences together and create your own cohesive style?

And does "real life" dictate just how much we can 'commit' to a certain style?

I would love to know your thoughts if you have time to consider this.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

xxx Deborah

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • sarah replied 11 years ago

    This is interesting - as I was reading your list, I was thinking, "Wow, EA and AW certainly have very distinct styles - I wonder what pulls them together as inspiration for Deborah?" I do find that I'm drawn to diverse looks, but have become much more disciplined since joining YLF in terms of what I actually transfer into my own style. Because, yes I think that "real life" certainly dictates how much we can commit to a certain style - I'm a very pragmatic dresser, and feel very shaped by my job (not very formal), my lifestyle (very active, with kids), my climate (COLD and snowy in the winter, and hot and muggy in the summer), and my body (short, rectangular).

  • Joy replied 11 years ago

    Deborah, thank you for starting this thread. I need to think and get back to it later. Right now I would say "yes" to all your questions.

  • lyn* replied 11 years ago

    I adore look #2 and can see you pulling that off perfectly ... the lady in #3 has an awesome hair cut!

    I try to keep myself open minded so I -can- be influenced by a wide range of styles! I do feel myself getting streamlined into a certain popular look sometimes, and I have to do something crazy once in awhile :p Sometimes it doesn't work together as a cohesive style - at least, not work appropriate. HAHA. Oh real life, you are no fun.

  • jen replied 11 years ago

    Out of all these pics no.3 reminds me of your style.
    I love EA and her style but she does have the tall slim body to pull it off, high cheek bones and her model mums looks.

  • bj1111 replied 11 years ago

    i'm a short pear and i do lots of alt with a strong lip. i love odyssey too but her outfits are too black even for me.

    i think you esp would make a natural segue into alt.

  • deb replied 11 years ago

    I can see you pulling pieces from each of the ladies styles and making it your own. I cannot pinpoint it, but they have a common under current theme. I feel it but cannot explain it.

  • jen replied 11 years ago

    Just adding Cocolion has the Alt style down to a tee and it sooooo suits her!

  • Sharon replied 11 years ago

    Hi Deborah,
    I have been thinking about this too.
    I find that there are a number of different styles I am drawn to, but usually I like "bits" of them rather than everything in that style. However, I find I like almost everything in my primary style(which is classic).

    WRT real life moderating choices, I think this is definitely true for me. I really enjoy a steampunk element, but often feel that it is too "costumey" for my day-to-day life and so revert to more staid choices. Additionally, some of the alternative styles I like are really just not designed to flatter women with a large bust, so I choose to admire from afar rather than incorporate the style into my wardrobe.

    I'm not really sure how to go about making all the things I like fit together and look cohesive. This summer I have been experimenting with achieving this by restricting my colour palette, in the hope of achieving cohesion through matchiness. This has actually been partially successful and has made determining wardrobe needs and shopping much easier, so I think I will continue with this until I get bored.

    Your clothes always appear to work well together, so I feel like you are probably better placed than me to offer hints on style integration. It has certainly been fun watching you try new styles this season, particularly as you have really made them work well.

  • Deborah replied 11 years ago

    Sarah interesting thoughts. It sounds like you have really managed to connect lifestyle and fashion choices in a way that works extremely well. I am guessing you have very little in your wardrobe for your imaginary life?

    Joy was hoping you would share your thoughts. Look forward to you returning to the thread later.

    Lyn, your style has been evolving beautifully. And I imagine your career choice would suggest certain restrictions in order to be taken seriously and garner respect, particularly at a young age?

    Deb, I agree there is an under current theme to all these women's styles. If I were to try to articulate it I would say elegance, sharpness and modern and I see "classic" in all of these to different degrees.

    bj, I might have to loose half my body weight to create such a sleek silhouette as EA (lol) but I appreciate the vote of confidence. Your outfits definitely have that EA vibe with perhaps a tad more polish:)

    Jen, the vibe of #3 has definitely been part of my wardrobe for many years but I find myself modifying my style for the various situations I find myself in and questioning the appropriateness of certain looks. And I couldn't agree more..CocoLion could give EA a run for her money in the style stakes.

    Sharon I would share similar concerns to you. I am large busted too and have a tummy so to wear a loose blouse semi tucked into skinnies a la Emmanuelle would not create the same look at all. Of course with some modification the look could be achieved. I like the idea of setting a colour palette to create a sense of consistency and perhaps even style signature.

  • sarah replied 11 years ago


    Not a single thing : )

  • CocoLion replied 11 years ago

    You may not realize it, but your style is already very much a blend Anna Wintour and Odyssey. So now you can describe your style as "Anna Wintour meets Odyssey Home."

    From my days in entertainment, this is the way movies were often pitched. As in, "Gone with the Wind meets The Poseidon Adventure" as a way to describe 1997's "Titanic."

    E Alt's style may be more aspirational, as it is for myself included. I love her simple style but agree that much of it depends on her lean and very tall build (she's 6'0") as well as her looks allowing her to go make-up free. She is a former model after all.

  • Jaime replied 11 years ago

    Although my first reaction would be these women are so different, on second thought I can see how you have elements of each of their styles in yours, Deborah. You do the interesting silhouettes like OH, have the polished hair and makeup - and love for a good print like AW, and a certain style coherence like EA. I guess that is what eclectic is about. In answer to your questions, real life absolutely influences our style in terms of seasons, situations and budgets, but that is what keeps things interesting imho.

  • Deborah replied 11 years ago

    Sarah if you're ever looking for something for your imaginary life, you are most welcome to raid my closet! I haven't quite mastered that one yet:)

    Denise, I really appreciate your assessment and it leads to another question, which is do you thinking it is harder to be objective when looking at and assessing our own style? Do we see our own style as clearly as we might see others? In my fantasy life I have EA's body lol.

    Shevia, I guess that is what makes us all look individual and not carbon copies (stylistically speaking) of one another. Real life does keep us on out toes and perhaps encourages much more creativity in our dressing in order to maintain interest along with appropriateness.

  • CocoLion replied 11 years ago

    Yes I think it's hard to be objective when we look at ourselves. We also might over think things.

    Our brain is wired to accurately yet quickly take things in, that is a survival mechanism. So our first thoughts are often truthful. (Although this system can also lead to unfair stereotyping.) Haven't you ever had a first choice or solution to a problem, then spent hours coming up with a different solution, only to go back to your original response?

  • Deborah replied 11 years ago

    Denise good point. I do exactly that:). Even with dressing. I will wake amd have an outfit in my mind. I will then second guess and try and do something else amd then end up wearing what I originally had in my head!

  • Suz replied 11 years ago

    Deborah, when I looked at these three photos, I felt that you already seem to embody a blend of their styles. Shevia analyzed and articulated what I could only intuit. In other words, you already have the kind of personal style that others would like to emulate. And it is unique and distinctive.

    Like you, I'm very drawn to the Odyssey Home looks -- though her style is far too black for me. I do find it inspirational, however.

    But your question, is it possible to bring all our disparate aspirations together into one style that is our own....well...yes, it's possible -- you do it, in fact! But I think for some of us it is difficult, and that's one reason we find ourselves at YLF. Looking for those unifying themes or the thread that will tie it all together for us. This is why the verbal types search for rubrics or style statements or five adjectives or acronyms or what have you, and why Angie's recent threads on UWP and the others took off like wildfire.

    And lifestyle definitely plays a role. A lot of what I dwell on these days is how to find clothes that reflect my actual day to day needs as well as my aspirational style. It is quite difficult to do, it turns out.

  • Caro in Oz replied 11 years ago

    Great question & one that I have been thinking about a lot lately:) I don't think I can say it any better than shevia - you do draw on elements of these three looks to create your own style.

    For me though the answer is yes & no. I can only speak for myself when I say as another elegant eclectic it is easy for the eclectic to take over. When this happens I feel as though I have a hodgepodge of clothes - with nothing that really speaks to me. I also need boots for one look, heels for another & then different jewellery or different bags. I get to a point where I start to feel I'm playing dress up & I don't have a "point-of-view". So how to control this free-ranging part without doing away with the creative side? I'm not sure yet, but I do want my clothes to be simple (as simple as possible for me).

    My holy grail is: “Style is the perfection of a point of view.” Richard Eberhart
    I think even if someone didn't like the way these particular women dress they would have to admit all three of them have perfected their point of view.

  • RoseandJoan replied 11 years ago

    I think your style embodies the ease of Alt. the graphic of Wintour and the drama of Home so yes I do think you are very competent at tailoring style elements to your lifestyle.

    I used to view my style as eclectic but I feel like I have refined my preferences a little more now with a view to keeping my life and style a simpler.

  • Angie replied 11 years ago

    I can see your style embodying all three style icons, Debs!

    I am all over EA's style, although she is a little RATE and I'm so not RATE. I love how she combines simplicity with classics and the trends. This is right up your alley too.

    I love AW's ladylike looks and you embody them already :)

    I can see how you are attracted to the types of tops that Odyssey Home wears because you wear arty un-constructed tops like that already. And because you love black. Personally, I find the combination of black from head to toe unattractive, especailly when black is not your colour. This does not come as a surprise to you I'm sure.

    Yup. You are an Elegant Eclectic! Sometimes Arty. Sometimes Modern Classic. Sometimes Trendy. Always Elegant :)

  • Kyle replied 11 years ago

    And dramatic. I find your looks dramatic, elegant and strong. You have such flair already, it's hard to see how you could improve.

  • nancylee replied 11 years ago

    I can definitely see your style in all of these looks, Deborah (I echo exactly what RoseandJoan said). Love your elegant eclectic style!

  • unfrumped replied 11 years ago

    So the total EA look takes someone built like EA but you can take elements and adapt them. AW to me always looked too "uptight" and controlled and not effortlessly chic or tailored, more striding along in one's clothing, which is the part I'd like to achieve. EA has a more unfettered look. That look to me is easier for the tall and slim because the clothing "hangs" more easily in all forms. So working toward that with other figure types may take using fabric drape and cut quite intentionally.

    I think continuing to work with your classic basics and experimenting with one or 2 unexpected elements in the outfit is a good approach. The "underpinnings" can aim for figure-flattery--the right pants and skirts and so on for you, not trying to fit yourself into some other form--but the colors, combos, maybe patterns, added layers, and so forth can bring in the eclectic vibe.

  • Deborah replied 11 years ago

    Thank you all so much for being part of this discussion. It's quite powerful to be able to see your style through the eyes of others.

    Suz, you have shone a bitvof light on the whole rubric thing for me. I haven't been able to put one together and I think it's because I am more visual than verbal. It has for me thinking though on the best way for me to document what I feel I need in my outfits.

    Caro, I like that quote. And yes each of this women have am well honed look. I actually scrolled back over Oddyssy's blog and its very interesting to see how her style has evolved. In the early days of her blog I don't think I would have followed it!and despite my eclectism, like you, I want things simple and consistent.

    RoseandJoan, you are always so articulate and I really appreciate your thoughts here, they definitely have helped me to process my own,

    Angie, it's EA's RATEness that I don't relate to of course, like you, I prefer more "polish".
    And you hit the nail on the head with AW, I adore her ladylike style and that woman pattern mixes with the best of them:). Not suprisingly I am incredibly drawn to OH's look and the all black BUT given her colouring is not dissimilar to mine, I see clearly that the black is not always flattering and does look quite harsh...and yet I look at her and want to wear black every day lol. I am wondering how navy would translate into this look?

    Kyle thanks for your kind words. You have such incredible styke yourself that I'm just blown away:)

    Nancylee, thank you:)

    Unfrumped brilliant advice, thank you. It's so helpful to articulate these things. AW does have the reputation of being a control freak and a bit of an ice queen but I kind of like that lol.

    Again thanks so much for taking the time here, I really appreciate it.

  • Lyn D. replied 11 years ago

    I would say that I am somewhat influenced by the ladies here and Angie's professional advice.
    Then, armed with knowing the colour palette and garment shapes that best suits our individual bodies, and the P.P.P. mantra we go from there.
    I like certain outfits on others, but my choices are mainly tempered by my casual lifestyle and daily activities.
    I am trying not to pidgin-hole myself to a certain style or follow others' too closely; to keep fashion fun and to avoid buying items that I won't really wear. (In theory anyway :) )

  • anne replied 11 years ago

    Wow! I feel this thread is YLF Masters level!!! Can't contribute owing to it being a bit above my head, but am enjoying the read!!

  • Deborah replied 11 years ago

    Lyn, wise words:). You have a really balanced approach and you offer a gentle reminder not to over analyze or over think things. I like that you choose not to follow others to closely, I tend to develop mild infatuations with others' style:)

    Anne, you are very funny! I think you have a lot to offer here:)

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