Here is a new post, originally published on the Noonday Collection blog “Flourish.” I am so excited to publish my third post there. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on “style,” and why it is a beautiful thing.
To see the original post with pictures, please visit the Noonday blog at: https://blog.noondaycollection.com/?amb=JenniferFrey&tab=75318288643314462337313111695.
Style. It can be a loaded word – a word that many of us struggle with as women. Style can become just one more way that we judge others (or more often, ourselves). It can become just another way that we keep score.
I don’t want to style to be just another one of those areas where we compare ourselves to others. Another arena where we battle…and fail. Another space where we think we aren’t good enough. But often, that’s just what our celebrity-obsessed culture tells us to think – we even have pages in magazines devoted to mocking fashion choices. What we don’t realize, in the thrill of sitting at home and dissecting the fashion slip-up of some far-away celeb, is that we actually like to do it. We like that moment of superiority. We buy into and are fed by this illusion that style is a game – and that some of us win and some of us end up losers.
Today, I want to turn that “style as a battle” mentality upside down. I want us – you and me – to become leaders of a style revolution. A revolution that says things like: style does not have winners and losers; it’s not only for the girls born with it; it does not depend on the size or color or price of your clothes.
So, confession – I love style. Obviously. I blog about it. I talk about it. I think about it. People say all-too-kind and lovely things to me about my style. And you know what? That is a lot of pressure. The more I think about “style,” the more I begin to buy into the competition of it. I start to second and third-guess my clothing and accessory choices. I start to feel deficient in my own abilities to put together a basic outfit. I start to move away from what I would naturally gravitate towards to what the “truly stylish” gal would choose. In my head I can hear things like, “She is a real natural. She looks so effortless. My style is so fussy to compared to her. I can’t pull this off because it was meant for someone much smaller than me.”
So what gets me out of that headspace? One: recognizing that I am, in fact, in that headspace, and that I don’t want to stay there. Two: remembering how much better I feel when I am wearing something I truly love. As I type this, I am in jeans and a men’s blue oxford shirt, and I love it. It is so me. This is what makes me feel stylish. And this is the feeling that drives out my fear that style is a competition to be won (or lost). It may sound corny or cliché, but being authentic to who I truly am and who God made me to be makes me feel so peaceful – and, in turn, “stylish.”
To be sure, I haven’t always had this confidence – it’s something that has evolved in me over time. Along with some cruddy things, age also brings a beautiful release from the long list of standards society has told me I must attain. It becomes easier and easier to live authentically and pursue my unique style.
In order to ever have fun with style, I ask you to let go of the list of trends and instead find the freedom to genuinely reflect on who you are. Who you are in the perfect and lovely and messy and stylish and style-challenged way you were made. No matter how many style blogs I publish or how many likes my OOTD posts get on Instagram, I firmly believe it is my attitude that makes me “stylish” — and it’s what makes you stylish too!
Jennifer and Jill having some fun with style in an Austin boutique.
My very stylish friend and fellow Noonday Ambassador Jill Edwards says, “Why does fashion matter? On the surface it seems shallow, but the reality is that it does matter. It’s fun, it makes us feel beautiful, and it’s changing lives. When we feel beautiful and confident, instead of using all of our energy focusing inward, we are free to use that confidence and strength to be world changers.”
Isn’t that the best?! When we feel stylish and lovely, we stop worrying about feeling stylish and lovely, and instead love on others and the whole wide world. And to feel stylish and lovely, we just need to embrace our unique style.
Being around my fellow Ambassadors and being part of Noonday in general has taught me some important style lessons worth sharing:
1. “If you are wearing it, you are pulling it off.” We say that a lot in the Noonday world. If you love it, try it, and let the compliments roll in. And congratulations, you just pulled it off.
2. Style and beauty are so much more than what a magazine or celebrity tries to push on me. By wearing a Noonday piece, I am connected with beauty in so many ways. I am representing other women from around the world by wearing their native craft techniques, and in the process supporting sustainable employment for them and improved lives for their families.
3. Style is an Attitude of Authenticity. If I am not my authentic self, or if I ever try to be someone else, I will only ever be a “less-than” version of myself. When I embrace my style, I am stylish. Did you hear that? Say it again: “I. Am. Stylish.”
I hope that today’s post encourages you and inspires you to listen to your own stylish voice, to try something new, and to think of beauty in new ways. I urge you to host or attend a Noonday Trunk Show, and let one of our amazing Ambassadors fuss over you. Go play dress up with your girlfriends. Already shopped or hosted a Trunk Show? Become an Ambassador too, and share all of this world changing beauty and style with women just like you that need to know that style is an attitude of authenticity!
Ahhh, Target. Tarjay. The Mothership. Whatever you call it, we all know it as a place to usually find some style at a discount. I stopped in yesterday morning, for the first time in a month or so.
My pulse quickened. My eyes widened. And my head started pounding with, “BLOG POST. BLOG POST. BLOG POST.” It seemed everywhere I turned there were some new life lessons (very weighty ones, indeed) that simply must be shared with my esteemed readers.
- Olive Green Vest- you have to have one. I counted at least four very similar, yet differently branded, examples yesterday. It seems all the Target women brands have a version of this wardrobe staple. It is a “trend” that has outlasted being a flash in the pan, and firmly moved into “must have” territory. The gals of the the world have figured out that is such a workhorse in your closet. I love it over a dress, and of course with jeans and a striped tee. Looks great paired with scarves, a statement necklace, a hat, or all on it’s own. I feel like it will at least be around through summer, so I would definitely recommend this piece to you! Here are some options from the Target site:
- The new “Who What Wear” Collection- So I stumbled on this new collection yesterday. Piece after piece of cuteness. Target describes it as “a collection that makes dressing effortlessly chic as simple as it is smart.” I love that, and I feel like that is what I want Bonjour Forty to embody. The site also says that new pieces will be added each month. Yay! The collection demonstrates some of the principles we discuss here. I probably get asked more about mixing patterns than any other topic. If you have questions about this, head to your local Target (or at least check out the collection online), and see what pieces they offer and how they mix them together. The collection includes a bold floral print (the “star”), but also several other strong players- a polka dot, stripes in varying styles, interesting details (ruffles, bows), lace, great silhouettes (cropped trousers, longer jackets), and pops of vibrant cobalt blue. When I look at the sample outfits they put together, I see little equations. It’s like if the total of each outfit is 10 (our goal, right?), in the combos that use a strong floral (say, a 6), then the other pieces are softer (2 and 2). But there are other outfits that are more evenly distributed ex.- 3,3, and 4). That helps when deciding what to pair: a “6” piece and a “7” piece might make for a bit too much, but take that 7 with a 1 and a 2 and you have a winning combo. Or if you feel you already have a 1 and a 2, don’t pair with a 3. Amp it up, friend! Add the 7! Here is one piece from the collection I definitely will be adding to my own. Remember that olive vest from #1? If you have had that from a while and want to try a new riff on that, how about this fun one? I think mine will be over skinny jeans and a tee.
- Try a trend!- Wide, flowy pants started to make an appearance last summer. I found them such a great go-to- easy to pair with a fitted tee, and giving a bit of “dressed up” to my everyday. And let’s be real, sometimes a girl just doesn’t want to wear shorts, amiright? Or, allegedly, sometimes the shorts don’t quite fit. Ahem. Yesterday in my Target run, I saw these pants that I am going to give a whirl. Wide leg flowy denim. With the nautical trend also being huge, I can’t wait to wear these this spring with a fitted, striped tee, and an awesome (Noonday!) necklace. I didn’t buy in the store because I wanted to see if I could get a discount. Also, orders over $25 get free shipping and there are free returns on every order. I love that! It is like having a store come to you! Order a few pieces, or multiple sizes of the same piece, and just send back what doesn’t work!
Good day my fellow Bonjour Forty gals!
I recently completed my second post for the Noonday Collection blog “Flourish.” It is all about scarves- ones I love, outfit ideas for featuring your scarves, and how to style them in different ways. I would love for you to hop over and read it HERE.
Scarves are such an easy way to incorporate pizzazz in your winter looks. Find one or two that you love, preferably hand-made and fair-trade, and make them your signature piece.
To encourage you to try a new scarf, I will refund your shipping on any order from Noonday Collection that includes a scarf through Tuesday, December 15. Your purchase is so much bigger than a scarf- it provides sustainable economic opportunity for the artisans and their families, and the community behind them. This month, your purchase also helps me donate to orphan care charities, and you are entered to win a new Rustic Leather Tote! Please shop till you drop here—> www.JenniferFrey.NoondayCollection.com.
Here are some other pics from the post:
Dear Bonjour Forty readers,
I value you gals more than you know. And today I need your help!
So I have this other “gig” over at Noonday Collection, where I get to advocate for the vulnerable by selling jewelry and accessories hand-made by artisans in groups around the world. That is a pretty sweet thing to get to do. It is an honor to link arms with these artisans, and platform their skills through the sale of their products. Your purchases provide them with stable and reliable employment at a fair wage, and the chance to keep families together, receive health care, and send their kids to school. And Noonday is certified by the Fair Trade Federation. We take creating a flourishing world very seriously.
I want 2015 to finish in an EPIC way, for us to impact more artisans’ lives than ever before, and I truly need *you* to help make that happen. I am asking you to partner with me by making a purchase from Noonday Collection this month.
I made a video to explain my goal, and some fun benefits that are in it for YOU, and you can watch it on my Noonday Facebook page HERE.
I will be changing my FB profile each day to update you all on the progress WE have made since the day before. Here is today’s update:
And here is the gorgeous Rustic Leather Tote, the bag you will be entered to win with every order! (Thank you Brooke Van Groningen for the photo!)
Now is the time to knock out those gift lists. Give gifts this year that MATTER and MAKE A DIFFERENCE! We carry many products under $40, and tons even under $20!
So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE (yes I am begging!) head to my Noonday page and make a purchase. Let me take you on this journey with me!! And thank you for your unending support and love!
Graphic tees and Mystic Pizza- how’s that for a combo?
One of my favorite “fashion techniques” is taking a fun graphic tee, and “growing it up” a bit by pairing it with jeans and a blazer. This summer, my husband and I went on a quick jaunt to Connecticut for a wedding. We had a bit of time for some sightseeing, and spent an afternoon in Mystic. While there, of course we had to lunch at THE Mystic Pizza, made famous in the (super great) ’80’s movie that helped launch Julia Roberts into the stratosphere. That movie is fun, and nostalgic for me- I have seen it a few (dozen) times. So, no visit would be complete without a souvenir t-shirt! How touristy, right? But immediately, I saw the possibilities for this shirt. First, I knew I had to have the style that the girls wear in the movie as waitresses at Mystic Pizza. Second, I knew it would work with my tee+blazer+jeans equation.
So here is my result. Easy, effortless cool, and age-appropriate. Try this trick with your favorite saying tee, movie tee (Star Wars anyone? That version of this trick will be coming soon to a wardrobe near me.), or to promote a favorite social cause. Have some FUN with your wardrobe!
So in the past week or so I have taken advantage of a few good online shopping deals. It is obvious I’m craving fall.
Here is a snapshot of things I have ordered and loved. All are from Old Navy and TJ Maxx online. Did you even know you can shop online at TJ Maxx? It is the best, because you can try it on at home, and return it for free to the store. I even ordered my next formal gown from their site. Items do sell out quickly, so if you see something you really love, grab it, and then you can return it later. All of the items on the top row are TJs, and the bottom row is Old Navy. Nothing from TJs is over $20!
What are you craving for fall? Have you found any great online deals recently? Be sure to join the conversation by commenting here, or on the Facebook page. And thankyouthankyouthankyou for reading and sharing.
So honored to have been chosen as a blogger for Flourish, the Noonday Collection blog! Flourish is filled with delicious posts highlighting artisan groups, social justice, interviews, and of course some fashion and fun. So please hop over and read my post about creating an easy fall capsule collection wardrobe, with lots of ideas for mixing and matching the pieces. I would puffy heart love if you commented or shared the post or this blog. Your support really matters to me. And please join the fun over on Instagram- @bonjourforty, and on my Facebook page.
Here is the blog post ——-> Flourish by Noonday Collection
I am dreaming of fall!
Fall brings me out of the rut known as summer clothes. Blech. Boring. Sure the bright prints and dresses are fun for a couple weeks, but give me layers and texture any day.
Here are some pieces I have on my radar- some I have already gotten and can’t wait to wear, and others I am watching for like a hawk.
1- The Suede Vest- it may be FAUX suede, but is REAL fun! (<– See what I did there?) I snagged one of these from TJMaxx. I anticipate wearing with jeans of course, but also to throw over a dress and boots.
2- The Perfect Panama Hat- I love a hat in the fall. This season, we are moving away from the fedora to a wider brim Panama style. I am looking for a structured brim with a hemmed edge. Picky Pickerson.
3- The Noonday Linked Horn Necklace– Love. This. I think it will go with, oh, just about everything this fall and foreverandeveramen. It combines links of unpolished horn and gold metal. Great inside the neck of a button up shirt, or over a sweater.
4- Gauchos- Here is the wild card in the bunch. If you know me at all, you know there has to be a wild card. These are making a comeback. I am looking for the perfect pair, maybe in a grey wool. I think they can be chic supreme, and I can see my gray ones with a black turtleneck sweater and leopard heels. And #3. 😉
5- The Noonday Northern Summit Scarf– I will be wearing this beauty on just about every “down” day- jeans/boots/jacket days. It is made from 100% yak wool in India by skilled artisans. It is divine.
6- The Joules Sweater- I think I need to collect these. I would love to add one a year to my closet. I will keep them forever. This is a new launch for fall. It has a pheasant. In heels. Perfection. Helps me live out my British dreams.
7- The Leopard Pencil Skirt- This could be on anyone’s list for probably the last 50 years. Timeless and oh so chic. I would like to find the perfect one. Dress it down with knee high black boots, a denim shirt, and a blazer.
8- Flare Jeans- These rode back in on the 70’s ship, the same one that carried in the gauchos. I am ready to give the skinny jeans a rest for a bit, and bring in some leg-lengthening, flattering flare jeans! These look best with a heeled bootie to give you even more of the “legs for days” look. I need all the help I can get. (Says the gal with a über-long torso and short legs.)
Ergh. Summer. How is my favorite season also my least favorite when it comes to getting dressed? When it is 97* and HUMID alldayeveryday, the “cute” wardrobe options are limited. So I don’t take pics of outfits. So I don’t post. So I become bad blogger lady. So I feel guilty. So I come write a scraping post begging for your summer forgiveness. Sound familiar? Yeah, the same thing happened last summer. Like I said: Ergh. Summer.
So the military has moved us again this summer, and we are really excited! Buuuut, we have been out of our last house since June 10 and don’t get into the new one until August 14. That is 1, 2, 3, 4….a lot of weeks to be in temporary housing of one sort or the other. I present this as Exhibit B in the Case of “Why Jennifer Blog-Slacks in Summer.” I DON’T EVEN HAVE A CLOSET PEOPLE. I spend half my life in a car. And my “car pants” are definitely not blog worthy.
So, as the ramp up to returning with a fall vengenance (ahhh, can’t you smell the layers of plaids and stripes and checks?), I bring you the all-too-brief summer wrap-up. IE- the you don’t follow me on Instagram so you therefore missed every “fashiony” type post I have made in the last two months.
So I give you a recap. And I’ll see you back here tomorrow- same bat time, same bat channel- for some new fall deliciousness.
I missed you friends!