Five Things Traveling Taught Me About Personal Style

IMG_8666.jpg

Hello my friends! I'm so happy to be back with a style post after spending some time behind the camera over the past year. Between my time abroad (which you've seen if you've kept up with me via Instagram or here on Genuinely Mariah) and my experience in Portland, Oregon this summer (which I'll catch you up on in a future post) I've had the privilege to step outside of my normal surroundings and experience the world of fashion in a completely different way.  What I have to stay straight away is this: I am endlessly fascinated by the way personal style is influenced by our environment and what we've experienced. Fashion is always evolving based on current trends but I've never stopped to think about the most impactful factors that have influenced my personal style evolution over the past few years. 

If you've lived out of a suitcase for any period of time, I think you'll understand the art of mixing and matching a minimal amount of clothing. Seven out of twelve months within the past year I haven't had access to my entire wardrobe- only all I could fit into two suitcases (one medium and one small) and that's including shoes! You could say I've become well versed in making the most out of what I have. So, not only do I want to share what I'm wearing today, but I want to share with you what I've learned about personal style through traveling.

L I V I N G   W I T H  L E S S  IS A RELIEF 

After returning home from Florence last December I was amazed that all I had to do was unpack a few suitcases and I was all moved in. Over the last four years, I've moved a total of twelve, yes twelve, times. I've come to learn that living with less is such a relief, especially when it comes to clothing. Now, moving across the country doesn't sound so bad- living with less has become one of the little things that make bigger decisions seem a lot easier. When you're not bogged down by all the stuff you have, relocating doesn't feel like a problem at all. 

M I N I M A L I S M  ISN'T FOR ME 

There are so many times I've wanted to challenge myself to become a minimalist, but I've found it very difficult, as a person who enjoys styling, to stop integrating new pieces into my wardrobe even if I don't need them. To begin with, I would consider myself a conscious shopper- I rarely buy out of impulse so when I buy something, I like to hold onto it for a while. As much as I love the idea of capsule wardrobes, they aren't for me. My closet is still fairly small, but I do enjoy having more than a few options to mix and match.

P E R S O N A L  S T Y L E  IS EASIER TO DEFINE

Here's the nice thing about packing your life into a few small bags: you learn what you really love. Determining which pieces you choose to take and which you leave behind is a great way to define your style. Not only that, but it's a trial run if you're considering downsizing to a capsule wardrobe or living with a smaller closet. I found that when I returned, I didn't even miss what I left hanging in my closet so it was easier for me to downsize. 

C U L T U R E  HAS THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON MY STYLE

There is nothing like experiencing culture first hand (I could talk about this for hours, but I'll just focus on the fashion aspect of it for today). Recognizing trends in specific geographic locations and integrating them into my own style has been such a fun experiment. In Europe, I was able to see a general gravitation toward classic pieces. In Portland, everyone was practically a walking Madewell ad. All of this has given me a new perspective on fashion- and once you leave the physical location you've become a part of, you'll see what aspects of a cultural style you hold onto and which you leave behind. 

S T Y L E  C H O I C E S  GIVE US A GLIMPSE INTO WHO PEOPLE ARE 

Disclaimer: I believe that there is always more to a person than I am able to see, it certainly doesn't end with their outfit choices. Now that I'm back at school, my "constant" in this experiment, learning and living alongside people from all over the country and world, I find myself wondering why they've chosen to wear the pieces they are wearing. How has where they've come from and where they've been influenced their style? Has travel influenced what you choose to wear? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

IMG_0580.jpg
IMG_8723.jpg
IMG_8646.jpg

So now for a little rundown on my outfit. Here are a few pieces I've integrated into my wardrobe lately:

Each of these pieces is able to be mixed and matched with the majority of garments I own- you'll get a glimpse of that in future posts. The biggest thing I look for in a piece of clothing when I shop is its versatility. How often will I be able to wear this? Can I create at least three outfits with this piece?  What do you look for when you're making purchases?