Personal Style Journey: Andrea
My name is Andrea Sanders, I live in Boulder, Colorado with my husband and two rescue dogs. I'm the director and founder of a small all volunteer-run nonprofit organization called Be Zero. My life is my work and I love to inspire others to rethink their relationships with the planet, others, and their communities.
When I think of my personal style now, I think effortless and confident. I know what I like, I know what feels the best on me, and I take time between my purchases. Less but better.
But when I was younger, I had no idea what I liked to wear, what felt good to me, no appreciation of fabrics or where my clothing came from either. A younger me felt lost and without direction when it came to clothing. I felt insecure compared to the other girls my age, who seemed to have it all together -stylish, pretty, and confident. The other girls in school seemed to be able to navigate the mall with ease, I couldn't even bring myself to go to the mall, I didn't know what to look for. I didn't see any relationship between myself, how I felt, and the clothing I wore.
Everything started to shift in my early 20's as I began to take an interest in what I wore. I played with all kinds of styles and felt a growing sense of confidence that had been missing all those years ago. Though there was still a great deal of uncertainty and perhaps I confused my confidence with chasing trends that didn't really reflect me, either way, I definitely started to think more on what I wore in a way I had never had before.
Each year, I experimented with small, intentional, and adaptable clothing. I became interested in how my clothes were made, what they were made from, how they affected the environment, and how they would take me through the year. No longer did I want clothes that were designed for one season or trend.
I began to appreciate what I wore. And I took value in what I wore. I mended & patched holes took items to my local tailor, and thought thoroughly about what I was going to add to my wardrobe. No more random or hurried purchases.
Fast forward to my mid 30's and I found myself wearing clothes that truly expressed me and the place I was in my life.
I called my new attitude towards clothing the "slowing down and creating space method". I gave myself space to see what I really loved and felt good in. I tuned out the noise of fast fashion the quick trends and put my money into things that would truly last me through each season for years to come.
Instead of wasting my money on smaller purchases through the year (often on clothing items that didn't last and rarely got worn), I invested in just 2-4 good pieces a year that was seasonless, adaptable, and functional. Not everything was bought new, over half of my little wardrobe is carefully selected from my local thrift stores - much is second-hand linen, cotton, or wool-based fibers.
Natural fibers rule my closet now, with linen being my most favorite. My current wardrobe consists of less than 40 pieces (including shoes), and it fits my lifestyle to a tee. I have everything I need and love.
Never in my life have I felt so good about what I wear. I pay attention to me, not the latest sale in the mall or online. My confidence doesn't come from fancy labels, logos or trends, it comes from the years of experimenting, paying attention, and listening to my inner self. Because when I listened to myself I grew a natural confidence and the clothing that I chose became a reflection of the real me. Not who I thought I should be.
I have a relationship with my clothes now. It highlights and expresses my personality much more accurately. And like any relationship, it will shift, evolve, and take different forms through the rest of my life.
And that makes me happy.