Travels, Trials, Theories, Thoughts, and the Fine Line Between Gamine & Tomboy (long)

Sorry I don't really have any photos from my trip for Dad's wedding (too much fun for photos! And the professional ones aren't in yet), but aside from the actual party outfit, I wore some version of this trench-skinnies-boots combo the whole time anyway. And then I proceeded to wear this exact outfit for three more days after I returned home. So you really didn't miss much. :)

Although I haven't been feeling creative (the side effects of meeting and quickly leaving a new, large Italian branch of the family... then coming home to the Boston tragedy on top of my own PTSD issues), I don't count this as much of a style "funk." I've felt appropriate, together, and very much like myself during my time away from work - which has been a relief and a blessing. I sort of realized that I haven't been feeling much like myself, even though so many of you have been excited by and encouraging of my work style. The good news is that I am beginning to understand why.

First, this pixie haircut thing is not for me. I do think I look good in it, but I feel far too gamine. This has definitely influenced my workwear, and I think that is part of why I feel off. As my Dad's lovely wife said this weekend, you wear your hair every single day - far more than any blouse or dress you can buy. I cannot believe I never set my haircuts as a priority before!

Second, as I continue to go to Krav Maga class, I notice that I look a lot different in skin-tight workout wear. There is no draping or skimming or cinching to be had. No optical illusions. All there is is my frame... and I'm not happy with it. I know I'm not a large person, but I'm also not a fit person. I used to be much more active and have a more athletic figure - as someone with "warrior" as one of her main style descriptors, it makes me feel much less confident - and darn near fraudulent - to realize that my body is no longer sporty or warlike at all. This needs to be a priority for me from now on, just as much as the hair. 

Third, I am getting a clearer picture of the next leg of my style evolution, and it's a lot. more. classic. There, I said it: classic. But still in an Urban Warrior Princess/Steampunk Girly Tomboy way, if that makes sense. Inspired by men's traditional basics (and imagined traditional basics, as seen from the perspective of a fictitious future dystopia), set in contrast to feminine cuts and details, with a dash of utility/militaria thrown in. 

To sum up: I'm still very much in flux. With my job, my style, my body, and my general lifestyle. I wish I wasn't - it'd be nice to settle down and turn on the old auto pilot - but what can be done? For now, at least I've got a direction to plod in. 

And if you've stayed with me for this long, thank you! For your infinite patience, I've added some just-for-fun pics of my first baseball outing of the season - some horrible base-running tonight, but a nice night for a game all the same. :)

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.


  • Mo replied 5 years ago
    :)  Thanks for sharing.  It is a journey and we all are on our own paths at our own pace.  
  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago
    Love your formula.  You look fantastic and so cool in that combination!

    It's good to understand things about ourselves.  Yes, our body and hair are so important!   I swear, every time I go to my boyfriend's house I gain at least 5 lbs -- pizza, popcorn, french fries, cereal, and one whole box of chocolates (which I ate entirely myself).  I think there was a token salad in there.  I cannot eat the way a man eats!  I need to go on some sort of program as well.

    I am ignoring the fact that you were at a Dodgers game...  I am supposed to hate the Dodgers with a passion.
  • O replied 5 years ago
    Rae, this is fantastic post. I've savoured every word you wrote and I really admire the clarity of your thoughts. I am a huge fan of your current hairstyle and I really love your current style - but I love even more that you've identified it does not work *for you* and *why* it doesn't. In the light of those statements, as well as clear idea of which direction you want to take, I am excited to see where you'll take us next.

    Fab outfit and I'm glad you had fun at the wedding and at the baseball game.

    Btw, what a great statement by Mrs. Dad's Wife: You wear your hair every day. How perfectly obvious, yet sometimes it takes putting it in the right words to actually *get* the message. 

    (And, congratulations to the newlyweds.)
  • rute replied 5 years ago
    Lovely photos! Sorry to ear that this hair cut is not for you, it looks so great!
    I'm loving mine! I feel this is me! The short hair makes asks for bolder make up like a red lipstick and I'm loving!
  • goldenpig replied 5 years ago
    You are so insightful! I love hearing about your style journey and am excited to see your continued evolution. I think your pixie haircut is cute but sorry it's not for you. How long are you planning to grow it? I have to admit I still secretly miss being long-hair twins with you. It gave your tomboy looks a bit of girly flair.

    Cute pics! Glad you had fun at the wedding and baseball game!
  • replied 5 years ago
    Rae, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts; so insightful. I hear you on the hair, I had mine very short for about 18 months and the whole time I didn't feel like me. It was a friend who egged me on to do it and actually we are no longer friends (it was the first time I ever broke off a friendship, though it wasn't about hair!). Lovely comment from your Dads wife about hair too and I'm glad you had a good time at the wedding.
    I like the sound of the style direction that you are going to head in and I look forward to your WIW's as that evolves. As for your body shape, only you no how you feel ( you always look good to me) I guess you will be planning new fitness routines to regain a bit of warriorness, you should share your plan in the healthy habits thread ;) I certainly need to shape up too!
  • lyn67 replied 5 years ago
    Lovely picties, and hair grows Rae!:-) Thanx for sharing your deep insight thoughts.
  • replied 5 years ago

    I enjoyed reading your post! Hair grows, and you had wanted to try your hair short and now you have, and now you can get it back to what you want.

    You've been through an immense amount of change lately -- some from within and some forced upon you. So I think it is natural to feel in flux.

    I totally hear you on the fit thing. I have been lax and I want to get back to my active strong body I had before kids!

  • Karie replied 5 years ago
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Rae, you are much more in tune with your style journey than I am with mine. Work needs pull me one way, and personal tastes pull me another. 

    It would seem like it would be nice to settle down and go on auto pilot, but style, and life too, is a journey and a journey should always be moving forward. 

    Looks like you had fun at the game! I hope your team won, unless, of course, they were playing against the Phillies :)
  • TraceyLiz65 replied 5 years ago
    I really loved your self examination post  and sharing your inner journey.  Sounds like you are on a really great path and wish you luck in continuing on with your new found wisdom. 
  • Rambling Ann replied 5 years ago
    OT: Please write more. About anything. Those are some fine sentences and paragraphs. 
  • Julie replied 5 years ago
    Sounds like a good time was had by all at the wedding. Best wishes to the happy couple.

    Your shades are really working with the short hair. Two thumbs up!!



  • Sarah A replied 5 years ago
    I appreciate your insights. So true that a super athletic body makes girly clothes so much less so.... Thank you for sharing your journeys with us :0 It helps so much to help me find word for my own style (and life) musings even if those words only bop around in my head. Thanks again Rae!
  • Nadya replied 5 years ago

    Continuing to grow and change as a person is a good thing, so it makes sense our wardrobes often need to change with us to reflect that.

    I know what you mean about not feeling yourself. A year and a half ago I started coloring my hair again, adding a lot of lighter color. About six months ago, my stylist and I decided to go darker and I suddenly felt like me again. I hadn't realized I didn't feel like me until we changed it!

    I'm looking forward to seeing the next leg of your journey complete with fashion from post-apocalyptic LA.

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    I have to say, Rae, that this is not surprising to me at all. Not even the "classic" part. You are in a time of deep self-examination and transition, which is a truly wonderful thing after all you've been through lately. I am serious. A lot of people would not be taking the opportunity to grow after such an experience -- it is a testament to your strength and maturity that you are doing this rather than letting depression and malaise take you down. (I speak from experience, since my late 20s were dominated by depression after losing my father and having some other unfortunate experiences.) So, first and foremost, I really want to take my hat off to you.

    Now, on to the style part. :-) I understand about the haircut! You are fortunate enough that you look fantastic in every length of hair, so I think it's awesome that you embraced the pixie for a while. The great thing about hair is that it can so easily be changed, so I say bravo to trying something new. I noticed you had pinned some longer bob-length styles lately, so I'm not surprised you're thinking about letting it grow out and trying another new look.

    I have no doubt that your new style incarnation will still be fun and uniquely you, even if it does contain more classic elements. I'm excited to see where you go from here! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago
    This is a wonderful post Rae. You've done a lot of thinking and to arrive at such clarity is fantastic.

    The bottom line with style, which includes your hair, is you need to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. You gave the pixie a whirl and it doesn't feel like you - applause for trying it out and now onward. 

    I look forward to seeing where this desire for classic takes you and know you will ROCK it all :)
  • replied 5 years ago
    You're really getting clarity and insight, Rae, even though you've been through so much.  I applaud you and admire you. 
  • sarah replied 5 years ago
    Ah, baseball - it makes me so happy.

    Back to your post - great work on your part to make all of these realizations at once. Well done!

    I truly adore your "uniform", by the way, and your haircut, but you need to feel like YOU. 
  • texstyle replied 5 years ago
    It's refreshing to read your thoughts and to remind ourselves that we all need to look inside once in a while and maybe adjust our own map of life. No matter what age, certain experiences, events, trauma, heartache, happiness or even comments by others can really impact the route we choose.

    I still remember when I was very young and just starting out in a small business with my DH. An older, wiser customer was waiting for her service to be completed and was chatting with me. She must have know I didn't have much input from other business people as she was giving me unsolicited advice. She leaned in at one point and asked me "Do you want to know the real secret of success?" I said "Of course!" and she sat back and simply said "Perseverance." I've long forgotten her name, but I'll never forget the comment.
  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago
    Working out makes you love your body.  If you want to be more fit, you can do it!
  • rae replied 5 years ago
    Thank you for all your lovely comments - the best part of waking up, hands down (Folger's, eat your heart out). 

    Denise, I SO always forget that I cannot eat the way a man eats! I suppose I used to be able to. Must post that saying up somewhere in the house. :)

    Rute, you look stunning in your cut! I'm so glad you did it and it matched your personality. 

    Natalie, I'm going for chin-length first, then we'll see how it goes. I also miss being hair twins - with you and my sister both. Now that I have a good stylist, I think I could have it super long without it being so heavy, so I might go back. 

    Diane G, it is tough to lose a friendship (I've done that recently, too) and even tougher after a shared event like a haircut. I would have wanted to cut my hair after the "break up" but would have no place to go!

    Ceit, we can do it! The tribe needs us strong!

    Rambling Ann, writing was actually my other passion (aside from fashion) years and years ago. It would be nice if I could figure out how to make some money doing one, the other, or both! lol

    Julie, thanks, passing the wishes along. :D

    Janet, thank you, and I'm sorry you went through a depression. I can safely say depression is no fun. I feel like it's been one thing after another for two long years. At least I got a new haircut out of it, lol. I guess I feel a bit more serious and old (soul-wise) and need the classics to reflect that? Funny tangent: reading a what-to-wear-at-any-age article on the plane, I learned I apparently have the tast of a 60-something. Hm... doesn't bother me after YLF!

    Texstyle, I admire you for striking out with DH on a business venture. Ideally, I'd love to work for myself. Really hoping that can work out one of these days!

    Dana, I want to buckle down and do it! I wish Krav Maga were not so expensive; I'd love to keep with it. Maybe it'll have to come out of (gasp, horrors) the clothing budget... 
  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago
    Love your FFBO from your trip.  The trench was a great find!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  These kind of posts take a lot of energy to get on the screen.  I find it interesting that a haircut that's not "you" has been a catalyst for change. Perhaps you needed to make a drastic change to see things more clearly.

    How interesting that your warrior is finding its outlet in your physical activity, rather than your wardrobe!  As someone who always deals with creeping weight, its a good reminder that we move our bodies to keep them strong, not just make them skinny!

    Look forward to seeing what comes next!
  • milehighstyle (Linda) replied 5 years ago
    Great insights, Rae. I'm right there with you with hair and body needing to be in a certain place to feel like me. That doesn't mean that we can't tweak things and make subtle changes and experiment, but it's good to know what lines can't be crossed and what is needed to get back where you want to be. 
  • Angie replied 5 years ago
    *falls off chair*

    You want to be more classic. Well. I LOVE THAT!!! It's the power of classic pieces that cannot be beat because they can be molded into any style. Just like fresh tofu takes on the flavour of the sauce it is served with. That's the most important thing to understand with classic style, and *you do* get that.

    Fantastic insights, Rae. Excercise creates endorphins and that's why it's powerful. Totally psychological first and foremost. The fitness aspect is simply a by-product.

    My hair is my most important accessory and makes my outfits. That's why it gets so much of my attention and budget. TOTALLY worth it. So grow your hair out a little, to the style that feels right, and lets get the next leg of your style journey rolling!

  • ramya replied 5 years ago
    Rae, I kinda feel that you were more comfortable with your bob than your pixie. Not sure but this is the impression I get...

    Now you had a difficult year :) But you rock lady!!! I love how you style yourself :D... And guess what I now want to own a distressed denim :)...

    You are awesome!!!!

  • Thistle replied 5 years ago
    As Angie says so often, style is a journey not a destination. I really enjoyed reading your journey so far, and yes, it does seem to be making a change. In a way, it can be fun as a well as challenging.

    Your hair really is your #1 accessory and the most important part of any outfit.  I see what it is so important to you.

    I look forward to seeing how the classic component enters your steampunk post-apocolytpic style. If anyone can merge it in, it's you!
  • K. Period. replied 5 years ago
    Rae, what a great post! It is interesting to realize that your style is shifting, isn't it? Joining YLF made it really clear to me that I could admire others' styles, I could educate myself about them to understand how they work (because, like you, I love understanding style because it informs how I put things together), but I could do that without incorporating things that weren't me into my style.  And as for classic, well, that happens. Even to the most dress in black of us. Who in high school swore we would never wear pink in a non-ironic way. 

    As far as your haircut, I know exactly what you mean. It is gorgeous on you. You are gorgeous. But when you feel like you have to dress around your hair, it stops being fun. If it was a wardrobe piece, it would be the orphan that you adore, but which you have to buy a whole new capsule around. A new capsule that doesn't feel like you. (I'm looking at you, Fiorentini & Baker boots!).  I had a gorgeous shag in 1993. It was very edgy. It also made me feel uncomfortably like I had to dress around it to show that I was hip and not an early-80s left behind. Since hair is a key part of defining your style persona, it makes sense that no matter how lovely, you move away from the pixie. Good for you, seeing that!  I can't wait to see where this change takes you. It'll be fab, I know that.  
  • Sona replied 5 years ago
    My dearest Rae-tastic: you have had so much on your plate. I think the biggest A-ha maybe that the pixie cut is not for you. I think the other things will fall into place. I am thinking of you, cheering you on, sending warm, vibrant vibes and look forward to your ongoing journey-sartorial and otherwise.
  • Ginkgo replied 5 years ago
    You've had so much going on, so much to work through, you're doing great by just keep chugging along.  The workout classes sound physically and mentally challenging, and maybe adding some long walks to let your mind relax would be good too.

    It's funny isn't it how much a hairstyle influences out clothing style.  I always have wondered why in WNTW they have the people go shopping before getting their haircut, because they might have chosen different styles and necklines after a shorter cut.

    You have gorgeous hair so you'll be able to wear any style, but I'll vote for your first haircut, the bob;  it went well with steampunk.

  • Kristin L replied 5 years ago
    Your post is very inspiring, Rae. I'm glad you had a blast at your Dad's wedding. And I'm jealous that you've already been to a baseball game this year. :)

  • kkards replied 5 years ago
    the thing like most about hair, is how relatively easy it is to change it. in a few quick months, your hair will grow out, and you can try something new.
    life is always moving, and we can move with it, or stand still, and let it pass us by.
  • rachylou replied 5 years ago
    Very thoughtful, Rae. Very thoughtful. You do wear your current hairstyle very very well, but I can see how it would not be you. Or not helpful to you. There maybe needs to be a little more princess in your UWP than that. I have to admit I now feel a little remiss when it comes to my own hair. It's an excellent point: we wear it every day.

    It occurs to me re. how fit you look v. your hair... "harsher hair", "softer physique." And vice versa. Anyways, just don't get all stringy like Madonna, OK? ;>

    Re. going more classic: I can also see this. You have a new level of seriousness with your marriage and a new career, you're passing out of the "young woman" stage, etc. etc. I was sort of thinking that about myself, only for me at my age it's "Don't bother me with nonsense and whippersnappery, #@$#@$!!"

    I'm really going to have a long hard think about what Angie has said here on your thread about the power of classic pieces and... tofu (which is honestly the best shorthand ever). I have my serious doubts about ever being able to achieve a classic look, but there are what I'd call shared principles of being classic and growing old with dignity. Less frou and look-at-me bells, whistles, and distractions. A person gets more powerful and less forceful as time goes on, so to speak. But everybody has to do it like Bowie, i.e., start wearing suits without selling out and looking like they're wearing someone else's clothes.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    *applause* I enjoyed your reading your epiphanic thoughts and can certainly see you adding classic elements and still staying true to your stylistic leanings. So much fun and eventually it will allow you to help others do something similar.

  • rae replied 5 years ago
    Angie, yes, the tofu! I still want the same dish, just made with some classic tofu instead of exotic spicy marinated alligator meat. ;) 

    Ramya, you are right. I was more comfy in the bob. I think if I had found the right stylist from the get-go, I'd still be in a bob, but such is life. Onward and upward!

    K, I totally relate. I swore I'd never wear pink, sheer hose, high heels, skinny jeans and so on. Now look! lol

    Ginko, I think that on WNTW, too!! And How Do I Look!

    Rachy, although I hate to admit it, you're right that I don't feel comfy dressing so young anymore. Might be mitigated if I get in shape, but the feeling is there. I never felt particularly "young" anyway, and I often feel like the crotchety old man wondering at the noise the kids listen to these days. 

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago
    You are an amazing person rae. You ARE young yet so mature.

    Imo change always feels very bumpy while you are experiencing it but after you wouldn't have it any other way.

    Can't wait to see how your style develops.
  • replied 5 years ago

    I got my hair cut really really short and then grew it out...that is when I found the perfect style for me.

    Sometimes we have to start over. The best part about chopping my hair off was the confidence it took to wear it short - no more hiding behind my hair!

  • Suz replied 5 years ago
    Rae, I am late here. But I wanted to say that you are amazing. And beautiful, however you wear your hair. You have been through such emotional upheaval in the past year, and so many important changes. I'm excited to think that you're seeking your inner warrior through exercise, which will energize and give you even more strength. And I'm happy to imagine you anchoring yourself with the classics. And you know, it actually doesn't surprise me a whole lot. Just think of this lengthy search for the right, iconic trench. What is a trench other than a classic? Maybe that search was signalling something about an even deeper need. 

    I'm so looking forward to sharing the next leg of your style journey. 
  • shevia replied 5 years ago
    You sound like you have reached a new level of self awareness and it will lead you to good things. I do understand you very, very well about the hair. I have been very surprised how many compliments I have gotten about my short cut both here and from people physically present (because online life is real life too) and yet I feel it adds a strain to getting dressed that I never used to feel. Your style has been amazing and I look forward to seeing where you go!
  • Day Vies replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for posting it was so interesting to read your thoughts about your hair. I think you have to go with how you feel wearing your hair. It doesn't matter if it looks good if you don't feel just as good wearing it.

    I had my own hair epiphany when I straightened my hair and curled it. I don't straighten my hair often because it's damaging and my hair is very fragile. When I do straighten my hair I notice how it's grown in the interim. Because I wear it in a ponytail most of the time my short polished look feels "boyish" to me because my hair looks short and I can't feel that it's there.
    So the last time I straightened it I loved the way it moved and bounced -- I felt like a pin-up in a good way; I felt more feminine. From my perspective I have felt that society always viewed long straight hair that moved was more feminine than short hair that didn't move. The last time I straightened my hair I felt closer to that ideal because of the movement (new straightening technique)-- I never realized that I felt less feminine -- less beautiful because my hair didn't move.

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago
    Oh, Rae.  I totally hear you.  Am so glad you have pinpointed where you want to go and why.  I'm also in flux of all kinds - dealing with death, a new job - and I was going to post about whether it's okay to wear nothing but repeat FFBOs, which is all I've been doing.  And thankful to have them. 

    My style is also feeling out of sync lately, and I am going to have to re-sort it out again in light of the new job.  I have sensed some of your discomfort with the pixie and shorter hair, and I am going to follow you closely as you find your way to this new classic-UWP-tomboy look.

    Meanwhile, can I suggest rock climbing as a possible sport?  It builds muscle without being BORING, it involves cool gear, it makes you feel like the ULTIMATE warrior chick, and it's fun!  You gain strength, balance, and endurance.  Plus it engages your brain and really bonds you with your climbing partner in a most unique relationship.  Yes, I'm an addict. :)

    XOXO - whatever you do, it's enlightening and inspiring to many of us.
  • Ingunn replied 5 years ago
    I loved reading your thoughts, Rae. I think you are very wise for being so young, and I'm impressed by how you are able to articulate your how's and why's. Your hair is beautiful every which way you wear it, you lucky, gorgeous girl. No worries there. Getting more fit is also only going to be helpful, so get on with it :) I love how you line out your style in a more classic direction, and I'm so looking forward to see how you will go about executing this. I'm not sure if it's helpful to hear this, but being in flux is a permanent state for me in many ways - but that works, too.
  • rae replied 5 years ago
    Day Vies, I totally hear you on hair movement! That was one thing I disliked about my long hair - it was so thick and heavy it did not move. 

    Una, I am definitely open to suggestions. I'll look into climbing... maybe it will be less expensive than the martial arts. 

    Ingunn, permanent flux would probably be okay, now that you mention it. As long as it's a forward-moving flux, lol. 
  • JulieJohn replied 5 years ago
    Nice post, thank you for sharing your thoughts. My hair is driving me mad too, not settled in to the shorter cut yet, badly damaged ends caused by manaical stylist. Now I wait as it grows micron by micron ... just so I can have the dorky bits cut off! (seething)

    As Kelly said, your "classic" segue is not a surprise. Classic as a rubric item is a structure, a comfort, and a good base. Simplicity is ease, grasshopper, and you are all about good lines.
  • replied 5 years ago

    Una, just thread jacking to say I am totally inspired to try rock climbing -- I have heard and seen how good it is, and there is a gym in town. I am going to check it out!

  • Kiwichik replied 5 years ago

    Enjoyed reading your post and yay for the style refinements you have identified and love the graphic desriptors you have used.

You need to be logged in to comment