When I started my personal style blog “K on the Bay” in 2012, I snapped shots of my hometown, sunsets, and my shoes.
If I could tie in a few local brands or thrifty finds, great! As a simple Tumblr site, my vision was to show how classic style and nature go hand-in-hand. As the years went on, I became more conscious of my content. I began taking photos to get the post out quickly, ignoring my initial creative vision and love for the process.
When it was authentic for me to put on an outfit, head into work, and snap shots along Grand Traverse Bay, great! Yet once I moved to New York City, it became a chore. I started to shift my focus from creative endeavors to relationships, which also served a good purpose- for the time.
Not only did I never wear heels unless absolutely necessary, I barely wore color, either.
Then, I realized I was wearing clothes to make other people happy: not me.
The brands, the designers, the ad agencies- I was leaving behind my own vision to adapt to someone else’s.
I had to take a step back and think- what clothes do I feel good in no matter what?
What do I grab first out of my closet?
Although it wasn’t organic or natural for me to snap daily outfit shots in a busy city like New York- especially when I was single with a self-timer- I still had a lot of thoughts. I started writing for my friend Ashley’s website, Kinda Kind, two months after I mysteriously hit “delete” on my blog New Year’s Eve 2016. Leaving behind four years of photos, collaborations, and memories may have been hard, but I was ready to leave behind my materialistic past and figure out what truly made me happy.
My last few months in NYC were challenging- it was pure survival mode. Trump was running for President, the #MeToo movement was a year and a half away, and my own mental health needed a serious break.
I found peace in the park and spent hours writing by the reservoir. I pondered the meaning of life, wondering if I would ever find any sort of fulfillment.
I spent the next few years writing about my journey, what makes me happy, and learned who I am as a woman- without any distractions. Being conscious of what brings me joy- not what commercials, “influencers,” or Cosmopolitan Magazine tells me- was the first step in finding inner peace.
Instead of spending Saturday morning in bed, I would get up and take a walk across the Charles River Esplanade. I began noticing the patterns in nature, the animals at the park, and the familiar faces at my Cambridge Starbucks.
As I documented my path in Boston, I realized how tied I still was to fashion- at least, the creative process.
I had a different style than the other fashion bloggers- simple photos with little to no written content- no ads or frills, and no promises of a brighter tomorrow if you buy a new lipstick shade. This didn’t make me popular. That wasn’t the point- the point was authenticity.
As I shot a photo of my new bracelet alongside my notes for the day and coffee cup, I realized how fashion, technology, AND mindfulness can merge- but not in the way you may think.
I’ve been creating my own style for some time now, a style that hasn’t changed much since I was a high school junior in a black turtleneck and gray Express mini skirt. It’s always been basic, classic, and chic- with a few added surprises.
Fashion doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful, and neither do our lives. My time spent away from working in fashion made me realize how what I’ve learned can add to the industry once again- and never to change the style that is mine.
When I used to work or consult for others, my soul would be crushed when they didn’t like my content. After spending hours coming up with ideas, it could be a challenge to integrate my vision with someone else’s.
As an independent person, this also made me realize- stop working with people who don’t share your vision.
Although some women on the outside may judge me for choosing a bike over a Lexus, renting a townhouse instead of having a mortgage, and choosing a cat over a husband and kids- I chose this lifestyle for a reason.
I am free from obsession with “things,” the need for more, and the warped view that I’m not enough.