I used to find Jill Stuart too girly. It was a brand I learned of when I started interning in fashion, which meant I was living in New York City for the first time and grasping for some kind of advanced sartorial identity. Black was the easiest thing to hang on to, back when leather jackets could still add interest to an outfit without making you and everyone at the bar “twins!,” and combat boots were beginning their beyond-the-model-off-duty comeback. (Do you remember these Balenciaga cut-out boots? A year later, in 2010, I would recognize them as the ULTIMATE in New York cool.) By 2013, the Bowery beanie-and-skinny-jean look was in full effect; Met Gala’s theme that year was Punk.
Meanwhile, Jill Stuart’s aesthetic was the antithesis of all this. It was floral and feminine. It was pretty, but it wasn’t the fashion persona I was going for. In 2013, “pretty” wasn’t an adjective that described in-fashion fashion.
Fast-forward to this very moment.
I am much older and much different than I was when I first decided Jill Stuart wasn’t my beat. Since that declaration, I have comfortably settled into my semblance of personal style (far from all-black), one that allows for a wide margin so I can play with trends and try on new personas. Fashion, too, has loosened its belt a bit. There’s less of a hard, fast rule on what’s in versus out and who can or should wear it. Instead, there are welcoming style camps — normcore, menocore, maximalist, etc. — the non-constraints of which are just as fluid as the once-polarizing term “feminine.” Change your aesthetic daily as you do your underpants.
This past winter, paired with my own desire to feel more ladylike and put together after a few years of baggy jeans and general twenty-something-messiness, that pretty, floral, “girly” look began to sound more appealing. By the beginning of spring 2017, I was ready. I donated so many baggy clothes. No matter if it made me look cool — if something didn’t make me feel good, I got rid of it. I embraced dresses. I wore blouses. I brushed my hair. I became a skirts person.
And then, sort of randomly, I found myself clicking through Jill Stuart’s Resort 2018 collection. It’s everything I hope to be for at least a couple of seasons. Do you ever feel like finding style that fits is like deciding to take dating seriously? Because suddenly, I was ready.
Photos via Jill Stuart.