found: style mojo


I found it. I found my style mojo. Style isn’t just about what we put on, it’s about being comfortable in our own skin. That’s style mojo, and this is how it’s done…


Go your own way.


It’s absolutely true: you can’t copy, you can’t wanna be, you can’t impersonate or make yourself into something you’re not. Have you heard that? I’d heard it for years without really internalizing it. While I wasn’t copying, I was turning a blind eye to being myself. In terms of style, I just didn’t really know what being myself meant.


I’ve come to realize that I am my black clothes, my boots, my somewhat austere look. I am my patternless self. I said sorry to those people who told me I should wear more color. I’m going to have a life long relationship with boots. I got rid of almost every piece of patterned clothing and I’m glad I did. So, go your own way…

But unless you want to frustrate yourself, spend a lot of money, and feel foolish leaving your house, there are two other things you need to take into consideration: your lifestyle and the impression you want to make. 





If you’re still a mom who spends most of her time at home, at the gym, and at PTA meetings, you need to own that. If you’re a personal assistant to an executive, embrace that. Busy mothers don’t have to, shouldn’t have to, play dress-up; personal assistants maybe should.

Mom, get yourself some killer sportswear, find your sportswear groove. Assistant, spring for that leather pencil skirt, pretend you’re one of the Mad Men babes. For those of you who proudly proclaim yourselves to be slobs, go for it! Get yourself the absolute best (cashmere?) sweats you can afford, and enjoy your home office in style. But here’s the thing…




Whether we like it or not, we make an impression. Please don’t say that you couldn’t care less; I’ve found that to be almost universally untrue. Since the first cavewoman looked at some plant fibers and realized she could weave them together to make a tie for her hair, or pounded a piece of mastodon skin until it was soft enough to wear, we’ve cared.

If you want to make a certain, specific impression you have to deal with that. The impression thing takes a little work but it can be the most creative and fun aspect of the mojo hunt. Here’s where we can try things on, do the unthinkable and start from scratch, spend some money on cashmere sweats and really take care of ourselves.

For me, this meant realizing that I want to create a certain impression, and that’s not just ok, but helpful. I want people to see me and see a unique and interesting aesthetic when they do. I want people to know that I wear slow- and ethically-manufactured apparel. In order to do this I have had to commit to myself, to my very own skin. And that’s how I found my style mojo. 




  • Carla says:

    Anita I love this.
    I think I often feel as though I have no truth dial because I’m all over the place. But 🙂 I also like to think I’m just eclectic.
    Sometimes serious sometimes silly sometimes grumpy sometimes not.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Carla, Eclectic is good as long as you have some grounding consistency too. And “knowing” you as I do, you also have that. You for sure have your own style, and I’ve heard you even like high heels 🙂

  • Delia says:

    I have created a particular style around my yoga clothes. Teaching daily or several times a day, but not wanting to appear in leggings and tank top, I layered skirts and tops, with boots and shoes that spoke my style and let me feel good about my appearance.
    I suppose yoga clothes were the “spanks” of today’s fashion and they worked well for a first layer.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Delia, I did the same thing when I taught yoga. I think yoga wear is a great base layer and definitely better than spanks. I’m going to look for some good slow fashion yoga wear for you. Keep reading. Thanks for the comment.

  • Laurie says:

    I’m a mom and a glorified PA (with a bit of power). I need to be comfortable and I need to look cool. I started my professional life backstage in the theatre so my black clothes have always been a part of me. I do embrace gray now (in my wardrobe an on my head if truth be told). I was in my twenties during the 90’s so my feet feel most comfortable in clunky black shoes.

    Over the last two years I’ve been culling down my wardrobe to things I love. Two pairs of jeans that fit perfectly, a wool kimono-style jacket that is cozy and interesting, a silk dress I can wear with boots and a leather jacket or sandals and nothing else… And supporting small-scale designers who produce in beautiful fabrics unique designs not found in the mall.

    Thank you for the inspiration and the nudge to identify my own style mojo.

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m not abandoning black anytime soon. It’s so freeing to find your style. Revel in it!!

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Jennifer, I am, it’s proved to me again, that even though there is some silliness in the fashion business, it can also be very empowering. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise, of course our things (how much we have, what the “things” look like, the values they display etc.) say something about us. They tell how much we care, for our loved ones, others around us, the earth, and ourselves.

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