What Nancy Meyers Can Teach Us About Defining Our Style
Every so often, Nancy Meyers has a moment on social media. I’m as big a fan of her movies as the next millennial, but while I love the characters and stories, what I constantly think about is the style of the characters in her films.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the lack of truly original style on social media today, and a number of you shared your favorite bloggers who still share their style, as opposed to simply reposting trends that circulate. While I’m not against trends for others, they’re simply not for me. I try to embrace my own individual style, whether or not that’s fashionable at the moment (and in fact I prefer it when something I love isn’t the “it” thing of the moment.)
Something I love about Nancy Meyers movies is how each main character has her own unique, immediately identifiable style. For instance, I can see a dress and immediately text my friends, saying I’ve seen the perfect Elizabeth James dress, and they’ll know just what I’m talking about. I love the very specific and above all individual style of each character in every aspect of their film lives—their homes, what they cook, how they live, what they wear. The continuity there is what is endlessly appealing to me—the sense that this is who they truly are. And that continuity is not something often seen any longer.
Thinking about this—the strong sense of identity these characters have—makes me think of how I identify myself. Similar to her characters, I think I have a strong sense of style in every meaning of the world—whether or not it’s everyone’s cup of tea, what I wear and own and read is essentially “me.” I try not to bring things into my life that don’t fit into that—life is far too short for clutter.
I have found finding your style to be a difficult process. Of course tastes change, trends change, lifestyles change, but despite all of that, there is a throughline in your life that indicates what you are drawn to. It’s clear from these characters’ homes and wardrobes that their process towards defining their style is the work of years–from Elizabeth James’ beautiful London townhome to Erica Barry’s enviable beach house, these are not environments that came together in a short timespan. These are places (and wardrobes) that have been built from the ground up, slowly and surely, to a point when everything is exactly the way it should be because everything is precisely the character’s taste.
So how do you get to that point yourself? It’s not a simple thing, like a decision to eschew trends or to choose a signature item. It’s a process. What do you actually wear? What do you feel comfortable in? Do you like embellishments or prefer simple lines? Patterns or solids? Neutrals, pastels, jewel tones? Does your wardrobe accurately reflect your daily life? Are you someone who prefers shoes or handbags or sweaters? Do you have multiple colors of the same item, or is each piece in your wardrobe unique? If someone was browsing a store, would they be able to identify the pieces you’d choose for yourself?
Style–for me and for Nancy Meyers’ characters–is the ultimate form of self-expression. It’s something that everyone is capable of if you know how to listen to yourself. I’ve enjoyed the process of identifying my style, and I’m enjoying the process of expressing myself–my true self–the way Nancy Meyers’ characters do too.