Simply put: What you wear changes how you feel, says 26-year-old Ashley Jordan.
So when she pulls together an outfit and feels amazing in it, it completely changes her day. She’s confident, she’s upbeat, she’s ready.
“Getting dressed is more than just putting on clothes,” said Jordan, a women’s department manager for Portland’s new Urban Outfitters, a freelance style and wardrobe consultant and a fashion blogger. “It is a way to show the world who you are, or who you want to be.”
For her, it started early – even as a toddler, according to the Port City native, she had “a thing” for shoes, bags and creating her own outfits. She continued to develop this affinity while working in retail throughout high school and college, and eventually earned a degree in fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
But ultimately, although it’s been a lifelong passion, it’s still in flux.
“My personal style is still in the process of being developed,” said Jordan, who handpicks most of her pieces from thrift and vintage shops around Portland, as well as at Urban Outfitters, which was set to open Dec. 8 on Middle Street.
So it’s hard to peg her. As she notes, her style is always changing, as she regularly experiments by transforming the runway to the everyday, bringing a touch of individuality to trendier looks, and finding inspiration from people on the street, magazines, runway shows or merely her own imagination.
“In one week I could (range from) laid-back bohemian, to menswear inspired, to something a little edgy,” she said.
As for right now? She’s into longer lengths, “anything with a vintage feel,” and she likes to meld tailored and girly.
When it comes to her hair and makeup, meanwhile, the blonde keeps it basic and simple – the fashion is the main focus – and she even admits she’s a little “challenged” in that department.
Speaking of challenges, the biggest to fashion in Maine are the harsh winters and the dreaded mud season.
But, as Jordan notes, in the frigid months to come, you can still be fashionable (and warm) if you experiment with layering. For example: Wear a long-sleeve shirt or turtleneck under a lightweight floral dress, then add a sweater or a blazer and some tights and boots. (Just make sure the layers can be worn alone, she advised, to account for temperature variations.)
As for mud and rain season? Don’t be afraid to wear wellies – in fact, embrace them, as they come in a variety of styles and colors these days (although she prefers the traditional Hunter style, in good, old-fashioned, versatile black).
But for the non-fashion sense-endowed, what about the rest of the year?
Jordan is overflowing with tips (for any age group she says), many of them revolving around mixing: mix high-end and low-end pieces together; mix textures to create dimension; mix prints, making sure a similar color threads throughout. Beyond that, she advises, try one or two new trends a season, but don’t wear just one designer – it’s tacky and uninspired.
And with fashion, what’s underneath is just as important, so get underwear and bras that fit properly (her favorite are Hanky Panky) because ultimately, they are the “foundation of all your outfits,” she said.
Most importantly, “be yourself and have fun,” she said. “We all have to wear clothes every day, so why not enjoy getting dressed and experimenting with them?”