2013: A Retrospective Analysis | In Search of Sheila

2013: A Retrospective Analysis

January 1, 2014

 Happy 2014!! To be completely honest, I welcomed in the new year on the living room floor watching tv and diligently revamping this blog. No. Shame. I worked at 7am yesterday morning and then spent the afternoon with my friend Kelsey as we tried to take photos (it was sooo cold and windy) and failed to go thrift shopping (who knew they were closed on NYE?!) Needless to say by the time I got home for dinner I was hella tired and in no mood to go out or even drink. This is sort of a milestone for me because I tried to think of the last time I didn't do anything for NYE and I couldn't...even before the awkward 'parties' of my teenage years I would have sleepovers with my best gal pals. This year I was totally alone (my parents were already in bed!) and went to sleep at 1am and I was and still am totally okay with this. With this said I would like to do a 2013 recap of my favorite outfits and life happenings. Lets go!
I've always tried to follow my own path--although I draw influence from many people, figures, objects, events, etc. I still like to maintain my own sense of "nonconformity." This began in the eighth grade when I abandoned my attempts at dressing "preppy" and started listening to rock music. Pink and black used to be my favorite colors and I specifically remember a time when I wore black nail polish and my dad had a field day at the dinner table. Alas, I never wore black nail polish since middle school, but maybe I should reconsider. Anyway, as my style continues to change with the personal changes in my own life, it still maintains a consistent appeal to singularity.

With this look back on my favorite outfits of 2013 I hope to gain more than just a huge showcase of my personal style. I hope to reveal more depth into my own inspirations, attitudes, and aspirations when it comes to not only fashion...but myself. 


 Winter is the worst month for me and outfit photos. It is already hard because I rely on myself to take my photos, but the cold weather is also a huge hindrance. Can you tell by the setting of these pictures?! Ha. I'm trying to retract how I felt last winter and how it effected my style, but it's really hard...I am now going through my Tumblr archive to jog my memory. I relied on pants and thick leggings to get me through, usually making attempts at layering (collars under sweaters, socks). I got a pair of navy polka dotted pants (second photo) but strayed away from mixing prints. It's safe to say I was...safe.
Non-fashion things:
I got a new laptop after putting my old HP through 4 and a half years of hell...experienced a bat inside my (parent's) house for the first time--holy crap it was so crazy scary!...saw my ex biology professor on Wheel of Fortune lol!...went to some fun shows...went to New York City for the first time...enrolled in my first and only 300 level English class (I got a B, psh)...realized that Jonathan Frakes was the fuckin' man...decided that I wanted to become an archivist...found out that I was eligible to graduate college in December, and not the following May like I intended (I had a freak out, tbh)...and had many fun times with my friends. Phew! One last thing about the winter...
I read F. Scott's Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned, one of my favorite novels...brought me to the realization that humans are so damn tragic and the ironic thing is...they crave it. I see this in so-called friends, more like acquaintances, of mine and especially in boys I have dated. I constantly struggle with this...why do people welcome tragedy into their life? I like being happy. It's one of the things I pride myself in...I'M HAPPY. Sure, we all have our own personal problems and hardships, but deep down, I am truly happy with my life and the person I am.


 Spring! I am always incredibly happy to welcome spring because winter is such a drag. 
I would say that my style began to gradually change come spring time. I began experimenting more with mixing prints and pieces, incorporating high waisted shorts and skirts with tied button ups, fell in love with maxi skirts, utilized my scarf collection as head wear, and perfected the high bun hair style. I also received my first big recognition on Chictopia and was featured in the style gallery! The last picture, actually, got 253 votes and I was totally blindsided because a) it's a picture inside and b) I didn't think it was ground breaking lol! It is in the summer, though, that I think my style really went into a new direction. 

Non-fashion things:
I became a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honors Society...helped out with my first "Battle of the Bands" with Kutztown radio...celebrated my 23rd birthday :)...struggled with my obsession to write A English papers (failed)...got my first and only A in a science class, EVER! I love geology!...had a "cookout" with pals...discovered new music and refined my tastes...became re-obsessed with N*Sync and tried to learn the dance moves to 'It's Gonna Be Me'...played a lot of Wii bowling...and again, many good times with good friends. A really good friend, one I would even consider a best friend graduated in May, dramatically changing our relationship. It was also the last time I saw/hung out with another friend whom I was around a lot. It's sad how college changes and defines relationships. It really reinforces the idea that distance and proximity determine who you confide in.


Summer!!! I absolutely had a great summer. My fashion really took a turn for the better (lol) and I acquired a lot of new and used pieces (thank you mom). Button up collared shirts and tanks with skirts became my personal staple, as well as work attire. Living in Pennsylvania we experience all the temperature extremes...July is always super hot. I got my first pairs of wedged and platform sandals that I can't wait to wear again once it warms up. This is pretty memorable...me actually wearing heels! I've always liked heels, but was never comfortable enough to wear them out. I have always felt like people would look at me and be like, "look at that girl. Who does she think she is?" I thank online bloggers for inspiring me and giving me the confidence to say fuck it, I'm gonna wear heels and I don't care what you think. This is when style parallels with self-esteem. Personal style is meant to express who you are, it shouldn't have to be determined by other people. Granted, people will look at you and conjure up thoughts in their head (I do this all.the.time) but only a few, maybe not even, will vocalize it to you. And when they do, it only opens up your perspective of your own style. I still stick to wedges, platforms, and thicker sized heels. Stilettos are no bueno!!

Beyond fashion...
I traveled a bit during the summer, it was a wonderful cure to my periodic wanderlust away from suburbia. I was lucky enough to travel out of Pennsylvania on three separate occasions, all occurring in August, what a month! I visited my best friend April in Ann Arbor, Michigan and fell in love with the city. We also went to Detroit where I met the main guy from Hardcore Pawn lol!, the Heidelburg Project, and Lake Michigan. My cousin got married in mid August so my mom, aunt, and I took a bus across the country into St. Louis, Missouri to attend her ceremony in Belleville, Illinios (about ten minutes from St. Louis!) I actually also fell in love with St. Louis--although I only saw the river front and Westward Expansion Museum, from reading the travel guides in our hotel it seemed like a really awesome city. I was sad I was unable to see all the (free!) art and history museums, along with the Budweiser Brewery and various other seemingly interesting sites and places...I intend to definitely make a trip back in the near future. We took a 12 hour bus ride after a 3 hour drive from my house to Pittsburgh. It was a very exhausting ride to and back, but it was well worth it. I got to see snips of Columbus and Indianapolis, and also West Virginia! Lastly my friend Kelsey and I took a day trip to Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey! It was a much needed trip, the water was so warm. It was also my first ever 'warm' beach experience. I say warm because the only ocean beaches I have been to are in New England.
Lastly, I also did a bit of hiking. Summer was A+

Fall/Early Winter

Now that 2013 has passed I have concluded that I think I am beginning to truly understand my style, what I want it to be, and how to achieve it. I've become more practical and tactile when it comes to shopping--asking myself, do I really need this? Does it actually fit my body? Is it functional? Considering I've been a broke college student for the past few years, shopping without giving in to impulse I think empowers my style even more. It's more than just material, it's a reflection of my interests, inspirations, and soul. Clothing is a part of history! (I would say this, ha.)

After writing all of this I am not sure if 2013 flew by or not. I have no major complaints, I lived it as best as I could I would say. This past fall was one I took with great stride: academically I accomplished pretty much all that I intended to accomplish. I completed the semester with a 3.8 (my highest gpa ever!) and graduated magna cum laude. Since I've graduated college I have not only realized my full potential and achievements, but I've also become even more grateful for my parents and all that they've done for me in the past 5 years. I'm also grateful for my friends that understand me and are there for me in times of need and leisure.
With all this said I leave y'all with a preview of my next post, my last official outfit of 2013!

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