Style Guidance with Chelsea Parrett

Style is a funny thing. Most people approach the way they dress as a set of guidelines and rules they picked up along the way – that familiar motherly voice in your head saying:

 “You can’t wear black and navy at the same time.”
“Remember to match your leathers!”
“Black is the most slimming color…”
“No wearing white after Labor Day”

Well, I think they’re wrong. Personal style is unique, it’s diverse and has no limits and there definitely isn’t an instructional manual for how to achieve it. Sure, there are plenty of concepts like the balance of textures/layers and using complementary colors, but if I’ve learned anything through my own personal style transformation it’s that RULES are meant to be BROKEN.

Once you free yourself from the idea that you can’t do certain things, you’re suddenly wide open to everything you can do. You’re able to dress the way you feel. Trusting your instinct is powerful and I genuinely believe if people felt the personal freedom to be and look as they truly are we would be a much brighter society.

So, with all of that said THIS IS NOT A STYLE GUIDE. This is a manifesto of my thoughts and ramblings regarding style and personal freedom.

1. Dress the way you feel

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Do you wake up ever feeling like a color? I do.

This year I’ve been feeling one particular color a lot: it’s RED.

I use to think that wearing one color head to toe, unless it was black, was a huge no-no but I’ve found it to be quite liberating. No matter what color or emotion you are experiencing, dressing with a complete thought or theme can change the way you interact with the world.

For me, dressing in RED has been about channeling my inner fire and warmth. When I’m RED I find myself to be more energized and I can’t help but explode with happiness, it’s contagious. Our clothing choices can have a lasting effect on those around us, maybe it’s simply a smile or a laugh, either way you can be intentional about how you want to share your inner color with the world.

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Trends I’m into:
Layering necklaces – don’t be afraid to mix and match styles. For inspiration follow @Arpanaraya, the queen of jewelry expression.
Velvet – I found this Velvet Ombre dress while vintage shopping, but it’s a growing trend this year and you’ll be sure to see it in stores soon.
High/Low – Mixing your fancy clothes with your most casual pieces is always a fun way to mix it up.


2. Clash with Intention

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We spend a lot of mental energy worrying about everything from paying rent, finding a good parking spot, to dressing up in the morning. And because of that, wearing patterns can sometimes be hard for people, as they don’t want to clash. But I like to face that head on. I love the clashing of two, or even three, patterns – it’s sort of a chaotic harmony.

Wear your clash with pride and people will respect you for it. 

Additionally, one of my favorite things to add to any outfit is a colorful or patterned kimono. The one pictured here was actually purchased while I was in Japan for a work trip a few years ago, and it says “Happy” all over it. It’s one of my favorite pieces to wear because it’s a real statement, and I love sharing the message with people who ask.

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3. Get WEIRD

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Life can be so regulated that it’s important to own your style, and finding pieces that make your heart skip a beat are essential to discovering that inner compass. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and wear something so different that it almost makes you uncomfortable at first, the more you explore your style the more comfortable you’ll feel when you really nail it.

There is nothing I love more than letting my inner weirdo shine bright. 

These colorful vintage billowy pants definitely took me a couple weeks to wear in public, but once I did I received nothing but smiles from strangers and friends. It’s an awesome feeling when you step outside and commit to being a total kook – because it’s 100% you.

I’m a sucker for silly details, like these rose tinted cat sunglasses. The little things add up, and really enhance your unique twist to an outfit. I’d suggest getting yourself a few pins that you can easily add to any shirt, jacket or backpack to add some spunk. Check out Pintrill for some of your own “p-inspiration”.  Hah.

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4. No such thing as “Too much of a good thing”

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Denim on denim on denim. 

The classic “Canadian Tuxedo” is nothing new, but I have heard a ton of people say they don’t know how to match their denim. Do they wear a dark jean with a light top? All dark, head to toe?

My thought is, it doesn’t matter. Wear it all, wear it one tone or multi-toned, and maybe even add some fun layers to give your outfit texture and shape. The “ style rules” are what have bound us in the past, but the journey to personal style freedom is never limited and always open to interpretation.

I’m a huge fan of creating shapes with my clothing, through layers and sometimes the occasional XXL jacket that seems to have a character of its own. I find so much joy in playing with my clothes, and never taking myself seriously when it comes to style.

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What I’m loving right now

Jungmaven – 100% USA Made hemp tee’s that will wear in well for years to come and never go out of style

Statement Socks – Showing off your socks is a great way to add some color


5. Listen to your inner-child

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The number one thing I ask myself when I get dressed is, “Am I having fun?” 

Play is so important. We work all week long to arrive at the weekend for our two days of fun, but what if we played every single day – through style? I think this is the biggest thing I have learned in finding my inner style. If I approach getting dressed each morning as recess, I’ll inevitably feel a sense of fun and excitement throughout the day. When we play with our style we are reminded how much fun we really can have in the everyday.

Don’t be scared to listen to your inner-child, and feel a sense of exploration everyday. 

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Make it unique

#Thingsmygrandywore – When my grandmother passed away 3 years ago I inherited a bunch of her kooky clothing, like this Parrot shirt, and I’ve fully incorporated that apparel into my wardrobe every single day. I started a hashtag called #thingsmygrandywore in her honor.

Raw Hem – I’ve been really into raw hems on pants, shirts, and sweaters. It feels kind of messy and cool, two things I love.


To follow along on my style journey check out #backpocketstyle, and learn more about the city that inspired the collection with my Around Town Portland Guide.

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