Carolyn Hakansson is a graphic designer and freelance lifestyle writer. Her work focuses on the intersection of fashion, trends, and communication, largely informed by her experiences in the visual departments of new wave media (The New Potato), traditional publications (GQ), and local NY startups (W&P). She holds a BA in graphic design from The Fashion Institute of Technology.

(Cover image: Carolyn Hakansson)

As of lately, whenever I am getting dressed, I find myself wondering why I dress the way that I do. When did I find my personal style? And more importantly, what does it say about me?

I have always found it entertaining, (maybe a little too wildly) to ask people what outfit they would choose if they could only wear one thing for the rest of their lives. I think it tells you a lot about a person.

You can instantly tell if someone has a clue about what’s going on in fashion at this moment, if someone is silly, artistic, or just takes themselves a little too seriously.

My forever-outfit has been picked out for years. It consists of a slouchy pant-suit, probably navy, probably linen, and probably oversized, with a plain white tee underneath. I would pair it with a pair of easy slides.

I’ve always thought that I dressed pretty conservatively, but lately I’ve come to the realization that it’s actually just a more masculine approach. Some say a little bit androgynous; I’m fine with either. I find that when I dress in a more masculine way, whether it be going to work or a bar, I feel more confident to say what I want to say. People take me more seriously right off the bat than if I were to be wearing a short dress. It also gives the persona that I don’t really care what others think or need their approval, I’m just here doing me. And I like that because in my opinion, there’s nothing worse than someone striving for attention or to be noticed. I like sitting on the sidelines and watching. It’s also a palette cleanser. Since I work in design with colors, textures, and mood boards flying around, it is nice to have a simple uniform to not have to think about or get distracted by. Less becomes more.

there’s nothing worse than someone striving for attention

As with everyone, my style has evolved over the years, and I’m sure will continue to do so, but my masculine phase began a couple years ago as I was finishing up school. Having gone to an art school I was always around people who dressed exactly how they wanted to. No one cared what the next person had to say about it. I’m grateful that I got to experience this because it gave me more confidence in not having to dress exactly how my friends do, as I see many people do (and what I did in my younger years).

It’s important to always feel comfortable; both in your physical clothing as well as how you yourself feel while wearing them. It’s satisfying that I know the root of why I choose to wear what I wear.

Even if I feel like changing it up, I know that what I want to tell people from an outfit is that I’m here to do my own thing. So at the end of the day, when I see people walking down the street, it makes me think, what do they think their personal style says about them?

##