Style evolution surpasses fashion staples

All these years, I thought I had my sense of style all figured out. But after spending spring break shopping with my sister, I realized that there are a few tricks hiding up my own fabulously tailored sleeves.

Since high school, I've relied on the classic cuts of Banana Republic and the inexpensive fun of the Gap to keep my wardrobe abundantly stocked. To spice things up, I usually supplement this stylish yet standard collection with funky thrift store finds, colorful jewelry and a handful of the season's trends.

However, after hitting the pavement in Georgetown and the racks in Pentagon City, I had a minor epiphany. My personal style is evolving - right now. Much to my surprise, I'm metamorphosing into a bona fide "boho" chick, and I like it.

Before, I would have dismissed the flowing tunics and slouchy handbags of the "bohemian look" as pseudo-hippie junk. Yet more and more, something is drawing me into places like Urban Outfitters and Zara and away from my trusted go-to guy, Banana Republic.

Just last week, I hit up the sale rack at Urban Outfitters with semi-reckless abandon. Forty-five minutes and about $60 later, I walked out with two tunics, a Grecian-style skirt, a funky ruffled button-down and a sheer, lacy number. This speed-shopping experience not only solidified my status as bargain hunter, but also signaled my monumental journey into "boho-ness."

Admittedly, I haven't always been the most button-downed, prim and proper girl. For example, I prefer to scout for vintage items in thrift stores rather than in popular chains, and I've even made some clothing and jewelry when feeling creative. But, a recent flip through InStyle and Lucky magazines revealed that my tastes are undergoing a veritable sea change. Instead of salivating over sensible knee-length skirts and sweet puff sleeves, I found myself drawn to funky metallic leather blazers, wooden bangles, extra-long camisoles and (gasp) espadrilles.

My new espadrille infatuation is especially surprising, since for years I snubbed the Spanish footwear favorite. I always found them a little too "earthy" and kind of unflattering. But now I can't wait to lace up a pair and head for some hippie fiesta.

I've also fallen in love with a new take on cropped pants: the gaucho. Half-culottes and half-trousers, this new favorite has found its way into my closet in big way. I have even managed to turn some husky-sized boys' shorts from Old Navy into a pair of fashion-forward gauchos for me.

What, you ask, does this bohemian madness portend for my fashion future? I think at this point, it's a bit too early to tell. I mean, it's fun right now, but I'm not trying to become Sienna Miller or anything. I do know this though - if you see me anywhere near macram? or attempting to wear cowboy boots with a prairie skirt, just slap me, escort me to Lord and Taylor and throw some pearls and a cardigan my way.

Have a fashion question or concern, or want to be made over by Arienne? E-mail her at at5887a@american.edu.

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