Personal Style: Haves and Have Nots

Today I'm linking up with Momfessionals for her Show & Tell Tuesday series, and this week's theme is Personal Style. When it comes to defining my style, I'm not that comfortable putting a label on it like Classic, Feminine, Boho, Romantic, etc. because that makes me feel too restricted. But I do think I can loosely define it by the Haves (favorite pieces and outfit combinations) and Have Nots (things I won't wear), so here's how that boils down.

The Haves

1. Expressionism
If you're new here and haven't guessed it by my blog name, my style is somewhat defined by owning a lot of pieces from one brand in particular: Express. Just like in the image below, it's pretty standard for me to have 3-4 pieces from Express in any given outfit.
Jacket: Express | Cami: Express | Jeans: Express | Necklace: Express (Similar) | Bag: Amazon (Light Pink Sold Out) | Shoes: Sole Society (Exact Style, Similar Color)

Shop the Look:

Ironically, when I browse social media channels and promotional materials from Express, I don't think my personal style exactly matches up with their brand image. I tend to favor their more traditional/classic pieces and they tend to promote their trendier items. I talked more about how I ended up making Express my go-to brand in How I Built my Wardrobe, and I've done several detailed posts about some of my staple pieces from Express.

For example...

Barcelona Cami: My single most-worn piece is my White Barcelona Cami and I shared 12 Ways to wear it hereI shared my full collection (at the time) of Barcelona Camis in this post.

Express Jeans: Come to think of it, I might own as many jeans from Express as I do Barcelona Camis but I've never actually counted those! For details on some of my denim favorites and the difference in sizing and fit see this post.

Portofino Shirts: Yet another Express staple for me is the Portofino Shirt. See this post for eight of my favorite Portofino Shirt outfits.

2. Jackets
To put it simply, I'm a jacket collector. I initially started adding jackets to my wardrobe (as an outfit piece rather than just functional outerwear) back when What Not to Wear was on the air and Stacy and Clinton would insist that each of their makeover candidates needed to wear more structured jackets. (More on my favorite/least favorite Stacy London tips here.)  I decided to try their advice for myself and sure enough, I found that even my most casual outfits look a little more polished with a jacket. Like this, for example:
Jacket: Express | Tee: Old Navy | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Nordstrom | Drusy Necklace: c/o Kendra Scott | Triangle Necklace: Forever 21

Shop the Look:

And yes, most of my favorite jackets are from Express. I'm always open to a great jacket from any brand if the price is right, but I do have quite a few favorites from Express.

3. T-Shirts and Jeans
If I had to pick one type of outfit formula to wear for the rest of my life, it would probably be a simple t-shirt and jeans....
Tee: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express | Pink Necklace: Kendra Scott | Long Necklace: Express | Shoes: Forever 21 (Similar) | Bag: Tory Burch (Option) | Watch: c/o Fossil | Ring: Target

Shop the Look:

Mind you, I need to add a jacket over my t-shirt when it's cold. And I do have a strong affinity for white jeans over any other color year round. But still. Effectively T-shirt and jeans for the win!

4. Finishing Touches
Because most of my wardrobe pieces are quite simple, I depend on a few finishing touches to make my outfits look more polished, put together, and intentional. The three main finishing touches I focus on for my outfits are Necklaces, Handbags and Nails:
Tee: Express | Jeans: ExpressNecklace: Forever 21 (Similar) |  Bag: Amazon | Shoes: Forever 21 (Similar) | Watch: Fossil | Ring: Kendra Scott

Shop the Look:

As with my Express favorites, I have some previous posts dedicated to some of my favorite finishing touches, so here's a little recap.

Handbags: Putting together this post really opened my eyes to the impact that a bag can have to even the most simple outfits (i.e. my favorite kind of outfits). I never wanted to bother with switching my belongings between multiple handbags, but I finally have a system down that I shared here.

Nails: While I don't do a lot of creative nail colors these days as an accent or complement to my outfit, I still make it a point to have them polished all the time since again, it adds to the "put together" vibe of an outfit. I shared my current favorite colors and products for a long lasting mani here and a few more strategies here.

Necklaces: I haven't done a post dedicated to my favorite jewelry (though I intend to sooner or later), but I did explain how and why I alter the length of a lot of my pieces here.

Front View of Outfits in this Post:

The Have Nots

There are a lot of common wardrobe pieces that many women own and love that I don't own, and when I mention them here or on Instagram, the reactions I get can make me feel like I've just told a child that Santa Claus isn't real. It's nothing personal against anyone who loves these things, really! I often think they look good on other people but I just don't feel like myself when I wear them!

Denim Jacket
Flats (I do own two pair but only wear them when I absolutely must, usually for travel.)
Most Prints (Gingham, Polka Dots, and Floral are specifically banned from my closet.)
Hunter Boots/Rain Boots
Graphic Tees

Every now and then I'll take a risk and purchase one of my Have Nots. Sometimes it ends up changing my mind about an item, as was the case with my "no dresses" rule until a certain dress style came along (see this post). Other times the risk taking just solidifies my original belief that a certain item is just not my style, no matter how cute is on someone else!

* * *

When I saw this topic on the list I thought it would be a pretty easy for me to write about. And that was true...except for the fact that it's hard to narrow it down and keep the post to a reasonable length! Thanks for reading about my Personal Style quirks today and a special congratulations to our Giveaway winner Kenzie! If you didn't win this one, stay tuned for your next chance because I have another great one lined up!

Linking up with:
ErikaAndreaNarci |JoLynne | Katie | Megan | Lindsey | Amanda |



  1. Your style is very classic indeed, I can always guess what you're going to like. I am happy you gave dresses a shot because they are many classic one and they look great on you. I wish I could ban flats but they are soooo comfortable. Maybe one day I'll be able to wear heels everyday, unlikely but you never know lol


    1. It's funny, I am fine with flat sandals and some flat riding boots...but normal flats...just feel "off" to me! I actually find a low stacked heel more comfortable than a flat. Go figure!

  2. I love your classic style and that you coined it Expressionism! I'm with you, jeans and tees would be my outfit formula if I had to pick one too! Hope you are having a great week!

    Doused In Pink

  3. Hey Gina! I really like that you've discovered your "have nots" and that you're not ashamed about that.. There are so many styles/colors/types of clothes, and we can't look good in all of them! My sister recently told me that I'm much more of a silver than gold girl, and I was DEVASTATED. Haha. I love wearing gold! But she's right - silver just looks better on me with my coloring! And now that I've decided that, choosing my jewelry is much more simple!

  4. I absolutely love your style because it's casual but also glam! You look put together and chic without even trying! So many of my jeans and tee combos have been inspired by you Gina. I totally could have done this prompt. Next time! It was so great seeing you this weekend and I'm looking forward to Friday :)

  5. Prints have been banned from my closet, too, lol. I just don't know what exactly to do with prints when they appear on my doorstep? Haha, as for my own personal haves, it's defo black (black, black and more black!), lace and high waisties. Have Nots include jeans (I just dislike them!) and pants in general. I'm either in a skirt, a dress or shorts.


  6. I have to agree with you on flats. I have a couple pairs I have just because I know I need a pair once in awhile and that's enough for me! Wear what you feel good in as Noelle said! Your accessories definitely make such a difference in adding interest and personality to your outfits!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

  7. Obsessed with your jacket collection! And the Barcelona Cami is always a great idea <3
    Green Fashionista

  8. There are a few pieces that I love on other people that I don't ever buy for myself- bows, polka dots, super super frilly things. They just don't feel like "me" even though I will totally love 'em on someone else. I hear you, girlfriend!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  9. I liked this post and you have great style, very timeless.

    I'm pretty new to Express, mostly because we only got Express in Canada about 2 years ago. I do love their jeans and portofino shirt. I like the Barcelona cami on people, but me being busty and not liking to wear a strapless bra, it just won't work for me :(

    What I like and wear a lot of: fitted dress that are knee length, blazers, pumps, anything red, boots (lots of them), wide leg pants

    What I don't have and also don't like on me: t-shirts, rompers, ruffles, off the shoulder tops, flats

    1. Yes, I've heard the same thing from a few of my blogger friends who are more busty that Barcelona camis don't work for them and I can see why for several reasons! Love your list of haves and have nots! I could currently add rompers, ruffles, and off the shoulder tops to mine too as I don't have any of those!

  10. Jeans and a tee would be my pick for an outfit everyday, too. I have a similar do not own list - like flats, prints (other than leopard and a couple stripes), and graphic tees (but I did win a giveaway and just got one free!).

    Daily Style Finds

  11. I love how you explained your personal style :) I think we have similar styles so a lot of your "haves" were similar to mine! I do have to admit though that I only wear flats, and all prints haha!

  12. Love your style!! You look so polished and put together, yet it looks effortless!

  13. I am the same way with flats. The only flats I own are sneakers really and one pair of ballet flats. I'm not really a flats person. If it isn't a sandal it has a heel. xo ~ Megan The Fashionista Momma

  14. I am really surprised by your have nots, such as the flats. I love your style though and you've convinced me I need to get a Barcelona Cami from Express! I think your style is functional, it isn't hard to piece any of it together... it all works well! You do have an awesome selection of jackets!


  15. It's funny that you mention that Express ads are not your style at all. I never shopped at Express for the same reason, it's from your introduction of cami that I started shopping there a little more.

    I don't own any Hunter or rain boots either. I just feel silly buying them when it rarely rains here.


  16. I am so with you on the flats - I still don't have a decent pair of flats but I will start building a collection now!

    Come check out and join my latest GIVEAWAY I am hosting for JEWELRY TELEVISION (JTV) where a dazzling pair of 18k gold earrings is at stake – Happy Wednesday!


  17. Love this post. I so appreciate your defined style and how you stick to what you like. I think it takes self-confidence to say "I don't like this despite it being something other people like, so I'm not going to wear it." I think part of my style is not having one defined style, ha. I agree with you on the no graphic tees thing.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  18. I love, love, love your style! You seem to do a great job investing in pieces that are timeless and versatile, which is something I've been working harder to do. I never even considered shopping at Express until I came across your site, because they had always seemed so trendy to me. It's such a goldmine though!

  19. i think the have nots is the most interesting part of this post for me! i love flats, wear them all day everyday because they are easiest at work. i also look at them a little the way you might look at necklaces or handbags - they change up my outfit sometimes. i do love heels though. i think, with anyone, finally realising what you simply do not like for no other reason than you don't like it and realising what does and doesn't look good on you - if you can figure out those two things, you're golden. i like my denim jacket, but i am not a huge jacket person so i rarely grab it. i have tried to make converse work but i look like ronald mcdonald. i don't really like plaid (except in a scarf) or gingham though i like to look at them on pinterest etc, i just don't like them on myself. and it's hard, you feel a pressure almost like omg everyone loves plaid so i should like plaid? but i don't like plaid, and that's okay. random i know.


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