StyleLove : Janelle

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One of my favorite things  about my life is the fact that I get to live it with amazing people.  I am blessed with incredible friends who each uniquely define what it means to have style! StyleLove is my way of highlighting their signature style and showcasing that beauty and style come in a million different flavors and forms.

Meet Janelle

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 She’s flirty, fun & free

(& kind & loving & beautiful & about a million other things)

LAH – How would you describe your style?
Janelle – I’ve spent a bizarre amount of time thinking about this question. I’ve got it boiled down to “romantic industrial retro gypsy.” Essentially that means that I have an equal weakness for flowy, feminine pieces which allow me to feel like a girl, and also a tougher, minimalist, aesthetic featuring an unhealthy amount of studs, zippers, and buckles. Throw in a bunch of clunky jewelry picked up from street stalls around the world and enough vintage day dresses to make a 1950s housewife proud, and you’ve got my style.
LAH – What/Who do you think has been the greatest influence on your style?
Janelle – Without question my biggest style influence is my mother. She modeled how to dress with ease and confidence, how to navigate Good Will bins and street markets and always walked away with steals, and taught me that you should always look for a deal, but be willing to splurge on yourself every once in awhile. She has an unflappable, unique style that’s all hers, and she taught me how to find mine for myself. She even managed to survive the 80s looking classy. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is. The other two big influences on my style were definitely the years I spent in New York going to art school, and the years since then I’ve spent traveling as a grungy backpacker. I showed up in Brooklyn as a wide-eyed 18 year old way before the word ‘hipster’ was a thing, and got to a front row seat to a constant parade of people trying out their own style in often bizarre and usually inspiring ways. I got a lot braver, and also a lot more clear about what did and didn’t work for me, and for my body type. Then I left New York, and had to unlearn a lot of things. 🙂 When I started spending most of my year living out a backpack, I discovered just how many clothes I owned, and what I actually needed to still feel like I was dressing like myself, no matter where I was. I also discovered an enduring love for giant jewelry pieces I could pick up along the way. I love how much little things you bring home carry the memory of the place you found them.

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LAH – What’s one of your favorite things about yourself and why?
Janelle – My favorite thing about myself is that I am a shape-shifter. I can jump in between really disparate worlds and social spheres, find some point of connection there, and be a bridge between people who might not think they have much in common. I feel equally at home at an art studio or a crunchy hostel or a government office, and I like that about me.
LAH – What would you say is your life mission statement?
Janelle – One of the things I’m definitely most passionate about is being a sounding board for people to push out their thinking on who they are, how they’re wired, and what they’re dreams really are. I think there’s a lot of power in taking the time to think through and begin to articulate who you are and what you’re passionate about. It always feels a bit awkward to name those things out loud, but it’s amazing how much those declarations change the way you think about yourself on a daily basis. For myself, I think I’ve got it boiled down to something in the vein of “I am a congruent creator who encourages expanding capacity, a serendipitous connector who fosters new relationships, and a proactive explorer who deliberately creates space for new adventures.”  
Something like that… it’s a work in progress. 🙂
LAH – How many countries have you traveled to?
Janelle – 49 and counting.
LAH – What is the most random experience that you’ve ever had?
Janelle – Oh goodness. Yikes. Anyone who knows me would have no trouble believing that I just got very overwhelmed by the word ‘most’ there. It might have been the time I spent two weeks in an Italian monastery learning how to harvest black currants and working the line at a jam factory. That one was pretty odd.

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LAH – Have you ever experienced feelings of insecurity about yourself? How have you overcome them?
Janelle – Every single day. 

When I was a kid and feeling overwhelmed with how stupid whatever I’d just said must have sounded or how awkward I was around the boy I liked, my mother used to tell me, over and over again, “Janelle, nobody thinks about you as much as you do.” It used to drive me absolutely batty, but now there’s nothing more comforting. I recite it to myself whenever I can feel myself acting insecure and embarrassed in a situation. It’s shockingly liberating to realize that you might spend an hour picking out an outfit for dinner, but the odds are that the people you’re with won’t actually remember what you wore next week. That offers a LOT of freedom to give yourself some grace. Nobody is watching as closely as you think they are. 

LAH – If you could give other women one bit of advice, what would it be?
Janelle – I’m going to cheat here and give the three best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given instead.
1) Give yourself grace to be where you are. 

As a very high F on the Myers-Briggs scale, I am more often than not a walking time bomb of emotions. Giving myself permission to feel what I’m feeling in that moment and acknowledge an emotion as valid instead of trying to stuff it down and just be stronger is probably the single most useful thing I’ve learned to date.

2) Get the help you need.

I think as women it’s really difficult to admit that we need help, or that we’re not able to just handle something on our own. A mentor once told me that the biggest marker of maturity is someone who recognizes the help that they need in an area, and then proactively seeks it out. 

3) Take the steps you know to take.

My brain is usually going at warp speed thinking of new ideas, business ventures, zany art pieces which may never see the light of day… I used to find myself being constantly overwhelmed by all of the huge things I wanted to accomplish, and how little actually I seemed to be getting done. My very wise father helped me see that the way to break down a huge dream is to look for the next baby step which could move you tangibly forward. All you’re responsible for is to take the next step you can take. That’s it. 

Isn’t she just amazing? She exudes joy and wonder.  Her very existence challenges you to dream beyond what you’d previously thought.  She’s a constant invitation to fun and freedom.  I’ve been blessed time and again by her hugs, her heart and her wisdom.   Her beauty is enthralling and I’m so grateful I get to call her my friend.  My world is so much larger and more fun with her in it!

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p.s. All photos are taken with my iPhone 5.

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7 thoughts on “StyleLove : Janelle

  1. Obviously, I’m biased but I so loved reading this post Hannah.
    One of life’s pleasures is introducing our friends one-to-another and no one does it better than you! Looking forward to the next introduction.

  2. Pingback: Piccadilly |

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