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30th Birthday Style Muses

As the weather is getting cooler, so am I! That's right, fall has arrived, the leaves are turning yellow, and I will soon be turning 30. A few years ago, I started to fear that great big 3 digit looming over the tens place of my age. But now that I'm almost there and many of my friends have passed the mark, only to have better lives than ever before (and still no wrinkles), my only anxiety is over whether I am cool enough to be 30.

I've decided to purge my closets, drawers, and bathroom cupboard (goodbye, five-year-old wedding makeup!), get a fresh haircut, and give myself a sophisticated style makeover for my 30th birthday.

I still have a few weeks to screw around through the end of my 20s, but I am collecting fashion and style muses from various decades to inspire my new look.

Paris, 1910

You may notice that the muses I am about to list all fall into the rather boring category of thin, fair women. This is not because I think that only skinny white girls are beautiful. The award for most explosive sex power in my mind goes to Nicki Minaj (I've never felt quite so lesbian about anyone). The celebrity I hear about most often in the lusty conversations by the dudes at my husband's shop is Adele. My idol for grace and tasteful fashion is Michelle Obama. And I think the overall most unfairly gorgeous person in the world is Sofia Vergara. But there is no amount of spray tan or cosmetic surgery that can make me look like any of those women, so I have chosen models that look more like myself. I think this is healthy and that if you, too, want to compile a list of muses, you should pick women who somewhat resemble your physical type. No matter who you are, you will find the hotness in your size, shape, and hue.

The "I Do What I Want" award goes to the marvelously spoiled Southern belle Juliette Gordon Low, founder of American Girl Scouts. "JGlow" suffered through a lifetime of physical maladies wearing torturous corsets and truckloads of heavy fabrics. Through the pain, she had fun with fashion. Juliette, nicknamed Daisy, once made a daisy-covered ball gown for herself with a matching daisy-covered hat. She used her gradually worsening deafness as an excuse not to hear anyone who told her "no" or criticized her, and after discovering that she was unable to bear children, she dedicated her life to the formation and support of Girl Scouting for all American girls, with or without the privileges she enjoyed growing up. I admire JGlow's sass and productive eccentricity.

Next up is Mata Hari. She may not have been the greatest dancer, but girl had style and ambition. And it never faded--she was still doing her diva thang right into her 40s, before she died by firing squad after being framed for espionage. Hardcore. The following images are from her last years of life.

The Marchesa di Casati is another of my all-time favorite turn-of-the-century divas. What she lacked in the natural beauty department she more than made up for in the Fabulous Crazy Lady boutique. Famous for shenanigans such as walking nude through the streets of Venice with her pet cheetah leashed on a jeweled collar, she threw lavish costume parties with women dressed as exotic queens and men dressed as jungle animals, and after she fell into poverty, she kept on throwing those parties with dumpster-dived feathers and spangles. The Marchesa proves that a woman not blessed with "prettiness" or cash flow can still be iconic, striking, and seductive.

I enjoy drama, but I look to Audrey Hepburn to keep it classy. She's so darn cute and ladylike, she can make flats and a pixie cut look like the height of femininity.

I also love Bridgitte Bardot's bombshell sex appeal, tempered by classic French style and girl-next-door playfulness.

Madonna brought a razor sharp edge to a similar kind of sweet sexiness in the '80s and '90s. In my opinion, those decades were the height of her musical, artistic, and fashion expression. This 1992 Vogue shoot rocks my world.

Speaking of '90s pop rock stars, I am continually amazed at whatever witch doctory keeps Gwen Stefani from aging past her 20s. I loved her washboard midriff and crunch-glam style in the '90s, and she only gets more sophisticated and polished with age. I hope I can pull off a high gloss, artsy punk look when I'm in my 40s.

Ladies who are about to cross the line into "real" adulthood or have done it already: Who are your style muses? What famous women inspire you to feel confident and beautiful?


  1. Welcome to the 30s Club! I joined it in January myself and had a big 30s style party to celebrate. As for style muses, I'm not really that much into fashion, though I managed to drop 4 sizes in celebration of being, as you put it, "a real adult" ; ) so I now wear my clothes with much more confidence than before.

    Having said that, I'd have thought that having a child would be your passage into "real adulthood" ; P


    1. Hi Tessa, congrats on your health and confidence birthday gift to yourself!

      You know, I also thought having a child would make me feel like a real adult. But getting pregnant removed my anxiety over the biological clock (tick tock!) and allowed me to cut loose and feel even younger, strangely. And now that I have a toddler and I spend all my days singing along with Elmo and playing at the park, it's more like reliving childhood.

      However, soon she will get old enough to be embarrassed by my behavior, so I feel the need to get myself together and act mature. Tee hee! Wish me luck. ;)

  2. Happy almost 30! I'm way past that now. Now I buy what looks good on me and don't pay any attention to trends. I'm too old for trends these days though.

  3. Thanks, M Pax! You don't look "too old for trends" in your picture. :D Maybe too experienced and self-assured to worry about trends. That's what I'm hoping to be also.

  4. I definitely am loving your beauty picks! You're way cool enough to be dirty thirty! I've been slowly but surely accepting my textures and shape and it seems that the more I embrace it as beauty, the more the rest of the world has too. People really will buy what you sell, and if you're not working it, no one will want it.

    Beyond trends, ways to tinker your look, etc. the real magic in style is being yourself and embracing yourself for what you are and I think you've known that for a while! Looking forward to welcoming you into the D30 club, darling!

    1. Esperanzita, you are one of my main inspirations for writing this post! You have only gotten more beautiful, stylish, and vibrant since you have turned 30, so it doesn't look so intimidating from here.

    2. " the more I embrace it as beauty, the more the rest of the world has too"

      This was my hair journey. The more I let go of my notions of "good hair" and "bad hair" and the more I freed my hair from conformity, the better it looked. I think that works in all aspects of the self. When you accept it and learn to appreciate it, it becomes a blessing rather than a curse.

  5. Thank you! I love you so! This milestone is a fun one. Thirty I have found is the perfect reason to do ANYTHING! Or NOTHING.

    But you just keep cranking out the bad ass my love! It's all you. It just gets better.


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