How to Pinpoint Your Personal Style
"Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it." —Diane von Furstenberg
2020 is at an end and it’s time for a new beginning. And what better time to start something new than at the beginning of a new year. It’s time to decide to make 2021 great and what better way to do that than to tackle that crazy closet you have been putting off for so long.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there who are decluttering and organization guru’s, I will tell you right now, I am not one of those people! But, if you want some tips on decluttering check out the blog post I wrote back in August 2020 called “Paring Down Your Wardrobe”.
This time when I refer to going through your closet we’re going to come at it with the goal of nailing down your perfect personal style.
Discovering your personal style is SO important, for many different reasons. In this blog post we’re going to go through why finding your personal style is so important and some actionable steps you can take to nail down the style that best suits your personality, your lifestyle and really shows the world who you are.
One of the most important gifts we can give ourselves as human beings is the gift of being our most authentic selves. When we are truly being our most authentic selves the beauty that is inside each and every one of us shines out to the world through the way we walk and present ourselves and the way we talk. And one important way we can be authentic to who we really are is to wear the clothing that is best suited to us, as individuals, clothing that makes you look and feel confident and comfortable.
I recently came across a study that was conducted in 2015 by The Association for Psychological Science that states that “the clothes we wear can also influence the way we think” and “… could influence decision making in important ways through its influence on processing style.”
This means that the way we dress has more than just an effect on how the world sees us, it also affects how we see ourselves. But we don’t need a study to tell us that. How many times have you tried on an outfit and felt not quite right, or you tried something on that made you look great and you felt absolutely AMAZING inside when you looked at yourself in the mirror? That’s what finding your personal style is all about, filling your closet with outfits that speak to your authentic self and help you feel the most amazing in.
The clothing we choose to wear has the power to bring out the best version of ourselves as they visually express to the world what we cannot verbally portray. Finding and showcasing your personal style shows the world that you know who you are, you’re confident and comfortable with yourself and you love yourself.
So how does one go about finding their personal style you might ask? Well I have found a simple process for you to go through that will help you along your journey. But remember, finding your personal style is a journey and it is going to take time. This is not something that will happen or even should happen overnight. Take your time with this and have some fun.
1. Don’t Follow the Trends!!
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my time living in the fashion world, it’s that trends are the destroyers of personal style! The fashion industry tries to convince us that if we like something and “everyone else is wearing it” then we have to have it. But let’s see that for what it is...it’s a lie! Don’t get me wrong a person can have a great appreciation for a trend, a style or a fashion designer, but that doesn’t mean you have to change your wardrobe every season. The simple truth of the matter is that some things are simply better appreciated from afar.
Do yourself a favor and don’t let yourself get sucked in to the latest trend. The goal here is to find what works best for you, not what will make the fashion industry the most money.
2. Clean up and clean out
It’s time to start fresh, but when I say fresh I don’t mean go and donate your entire closet. What I mean is that it is time to clean out the items that are in your closet and dresser drawers that you haven’t worn in over a year. Having those items sitting in your closet and never wearing them are just taking up mental and physical space, space that you are going to need as you begin to define the wardrobe that speaks to you.
If you find yourself wavering between keeping an item and donating it I say donate it, you’ll know the ones you’ll want to keep. If you need help with this step go back and read my previous blog post “Paring down your wardrobe.”
3. Find Some Inspiration
Now that we have that settled, it’s time to go and find some inspiration. Sure you can try and figure out what your personal style is all by yourself, but what about those styles that you don’t even know exist yet?
The first step is to find some fashion inspiration. There are so many ways to do this. Look at what your family and friends are wearing, look at the celebs, fashion blogs, search fashion on Pinterest, Instagram, and Google. Pay attention during movies to what the actors are wearing. Watch fashion week, browse through magazines, go to the store and look around (but don’t buy anything yet).
During your search save the images of the outfits that you are most drawn to. I suggest creating a Pinterest board or a file on your computer. If you see something in a magazine feel free to cut it out, or go online and find the online version of that edition and copy the image from there. This is important because we are going to be coming back to these images in a future step.
4. Look to Your Own Life
Take a moment to really examine your life and your lifestyle. Certain styles are going to be more practical for certain lifestyles than others are. For example wearing jeans and a tank top are not appropriate for someone who works in a corporate environment, just as a business suit would not be functional in a trades job. Neither would a business suit matched with your cutest pumps be the best style choice if you are a stay at home mom.
So when you’re considering your wardrobe and your personal style make sure you consider every aspect of your life and lifestyle so that you can add pieces to your wardrobe that allow you to shine in every environment without worry.
5. Create a Fashion Board
In this step we’re going to take all of those photos you saved during your inspiration research and bring them all together in one place so that we can carefully examine them.
Have a look at all of your images, what do they have in common? Are there any repeat items that you find yourself being drawn to over and over again? As you’re looking at your inspiration images write down what’s repeating, eg. jeans, leggings, dresses, boots, tank tops, blazers etc. Whatever it may be, write it down. And it can be more than one thing. Also write down some descriptive words that describe the styles you’re drawn to: casual, classic, bohemian, modern, bold and experimental, super feminine or masculine, vintage, modern minimalist, etc.
We’re also going to take note of any recurring color pallets, textures, fabrics. Anything that is recurring needs to be jotted down. This is important because being aware of ANY styles you are drawn to will make it easier for you to develop your own.
When you’re done going through your photos, sorting them and making notes I want you to go back to your own wardrobe and do the same. Take a note of the repeat items that you currently own. You were drawn to buy multiples of that item for a reason and chances are it’s because they make you feel great and you feel comfortable and happy when you are wearing them. This is super important and will help you as you move on to the next step, creating your baseline wardrobe.
6. Create Your Baseline Wardrobe
This is going to include all of your original go to's. All of those repeat items in your closet, your jeans, leggings, shirts or tank tops you wear all of the time.
When creating the baseline wardrobe, think about what is important to you when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. What outfit is going to best suit the day ahead? And remember, the outfits that make you feel like your best, most confident and beautiful self are the types of outfits that will define your personal style because they make you feel like the best you.
Once your baseline wardrobe is created you can move onto the next step.
7. Experiment with Unique Style Pieces
Now is the time to take all that planning and preparation and start doing some exciting things with it! What you’re going to want to do is start with your baseline wardrobe, but then you’re going to incorporate something new into your outfit. This could be anything. Be creative with the wardrobe you already have by wearing your clothing in different combinations in order to achieve the style you wish to try. Then add some bold accessories or a pop of color. Try a color that you’re not used to wearing and see how it goes. Use those repeat items you own as a signature piece to round out each of your new outfits.
When you start to get more comfortable with color and accessories move on to trying out a new style of shirt, pants or dress, adding prints, patterns and textures. Whatever you decide to do remember to take it slow and have some fun.
8. Test it out
Before you go and buy a bunch of clothing, do a trial run with different looks. Seeing yourself in different styles and living with it for a short time will give you a sense of whether it is right for you or not. If it makes you feel like the best you, then keep it. If it doesn’t and you feel uncomfortable and like an imposter, move on to something else.
Some great ways to test out new styles without breaking the bank is to have a clothing swap with your family and friends that are the same size as you. Guaranteed they have different clothes in their closet than you do, some of which have probably served their purpose for your friend and could use a new home. The same way there are pieces in your closet that are ready for a new home.
And if you don’t have friends that are the same size as you, or none of them want to participate in your clothing swap then go to the mall and try on different clothes and combinations. Even wearing something for a few minutes in a fitting room can give you an idea of how you feel in a certain style. And remember, just because you try them on doesn’t mean you have to buy them. This process isn’t meant to break the bank, it’s about experimenting and exploring and doing so within your means.
9. Seek the Help of Professionals
I don’t mean hire a personal stylist, although you could do that if you wanted. I’m referring to asking the sales associates and stylists at your favorite boutique for some guidance. They work there because they know what they’re doing and can help you find the items that will be best suited to you. And they can help you accessorize.
10. Shop Smarter
Now that you have a sense of what your personal style might be and you find that you are ready to add pieces to your wardrobe that best define who you are, I want to put out a word of caution. Quite simply, you DO NOT need to go to the nearest mall and spend all of your hard earned money on updating your look. That’s craziness.
It’s time to shop smarter. Take your time designing your look, look for those deals, test the zippers on handbags and the hems on clothing so that you can find the items that are going to last and not the cheap garbage that’s going to end up in the donate pile or the trash in a month’s time because it’s falling apart. There’s no need to rush when building your personal style and your wardrobe to where you want it. I promise you it will get there and by taking it slow you can be very intentional about what comes in and what doesn’t. BE PICKY!
Another word of caution, if I may. Everyone will tell you that it’s important to find inspiration first when figuring out your personal style. And there is definitely truth to that. You need to know what your options are and what’s out there before you can decide if you like something or not. But I want to warn you! Don’t get caught up on what other people are wearing.
Your personal style is ultimately going to come from you. It’s going to come down to what you, as an individual, are comfortable in. What makes you feel happy and the most beautiful and confident when you put it on and what you naturally gravitate towards.
It doesn’t matter what your body type is, what matters is finding a style that makes you look and feel amazing. When you do that, it won’t matter what the next trend is or what all of the celebrities are wearing or what size the tag says on the inside of your jeans, no one is going to see it. You find the wardrobe that makes you feel like the rock star you are and nothing will be able to stop you because you will have found yourself. And that is what is most important.
“Finding your personal style can block out the noise of the fast-paced industry and help you to feel at home in your clothes.” - AUDREY STANTON
Finding your personal style is a journey and one that is meant to be fun and exciting. Don’t ever get discouraged when you’re on the journey to find your perfect personal style...it’s going to take time AND it’s going to change over time. And that’s okay. Your wardrobe should change as you change. Life is an ever changing thing and different life events will spark a need to redefine our wardrobe: having a baby, getting a promotion, graduating from college and starting a job, etc. What’s important is that you trust your instincts, and choose to wear pieces that make you feel like the best version of yourself. Pieces that make you feel beautiful, because you are and you owe it to yourself and the people around you to show it off.
“When you feel your best, you stand taller, smile wider, and people will notice.” - The Everyday Girl
Image how the world would be if everyone dressed in a way that made them feel the most beautiful, in a way that brought out their best self! The world would be a much happier place and would be full of confident individuals who know who they truly are and aren’t afraid to express themselves.
“Something that makes you feel confident and beautiful is never out of style.” - The Everyday Girl
When creating your personal style the most important thing to remember is to have fun and to truly be authentic to yourself!
“Fashion is a personal relationship between ourselves and our clothes and it is ultimately whatever we want it to be” - NADINE FARAG OF ONE WHO DRESSES
This is how trends transform into the art of fashion that is personalized to each of us individually. We are all artists and our canvas is ourselves. As an artist you get to build the masterpiece of your outfit each day. And like every great artist one must only bring pieces into the wardrobe that will make your outfits as great as they can possibly be, as great as you deserve. Dare to be creative. You can always change your mind.
I hope you have the greatest time finding and building your personal style. You are a beautiful human being and you deserve to have the clothing that makes you feel comfortable, confident and like you’re expressing your best, most authentic self.
I invite you to comment below and tell me what your journey has been like in finding your own personal style. What have been your struggles and what have you learned about yourself and your style? I can’t wait to hear all about it!