Personal style is elusive, and ever-evolving. Besides I’m sure, if you are like me, you also appreciate a handful of different styles. But which one truly speaks to you? That’s where this simple guide comes in. I share some steps to discovering the particular look that speaks to your most fashionable self.
1. What words would you use to describe your style?
(Examples: quirky, polished, bold, experimental, cheerful, comfortable, sleek)
Take a moment to think about the overall vibe of your style. What are some descriptive words that come to mind? For example, if my daughter, Emma were to answer this, her answers might look like this: “quirky, playful, colorful, athletic, and casual.” These words will help you recognize an overall theme or feeling of your style, allowing you to take the first step in cultivating your look.
2. What do you want your style to say about who you are?
Style is a form of expression, but it is also a means of communication. The way we dress gives everyone around us information on who we are, or how we feel or what we want to be. (Dress for the job you want.) What do you want people to see when they look at you? Do you want them to know that you are professional, creative, expressive, laid-back, or confident? Or maybe feminine, care-free, and pulled-together? Writing down the qualities you want to express to the world will help you pinpoint your major identity traits while also helping you become conscious of how you’re actively communicating those traits with how you dress.
3. Who’s iconic style inspires you, and why?
Think of the women who you aspire to be like and the outfits they wear. This could be your mother, sister, friend, a celebrity, style blogger, or any influential woman. If Grace Kelly inspires you, think about the overall look of her style and the specific items in her trademark ensembles. Noting who it is that you define as a style icon will help you recognize what you subconsciously see as being truly stylish.
4. What is your favorite place to shop, and how would you describe the overall feel of the store?
What stores do you enjoy shopping at? All brands have a target audience and specific customer in mind. Who do you think that woman is, and do you fit that description? For example, the Gap woman is in her mid- to late twenties and early thirties; she works for a living in a business casual office space and enjoys wearing her polished yet relaxed basics in her free time. Her clothes are more traditional and simple, but she loves to experiment with colors and prints.
5. What are your common “go to” items when shopping?
Upon walking into your favorite store, what items do you look at first? Do you feel drawn towards trendy tops? Or maybe the dress department is pulling you in? Noting the natural pull toward one type of clothing over others can help you understand which styles you actually like and will most likely wear. If you frequently find yourself in front of the jeans section, you most likely have a more relaxed or comfortable style. Take a look at other casual clothes that emulate the same laid-back vibe of your go-to jeans.
6. What items do you most frequently wear?
Do you want to wear a certain style and or will you actually wear it. Being practical about what you will actually wear will help you stay true to your personal style. Most of us wear the same outfit formula every week, consisting of the same five to ten items. Think about the clothes you repeatedly wear. Make a list of those key pieces. Now, think of practical ways in which you can add some variety to those outfit formulas. For example, if you love dresses, add some quite accessories (Like the Cinch it! www.thecinchit.com) to enhance the look or alter the style of the dress.
7. Does your style fit into your lifestyle?
Pick your lifestyle first then incorporate your style into your life. Your lifestyle greatly impacts your style, and you want to make sure that your wardrobe coordinates with your everyday activities. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, then comfort is key. If you’re a business owner, looking polished and professional is a must. Make sure you keep your lifestyle in mind when defining your style because you want to create a wardrobe that reflects your reality.
8. If you could raid anyone’s closet, who would it be?
Let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of fantasizing about whose closet we would like to borrow from. Thinking about whose wardrobe we’d ransack tells us a lot about our tastes. Think about what items you’d first go for. If we’re hypothetically going through Amal Clooney’s wardrobe, would you pick her professional statement pieces or her gorgeous dresses? This will tell you if you like classic items better or more feminine pieces. Do you want to emulate a more polished persona or a more expressive, fashion-forward look?
9. Picture yourself 5 years from now. What are you wearing?
Where do you see yourself five years from now? Are you entertaining frequently, at the top of the corporate ladder, or relaxing at the beach? Allow yourself to dream and take note of what you’re wearing. How has your style developed? Envisioning the future version of ourselves reveals who we really want to be now, so why wait? Clothes can help us become the person we want to be and to feel more confident in a new role. Write down what it is that your future self is wearing: the styles, the colors, the silhouettes, and the key pieces. Start incorporating these items into your wardrobe now.
10. Based on your answers, what’s the best tagline for your personal style?
After answering the questions above, you should have a better idea of what your style is and how you want to develop it. Naming your style is helpful in defining your trademark look. Even fashion designers name their runway collections in order to mentally maintain a cohesive flow to their looks. So, what would you name your style? Bohemian Biker Babe, Preppy Meets Retro, Casual Girlie Girl, 1920s Street Style, Futuristic Minimalist, Menswear-Inspired Uptown Girl, Parisian Chic, Understated Elegance? Get descriptive, and start shopping and dressing with purpose.