Personal style can be an elusive beast! I never thought too much about finding my own signature look when I was younger. If I liked it, I bought it and it was usually a discounted item or an on trend ‘fast fashion’ item from Forever 21. Now that I have graduated from Forever 21, to ahem… Zara, I think more about my purchases and if they truly reflect what I’m trying to portray.
Not having awareness of my own personal style led me to a rather schizophrenic collection of clothes that sometimes I look back upon and I have no idea what I was thinking and why I would have worn that, let alone paid for it. Identifying your personal style will help you feel confident when you step out into the world and, though it is ever evolving, you’ll be less likely to have moments of regret when old photos surface.
So how does one find personal style?
- Find your Style Spirit Animal.
One of mine is Posh herself, Victoria Beckham, shown above. Not sure where to start with this. No problem! Do a quick search on Pinterest for ‘style icon.’ At the top of the page is list of categories: edgy, classic, boho, curvy… you get the idea. Take a look in the different sections and save the images that stand out to you. You’ll probably notice that you have some repeat picks.
2. Put a label on it.
Take some time to think about your style and pick a handful of labels that fit your style. Hint hint, you might start with one of those categories you saw on that Pinterest Search. For myself, I would say: Modern, Edgy, Androgynous, Strong, Classy Punk. Throughout my fashion journey, I’ve also learned what I am not: Super Feminine, Preppy, Bohemian, and I don’t know how to say that I’m not into bandage dresses other than to just say it. There is nothing wrong with women who love the things that I do not; they don’t have to love my fashion sense, but I appreciate them for who they are and for having a voice. I love to see women and men, for that matter, who know who they are and express it unapologetically.
3. Know your body.
There are some looks that I don’t pull off well because I’m 5’1″ and there are definitely looks I pull of better because I’m short. The above photo shows the difference that shoes make. The contrasting shoe on the right cuts my image into different segments and makes me appear shorter, while the best shoe is the heel that blends with the pants. That’s not to say that I don’t run around in sneaks, I do, but if I wanted to look my best, say for a casual date, I’d know which shoes would be most flattering. I’ve done a ton of posts on dressing for your body type: How to shop for shorts by body type, Styling the petite rectangular body type, How to style the long torso, Dressing the short torso, Styling the pear body shape, Styling the apple body type, and Styling the woman with curves. There are plenty more where those came from, so if you have questions, feel free to comment and I’ll find the article or write one if I haven’t!
4. Keep track of your winners.
You know those outfits that make you feel like you totally have your shit together; snap a pic. I have been using the stylebook app for one of my clients and it’s a great way to keep track of your favorite outfits, besides just taking a selfie.
5. Track what you wear.
There’s those pants again! If you’re wearing them often, they are pieces that make you feel good. An easy way to track this if you’re not into the effort of taking pics or using an app is to turn your hangers backwards and after you wear an item, turn it around. At the end of the season, take a look at the pieces you didn’t wear and evaluate whether or not it suits your style, personality and lifestyle. Feel free to part with the ones that don’t make you smile anymore. It happens to the best of us; you can always try to sell those pieces. I use Tradesy for reselling because they only take 9%. The more you track your winners and not so winning looks, the better you’ll be at buying the right pieces for you.
6. Play to your strengths.
Have that one dress that everyone compliments on you? There’s probably something to it! Take note of the silhouette, length, accessories and figure out what it is that makes it work for you. The fit and flare dress looks spectacular on most body types and it flatters my muscular build nicely, but it gets a little outside of my comfort zone with the super feminine shape. Knowing this, I snatch up every fit and flare dress that fits within my style. The cutouts in this one amps up the look and appeals to me.
7. Find room to play.
These are your fun statement pieces. Maybe you like to make a statement with jewelry or bags or hats. Find some room in your wardrobe to have some fun and really express yourself and let your personality shine.
8. Choose your signature piece.
Your signature piece is the one article you reach for every morning that you just can’t leave without. It’s the fashion girls safety blanket. It can be as subtle as the two rings I always wear, with or without other jewelry. That would be the teardrop shaped ring on my middle finger that signifies the lotus blossom, a huge part of the Hindu faith, and a sewing need bent into a ring- for obvious reasons. Or, your signature piece can be as bold as the oversized glam glasses worn by Iris Apfel. Having a signature piece helps you to set an intention for your style, which in turn sets your intention for how the world sees and responds to you.
9. Look beyond the outfit and accessories.
Taking a few minutes each morning to style your hair and makeup will complete the picture. You don’t have to go full Kardashian every day with hours of makeup to look polished. I can get the job done in 10 minutes if I have to. Check out this video on 5 minute makeup for the quick makeup tutorial and tune in every Monday for the latest on hair, makeup and skin care.