Deciding on a personal style is not something that most of us do consciously. For the majority of us, our fashion sense develops like our personality - organically over time. We are naturally drawn to clothes and accessories that resonate with our sense of who we are, and choose items that ultimately tell the world what we want broadcast about ourselves. Whether we like it or not, the clothes we wear project a message to everyone we meet.
Our fashion choices can be a powerful, yet subtle, way to influence the people around us. By choosing items that align with your core values, you can become a walking advocate for the things that you hold important. Create an authentic style that expresses who you are by following these eight simple tips.
1. Who Are You?
Creating a successful style is about telling your own story. You need to start by asking yourself a few key questions. What is important to you? What do you want to say to the world? What aspects of yourself do you want to openly nurture?
It's important to be honest with yourself when answering these questions, and to stay authentic. Your personal style should be a reflection of your inner world, not some-one else's.
2. Find Your Inspiration
While its crucial to stay true to your own inner voice, knowing what we love on others can help point us towards the pieces that will speak for us. Think about your own fashion icons. Who's style do you love? Why? Consider how your style gurus' choices parallel your own tastes, and how you might adapt and adopt them in your own wardrobe.
3. Take a Quick Style Quiz
Never be a slave to what any single source tells you about your style. We are, after all, trying to develop something very personal. But getting some insight from people that know their stuff can help elevate a look from good to knock-out.
A simple style quiz, like this one from The Chic Fashionista can help crystalise your ideas into a polished look.
4. Discover your best colours
While personal aesthetic can safely dictate many things about your wardrobe, there are a few rules that should be at least acknowledged when choosing clothes. Colour palette is one of them. Your own colouring will determine what tones look best against your skin, and you should definitely take heed of the colouring rules if you want to look your best.
This article from The List, and this one from InStyle will provide a good solid understanding of skin tone types, how you can determine which type you are, and which colours will best suit your skin tone.
5. Understand your body type
I have a favourite joke:
Q: 'How do you get a bikini body?'
A: 'Put a bikini on your body.'
This sums up my attitude towards fashion and body types; if you feel comfortable wearing something, then, for the love of God, put it on your body! Caring too much about the dictates of society at large is a sure recipe for low self-esteem and body issues.
Having said that, when constructing a conscious expression of our self through style choices, it is best to choose items that help make the statement we want to make, without distraction. Clothes that fit well and enhance your body shape will allow your personality to shine through, regardless of what fashions you choose to wear. Understanding your own body shape, and what types of clothes fit best, will help give you a clearer voice with your style choices.
6. Consider the different aspects to your life
Any working style must take into account the way you live your life. Think about the things you do from day to do. Your list might include things like work / being mum / date night / relaxing around the house / in the garden.
You want your style to be able to effortlessly accommodate all of the different facets of your life. While having separate sets of clothes for work and private life is common, building a wardrobe that can reflect your unique self in all circumstances is a massive time and money saver. Individual pieces that can be swapped out and mixed up with others in your wardrobe can take you from work to dinner, or from home to an unexpected meeting, with a minimum of fuss.
7. Shop Strategically
I will not lie to you. Buying clothes is not something that I find particularly enjoyable. I understand that there are people who love nothing more than to spend hours perusing racks of shimmering fabrics, but I am not one of them. I like to get in, get what I need, and get out. This is, perhaps, not a great endorsement of someone writing a fashion article. What it does mean, however, is that I know how to shop strategically.
Don't fill your closet with clothes that seemed like a good idea at the time. When you shop for clothes, do so with a plan. Perhaps you are looking for an outfit for a particular event or purpose. Think longer term than that one engagement. How else could you utilize the pieces you are purchasing? How does each piece fit into the overall style that you are cultivating? By curating an integrated wardrobe, you will get more use out of each piece, and you will maintain a more consistent style
8. Pick a Signature Piece or Two
When I see a pillbox hat, like a lot of people, I instantly think of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The pillbox hat and Chanel suit were such trademark pieces of Jackie O's style that, even now, they still evoke her memory.
Is there a special piece in your wardrobe? One that you feel expresses you exactly as you want to be? Build on that. Take a single item and make it your own. Find variations on your theme and have some fun with it. Try not to become a caricature of yourself by going over the top with too much of the same thing, but one or two good statement pieces can help bring an overall style together.
9. Take Regular Stocktake of Your Closet
Once or twice a year, take a long, hard look at your wardrobe. Be ruthless. Are there items that you haven't worn for a long time? Chances are these pieces no longer fit with how you see yourself. What is the point in taking up closet space with items that no longer resonate with who you are?
These same items could help some-one else tell their story. Release them to find their rightful owner by donating them, and make some space for the things that will more accurately define you.
10. Be confidently You
All the tips and tricks in the world won't work if you are trying to be something you are not. You are the only person on the planet that can be the authentic you. You might as well be the best, brightest you that you can be! Whatever you choose to adorn your body, the most important part of pulling the look together will always come from inside yourself. Stand tall, walk with pride and let your style tell the world who you are!