Let Us Upgrade You: 6 Steps To Discover Your Personal Style
It’s been said that style is a way to say who you are without having to speak (shout out to stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe) and I’m inclined to agree. As per Anna Wintour, your style should be unique to your personal taste, yet identifiable to others. Women go through many transitions in their lifetime and often have to learn how to dress for every situation and subsequently our wardrobes become a hodgepodge of items. In college it may have been hoodies and sweats, while when you landed your first job you became a member of the skirt suit club.
Ideally, we’d all have a seamless closet full of essentials and trendy items, but more than likely we spend too much time staring at the racks trying to put together a look for how we feel that day. We get stuck in a rut when we find a few items we love or we become a slave to the current trends and neglect our tried and true options. Getting dressed shouldn’t be rocket science or involve tears of any kind, so long as you know what your personal style is and how to work your closet.
Here a few ways to hone your style and establish a signature look:
Read up on current trends. It may sound contradictory–when discussing personal style–to look to others but you have to get your inspiration somewhere. Perusing fashion blogs and Pinterest for real-life dressing is an excellent place to start as they are a beacon of daily style, while fashion magazines like People StyleWatch and InStyle are great for celebrity inspiration. Figure out who your fashion icons are (celebrity or not) and study what it is that draws you to them and their outfits.
Take note of what you currently love to wear and how it makes you feel. If necessary, document your outfits every day for a month and see if you can spot a trend /theme in what you wear. Create a vision board (via Pinterest or Polyvore) and curate looks of your own based on the pieces you find you love. Some women are specifically preppy and polished, while others more boho chic and others still grungy rocker chic. Figure out which way your sartorial sensations are leaning and try gravitating towards pieces that evoke those feelings.
Determine what works for your life. Are the items you’re drawn to practical for your daily life? Do you love all things studded and spiked but work in a bank? Do you dream about dressing like Kim Kardashian in skin-tight pieces or pushing boundaries like Rihanna, but you’re a mom of five in suburbia? Be realistic. If it doesn’t make sense for your life, don’t force it. Think: classically feminine like Nia Long. It’s fine to have one or two “off the mark” pieces that make you feel good and that you love, but lifestyle dressing is really the only trend you need to follow. I love heels but with a busy three-year-old it’s not really practical for everyday wear. I had to learn to find a happy medium that still allows me to feel cool but also not break my neck while chasing after my son.
Review your closet and begin to edit. Once you’ve established what you like, it’s time to take inventory of your current wardrobe. Does your closet contain any of the items you listed in the steps above? Are you holding on to items that you once loved but haven’t worn in years because they just not your style? What about items that don’t fit anymore? There’s nothing worse than trying to squeeze into jeans that are a size smaller than you actually are, or tops that you’re swimming in. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to let them go. Can you recreate any outfit inspirations based on what you currently own?
Create a wish list. It may seem childish, but it’s the best way to figure out what you truly need versus what you want. This will help you shop like a pro. Once you’ve determined your style and edited your closet it very well may be time for you to go shopping to update your wardrobe with the things that make your heart go pitter pat. And if you are obsessed with studs but find they’re not practical in everyday work wear, find a way to mix them in be it jewelry or a fun handbag. Don’t get crazy, but be true to your style lust. A little studding never hurt anybody.
Curate your closet. Figure out the best way to organize your clothing and stick with it. It will streamline the outfit choosing process and keep you aware of what you have and what you may want to add at later dates. Sorting clothes by season or occasion tends to work best for most as you’re able to easily access an item for a specific occasion and because you’ve already completed steps 1 -5 you know you’ll feel glamorous in whatever you put on.
Personal style isn’t something that’s developed overnight. It can take years to finally get the hang of it and create the ultimate wardrobe where getting dressed is effortless and always makes you feel fabulous. It is also guaranteed to evolve slightly as your life changes and you enter new phases, but you’ll often find that while the pieces might change the overall feel is the same. Just remember: “The secret to great style is to feel good in what you wear.”
Amber Dorsey blogs about her personal style evolution as a mother of a tween and a toddler at From Carpools To Cocktails.com She enjoys helping women of all ages discover their personal style while sipping on a quality beverage that isn’t a juice box.