how to find your style13/09/2013
With fall rapidly approaching, sale signs getting bigger and bigger in shop windows and FW13 collections being snatched at the speed of light from the stores as I’m writing this, I feel like this is the perfect moment for an article on how to find your style.
In interviews, I’ve been asked this one simple question numerous times: How would you define your personal style? More often than not, I would be puzzled and wouldn’t know exactly how to sum it all up in one short sentence. Why? It was all over the place. I spent years collecting clothing items that didn’t match my personality (and didn’t match each other either). Needless to say, “what to wear today” was the most hated task every morning. As I got older, as my views and thoughts on things and the world around me got more defined, so did my personal style. Now I can tell you that I would describe it as very eclectic and diverse, but still very minimal and detail focused. Or, as one of my readers once put it: clean, fresh, minimal but with an edge. However, it took me few years to see the problem, find a solution and get to where I am now. And although I don’t think my journey is completely over (I always leave room for improvement!), I wanted to share some tips and guidelines that can help you on your own way to finding your personal style.
You might be wondering why exactly it’s so important to develop your unique style. I would say that it’s because everyone (especially women) want to look and feel special, feel confident about their appearance. Being comfortable and yourself in clothes you wear can improve your mood and self-image (believe it or not!). Those things are exactly what sets you apart from the others, remember – what’s on the inside always reflects on the outside.
I’m sure every single person on earth is familiar with the “Fashion fades, style is eternal” quote. While I got to despise it overtime thanks to its excessive use on blogs and social media, you can take a good advice from it. Fashion and style are two completely different things. Fashion is fast-paced, seasonal thing that passes by quickly; it’s focused on the now, driven by trends which are dictated by designers and fashion icons. Style on the other hand is well, eternal; it’s all about expressing your individuality. Now, while I do believe that a person’s style is much more than how she/he dresses, in this post I will
be shallow and focus solely on fashion style.
So how to find your style?
I’ve broken it down to few simple steps:
“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – once said Epictetus, ancient Greek philosopher, and few friends from Facebook (myself included) agreed. Instead of running from one shop to another looking for the latest “it” item, sit down and take some time to get to know yourself. What kind of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon? Do you enjoy reading books or you prefer to spend your free time watching movies? I believe that understanding your inner self, your likes/dislikes and paying attention to those details can be of huge help in finding your personal style.
Here’s a little trick I did once. Take a look at your closet and take out the clothes you wear the most and probably can’t live without. Examine the cuts, the colors, the details, the fit. Those pieces reflect your personality the most and are pretty much who you are, no matter the trends and influences.
So ask questions, give honest answers and get acquainted with your true self. Once you define yourself, it will be much easier for you to define your fashion style.
Inspiration can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. We all know there is nothing original anymore. No one can invent anything brand new; we’ve already seen everything there is. But what we can do is take an idea and interpret it in our own unique way. Two girls can have the same pair of pants, but they will style them according to their own taste and will wear them in a completely different way. A lot of people can have similar inspirations and styles, but in the end – everyone carries themselves differently and that’s what makes them unique. I’m all about being influenced and inspired by someone else’s art, thoughts, deeds or looks. But eventually make your own decision about what you take in and make your own and what you leave out.
Where can you find inspiration? Look around you. Sounds cheesy, but inspiration is indeed everywhere. Some are inspired by fashion shows, blogs, already put-together outfits; some feel moved by artwork or architecture and others can translate movie scenes, sounds and feelings into beautiful ensembles. Just get to work and find yours! Try cutting out pictures from magazines and catalogues that appeal to you the most and organize them into moodboards. Or if you’d rather do that in digital form, there are sites that can be of great help. Tumblr, Pinterest and Polyvore for example are great for finding, collecting and organizing your inspirations. You can also find numerous books on fashion and style, I recommend “Style A to Zoe” by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe; it’s full of tips and stylist tricks that can help you find your style.
I guess this might be what they mean when they say “Be yourself” (while I wasn’t really sure about it when I wrote my How to be yourself post). I was 100% sure about one thing though and I’m going to highlight it here again: The key to everything in life is thinking with your own brain. Obviously that key also opens the door to your unique personal style. Think for yourself and dress for yourself too. Wear it because YOU like it. Of course, feel free to follow the latest trends if they fit your personality, your sense of self and your own idea of style. Think of them as spices for your looks, just be careful not to over season your dish. Make trends conform to you – not the other way round.
4. Consider your lifestyle and age
I was hesitant about including this part in the process at first, but I feel like it’s really important to understand it as well. A lot of people say that you shouldn’t let these things dictate what you wear, but I have to partially disagree. While we are all encouraged to think out of the box and wear whatever the hell we want all the time, I do believe there is a time and place for everything. It’s just not tasteful seeing a 40 year old woman dressed like a teenager, for example. Same goes for your lifestyle: if you work all day every day in an office, it’s totally impractical and not workplace-appropriate to dress in haute couture or head-to-toe punk/ grunge attire. Going to school, we weren’t required to wear uniforms and I would always roll my eyes at girls coming to classes in crop tops and low-ride jeans. It’s beyond disrespectful to that institution and not knowing how to dress for certain occasions shows serious lack of education and common sense.
5. Keep a diary
This is optional, but from my experience, it proved to be very helpful. Before I made this blog, I used to take photos of my clothes, shoes and my outfits and store them on my laptop. Those served as excellent reminders of what I have in my closet, how I can mix and match it and keep an eye on how my style is developing and changing over time. You don’t have to make a fashion blog and share everything on the world wide web if you don’t feel comfortable with it. You can simply take photos/videos of your daily combinations, maybe even sketch them and store them in a special folder on your computer or print them out and make collages. This technique is also good for seeing how clothes fit your body (mirrors can be tricky, but camera never lies) and decide on the cuts, prints, colors that suit you the best.
6. Take your time
This might not sound credible coming from an extremely impatient person (I want it all and I want it now), but trust me on this: don’t rush things. Take all the time you need to go through the previous 5 steps of finding your fashion style. It’s might even take few years. It’s important to understand that a defined personal style is an ever-evolving, trial and error process. Experiment, fail, laugh about it, succeed, experiment again… Just like it can’t be built overnight, it can’t be torn down so quickly either. Once you have a strong sense of self, your personal style will follow.
Sorry if this was too long, I wanted to make sure you have the complete style guide in one place. However, those were my thoughts on the subject. I wrote down tips that worked for me, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily work for you too. Bottom line – listen to your inner self, think with your own brain and dress according to your feelings and perceptions. Good luck on your journey of developing personal style! If you have any tips or suggestions on how to find your style, feel free to leave them in the comments!