“Our clothes tell a story.
Our clothes reflect our personality and what’s important to us.”
-Anuschka Rees, The Curated Closet
Recently, I’ve been reading The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees and it inspired me to write about defining your personal style. For most of my life, I only had a vague idea of what I liked to wear. I’ve always been into fashion ever since I was a little girl, but could never quite figure it out for myself. My solution to this was to hoard as many clothes as possible in hopes that maybe I’d end up liking some of them. And yet every morning the same dreaded mantra would replay in my head. I have nothing to wear.
When I went from being a shopaholic to a minimalist, my sense of personal style became very clear as I culled my wardrobe. Everyday I can put together an effortless look by simply pulling things off the hanger that I already know I love.
Defining your personal style will make your life (and mornings) easier by helping you:
- Figure out what you do and don’t like
- Build a wardrobe of everything you love
- Learn how to style different outfits with the same pieces
- Achieve your ideal signature look
ESTABLISH A COLOR PALETTE
Having a limited and defined color selection in your wardrobe will make it easier to mix and match individual pieces to create a variety of different looks. Choose 3-5 colors that you can base your outfits around so that you no longer have to look at a closet full of 30 different colors and not know how to put them all together.
IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL SIGNATURE LOOK
Think about what kind of vibe you want to give off with your clothes. What do you want your clothes to say about you? What look do you want people to associate you with? Try to pick three words or phrases that describe the style you have or the one you want to achieve.
BUY FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE
We all have those clothing items in our wardrobes that we fantasize about wearing but never seem to get around to. The truth is, we dress for the kind of life we live. So why do we buy things we know we’ll never wear? Why do we hold on to these “just in case” items? To avoid giving in to this tendency, break down your life into categories such as school, work, fancy or professional events, gym/physical activity, and so on. These categories will be different for everyone, depending on what you do on a day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, visualizing the lifestyle you already have will help you dress- and shop- accordingly.
My personal favorite. Find different styles and individuals that inspire you. Instagram and Pinterest are a great place to start, but it’s even better if you can venture out to different platforms: bloggers, YouTubers, magazines, even observing the styles of people you see on a regular basis. Notice what they’re wearing and how they style their pieces together.
Gather together images of outfits and styles that you like. You can use Pinterest for this, or create a mood board on a computer program, or even do it the old-fashioned way and glue printed images onto poster paper. Having all of these images in one cohesive state will help you start to put the pieces together and find out what outfits, individual pieces, fits, colors, etc. that you gravitate toward most.
WHY DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
Defining your personal style doesn’t happen overnight. Your style will evolve and change throughout different stages of your life. But taking small steps to defining your personal style will give you a foundation to work around as you grow.
For example, I now know that I have and always will wear fairly neutral colors. Not wearing color isn’t restricting for me, I’m just drawn to a more monochrome palette and I like the way I look in shades like black, grey and white. Since I’ve established this palette for myself and I’m confident that it’s my personal style, it has made both shopping for new clothes and dressing myself so much easier.
Defining your personal style is not only about being conscious in your decisions, but owning the right things that will add value to your life and reflect who you are and the person you want to be.