6 Steps to Discover Your Personal Style
I never thought I'd see the day... but the day has come... As painstakingly it is to admit, the older I get, the more I sound like my mother when it comes to the current trends... As I see the young-ins and teens be-bopping around in the latest fashions, I hear myself saying all too frequently, "I used to wear that in middle school..." "I remember when that was trendy in high school..." Where has the time gone?!? I'm a fairly fresh 30 so you won't see me trying to stay hip and rocking the latest high school trends, but I will be happy to show you that it is possible to still be stylish while dressing your age.
Regardless of age, here are 6 Steps to Discover your Personal Style.
1. REDISCOVER your closet.
Have you noticed how easy it is to have a closet full of clothes and yet feel like, "you have NOTHING to wear," despite the fact that your friends would give anything to switch closets with you? This is when creativity comes into play along with learning how to look at your clothes with a new perspective and fresh eyes to create new combinations of clothes you already own.
To get a fresh new look at your clothes, organize your closet first to see what all you have. You will likely rediscover items you forgot about, realize just how much you have, and find pieces that you're ready to part with! Now some would say I'm a bit over-the-top... but my closet is currently organized in categories with each section organized in ROY-G-BIV order (blazers, cardigans, tops, tanks, camis, dresses, pants, you get the idea...). Many times we gravitate towards buying things we already have so this way it's easy to see if you really need that 6th black T...
If your closet needs a reorganizational makeover, check out 7 Steps to Revamp Your Closet, for a step-by-step guide to declutter and reorganize your closet!
While you're at it, organize your accessories and jewelry so that they're easy to see, making accessorizing easy and fun.
What pieces bring you joy?
As you are reorganizing your closet, take the opportunity to discover which pieces bring you joy and which ones you are ready to part with. One of my favorite tips came from Marie Kondo's must-read book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing". Her tip is to put your hands on everything you own and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service, time or purpose it served in your life and pass it on so someone else can experience joy from it. Being someone that has a hard time parting with things, this tip was eye-opening for me.
2. Take time for some Self-reflection.
Next it's time to partake in a little self-reflection. First take a look at the items in your closet that bring you joy. Consider these pieces a strong example and great starting point at discovering your personal style.
Next grab a journal and describe yourself in 10 words. If you need a little help, ask a close friend or family member to describe you. Do the pieces in your wardrobe reflect these characteristics?
Reflect and journal on a few more thoughts:
If you could be from (and/or dress from) any ERA or DECADE, what would that be?
What ACTIVITIES do you enjoy?
What's UNIQUE about you?
What's your favorite QUALITY about yourself?
What makes you HAPPY?
What do you WISH others would realize more about you?
What are your favorite COLORS?
Would you consider yourself a SIMPLE person or COMPLEX?
Do you appreciate DETAILS or do you prefer the BASICS?
Are you more of a PEARL or DIAMOND type of girl?
Do you prefer to live BY THE RULES, or do you like to COLOR OUTSIDE the lines?
What colors and style do you gravitate towards with your HOME DECOR?
Do you prefer things to be in BLACK & WHITE or do you prefer to live in the GREY zone?
As you start thinking about what makes you uniquely you, continue to sift through your wardrobe and analyze your style. Take note of which items stand out to you, bring you joy, and reflect the unique person you are.
Lastly, if you could only select 10 pieces from you wardrobe, which pieces would these be and why? The answers to these questions should all be revealing clues as to your personal style. Keep this in mind and your journal nearby as you continue through the remaining steps to elevate your personal style to the next level.
3. Back to BAsics.
After you have reorganized your closet and discovered the pieces that represent you the most, next take a look at your basics, go-to's, and neutrals. Here are a few examples to get you started...
your go-to, wear-anywhere jeans
favorite vintage jeans
white jeans or pants
grey or khaki jeans/pants
favorite pair of colored jeans
neutral sweater dusters or blazers
LBD (little black dress)
cute and casual skirt
go-to plain T or statement T
cute tennies / casual shoes
The basics you selected will be your go-to essentials that you can easily coordinate with your newly rediscovered items that reflect your personal style to create fresh, new looks. Mix and match these basics with your latest finds and favorite pieces, along with adding accessories and/or jewelry to pull the outfit all together and make the style your own.
4. Embrace CREATIVITY. Think outside the box.
Style is way more than just the latest trends. Style encompasses the creativity, uniqueness, and personal touches that make up the outfits you wear with the pieces you already have in your closet.
Your personal style projects the image that you want others to perceive about you. Whether that's laid-back, fashion-forward, vintage, comfy casual, modern glam, sporty, business fab, a wild card depending on the day, or any other unique style combination, our personal style is just one of the many ways to express the uniqueness that resides in us and our soul's essence.
Looking great doesn't have to come with a high price tag. Incorporating something new or trendy to the pieces you already own can help to make the most of your closet along with keeping you from breaking the bank.
Sometimes I just go to the mall without my purse so that I can window shop for new inspiration and ideas without making any impulsive buys. Once I have a few new ideas, I look at my closet with a new perspective and piece together some updated outfit combinations while they are fresh in my mind. You may discover new ways to wear things as you bring life back to the clothes in your closet. You'll be surprised with how many new outfits and color combinations you can create once you start thinking outside the box. Take pictures of some of your favorite wardrobe combinations so you can quickly locate and coordinate when strapped for time.
5. Play up COLOR.
Sure black is basic and black is safe, but color can take you to an entirely new level. What colors are you drawn to? What colors look best on you? Ignoring the latest trends and seasons, the first step is to discover which colors look best on you, based on your skin-tone and coloring. If you need a little help, think back to the last time someone commented how great a specific color looked on you.
Generally you will fall into one of these 3 categories: warm, cool, or neutral. If you need a little more help, head to the makeup counter or Sephora and ask a beauty consultant what coloring you have as makeup colors that look best on you tend to correspond with outfit colors as well. After you have discovered if you are warm, cool, or neutral, look at some of the colors in that category to determine which colors look best on you based on your coloring category. Does your wardrobe reflect these flattering colors?
Not saying you only have to stick to colors that fall in your coloring category, but wearing these colors will not only compliment your skin tone, but can give you that extra wow factor to help you look and feel radiant. If you have a color that you love but it just isn't flattering with your coloring, wear it as an accessory (necklace, purse, belt, shoes, etc.) or as pants or a skirt while wearing a more flattering color near your face.
If you're new to the color world, start by incorporating one pop of color with neutrals until you start feeling more comfortable with combining various colors.
6. Use your unique FEATURES to your advantage.
We are all blessed with varying body shapes and unique features. Have someone you know and trust help you select clothes and styles that look great with your unique body shape and showcase your favorite features. We aren't all built like tall, skinny green beans, with legs that go on forever. Learn to embrace your unique body shape, and find styles that work best and flatter your body type, while using it to your advantage. Accentuate and play up your best features whether that's a slim waistline, long legs, sporty calves, breathtaking eyes, defined ankles, awesome shoulders, or any other feature!
Make friends with your seamstress. Not only can a few simple alterations update your wardrobe, but tailoring your clothes to make them fit like they were designed for you can make a world of difference.
Last but not least, your bonus step...
CONFIDENCE, your most important accessory.
When it comes to style, really anything goes these days. Trends come and go but the no-fail trick to any outfit is making sure you don't leave the house without your most important accessory, confidence. Dressing yourself with confidence by the way you present yourself and owning your style decisions can make any outfit go from, "Yikes, what's going on with that?!?," to "Wow, she looks like a rockstar!"
Have fun with the latest styles, but be your own trendsetter, and don't be afraid to break the rules too. Use your creativity and discover styles and color combinations that look and feel like you as you continue to create and define your own personal style!