What Is Personal Style?
Before I can guide you on how to find your personal style, you gotta have a clear cut idea on what personal style actually is. Personal style is a hard thing to describe, but it’s based on the fabric, colour, style/trend, mood, likes (and dislikes), lifestyle and budget that shape your wardrobe, or the closet you desire.
How to Define Your Personal Style
Do you prefer colourful clothing, or a specific palette? What about texture? Reference the options I listed above (fabric, colour, mood, etc.) and make note of what you like and looks good on your body. Scrolling through Pinterest is a great way to also guide you. What fashion pics draw your eye? A quick look through your style board can tell you what you are drawn to as far as boho-chic, classic, casual, street chic, etc.
There are also quizzes, such as this one from Topshop that can help you identify what style profile you might fall under, as well as also give you actual outfit suggestions that are customized by size, cost, and colour.
Once you take inventory of what colours, fabrics, trends, and moods make you happy to dress yourself in, you can apply the following 5 steps to determine what personal fashion style fits you…
5 Steps To Help Define Your Personal Style
1. Pick Your 3
I have a working theory that everyone has three body areas that are their strongest features. For instance, I create outfits that highlight + focus on 1-2 of my features at a time, which for me are my legs (I’m 5’11”), my back, and my neckline to cleavage area. Typically, if I show off my legs, I cover up my top area and vice versa. I think it looks really chic and stylish to draw the eyes to one main area, so I usually opt to only show off one of my three areas at a time. If you’re unsure of what your 3 areas are, try playing around with different looks and styles to see what makes you look the best. Maybe you have a small waist, so crop tops will suit you nicely, or maybe your arms are toned, so sleeveless shirts + dresses pair really nicely. Once you find your 3, choose pieces that accentuate those areas whenever possible.
2. Style Profile
Do you know what style you align with? To get an idea of what style profiles there are, check out fashion magazines, blogs, Pinterest, etc. which dedicate pages to showcasing various styles, sometimes in mix and match styles. Boho-chic, sporty, preppy, street chic, glam, trendy, etc. are all examples of style profiles. You don’t have to fall into just one style either. Most of my outfits and style preferences fall between boho-chic and street style chic. or a combination thereof. The most important thing to remember if you’re wanting to change your style is to pay attention to the types of styles, patterns, colours, and mood of the style that most catches your eye and then check out other outfits that fall under that category. #ootd (outfit of the day) is a great tag to check out to get a range of clothing styles to choose from.
3. Style Icons
Find the people (usually celebs) who’s closet you would die for, trade for, live for. For me, my style icons are Bianca Jagger, Blake Lively, Ashley Madekwe, and Kendall Jenner/Gigi Hadid. My style crushes show what type of fashion I’m into- relaxed, sexy looks, that are comfortable but show off my body in classy ways. Picking several style icons can help determine and narrow down what types of styles you’re into so you can build, re-frame or add to your wardrobe based on your icon profiles.
Another big factor that I often see other blogs omit is your lifestyle. Fashion is based on style, but everyday fashion is also based on function. What kind of lifestyle do you have? Do you have an active one where it would be hard to wear heels and dresses, or do you have a social one where it would be hard to get away with attending events in casual wear? These are important factors into deciding if you want one overall wardrobe aesthetic, or perhaps a week/end wardrobe split into function and fashion style.
5. Where to Shop
Lastly, budget is definitely a wardrobe criterion. Most of us don’t get gifted designer threads and accessories, so our wallet also sets a boundary in what our wardrobe will consist of or be purchased from. That’s not to say that budget will define what you wear, it just means you have to select wisely and scout stores and shops that carry items you want within your budget. People are constantly surprised where I pick up elements of my wardrobe because I shop everywhere. When I had less of a budget, I shopped around looking for deals, sales and rare vintage pieces, etc. You can have the wardrobe you want without spending a fortune until you have the means to do (if you want). I find a ton of amazing local stores through Instagram and friends. I also live in LA where there is no shortage of eye-catching retail, so it’s easy to pop in and out of stores and find the latest that caters to my fashion wants.