Developing your Personal Style

The key to looking great is not to follow trends. It’s staying true to your personal style. While fashion trends change every season, our personality, and hence our fashion sense, does not mutate as fast.

By staying true to our personal style, our exterior presence will match our inner self, giving us a great sense of self-belief and projecting trustworthiness to others.

But what if you haven’t found your style yet? What if none of the existing styles represents your personality? You can develop your unique style by searching for inspiration, creating a Pinterest board, and experimenting with the clothes you already own.

People underestimate the power of fashion. And they usually do it because they have constrained themselves into cookie-cutter fashion styles and downplayed the importance of being themselves.

Defining your style and developing a look that describes your personality is a very effective communication tool. It’s the expression of the inner self, which allows us to communicate who we truly are without words.  

Whether you want some help to develop your style or need some suggestions to further refine it, then this article is for you.  

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What Is Personal Style?

Style refers to one individual’s specific way of expressing themselves. In fashion, “style” is usually a synonym of “personal style,” or the way people express themselves through esthetic choices, such as clothing, accessories, hairstyle, and the way they put an outfit together.

Style is not a synonym for trends. A stylish individual may not follow fashion trends, but they stay true to their own values. Having a personal style is about defining a sense of our true self. Over time, new trends may help us fine-tune our style, but it will be quite unlikely that they will drive us toward a U-turn.

Your style should reflect what you like, your creativity (or structure), and your lifestyle. You are creating and nurturing a specific image via a wardrobe. This helps you to express yourself and embody the person you want to be. 

This helps people to better understand who you are, making it easier for you to connect to people who think alike. 

Your personal style can be based on a single existing fashion categories (e.g.: urban, euro-chic, boho) or may combine different categories.

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7 Tips to Help You Find Your Personal Style

Finding your personal style isn’t something you can do overnight, as it is often a trial-and-error approach. However, there are strategies you can use to learn more about the clothing that works for you and reduce the amount of experiment required.

  1. Look at your own closet. Which one of your clothes do you enjoy the most wearing? What are your favourite items in your closet? There must have been something about them that makes you like them and buy them. Find out what it was. Understand what they have in common.

  2. Find further fashion inspiration. Start with family and friends whose you admire. The connection with these people exists because you have something in common. This often translates into a common sense of fashion. Spend time on social media, and observe the outfit choices of people you follow (friends or celebrities). From casual outfits like t-shirts and jeans to office blazers and shirts. Look for fashion bloggers whose style interests you and search for eye-catching outfits. Try to understand their stylists and preferred brands, and see what else they can offer. Fashion magazines are another substantial source. Learn about existing style types and identify the ones you believe better represent you.

    One individual will not inspire your style. Mash up different individual styles to find yours. It is super important that you keep in mind what individual you admire versus what style you actually want to be like. 

    For instance, you can admire Lady Gaga’s and Harry Styles’s fashion senses, but that doesn’t mean you want to wear leather bras, lame shorts, or daring shirts. Nor will these two styles combine well together. 

  3. Create a fashion Pinterest board. A Pinterest board is a great way to work toward developing your personal style. If you are not too keen on technology, an old-school mood board will do just fine. Once you’ve found your fashion inspiration, pin them down on a board. Even if your inspiration feels all over the place, you might discover that most of the pictures have something in common. The models may wear dopamine colours or overall dresses. These common themes help you understand what you like. Organise pins/pictures by thematic groups and identify those pictures that better represent each theme. Use these images as a reference when shopping for new clothes.

  4. Create a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that you can mix and match to create effortless looks. They always include classic pieces in neutral colours that go with everything, like plain T-shirts, white shirts, or black skirts. Keep the items that you like and replace everything else with basic clothes that really work for you. These items may be simple, but they’ll help you define your style by providing a platform for more exciting pieces.

  5. Experiment with unique style choices. Once you have your capsule collection, it’s time to add staple pieces that complete your style. As trial and error will be required, remember that it will take a few iterations before you will complete the wardrobe. Personal style is all about experimenting with clothes to understand what makes you feel good. Start with accessories like belts, bags and hair accessories, then try various non-neutral colours and then mix and match various prints and textures.

  6. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment. At this stage, you should have a firm idea of the styles you like, and a wardrobe that supports your preferences. As finding your style is a journey and not a destination, you need to keep experimenting with different versions of these outfit ideas. 

    You should not be directly copying outfits, but taking items from your style of inspiration and making them your own. This could involve keeping the staple item while adding different accessories or neutral items or switching the proportions of the look to better fit your body shape.

    Experiment, and take a selfie of your combinations so that you can compare them later. Create spin-off outfits from these pictures. You might find you love a silky blouse outfit with jeans, but it can look equally good and more evening appropriate with black pants.  

  7. Find a staple piece. The more you develop your personal style, the more outfits you will successfully try. You will use one or two items with pretty much every outfit. It could be you always wear blazers for work, or you always have a black leather belt, and finally, you will understand what your staple pieces are. 

    Having a staple piece helps define your style. It doesn’t have to be something “loud” or expensive. It has to define you, nothing else.

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