As Stella McCartney once said, “I think personal style starts from within, because it’s a philosophy and an attitude. If you’re honest and true to yourself, you will have the best sense of personal style.”
I spend quite a bit of time thinking about personal style. This might be quite lucid, due to the fact that I have built a career around lifestyle and fashion. However, for me ‘personal style’ goes beyond simply what you wear, it’s a candid reflection of who you are and what you aspire to be.
It drives me crazy when I hear people mention that they “have no style” or that “fashion is wasted on them.” I mean, in no way does one need to hold as much interest in the subject as I do, but ultimately everyone has a style, it just comes down to if that style is an appropriate reflection of who you are.
Great style, whether it’s ‘on trend’ or not – doesn’t matter, ultimately is about feeling beautiful and comfortable in your own skin. What you wear should give you the ability to approach each day with poise and confidence. Once you have found this, you have unlocked the gold mine to your very own, unique personal style.
“Fashion is a trend. Style lives within a person,” – Oscar de la Renta
How does one find their personal style?
Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step instruction manual to finding your personal style, as it’s, well, personal! With that being said, there are a few tools that you can use to guide you in the right direction.
First of all, as with most things when it comes to soul searching, personal style is always evolving. One day you might love your pair of vintage Levis or Louboutins and the next, you might be chucking them in the giveaway pile. That’s OK! Just because your style changes doesn’t mean you no longer know what your personal style is. It actually means the opposite, that you know yourself well enough to move on from a style or piece of clothing when it no longer suits you – or as Emily Gilmore would say, “if it doesn’t bring you joy!”
What inspires you?
Everyone has interests, hobbies and people they look up to in some way, shape, or form. These are the things that make up a huge part of who you are, so turning to them for style inspiration is warranted. Whether you play soccer, enjoy watercolor painting or diving into a novel makes you giddy, these are all things that will and could be reflective in your everyday style. The soccer player, may have a bit more of an athletic edge to his/her look, the painter may love wearing beautiful colors and the novelist may enjoy a more minimalistic look to compliment their love for mystery and adventure. You get the idea!
Let your lifestyle tell a story
What you do on a regular day-to-day basis is also a large factor that contributes to your style. If you work in a corporate office setting, chances are business attire mixed with practicality will be a huge part of your wardrobe. However, if you are a freelancer, like myself, and work from home or out of coffee shops, you get a bit (and by a bit a mean a lot) more room to play around with different styles and comfort levels. Your career is a part of who you are, as well as, what you choose to do in your spare time. Allowing yourself the freedom take these situations and wear outfits that are appropriate with your own flare, are what will define a very large part of your personal style.
What are you most comfortable in? For me this is sweatpants, leggings, plaid and sneakers – yes that is the definition of lazy. However, I also know women who don’t enjoy going into public without dressing up in a pair of heels and a fitted blazer. For them, the thought of putting on sneakers and leggings is a painful, and vise verse. Now, I realize leggings are not always warranted in every situation. However, scoring a baggy pair of dress pants that flatter your figure, feel like sweats and make it look like you dressed for the occasion, is a perfect instance of combining your style needs with your style wants – especially if they are a staple that you can wear to work every day! Win win!
My least favorite word when it comes to a shopping trip. As much as I wish I could shop at Ted Baker and Kate Spade on a regular basis, it’s just not feasible for my bank account – a girl can dream! However, there is nothing wrong with looking at these labels and drawing inspiration from them. Don’t let your budget be the defining factor of what you wear. Instead, shop smart, set boundaries and look for unique pieces that you can work into your wardrobe and style.
Extenuate your assets
What is your favorite asset about yourself? This could anything from the color of your eyes to your always-toned shoulders to your booty. Regardless, buying clothes that compliment your assets is a sure way to find a style that makes you feel confident and good in your own skin.
The key to finding your style is asking yourself the right questions! Is what I am wearing who I want to convey myself as? Do I feel confident? Am I comfortable? Do I feel beautiful? Do I still have money in the bank since I purchased this piece?
If your answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions then maybe spend some time reevaluating. Ultimately, your style should tell a story of who you are and accurately represent your personal brand, while allowing you to feel like the best version of yourself each and every day.
“Create your own style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others,” – Anna Wintour
What is my personal style?
Well, that is a darn good question! Ultimately being a blogger and freelance writer hugely influences what I wear on a daily basis. Take this outfit, for instance, it’s by far one of the most comfortable outfits in my wardrobe right now, yet it’s something I could get away with wearing to a business meeting.
It took me an eternity to find a pair of boyfriend jeans that actually fit my derrière, and now it’s rare to see me not wearing them. However, they very easily look sloppy and potentially homeless, so I always have to be careful of what I wear on top. This sweater is perfect because it’s cropped, therefore it still gives me a waistline, while balancing the perfect level of baggy – and it’s basically the comfiest sweater I own. I accessorized with a choker and my bow chain. The choker I felt added a bit more complexity and chicness to the outfit, and the bow, well I named my blog ‘floralandbows,’ so there’s your answer to that one. Lastly, my glorious white sneakers I felt just tied the whole outfit together – and they are also SO comfy (are you beginning to see a trend!).
No matter what I have been doing in my life or how much my style has changed, there are a few, for a lack of a better word, trends that have always remained a constant. I would say these are what make up my true personal style, no matter what sort of fashion phase I am going through.
- Floral patterns – you can dress it up or down and I always fall in love with the beautiful prints!
- Button up shirts – these I find you can wear with any sort of bottoms and are so much fun to accessorize. I even find myself mixing masculine shirts with feminine statement necklaces a lot of the time.
- Plaid – oh how I love plaid! It’s perfect for just about any occasion and is great for layering.
- Collars – call me crazy, but my dickey is one of my favorite things I own. It can take a crew neck from casual to chic in an instant.
- Loafers – through the years these have gone from moccasins, to flats to boat shoes to sneakers. Regardless I try and make sure they are the perfect combination of comfortable and chic.
For inspiration, I would say I pull a lot of styles from the 50’s and 60’s, as those are my favorite fashion eras, along with minimalistic Scandinavian styles and classic Parisian looks. Basically, my personal style is a mix of my life, career, interests and things I have been inspired by throughout my travels – and it’s forever changing and evolving!
Choker – Salt Water Tea
Bow Chain – Bronze & Butterflies
Sweater – Community from Aritzia
Jeans – AGOLDE from Aritzia
Sneakers – Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker
All photos were taken by the lovely Sarah Beau of Sarah Beau Photography!