The Aesthetic of Personal Style

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.

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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!”

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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!blog-43-fb

Budget
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!).

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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.

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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!blog-64-fb

Outfit details:

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!

XX Kristy

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Style Profile: Mia Loiselle “A Vintage Affair”

 

Mia, a fellow yyc communications/PR professional, is an avid world traveller, and an adventure enthusiast at heart. Her personal style is bold, vibrant and fresh, as she is constantly experimenting with the latest vintage find that she has acquired. What I love about her style is that there are no boundaries to the eclectic and creative looks’ that she puts together. Whether we are going for brunch, or out for drinks at a classy speakeasy, Mia is always showcasing her personality through chic, original, attire with an added vintage flare!

Mia’s Style Philosophy

“It’s all about contrast! I love to pair pieces that wouldn’t traditionally go together. I generally try to have one piece that stands out and can maybe spark a conversation, paired with something that shouldn’t really go with it, and just make it work!”

Something Mia plays around with a lot is masculine vs feminine looks. She is inspired by menswear and will typically pair something with a more masculine shape with something very feminine and girly.

One thing that I love about Mia’s style is her ability to take a piece, experiment with it and find 100 creative ways to wear it, pairing it with different lengths, color combos and accessories. Her wardrobe is a complete collection of signature, one-of-a-kind pieces that she has acquired throughout her travels, from vintage shops, high-end retail stores and local boutiques.

“Generally when I find a piece I love, I will wear it till I am either extremely sick of it, or I find a new piece that I am inspired by.”

Minimalism is Mia’s current jewelry standard. Very simple chains and studs are all she uses to complete a look. Her current obsession is rings, as her fingers are covered with numerous dainty to larger chunky bands.

Mia’s Style Inspiration

“I find my style inspiration mainly through Instagram, as well as just creeping people’s street style. I love to people watch, especially when I travel and I usually incorporate something from every place I go into my current style. Right now, I am living in Copenhagen and everyone here wears a lot of black and grey, so I find myself stepping away from colour more and more.”

Artsy to Local Grunge

This is a great look for a night when you are attending multiple events, each with a bit of a different dress code! It’s girly yet relaxed, demonstrating Mia’s love for opposition. You would typically see Mia wearing this outfit at a gallery opening and then later at a concert.

“With the hat I was looking for something that had a little more structure + character to it than the classic floppy felt hat. This hat from Anthropologie caught my eye immediately. It feels like something I might steal from an especially stylish boyfriend, sort of menswear-inspired, with the beautiful ribbon making it more feminine. 

This original vintage Levis vest was a fantastic find. I found it perusing a tiny vintage store in Victoria a few years ago. The best part – the sleeves were ripped off by its previous owner, giving it so much more depth and character than a regular Levis vest.  

I paired the vest with a Wilfred Free, pale purple baby doll dress to create that contrast and make the look more feminine.

These black pointy, leather boots are one of those accessories that can complete just about any look and are one of my favorite accessories right now. I found them at Fond Vintage Boutique right here in Calgary.”

Casual Before 3pm

Juxtaposing elements of different lengths, textures, patterns and shapes are what make this look unique – the perfect combination of casual + chic street style. Each piece is inherently different, but layered together they compliment each other, making each piece stand out. This is the perfect look for a coffee date or a lunchtime catch-up with friends.

“The hat was simple, I picked it up from H&M, in the men’s department of course.

The jeans are a pair of Levis Originals that I picked up on a recent trip to Vancouver. I had been searching for the perfect pair of 80’s/90’s Levis for years, so I snatched these up when I saw them at an adorable vintage shop hidden within Gastown. Unfortunately they are a little bit big, but nothing a belt can’t fix. This lavender belt is a classic staple from American apparel.

Impractical (for Calgary) is the word that best describes this coat, but I love it! I found it at Anthropology and originally bought it to wear in Vancouver in the fall. However, it has become one of the staples in my wardrobe and I will wear it in any season, regardless of the temperature.

Both of these are bold pieces, so I paired them with a rose colored, classic Wilfred long-sleeve crop-top that balances out this look.

These are beautiful flats – I love the pattern! They add character and stand out against the lighter pastel colors in this look. The best part about them, they were $20 at Forever 21!”

Girls Night Out!

Everyone needs that one outfit that fully embodies their personal style and makes them feel beautiful and confident! This edgy yet stylish look is one of Mia’s favorites, and not to mention versatile, working for dive bar drinks or classy cocktails.

“This classic knit was a great score from Banana Republic on a summer trip to Portland. The high neckline makes it incredibly versatile and can be easily dressed up or down. The loose knit texture makes it great for summer or winter and is an easy travel piece because it doesn’t wrinkle.

These are a pair of basic black, high-wasted jeans from Urban Outfitters that I ripped myself. It started off as an accident and I liked the look so I did it on the other side. Also beats paying the $200 for Rag & Bone’s ripped jeans!

This 50’s silk scarf is near and dear to me, as it is from my Grandma’s beautiful scarf collection. The intricate and detailed pattern is beautiful against a neutral palette and easily dresses up a look at a moments notice.

Together the scarf and the knit top create a more dressed up look. The ripped jeans take the outfit down a notch, making it more interesting and bar appropriate, rather than high-tea attire – again contrasting between shapes and textures!  

Impractical seems to be a trend in my style, but it makes looks’ more interesting – so I always commit! These ridiculously high heels are a pair of never-worn Jeffry Campbell’s from a thrift store in Portland.”

Tailored Dinnertime Chic

Layered with a bold standout skirt, this outfit is a fresh way to do dinner! The busy, bright pattern on the skirt, layered with a delicate lace ballerina long sleeve, makes for a scene-stealing look.

“The top is a Free People that has survived many closet deep-cleans. I love it mainly because of the delicate lace and the crisscross details in the back. It is the perfect top to pair with a brightly patterned or textured bottom.

I was attracted to the big, bold, overpowering pattern on this skirt in a vintage boutique in Chilliwack. Originally it belonged to the owner of the shop and was a beach cover up she had purchased in Hawaii, some years before I stumbled upon it. I folded down the top and secured it with the drawstring to create a bold and structured maxi skirt.”

xoxo Kristy

Photographed by: Kristy Archibald

Styled by: Mia Loiselle