Quick Tip: Determining Your Personal Style

Style Books

Fashion magazines, style books, and runway shows all are great sources of inspiration, but personal style is just that: personal. Individual. How do you want to dress? What types of clothing make you look and feel your best? Which pieces make you squeal with glee*?

Here are a few things that helped me to figure out my personal style:

  • Tear out pictures from magazines, catalogs, etc. Although I’m terribly prone to overanalyze things, I try not to edit myself or to give each picture very much thought at all; I simply compile a stack of images that I like or that speak to me in some positive way. Later, I give my tear-outs a more in depth look, trying to figure out what it is about the images that draw me in (color, fit, mood, and so on).
  • Don’t be misled by a pretty face. My hub thinks it’s funny that I do this, but when I’m trying to decide how I feel about a look in a magazine, I cover up the model or celeb’s face. Joan Smalls and Liya Kebede can make anything look good, so when I start to think that yes, I should wear eight different floral prints together on my yacht, this helps me decide whether I actually like the clothes or whether I’m being a victim of great marketing.

InStyle Magazines

(Seriously, where is my Jan 2013 InStyle? Can’t find it.)

  • Try to describe your desired style… Using the tear-outs and other fashion inspiration as a guide, create a list of words that exemplify  your desired style of dressing. For me, “preppy,” “classic,” and “tomboyish” start the list.
  • …But don’t put yourself in a box. While I naturally gravitate towards things a prep school boy might wear – I’ve never met a fitted striped button down or classic tailored blazer I didn’t like :-) – some days I might want to dress like I’m at a festival, or a garden party, or even a rodeo. (Don’t even get me started on my crush on tie-dye.) That’s okay.
  • Buy and wear what you love. If I spend $2.75 on a top and never wear it because I feel “meh” about it, then I’ve wasted $2.75. And I do not like wasting $2.75.

*Does everyone spontaneously go “eeeee!” when they find or revisit pieces they absolutely love? It’s not just me, is it? Not only am I a gleeful squealer, but I have also been known to do a happy two-step down the fitting room hallway. I do try to stop myself from having the salesperson cut the tags off so I can wear the clothes out the store like a two-year-old with new shoes, though :-)

How would you describe your personal style?

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