Style is beyond what outfits you put together in the morning; it’s a visual story you present to the world. It’s the very first layer of the onion, if you will – the onion being you, of course.
When I was exploring the world of fashion, I fell hard into a few genres of dress; I was super into the punk rock/grunge look, at another point in time I refused to wear anything but girly dresses, and during the mid aughts, I decided that maximalism was for me. Hint: it wasn’t.
This was the rebellion I sought after having my mother dressing me for years, no less in clothes that made me look even more like an awkward teenager than I already was (believe it or not, she bought me a t-shirt that read “most likely to steal your boyfriend” — which is not true, especially not when I was 13 and was still navigating the tides of unreciprocated crushes and fleeting “romances” with the boy I made eye contact with at the grocery store for a second).
The results of the aforementioned are twofold:
- I have a ton of hilarious photos of me looking very awkward through each phase.
- I was able to grow out of those phases and take elements I liked and that reflected the parts of me that inclined me to try these styles out in the first place.
As cheesy as it sounds, your journey begins from within. By looking at your history, as well as your needs and desires, assessing what works for you and then synthesizing that into a recognizably you look, you’ll have established a personal sense of style.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Let’s time travel
If you’re someone who hasn’t had a generally defined look, or on the other end of the spectrum, has had a distinguishable style, spot and reflect on the outliers.
Have you experimented with different styles or dipped your toes in trends here and there? If you can identify what drew you to them, you can set up a base to understand the very core of your style.
Reflect and Refine
Study what you already own! Do you have certain pieces in your closet that you wear over and over again? Take a second to unpack that – why do you find yourself reaching for it?
This is also a good time for a closet clear out – Marie Kondo style! Get rid of (meaning, donate!) the pieces that you haven’t worn in ages (let’s be real, we all have a few things we’ve held on to but will probably never wear again), items you’ve fallen out of love with, and only keep the ones that only “spark joy” for you.
Where do you find your inspo?
Identify your style icons; people you think rock a certain look you feel inspired by.
Note: They don’t necessarily have to fall under one category, either.
This exercise will help you pinpoint a few elements that can become the puzzle pieces you’ll play with and put together to create look you love and that you feel represents you.
You, but amplified!
Our last step requires you to look at yourself and your life in a way that would make your personal style truly and wholly yours.
Is there a part of your identity that you would like to reflect? How strongly do you want to translate this, visually?
How much does your lifestyle factor in to the way you dress yourself?
By diving in and truly assessing the answers to those questions, I believe you can find an equilibrium that balances what you’re passionate about and how practically you can apply it in your day-to-day life.
This isn’t the end
As I said earlier – style is a visual story you present to the world. In saying so, your story will evolve across time; there will be times you might even rewrite your narrative! What I’m getting at is – as you grow, your sense of style will also grow parallel to your journey; style isn’t static!