We all feel at our personal best when we’re looking and feeling good. How we get there is understanding our personal style and selecting pieces that best complement our lifestyles, circumstances, body shapes and self-image. But with all those factors, it can be easier said than done. Often times, as our personal circumstances change we can feel a bit lost. Perhaps we’re making the transition from student to young professional, or we’ve started a family and find that kids have more of an impact on our wardrobes that we’d like. Knowing how to adapt when life changes and still maintain your own sense of identity can be challenging, but if we achieve it, highly rewarding.
Because personal style goes beyond the aesthetic – it’s about who we are, and what we want to communicate to the world. It can give us the little confidence boost to face the trials of everyday life and situations that are beyond our comfort zones. There are three basic components – understanding what you like, what works for your body type and looks good on you, and how to shop for those items. Here’s where to begin:
- Find Your Inspiration
First of all, you need to work out what the style is that makes your heart sing. Are you a sleek, minimal maven in the mould of Meghan Markle? Into hipster-chic and quirky looks like Alexa Chung? Is your preferred look edgier? Pinterest boards are a great place to start when looking for style inspiration. It doesn’t even have to be celebrities – bloggers, people on the street or that you know in real life can also influence what you’d like to wear. At this stage, its just ideas, so don’t feel hemmed in – just be guided by what your heart responds to.
- Have a Clean Out
Like most of us, you probably have a wardrobe full of clothes that either don’t fit, don’t suit you, or that you bought as a ‘bargain’ in the sales and never wore. So before you begin adding to your wardrobe, take the opportunity to have a good clear out first. If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, begin with the hanger hack – turn all the hangers in your wardrobe so that they’re facing the wrong way. Turn a hanger round when you’ve worn something. After a month or so, you’ll be able to see exactly what you really do wear and what is just wishful thinking. Get everything out and divide into piles to keep and to donate. If you’re unsure, try to be ruthless and place it in the donate pile. The idea is to make space to start rebuilding your wardrobe for who you are now – not who you aspire to be, or were five years ago. Less options also saves you time by making it a lot easier to get dressed in the morning.
- Learn to Shop Smarter
Now you’ve cleared the decks, you can think about filling in the gaps in your wardrobe with items that are more relevant. But don’t make the mistake of running down to the shops without a plan. Go back through your inspiration board and make a list of the key pieces that occur time and again in the outfits you love – is it a leather pencil skirt? A well-fitted pair of jeans? A silk shirt? Get savvy by buying the best quality you can afford –join mailing lists and hunt down sales, but only buy the items on your list to avoid off-track impulse purchases. Focus only on the gaps to nail the style you like.
- Love How You Live
Your new wardrobe needs to combine the style you love with also suiting your lifestyle. For example, its no good filling your basket with dry-clean only tops and high heels if you spend all day chasing your toddler around the park. Your style is allowed to be creative, an d aspirational, but it also has to fit with your line of work, where you live and your goals. It doesn’t mean that you can’t own the pieces you love, just that you need to find a way to combine them with what will work on a practical level.
- Consider Your Accessories
Accessories really are your best friend, because they can completely change the vibe of your look and appearance. Love edgy, creative fashion but need to be more conservative in a corporate environment? The rock the tailored skirt suit, but with a bold, statement necklace that injects creativity. Even plain jeans and a tee can look amazing if you elevate them with some sleek accessories. Add an edgy vibe with piercings – check out the ultimate guide to ear piercings to choose the right ones – or layer on a patterned scarf and a stack of cuffs, or even just swap your plain black pumps for some ankle boots in a daring colour. Accessories are a great way to add in colour and pattern if you feel safer sticking to the basics with the actual clothes.
- Be True To Yourself
The single most important factor in all of this is to remain true to yourself. Don’t get hung up on particular labels, or a dress size as this will stop you being creative. Fashion is all about experimentation – try things and see what sticks! Stay true to your taste and what you feel best in and you will always look good. Having style is not about being a certain size, or slavishly following trends if you don’t want to. What you feel comfortable and confident in is always what will look best on you. When you feel good, you’ll automatically stand a little straighter and smile more, and that’s something that people notice. It may sound like a cliché but it’s definitely true.
Finding your personal style is definitely a journey rather than a destination – so try to enjoy the process. Remember that if you really get stuck, there are plenty of personal stylists out there who can help advise what might suit your body type.
** Note: This is a collaborative post, image and text has been provided to us for a small fee.