Define Your Style
How to get off the trends treadmill - in 3 easy steps!
How would you define your personal style? Can you define it? Could you do it if someone dangled this season’s Gucci Dionysus embroidered shoulder bag tantalizingly close to your face and told you it was yours, if only you could describe your style, accurately, in 3 words?
If this sounds like something you would struggle to do, my guess is you’ve been following fleeting fashion trends for too long, and you’ve lost your fashion mojo – that distinct essence that only you can bring to an outfit.
Not to worry, it’s easily done! We are constantly bombarded by press articles, email newsletters and Instagram posts telling us which ‘must-haves’, hot trends and It-bags of the season no self-respecting style queen could possibly be seen without (case in point my reference to this season’s Gucci Dionysus)!
But if we follow every trend slavishly, I think we lose our sense of personal style and as a result, are left confused, frazzled and overwhelmed with stuff we just don’t wear because they’re just not us!
I’ve been thinking about what it is to have a distinct, personal style. In an effort to help get us all get off this exhausting trend treadmill, I’ve created a guide to help you define yours.
And it all starts with just 3 little words…
The purpose of selecting 3 words is to focus your mind on the look and style you want to achieve. This makes the 3-step process much easier to achieve.
Why don’t I start? In 3 words, my style is colourful, funky and fearless. I don’t pick these words to flatter myself – I’d love to say it’s cool or laid-back or street, but that’s just not me! So I guess that’s tip number one – be honest!
Now you try it – 3 words only!
Was that more difficult than you imagined? Do you like the three words you chose? If not, what 3 words do you wish you could have picked? Read on and I’ll help you get there with my 3-step guide to RE-defining your style. Once you do this, I promise you’ll recapture your confidence and fall in love with fashion again.
1. Colour Me Happy!
First, list your favourite colours. These are not the colours you wear all the time, these are the ones that make your heart sing! The ones that make you feel happy, positive and energised. I suggest picking between 3 and 5. These colours should then form the heart of your wardrobe. That doesn’t mean most of the items in your wardrobe have to be in these colours, it simply means that you should look for statement pieces that contain one or more of these colours and then look to combine, contrast, mix and match them with basics or anchoring pieces – staples if you will.
Budgeting tip 2:
If you do decide to shop, colourful items can often be found at the rear of many retail stores, on sale, at excellent prices, or if you’re shopping online, google your favourite colour + the item you're looking for (e.g. scarf) + the word “sale” for a great shortcut to finding colour-specific pieces at knock-down prices.
Budgeting tip 1:
If your wardrobe contains none of your favourite colours, start by acquiring a scarf or statement necklace. I say acquiring for a reason – you don’t need to shop if you’ve got willing friends who are up for a swap-shop evening over a glass or two of Prosecco! Why not share this post to get them on board, redefining their style too!
2. Make a Statement Without Saying a Word
What do you want your clothes to say about you?
When you look at your wardrobe, what over-arching impression do you get from the clothes it contains? Is it sober and businesslike, or nebulous, poorly-defined and structure-less? If the answers to these questions are not the ones you want to hear, what items do you need to acquire, and which do you need to ditch, to better achieve the statement style you desire?
Are you organized, efficient, neat and tidy? Or do you at least want to appear so? Look for stripes, checks and block colours in darker tones, then use brighter accessories to add interest and colour, as above.
Maybe you’re creative, wacky and a little bit whimsical. Do your clothes reflect or suppress that side of your character? For you, florals, cartoon characters and bright colours are the way to go. Don’t be shy, try clashing colours, textures and prints and be free to express the gloriously creative individual you are!
Do you have your working wardrobe sussed, but feel that your weekend-wear lacks personality? Opt for well-cut jeans, blazers, dresses with trainers, biker jackets, or even daytime sequins to add interest and fun to your off-duty look.
Now, have at ‘em. Ditch the dirge and express your true self!
So here's my advice, harsh as it may sound: dress for the shape you are, not the shape you want.
Clearly this is a sensitive one. Not everyone has the body they want, but we can all still project an innate sense of sensational style. I think the key to this is to dress the body you actually have, irrespective of the number on the hanger.
It has been said that the chicest way to dress is to wear a size larger than you really are to allow the clothes to hang more attractively from the body’s frame. This has the counter-intuitive effect of making the body actually appear smaller. While that clearly flies in the face of what most women want to do, there are merits in this approach, depending on the items in question. To my mind, tailored, structured items work best if they fit well but not tightly. The exception to this would be the outsized boyfriend jacket or baggy, pleat-fronted trousers that look incredible when worn that little bit too big.
For draped pieces like gathered dresses, jumpsuits and palazzo trousers, I suggest trying a size bigger than you would normally wear, especially if you're a slightly different size on the top than the bottom. You will win on both the stylometer-stakes and on the comfort scale.
Never buy pencil skirts that are too tight. They’ll only crease across the hip-line when you sit down for any more than 5 minutes, or worse, they’ll split up the back – never a good look!
Instead, pick a size up and tuck in your top. Shirts and tops look great tucked in to pencil skirts, instantly defining the waist and creating curves in all the right places. Even if you’re worried about your tummy, it’s better to tuck in and re-direct attention to your face or décolletage with chandelier earrings or a statement necklace, than leave your top hanging out, creating a waist-free zone that looks bulky and square-shaped.
If you're a serial untucker, try the fashion-fabulous 'half-tuck' to get you started!
It’s now common knowledge that there's really no standardised sizing on our high street and that many brands cut their cloth that little bit smaller to appeal to a certain kind of customer or simply, to save costs.
So scrub out the numbers, cut off the tags and embrace your body, curves and all.
You’ll be happier, more stylish and more comfortable for it!
So there you have it, my 3-step guide to re-defining your style and getting your fashion groove back. Let me know how you get on in the comments below and enjoy the process!