Growing up I loved polka dots and plaid. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite understand how to style them. Yes, there were days when I would wear black and white polka dot pants with a black and pink polka dot top.
But in my twelve-year old mind this was matching because hey...polka dots. My dad, who was and frankly still is a snazzy dresser, tried to help me understand the finer and more subtle points of fashion, but my tween ears just couldn’t hear him.
Thankfully as I grew up my style began to evolve. I spent my teen years wearing mostly sporty and athletic wear. My clothes screamed how proud I was of being a tomboy.
If you ever caught me in anything other than sneakers or flip flops you would have thought there were two suns in the sky.
My college years were when I began to transition. I still loved my basketball shorts and tank tops, but I also began to dabble in mini skirts and halter tops.
If the clunkiness of my journey sounds familiar to you then I hope you can guess how this story ends.
By the time I was into my career and in my late 20’s, I had finally figured out my personal style. Granted it took a couple more years for me to own it enough to build a wardrobe, but at least I understood it.
I loved my sporty, comfortable, athletic wear, yet I still loved me some plaid. Looking well put together made me feel good thus my style type of smart casual or urban preppy was finally identified.
Later on I took an online personal style quiz, and it verified what I already knew.
Now there were still a few bumps along the way, and I spill the beans about that on this guest post that I did.
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If you’re still on your personal style journey or are looking to find a new fashion path here are 7 easy steps to help you on your way.
#1 Look for Patterns
I’m not referring to patterns as in prints like my beloved polka dots, but rather I’m talking about similarities of clothes. For example, you have a lot of maxi dresses but don’t own any skirts, or all of the pants you own are yoga pants.
Maybe you’re like me and have way too many vests and blazers. Either way recognizing the items you have a lot of and which ones you don’t is the first step to helping you define your personal style.
You already know what you like and don’t like, paying attention to this will help you begin to figure out your type of personal style.
#2 Find Style Inspiration
The easiest way to find style inspiration is with inspiration photos. There are dozens of places to find these style inspiration photos. Of course, there is Instagram. You can browse through feeds, save your favorite looks and follow your favorite feeds.
Check out my feed for fashion inspiration and follow.
Lookbook is one of my favorite online sites for fashion inspiration. You can even find inspiration on Youtube. So many creatives and fashion lovers have channels specifically for fashion inspiration.
Shirley B Eniang is one of my favorites. I absolutely love her looks.
No matter where you get your inspiration be sure to save the looks that you like so that you can begin to analyze why you like the looks and any commonalities that they have.
Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. " - unknown
#3 Consider Colors &/or Prints
This step almost fits in with the first step. Take a look at your closet and identify any colors that you have a lot of as well as the colors that you have the least of. For example, I went through a phase where I only bought clothes in white, black, grey or blue. This was largely due to the fact that I was dealing with body image issues, and I wanted to hide in my clothes.
Once I dealt with that, I still had these colors predominately in my wardrobe so I figured out a way for them to fit into my personal style. I also recognized that I was missing a lot of color and began slowly curating color into my wardrobe.
Be sure to consider your prints. If you are looking to have a time capsule wardrobe then you may want to stay away from too many prints, with the exception of your timeless prints such as plaids and pin stripes. Prints tend to be trendy or seasonal, such as bright flowery prints or paisley and for this reason they can come and go in fashion. If you want an idea of more prints and patterns read this great post by RolaInspires.
Over the years, I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” – Yves Saint Laurent
#4 Identify Your Signature Piece
This step is my favorite step, because I feel as if my signature piece always makes my outfit. Adding this one item makes me feel so much more confident in my clothes and with my look.
My signature piece happens to be an accessory as most signature pieces typically are. I collect sunglasses, and they are my signature item. The right pair of sunglasses will bring my entire look together.
I like to buy my sunglasses from Abella Eyewear. They have a great selection of stylish and unique sunglasses that fit perfectly with my style. If you use this link you can get 20% off of your purchase; so be sure to check it out.
Discover your signature item.
Are there a certain pair of heels that always make you feel fabulous? Or perhaps do you have a necklace that perfectly accents your collarbone and makes any top that you wear stand out? Whatever the item is figure out what it is and how it adds to your look.
#5 Shop Wisely
Once you understand your look ie, classic, preppy, bohemian, vintage, casual, preppy etc; and recognize what kinds of colors or prints that you need to help fill out your wardrobe, it’s time to go shopping.
Here’s the caveat. You want to shop wisely and effectively. Find stores or designers that sell items within your palette.
There are so many ways to shop for clothes, these days. You can have a subscription service like Stitch Fix that will assess your personal style and send you clothes that will fit your personal style.
You can shop your Instagram feeds using sites such as Like to Know It, which helps you to find items that your favorite social media personalities are wearing. There are a number of fresh new designers that showcase their work on Instagram and have online shops.
One of my favorites is Folake Kuye Huntoon of StylePantry. She has such a great eye for fashion and her designs are incredible. I have purchased a number of her pieces that fit into my style.
Buy less, choose well.” – Vivienne Westwood
#6 Consider the Statement You Want to Make
Whether you’re running errands or going on a special date, what you choose to wear tells others how they should perceive you.
When you get dressed or build your wardrobe be sure to consider what you want to say. The days that I don’t feel like going to work, I wear leggings and a football jersey! My coworkers immediately know, she doesn’t want to be here.
But if I come in wearing heels and some fierce high waisted pants, they ask questions about my plans for the day.
#7 Own It
Your style is exactly that...yours. So own it, wear it, rock it. The more you do this the more your style will begin to speak for itself. You will begin to feel more confident in how you express yourself with your ensembles even if you’re just picking up your kids from school.
A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes.” – Vera Wang
Whatever your personal style is define it for you. Wear what makes you feel good and share your style with the world.
That’s Cynthia’s Mindset on 7 Easy Steps to Define Your Personal Style.
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