Everyone has some basic instinct on how to dress themselves when they get up in the morning, a sense of style that they resort to on a day-to-day basis. But what about finding your own unique way to express yourself through fashion? Check out Lowri Martinson’s guide on what you should know about finding your own personal style.
Check out the rest of our fashion advice here.
Style. The word is thrown around often enough. But why is it important? And what makes yours different from other people’s? Having the guts to express your own style is something very personal and liberating for the people who do not follow the crowd. It can express and allude to all sorts of meanings: background, sexuality, politics, gender, interests, inspirations and nationality. But how do you go about using fashion as a vehicle to shape your place in the world? To master the relationship between self and society. To find something which is above all relevant to you. Here are my key tips on what you should know about finding your own personal style.
I consider myself a bit of a style chameleon, but I do seem to stick to what I consider my core fashion personality or personalities and the looks which make me feel the most comfortable. The looks which undoubtedly help make me, ‘Me’. And having this confidence in how you dress is like having a second skin to share with the world, to communicate with, to start a dialogue.
When trying to identify your own personal style, take a moment to think about which key fashion personality category you might fall into. Consider the following categories and the types of clothing, accessories and colours which stereotype them. Recognising your dominant category will give you a foundation to build upon and will allow you to explore and experiment with your own personal style.
Let’s look more closely at these categories and the predominant clothing, colours and accessories which define them. Recognising yourself as fitting into two or more clothing categories can allow you to consider creating a hybrid style personality, others might feel better fixed with one.
A conservative category dominated by timeless clothing. A person with a Classic fashion personality will generally be attracted to elegant garments that create an hourglass look. Preferred colours include black, beige, grey and navy. Outfits tend to be kept simple and include matching accessories.
This category exudes the classic French girl or girl-next-door look. Emphasis is placed on practicality and comfort rather than extravagance. Natural colours. Natural hair. Natural beauty. A person with a Natural fashion personality will like the casualness of jeans and a t-shirt with some layering for added style.
This category conveys a sense of unwavering femininity. The wardrobe tends to include ruffles, lace and pleats. A person with this personality will be attracted to soft colours such as whites, pinks and pastels. However, dark colours such as burgundy or black might also come into play for a splash of allure. Accessories include delicate jewellery and vintage pieces.
The Trendy fashion personality is for people who like to stay on trend and steer away from tradition. People who are trendy like to mix and match clothing styles and tend to have quite an eclectic taste. A trendsetter, they take inspiration from others and adapt to make looks their own. Bold colours, large jewellery and statement accessories dominate this category.
The Dramatic category is for someone who likes to be confident and alluring. Looks tend to make an impact, demand attention and exude authority. This fashion personality is dominated by bold/contrasting colours, body-hugging or revealing clothes and statement accessories.
The Creative fashion personality is for the independent thinker. A person belonging to this category loves to show off their creativity and their unconventional approach when constructing outfits. Styles are often combined, along with different prints and colours to create the highest impact.
Consider which one of these categories is the most appealing to you, it may be more than one. The important thing to remember is that your dominate fashion personality is not fixed, it is directional. You are free to experiment as much as you like. Some people find that they can fit solely into one category, others feel they can shift easily between two or more.
Clean-out, narrow down
When re-evaluating your sense of style, re-evaluate your wardrobe. Narrow down outfits that fit your dominant style personality(ies). Focus on looks which fit your goals, your colour preferences, your lifestyle and your current waistline, that ultimately make you feel confident and comfortable with who you are, that are relevant. This might also involve re-evaluating the bare essentials of your wardrobe.
Next I advise creating a lookbook (mental, physical or even online) of strong outfits that fit your dominant style personality. Start by building outfits around one indispensable item, or several outfits that can be created from one canvas piece. Think about the clothing you chose to include in your new wardrobe and how you can best utilise them. Economise space by only keeping what goes with your category but which is also wearable. Keep the word ‘relevant’ in mind. Have a clear mental image of outfits than you can introduce into your day-to-day life.
Intelligent shopping, adopting and buying whilst travelling
Never underestimate the importance of intelligent shopping. I have always said that it is better to buy medium priced designer clothing on sale rather than expensive full price clothing from high street retailers. I myself have a bit of a penchant for Ted Baker blazers; I love to mix the binaries of masculine and feminine when constructing my outfits. The quality of the garment, the fabric, the overall look of the piece as a rule of thumb tends to outweigh that of its high-street counterpart. By peppering your wardrobe with designer pieces that will most likely stand the test of time will be of great benefit for you, as you will most likely appreciate them more and put more effort into maintaining them and integrating into your quotidian.
Make an effort also to find unique pieces by stalking through flea markets, vintage and second-hand shops. In Paris, places like les marchés des puces and kilo shops are great places to make interesting finds. Remember to consider the potential of an item of clothing before throwing it back into the one euro bin. Another pro tip is to buy whilst travelling to find unique pieces that no one else has. And last but not least, take a look in your mother’s wardrobe from time to time as your taste inevitably changes as you get older. Consider how you could adopt these items and adapt them into fitting with your own personal style.
When trying to find your own personal style, never underestimate the importance accessories play. This is where you can really mix things up and tap into your identity. Someone can be wearing exactly the same dress as you, but it is how you style your outfit which makes something uniquely yours and lets you express who you are. When you start accessorizing an outfit, think about what you want to say about yourself, not necessarily for others but for yourself.
Take a moment and consider the words you wish to express when dealing with your personal style. When I consider the words which have shaped and impacted the development of my style over the years they are as follows: Drama, sexuality, eccentricity and sophistication. The key to finding your own style is bringing together what you like and what you want to express and making them work together. Consider your own words and how you could channel them through the clothes you wear.
And finally, think outside the box. Break out of the cookie-cutter mould. The fashion personalities are a good base to work from, but consider accessories that will help you build upon your own finite personality and find a uniqueness in what you wear. Bring together opposites, experiment with colour, be playful and personal, add drama, evoke a memory, an emotion or a place, buy a novelty item. Remember the words you wish to express. This is where you should make them pop.