How to identify your style is one question that I have been asked many times. So… I’ve decided to do a series of articles that discuss style:
How to find your own style
How to develop your style
…and how to own your style, my dear!
While I would like to claim that, yes!! I woke up like this! Or, I looked fabulous straight from the womb! I have to say that style is not exactly something that just magically happens.
So let’s start with some basics. You know, some foundational ideas and definitions so that we’re all on the same page.
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To borrow a quote from Oscar de la Renta,
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”
So in that regard, style is something that is highly personal, and individual!!!!
What is the Difference Between Fashion and Style?
Style is something that goes beyond the current trends or even regional ways of dressing.
Fashion comes and goes. It is what is left when a particular fashion goes – that is style. Style is very much aligned with your identity. Just as you and your personality may evolve over time, oftentimes, your style will do the same.
Do you remember in The Matrix, when Neo joins the “real world”?
He was wearing tattered clothing, a shaved head, and had a weird hole in the back of his head.
However, once in the Matrix, Neo was looking pretty hot, with a black leather jacket, cool sunglasses, and Keanu Reeves’s fabulous hair.
Morpheous says of his new appearance, “it is the mental projection of your residual self.” In short, Neo’s look was based on how he visualized himself.
Your style is sort of like that but in a more concrete form.
We won’t go back and argue the reality of the matrix, we’re here for other, more pressing issues!
To think of it another way, take a trend this season–neon. If you were to wear neon, how would you wear it?
Would you wear a yellow neon mini with a biker jacket and Doc Martins?
Would you wear a hot pink body con with stilettos?
Would you wear a neon green cami with a black blazer and black slacks with black pumps?
Neon is the fashion. How you work it into your wardrobe and how you wear it is your style. When neon goes out of fashion, you would just replace it with another fashion.
Style is what you wear, irrespective of what the current fad or trend is. So what looks do you tend to go back to over and over?
“Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world—an emotion.”—Alber Elbaz
“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” —Diane von Furstenberg
What is Your Personal Style?
Chances are, you have a decent idea of what your style might be.
Here’s an exercise for you… Go to your closet and look at it objectively.
It’s not important that you don’t have the clothes you want. Also, try not to critique your clothes. This is just an assessment at this point, just seeing the lay of the land, so to speak.
Your Closet: Questions to Help you Identify Your Fashion Style
What colors do you tend to go for?
What silhouettes are common?
What patterns are there, if any? Stripes, florals, fun prints?
What fabrics and textures are you drawn to?
Now that you have this information, you can start to categorize your style, as it currently is.
I have to emphasize that these are general categories and is meant to be a guide. If you do a search, you’ll find all kinds of categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories. But for now, we’ll start simple and go from there.
Types of Personal Style
There are a few categories that can help you define your style. Knowing these can at least give you a jumping-off point and make it a little easier to shop. These are probably some of the more well-defined styles. See if any of these resonate with you!
This style is literally ART in motion! Lovers of this style are usually extremely creative.
Clothing items and jewelry can be handcrafted, with fabulous fabrics and unique embellishments. I like that the embellishment produces pieces that can be 3-dimensional!
Here’s a great Pinterest board I found, in case you wanted to see more of this style.
The Bohemian style is almost synonymous with hippies and gypsies and is more folksy.
It’s the style of world wanderers, and so the style ends up being a mix of patterns and fabrics from across the globe, which is very cool!
The clothing here tends to be really chill and organic. There are a lot of long flowing skirts, embroidery, tassels, crochet. Peasant tops–really anything that is loose and comfy.
Check out some bohemian style here.
If you are all about t-shirts and jeans, you may fit in this category. This style is simple, no-frills, easy-going.
Having a casual style can include sweatshirts, hoodies, or running shoes. Unlike the athletic style, not every brand you wear is going to be traditionally athletic wear in either type of clothing or fabric.
The chic style of dressing takes casual a step further and dresses casual up a bit.
So there will be outfits like jeans with blazers. It has elements of glam, as well as classic and sometimes trendy. It’s a bit of a hybrid.
This style could be described as elegant or sophisticated and is usually more understated than the glam or sexy styles.
Simplicity is central to this style.
The pieces in the classic style are considered timeless, and even seasonless. The silhouettes tend to be simple, neither very baggy nor very body-hugging. The colors tend to be in neutral tones.
Get inspired by these classic, polished styles.
This is a style that is dramatically feminine. The colors are bold, the silhouettes strong.
You will more likely see statement-making clothing, not so much in the print, but in the clothing itself. Sleeves will be big or ruffled. Heels will be high or at least eye-catching.
Could you pull off glam style? See some gorgeous examples of glam!
Dramatic black is the central color of this clothing style but is also accompanied by dark, deep colors and sometimes a surprising pop of bright colors.
The glam look is edgy is often very emo feeling. Accessories and embellishments include spikes, studs, and chains. See goth styles here.
Here’s another more casual style. For the preppy style, think college wear. V-neck sweaters, polo shirts.
If you like a simple crisp white collared shirt, plus or minus a monogram, you may be a fan of the preppy style. Or a simple A-line dress with a cardigan. Clean lines and simple, traditional silhouettes are what you love to rock.
Do you love these preppy styles?
The rocker-style includes leather pants, leather jackets, ripped jeans, and band t-shirts.
But it’s also more than that–it’s anything a little over the top! Like a leopard skin blazer with a faux fur lapel, or platform heels with ripped jeans.
Rocker style is similar to glam, but not as overtly feminine.
Check out these rocker looks.
On the other hand, this style is all woman.
The colors are soft with lots of pastels or floral patterns. Fabrics tend to be light and flowing enough to be picked up by the wind and look like a freakin’ dream!
Think you can do the romantic style look?
Flaunt those assets, but don’t hurt anybody! This style is all about showing off your body.
The skirts are short, the cuts are low, the dresses are tight. You can show off a lot or as little as you want, just make sure you show it off!
If you can pull off these sexy styles, do it!
If you think leggings are pants (let’s not argue, guys!) and you love rocking sneakers and hoodies, this is you.
Athleisure is what you love. Your closet is filled with joggers and sneakers. Gym wear is your everyday wear.
Are these athleisure styles your vibe?
This is a more gender-neutral way of dress. Clothing is a bit looser, often with boxy silhouettes.
Sometimes there is an overlap with menswear, as fans of the tomboy style may find that menswear has more of the vibe or the look they’re going for.
This is exactly as it sounds. So this category is going to be always changing! If you want to wear whatever is hot and now, I’m talking about you!
You love being on the front lines of fashion and are willing to try anything once!
Here are some of the latest trendy styles.
If you feel like your style is from a bygone era, you may have a Vintage style.
Lovers of this style may have a certain era they love, but it encompasses every decade from the 1920s to the 1970s.
If you envision yourself as a pin-up girl or you have a retro vibe, this is your tribe!
What vintage styles do you love? Here is some vintage inspiration for you.
This style is denim heavy because this All-American look was made to be workwear!
Faded jeans are what I think of immediately, with the obviously awesome cowboy boots and cowboy hats.
Accessories may have tassels or even a Native American influence.
Check out these western styles from Pinterest.
Alright, my dears, hopefully, these descriptions will at least get your gears going, thinking about how you see yourself and what style you are projecting. Does it surprise you?
Do you think your clothing represents the style you want to portray? No? No worries! See “How To Change Your Style” and start the journey to a stylish, confident you!
This is just the beginning, as I discuss all things style.
Remember to share the love! Come back next week for more, or better yet, subscribe or follow me so you get notifications of the next installment in this series.
Until next time!
“Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.” —Iris Apfel
💡 You know what would be awesome? ❤️
🕶 If we connected on social media! 🌞