Having personal style is that feeling of instantly knowing which type of items you want to buy because they are just so ‘you’ and knowing what type of outfit you want to put together and more importantly why. Not just because it simply suits the occasion but because you can effortlessly identify with it and to some extent it clearly conveys your personality.
Yes, even this!
I think a lot of the time when people look in their wardrobe and have “nothing” to wear it’s because they are confused about exactly what message they are trying to convey or what mood they are in. Even if you just put items together that match, your outfit will still have a certain feel to it, it will fit into some kind of style genre even if that genre is just ‘practical and comfortable’ and it will have an effect on how it makes you feel as you are wearing it.
There are so many reasons why someone might loose their personal style such as putting on/loosing weight, becoming a parent, moving to a totally different climate, leaving uni/getting older, having a crisis of confidence. However, just because circumstances have changed doesn’t always mean your personality has so you just need to find a slightly different way to express this through your new clothes without loosing, well, you!
The styles below are pretty much how I’ve always dressed (apart from night on the town) and it has always just come naturally to me. Ok so some thought is required so an outfit works practically speaking so it’s comfortable and weather appropriate but apart from that I’ve always been sure how I want to look because I’ve always been sure how I feel and who I am.
Then bit by bit I started to loose my personal style and myself. I was swiftly approaching my mid thirties – it’s not old but it’s not exactly young anymore relatively speaking, I had some serious health issues on my mind, of which one was making me very fatigued some days, it was also making me feel oddly apathetic to absolutely everything. This was the real killer. How do I feel? Don’t know. Am I in the mood for a more punky, urban or boho style today or all three? I really don’t give a damn. Ok I’m just getting cold now so I’ll throw something snuggly on.
Then me and the bloke started going out on date night every Friday which was lovely but I think the word ‘date’ threw me a bit. You know this idea that a serious date outfit is meant to make you look feminine and appropriately attractive like someone’s (wannabe or actual) girlfriend and not some fiery wenchetta on the pull? I misguidedly figured well at least this gives me something to aim for, some direction to go in when putting outfits together. I also did lots of shopping for basics in the January sales which was great as I really needed them but they were hardly inspiring. So I ended up with a bunch of outfits that were cute but they didn’t look like ‘me’ and I didn’t feel like me in them, well not the usual me, the true me.
I noticed when I asked the bloke for feedback he would carefully say “Yeah, your outfit looks nice” rather than casually saying “you look nice” like he used to. When we were at a friends birthday do one night I bluntly asked him “Is this outfit me?” to which he confidently replied “No”, without a hint of hesitation. I gave him a big grin and a thank you.
So now I’ve made the decision to not care if I’m fatigued, if it’s cold (yeah, I live in jeans 80% of the time anyway!?) or what – within reason the occasion is, I’m getting my style mojo back! Even if it’s only putting my trusty Ugg boots to the back of the shelf and bringing my pirate boots to the front (they have four wide straps that fasten with big buttons). Even if it’s simply replacing my slouchy Field & Treck fleece with a fitted black crochet jumper and vest combo. I also got my hair cut shorter and layered with a shaggy fringe so that my hair is textured, wavy, and full of movement again which I love!
You know what? It’s made a massive difference! I feel more upbeat, more confident, less ‘woe is me’. I’m really enjoying putting outfits together again rather than being apprehensive about it like it’s some bewildering challenge. However you put your outfits together and what ever inspires you, getting dressed should never feel like a bewildering challenge!
10 Personal Style Tips
- When shopping buy at least one item that’s really ‘you’ for every three practical items.
- Only buy items which are really ‘you’ if you know you have items in your wardrobe which will go with them to make an outfit (or buy more things to go with your new exciting item) otherwise your wardrobe will be a cluttered and confusing place.
- Basics are the glue which holds things together but have you thought about getting several in different colours or some with a little bit of detailing on. It’s amazing the difference lots of small details can make if you aren’t keen on wearing a statement piece.
- Never wear something simply because it is in fashion or it’s conventional. Your outfit needs to revolve around you not the other way around. The clothes are highlighting your personality, you are not adjusting your identity to fit with the clothes.
- Lot’s of things look nice but is ‘nice’ enough? If you are buying an item which you will want to wear again and again then it has to feel like you’ve been lucky to have discovered something that is so ‘you’, otherwise you will end up wearing perfectly good outfits which you aren’t remotely arsed about.
- Don’t go shopping when you are tired, stressed (unless it’s therapy), distracted or are very short on time. This never ends well!
- When getting dressed don’t automatically think “What will people think?” constantly. Unless you are cosplaying as The Joker to the funeral of your great Aunt, it’s non of their business! As long as you like it and it doesn’t feel forced, then that’s what matters.
- Obviously there will be occasions like weddings, funerals, snobby lawn parties even, when you do need to dress a certain way that is expected of you but it doesn’t mean you can’t add your own bit of flair with an accessory or print. It’s in the details remember.
- If you need a specific item it’s best to have a specific idea of exactly what type you want. In your head think about the detailing, the cut, the colour, the length. What decade or genre should it look like it’s from? More importantly how should it make you feel and what are you trying to express or convey when you wear it? Once you have this picture in your head go and track down your wonderful item!
- You shouldn’t have to grudgingly make do with items you dislike. Donate anything to charity that doesn’t fit you well or that was an impulse “what the hell was I thinking” kind of purchase. This will probably drastically reduce the size of your wardrobe but it will be a case of choosing rather than eliminating items to wear every morning. A lot less depressing and time consuming. Plus you will feel better about every outfit that you wear! You can always gradually rebuild your wardrobe with items that are suitable once you have a clearer idea of what you want and need.