By Jackie Condura
Building your personal style can be one of the best investments you make for yourself. Your appearance is a big part of any first impression, as we express and introduce ourselves non-verbally to others around us all day. Your wardrobe and how you wear it are powerful tools you can use to convey who you are and how you want to be perceived through clothing. But in addition to looking like you just bought a nice outfit, having confidence in the way you look also yields a positive body image within you. This is then projected outward and taken notice by others. When what’s on the inside and the outside come together and reflect the most complete version of yourself that you can present, you look great and feel even better.
Many women struggle to find their style identity or don’t know what to wear for their body type. Here is a winning formula to unlock your personal style and build your identity with your wardrobe in 5 simple steps.
Step 1 – Reflect upon characteristics of who you are as an individual.
Think about what you do as a profession and your work environment. Is it casual or corporate, and do you know how to dress for your current role and where you ultimately want to be? Dress for your setting and understand the nuances of when to keep it simple and take it up a notch by breaking out the power suit. This applies to who you are at home as well. Your lifestyle and your hobbies, etc. are all factors that go into your style self discovery.
Step 2 – Know your body type and what clothing works best for it
There are plenty of women who have no idea what their body type is or are just wearing the wrong clothes for their shape. Don’t do this disservice to yourself. You can find out your body type by working with a personal stylist who can do an accurate evaluation for you. Alternatively, there are some quizzes you can search for online to help you figure out what shape you may be. Determining your body type is valuable because wearing the right silhouettes will flatter your shape in the best way. It makes all the difference.
Step 3 – Find your color palette
You may enjoy wearing your favorite color, bright and intense colors, neutrals or pastels. Some colors look better than others on people. This is attributed to one’s natural coloring and if you are warm or cool toned. If you don’t know your skin tone, you can have a professional color analysis done based on your physical traits. Another option would be to ask a hairdresser or cosmetics associate. Knowing your undertones and coloring helps define which colors to wear and not wear to enhance your appearance.
Step 4 – Align what you wear with who you want to be and how you want others to see you
When you get dressed for the day, be intentional to gravitate towards clothing that matches up with who you want to be and how you want others to see you? Use your wardrobe choices to speak on your behalf. For example, stepping out in your loungewear to go pick up groceries visually tells others you haven’t taken much effort to get yourself ready. Conversely, you can look quite polished yet still casual in a simple, comfortable outfit which shows you took a little extra time, even if it’s minimal. The point to keep in mind here is to dress for the mantra you want to manifest into existence. It’s important to pull for pieces that make you look put together and always ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the right situation such as work, date/girls night, going to the gym or just a casual day running errands or being at home. Fashion can also translate your mood. Certain colors affect your emotion or an attitude you want to present that elicits a response according to others.
Step 5 – Applying the style
This is where the actual clothing comes in. Each style has specific elements that define that look. Here are some examples of different fashion styles that can lead you to determine your personal style. Find out what resonates with you and speaks to how you want your wardrobe to identify you.
Boho – reminiscent of the 70’s, flowy fabrics, bell bottoms, peasant tops, crochet, fringe, embroidery, kimonos, natural fabrics, mixing patters and prints, a free spirit vibe
Minimalist/Classic – staple timeless pieces, simple universal clean style, less is more and a capsule wardrobe appeals to you, jeans, T-shits, flats or sneakers, neutral tones, pants, blouses, cardigan, denim jackets, dainty jewelry and accessories
Edgy – lots of black, studs, moto jackets, leather, zipper details, cut out tops, distressing, angular accessories
Trendy – you are always on top of the latest fashion trends, you like whatever is currently in style, you try different things and are not afraid to experiment
Girly – feminine, lace, ruffles, florals, skirts and dresses, soft colors and fabrics
Athleisure – mixing casual wear with athletic wear, joggers, slip on sneakers, workout wear, thumbholes, vests, leggings
Preppy – khaki pants, button down shirts, polos, crew neck sweaters, loafers and flats, pearls, stripe; polka dot and plaid patterns are common
These are just some popular examples. There are many other fashion styles. You may even find that there are several that you like to wear so you don’t have to limit yourself to one. We all have different parts to our personalities and that can adapt to our style as well. Overall, these styles should guide you in the right direction of how to develop your personal style. As you identify what style appeals to you, incorporate pieces representing that style into your wardrobe.
Now that you’ve learned the foundation, the key to understanding your personal style is to express your identity using your wardrobe. Knowing who you are and translating that into your personal style identity shows your personality and instills self-confidence. This can have a positive effect on yourself and how you are viewed by others. Such affirmations can be a step that potentially leads to other positive advancements in life on personal and professional levels.