Your style is you
If you have been following me for a few years, you know I like to write about personal style in January. It’s the perfect time to reflect on your life—the past year’s accomplishments and your New Year’s dreams and aspirations. You may also know that your signature style is directly related to your success.
Your question may be, How do I determine what my style is?
Your individual style is influenced by your age, body type, and lifestyle. It includes your clothing, personal hygiene, mannerisms, and even your home decor. Your “style” is “your” style, not what is “in fashion.”
To begin, have faith that you do in fact have “style.” We all do. If you usually wear silk dresses with heels, your style may be classy or formal. If you choose to wear torn jeans and t-shirts every day, a casual or lackadaisical look is your style.
If you wear mismatched clothing and gaudy accessories, your style may be kitschy. Your clothing tells the world who you are and what is important to you without saying a single word. Our style evolves as we mature but we typically stay true to our core personality traits throughout our lives. I am ultra-feminine and always have been.
As a young child, I remember crying to my mother, begging her to let me wear dresses even when it was more appropriate to wear pants. That’s not to say that I don’t or can’t wear anything other than a pink ruffly flower print dress. We all have one strong characteristic with elements of other traits mixed in.
I can rock a pair of blue jeans and flannel shirt. The twist for me is that the shirt is usually pink plaid with a touch of lace. Most of the time, I stay true to my core characteristic because that is where I feel the most comfortable and confident.
Personal style is important because it influences how you perceive yourself. We can all relate to times when we felt as if we could conquer the world and times we wanted to crawl back into bed. I can almost certainly say that what you were wearing had an impact on your state of mind. To know and embrace your unique style means you can be fearless, confident, secure, and content every day.
Some women try too hard to be fashionable, resulting in appearing artificial or pretentious. Dressing just to be trendy or fashionable lacks essence. Style icons are perfect examples of women who are completely confident in who they are and how they present themselves to the world. They are not icons because they wear the fashions of the day.
They are icons because they wear clothing that truly expresses the essence of their personality. Jaqueline Kennedy was not the only woman in the 1960s who wore pill box hats and boxy Channel suits. However, she is remembered for wearing them because she wore them with such poise and ease.
Grace Kelly was elegant and feminine. She created her harmonious look with swing coats, pearls, and ladylike dresses.
While Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is credited for catapulting The Little Black Dress into indelible fame, her personal style of cropped pants and ballet flats fully expressed her true minimalist nature. Many of today’s “icons” simply dress for shock value and publicity.
Rihanna’s completely see-through dress and Lady Gaga’s raw meat “dress” say more to their quest for attention than their sense of style. True style icons know who they are, embrace their innate fashion sense, and dress for self-expression in appropriate ways.
Kate Middleton is an example. She wears jeans when chasing her children, tailored dresses to daytime events, and beautiful long gowns when attending galas. Whether she is dressed casual or haute couture, she stays connected to her core character and her classy, classic style.
Before you attempt to define your style, you must have a clear understanding of who you really are. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the fact is many us go through life never being fully mindful of our true individuality.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Worldly demands and obligations make it easy for us to fall into patterns…and clothing trends that don’t fully represent our authentic self. Cohesive looks project harmony and confidence: wearing something out of character projects internal confusion.
To help decipher your demeanor, take a step into your closet. Taking inventory of what you have already purchased can offer great insight into who you are.
You may discover a closet full of denim indicating a casual disposition. A mostly black, ethereal wardrobe may suggest a mystical mindset. Business suits point to a serious career or personality. A shelf full of yoga pants can imply a heavy workout schedule or a high value on comfort.
Making a conscious and intentional inquiry into your current clothing collection can reveal a level of self-awareness you haven’t previously considered. You can also ask yourself these questions:
What items do I wear over and over?
What items to I own but never wear?
Do I have a favorite fashion era?
Are there certain colors I’m drawn to and others I avoid?
Which silhouettes do I feel most comfortable wearing?
There are no right or wrong answers, but the results can lead you to style sovereignty. By reflecting on the answers to these questions, you may begin to see a pattern. You may find that your style is right where you want it, or you may find that you want to make a few changes to more authentically express yourself. When you truly embrace your individuality, you gain confidence to wear clothes that fit your personality as well as your body.
The bottom line of personal style is that it means you are wearing clothes you like to wear and feel comfortable wearing. Yes, it is really just that simple. Knowing “fashion” is one thing: knowing who you are is everything.