It’s no secret that, when fashion means a lot to you - or indeed very little - much of your identity is defined by the contents of your wardrobe - it’s not only the way that you express yourself to passers-by, but also the way that you present yourself to … yourself. I know. Deep, right?
With this in mind, finding your personal style is often seen as daunting, intimidating, elusive, and a scarily permanent decision.
Let’s break that last one down.
I’ve heard a lot of people - of all ages, for that matter - explain that deciding what your personal style is can be a terrifying commitment because of its relation to identity.
But personal style isn’t about what you choose to like - it’s what you naturally like. Don’t pressure yourself to decide what your aesthetic is - whatever you like subconsciously is your aesthetic, which is inherently going to be unique to you! There’s no need to ‘find’ your personal style, you just need to pay attention to what it already is!
In addition to this, personal style is the opposite of permanent - as with ourselves and time / new experiences, it’s everchanging and always developing. And that’s pretty damn exciting, in my opinion!
So how do you figure out what your style really is? Here are my top six tips!
1 / f*ck anything that mentions dressing for your shape
Sorry Trinny and Susannah. Way back in the early noughties, these two took the fashion and media world by storm when they told women across the country what - and what not - to wear ( see what I did there ? ) . Their entire show was created to elevate a woman’s confidence levels and sense of style in a say-it-like-it-is manner. The thing is, watching it today, it’s hilariously dated and more of a say-it-like-it-isn’t kind of watch. Unfortunately, some magazines still print cutting and appalling descriptions and philosophies as to how women should talk about themselves and who they should be dressing for. Ignore it all, unless you’re only looking for the sheer entertainment factor.
Wear whatever the hell you want, because the clothes that make you feel comfortable, happy, confident and most YOU are the pieces that suit you best!
2 / do some solo shopping
Next time you’re looking to update / add to your wardrobe, embark on that shopping trip alone ! Not only can you take all the time in the world to figure out whether the jeans you’re trying on in the changing room are * just * right, but you’re also not influenced by anyone else’s taste or opinion. It’ll really show you what you’re drawn to naturally!
While you’re at it, make sure to go solo vintage shopping too - if there’s a friend or fashion icon whose clothing you find yourself tending to copy ( instead of just taking inspiration from them ), you won’t be able to grab the items they’ve already bought because everything in store will be one of a kind!
3 / use instagram saved section
Next time you’re scrolling through Instagram, make use of that ‘save’ button any time you see pieces / shapes / materials / colours / overall vibes that you’re drawn to. After a week of doing so, check back on your saved section to find out which styles are most common!
4 / make a monthly wishlist and reflect on them every six months
This one’s pretty self-explanatory but, as with the Instagram saved section, you’ll definitely start to see a pattern!
5 / consider which brands, shapes, materials and pieces make you feel happy and confident - stick to them !
Don’t get drawn in by the ADs you see scattered across high streets - no matter how a piece looks, if the brand that’s selling it isn’t great quality, it’s not worth picking up!
6 / think before you buy into a trend
Trends are, let’s face it, pretty much forced upon us on a day-to-day basis. And as cynical as that sounds, the more you see a product ( especially on people whose style you admire ) , the more you’ll be drawn to it. But give it some time before you pick up that entirely faux fur handbag ( I can confirm I still like it after a month of seeing it everywhere ! ) , because it’s extremely likely you’ll have figured out whether you actually like it after a few weeks !
7 / pinterest at different times of day
I don’t know about you, but if I do some online shopping just before I go to sleep, I seem to be so tired that my concept of my own style kind of disintegrates, and I pick up sh*t left, right and centre. The same goes for pinning over on Pinterest - if you’re really working to figure out what you like, trying pinning images / OOTDs at different times of day - you’ll get an overall idea of what you really like, without the weird distortion in taste that exhaustion can have on us!
8 / look at your interiors taste
Whatever you want to surround yourself with in your home says a lot about your taste in clothing - colours, shapes, mood, cuts - if you feel happiest in this environment, look at ways to incorporate elements of those materials and tones into your wardrobe.
9 / get writing
Go to your current wardrobe and write down some words that describe it. Turn over the page and write down the words that describe your dream wardrobe. What needs to be changed? How can you go about changing it?
10 / have fun ! it’s an ongoing experimental activity
Like I said earlier, once you’ve found the style you’re most drawn to, it’s only temporary. Don’t get bogged down in feeling limited by what you liked six months ago, because your personal style is constantly evolving.
And that’s pretty damn exciting.