Personal Style...what is it? How do we find it? And once we have it, how do we keep evolving it?
Discovering your own style is sort of like dating. You try different options on for size, learning what you do and do not like, until you find your person, or your style. You marry that style! But, just because you are married to it, doesn't mean that it won't change. Any relationship expert will tell you that your marriage will continue to grow and evolve. Your personal style should as well. Here is my formula for finding your own personal style.
Find your muses.
In my case, I was really inspired by the "it" girls of the 60's and 70's when it came to their fashion sense. I really liked their approach to their beauty routines, and I especially like how most of them look like they just rolled out of bed. Nothing is too perfect, hair is a little messy, and the makeup isn't perfectly done. I like that sort of unkempt glam look. Once I figured out who I was sort of going to emulate, I could move on! I find that by giving my clients a muse, it takes the pressure off of them. Once we agree on one or two, when I take them shopping, they can ask themselves "Would so-and-so wear this?" and if the answer is no, then they put the item back.
Make a mood board.
I make what I call a "mood board" for my clients all the time. A mood board is essentially a board full of photos, fabric swatches, words, or whatever I think would suit the look we are going for with their branding. I also make these for myself all the time! For instance, my mood board right now has images of Jane Birkin, a few of Keith Richards (one of my eternal style icons), and some modern runway looks as well. I make these every season. This is helpful to look at when you are shopping. When the clients need a digital board, Pinterest works wonders!
Borrow, but don't steal.
If you rip off someones look head to toe, it's going to be painfully obvious. There are ways to borrow ideas for your outfits without looking like you've dressed up as someone for Halloween! Here's an example below.
Nothing worse than a knockoff!
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when you are starting to figure out who you would like to dress like:
I was about fourteen when I discovered the clothes I really love to wear. The women I aspired to dress like were in their 20's and 30's. I'm currently 25. I can get away with quite a bit right now, but that won't always be the case. As we get older, it's important to stay true to our style, while also evolving it slightly. Just like a marriage, it's still us, but it's changed slightly! Diane Keaton is an excellent example of someone who has a very distinctive style, but has matured in body and in style! You still know it's her when she walks down a carpet, and always looks delightfully Diane!
If you are five feet tall, you can definitely be influenced by an outfit a runway model wore to go get coffee, but you need to take into consideration that you won't look exactly like she did in it! And that's okay! The world is made up of all sorts of different body types. Do your research on what your body type is, and the most flattering silhouettes are for it. If a client of mine really likes an outfit that someone wore, but is a different age and body type than the original, I like to borrow color pallets, and to take elements from it, rather than copy.
Maybe you have a couple of kids, and you don't necessarily need to have twelve ballgowns in your closet, like your favorite style icon. This is when I love to search for (insert fashion icon here) off duty! Do you ever notice that when most stars just go and run out fora cup of coffee, that they still look fabulous? Model off duty is a huge trend right now! It just means taking your every day, running around style, and polishing it up a bit! I can get by with a little bit more, because I do work for myself, in a creative industry. But, even I know that it's not always appropriate to rock something like this:
Oh, wait...I would wear this on a regular basis. Oops.
And now that we have figured out the direction you're going in, the first step to achieving your goals...get your closet in order. But that's for next time!