here… in sight… just around the corner…?! I thought it was only appropriate to post a process essay I wrote in 2009: How To Develop a Personal Style. Spring is all about new beginnings, reinventing yourself, or refreshing yourself. This essay was really fun to write and maybe it will inspire you!
Also, I am so overwhelmed with work and personal life that I’ve had no time to post new blogs lately, which makes me very sad. Please stay tuned for my film review of Noah, writings about my health scare with cancer, a vlog on some new beauty products, and my first week with a VitaMix!… maybe this is ambitious but I’m hoping to get to all of that this month!!!!!
How To Develop a Personal Style
People embrace creativity and individuality through countless types of expression; yet with so many ways of expressing oneself, there is still one aspect that every person has in common: physical presence. A person can paint a painting or construct a building, yet their physical appearance still reflects who they are. The way one looks can also transform the way one feels, so having a personal style (along with basic fashion sense) is very important. It is a statement to the world, and sometimes it just takes some self reflection, research, and experimenting to discover how one should dress. Finding a personal style is a process, but by using the following six steps as a guide, one can truly create and develop their own personal style to show off who they are to the world.
Step #1: Study yourself. When deciding the best way to express yourself through clothing, you must have a good understanding of who you are. Personal style isn’t about what’s trendy or cute – it is a self-reflection. When thinking about clothes, be true to yourself and your unique fashion sense, but don’t be afraid to take chances. If you feel like you haven’t found your personal style yet, try to think outside of the box. Caution: Don’t categorize yourself! If you automatically assume you must dress “sporty” or “preppy,” you may not reach the full potential of your style. Thinking back on your childhood is a great place to start in studying yourself. Remember what you were like at your most innocent state and what inspired your imagination. Also ask yourself, “What inspires me now?” The clothes in a music video or the colors in an art piece can inspire someone’s sense of fashion.
Step #2: Study the professionals. Celebrities are wealthy, fashion-savvy, and easy to track, so choose a singer or actress you love and study their look. What is it about their style that catches your attention? If you love it, don’t be afraid to copy it. Warning: Make sure you are looking to celebrities with similar body types! Find celebrities and other experts in fashion magazines like Elle and Vogue. Also try one trend at a time; trends are not necessarily a way to discovering personal style, but it works as a good place to start experimenting with fashion. Beyond the world of fashion and Hollywood, don’t hesitate to talk to your friends who have good taste. (Ask to borrow items of clothing or accessories for a special occasion!)
Step #3: Plan and prepare. At this point, you should have a good idea about the clothes you like, but it is very important to apply what you like to what is practical. A tip that cannot be stressed enough: work with your body type! Figure out your best features and show them off. A great way to find out what looks good on your body is to look back on old photos of yourself and learn from your mistakes. Also take note of things like eye color and skin tone to find colors that will look good on you. After evaluating your body type and other physical details, pick something to be your signature. A signature piece adds something special to your look and helps you stand out. If you love skirts, wearing a different kind of skirt every day would be a great signature! Other fabulous options include: dresses, heels, necklaces, rings, or even one specific color. Steps one through three take time and thought to fully achieve, but if you put in enough effort, it makes step four a blast.
Step #4: Shop! When shopping, stay focused on the research you have done in the previous steps. If needed, browse through a store’s online catalogue before shopping, or bring in photos of outfits you would like to recreate. A very important tip: try on everything! There is nothing worse than clothes that are too loose or too tight. In addition, find a tailor or learn simple hemming techniques. Nothing fits perfectly, yet a perfect fit is the easiest way to look good. Also remember to stock up on basics; you can’t own too many fun accessories or solid tops. The best places to stock up are stores like Target, Old Navy, and the Gap. (Warning: stay away from the printed clothes at Old Navy and the Gap; they’re cheap and obnoxious!)
Stores like Target, Forever 21, H&M, and Payless are great places to find inexpensive clothes. (Being stylish doesn’t require being in debt!) However, a great confidence booster to your wardrobe is one amazing, name brand piece like a Chanel bag. If you buy one amazing item (or get one for your birthday), take very good care of it and you will be able to keep it for years to come. Caution: don’t wear fakes! It’s pointless. Step four may be the hardest step in this process, so there are a lot of warnings to take note of. Remember! Don’t overdue labels; people do not care where your clothes are from and labels take away from an outfit. Also, don’t obsess over sales! Sales are great, but if you stay too focused on them, you will miss out on other great clothing opportunities. Shopping can either be a very stressful or a very therapeutic exercise, so just remember everything you did in steps one through three, take your time, and remember to work with your body type. There is a lot more to one’s personal style than clothing though, which brings us to step five.
Step #5: Define your hair and makeup. If you love your clothes but not your hair, you have a serious problem! Hair should be unique and bold; it is a woman’s strongest accessory. The most important thing to do is listen to the experts! Most salons will give free consultations and can help find a cut, color, and product regimen that will work well for your style and your type of hair. Even if you love your hair the way it is, experiment with products to achieve maximum health and style. Warning: don’t buy hair products from Target! Target is a great place for clothes, but professional salon products are the only things that should touch your hair. Even if Target carries a professional line, many times they are expired, overpriced, and watered down.
There is a lot less risk involved with makeup; you can try things over and over again and simply wash it off if you don’t like it. If you need extra help, professional salons and department stores will do your makeup for you. Remember: you typically have to buy makeup to have it applied, but it is a great way to get cosmetic advice. If you don’t like to wear makeup, it is still something that makes a woman look put together and stylish. Mascara, bronzer, and chapstick become a great minimalistic package for those that don’t like to be too dolled up. Either way, don’t be afraid to play around with makeup to improve your personal style.
Step #6: Wear your new look and own it! You have the clothes, the hair, and the makeup to show off who you are, so what more could there be to do? Own your new look! If you do not feel confident in your clothes, don’t wear them. Yes, it can be scary to try new things, but confidence is the key to owning your personal style. If this is your first time trying something new, you will most likely receive criticism. Remember: Be critical of criticism. It’s impossible to please everyone and the most important thing about a personal style is to have it be your style. Here are some more simple (yet helpful) tips:
- Don’t be afraid to personalize clothes yourself – get crafty and try sewing on a new collar or beaded accents.
- Never dress boring! If you’re clothes are simple and neutral, wear colorful shoes or a bold accessory.
- Wear dramatic pieces sparingly.
- Never repeat full outfits; change the necklace or add a bracelet at least.
- Posture will transform the way you come off to other people and will help anyone look more confident.
- Even if you are sick or having a bad day, never let it show in your outfit. Wear something comfortable, but still make sure it’s fitted and stylish. Not only will this help your mood, but it keeps you looking great.
Now that you have followed these six steps, you should feel confident, beautiful, and redefined. Just remember that the more you try, the more you can get away with. So never get stuck in one fashion box – personal style is developed and altered over time to reflect your unique self. Having your own personal style isn’t everything to life, but its one of the countless mediums of expression that should be embraced by all!