DO YOU KNOW YOUR OWN STYLE?
One of the main reasons I started this website is because when I meet with clients my first question to them is 'Where did your style go?'. Without exception they all tell me they don't know what happened to their style, and some didn't think they even had a style to begin with.
The word style to some is a very 'fancy' grown up term. But I see it as the relationship you have with yourself and how you express it externally. It's your style that comes from within and how you radiate your personality.
How is your personal style defined in the first place? Why do we lose it? Where does it go?
Finding and refining your personal style can be an ongoing struggle. Style normally starts in your teenage years or early twenties when you have realised you are growing up and becoming independent in your self-expression. It’s the point where you stop your mum laying your clothes out for you and you independently decide how you want to be seen by others. Having said that, my 12 year old son likes to tell me.... "I have got it all wrong" and that choosing to wear the same thing 3 days in a row is cool. Most of us start by copying the style of someone we look up to - which continues throughout our life. Firstly, we dress to fit in with our peers and then when we go through the transition to professional life and our style morphs into something different again. Regardless of what life throws our way or how many people come and go, our lifestyle and age are certain to change so it is important to adapt what we wear while still maintaining a style that is our own.
Why is this important? The impact of having a defined personal style goes far beyond making a good first impression. Great style is about approaching each day with confidence and the ability to feel, with conviction, beautiful in what we are wearing. Believe it or not, the right wardrobe can make a massive difference to your selfesteme.
In terms of your daily wardrobe choices, having a defined style allows you to look in the mirror and confidently know what looks good on you. In addition, it will help you when you are shopping, especially when a sales assistant tells you "It's looks perfect.", when you know deep down it needs to be 20cm longer.
Here are few things to consider when defining your style.
Just like when you are planning an event, or renovating, you need to gather your thoughts. Pull together a visual mood board of everything you love (pinterest is great for this!). It could be images of people you admire from celebrities, friends to work colleagues or people from social media. Select colours that make you feel good and catagories of clothing that you enjoy wearing (eg denim, shirts, dresses). Editorial images from magazines are a great source of inspo. Once you have collated them, IDENTIFY what they have in common and LINK what you love about them. This creates a visual mind map to help you DEFINE what you like and SHAPE your personal stye.
WORK VS OFFICE LIFE
For most people there is a clear distinction between 'work' and 'after hours' wardrobes but as workplaces are relaxing dress codes these lines are becoming less clear. The merging of work and casual fashion has benifits but can also present problems too.
Take me for example - early in my career I worked for a large denim retailer. Prior to that I never wore denim because it didn’t fit into my corporate fashion job. In my new position everyone in the office wore denim - it was almost the unofficial uniform. I still remember wearing black pants on my first day and getting extremely odd looks from the team like I was from another planet. I had a complete freak out and knew in order to "fit in" I needed to embrace denim. So my new work place and peers were my inspiration to change. Now denim is at the core of what defines my style. This is a positive way to find elements of your style.
I have many corporate clients who wear suits to work and have the executive dress code perfected. However, they honestly panic when it comes to the weekend or a special occasion because they are so used to their 'uniform' it's difficult for them know what their casual style is. My advice to them is, it is important that your uniform doesn't become your 100% of the time wardrobe. By separating work and casual styles helps you relax when you are away from the work environment. But by minimising the cost associated with having 2 separate wardrobes you just need to start with a few 'casual' items to help you understand what this 'weekend style' is. Buying a great pair of jeans, basic t-shirts and casual shoes is a start. Next, buy a couple of 'day' dresses - in softer fabrics, possibly prints and styles that are looser and more casual. Also don't forget to feel confident to allow your personal style to infiltrate your work wear so you can let some of your personality shine thru.
CLOTHES HOLD MEMORIES
I truly believe that clothes hold memories, just as photographs and smells do. These memories, good or bad, can be a major influence in loosing your personal style. When I was pregnant with my two children, and I am one of those women who don’t do pregnancy well, I gained weight from day one. My ankles disappeared for months and I suffered with cronic back pain! Let's just say these are my least favourite memories. The clothes I wore during these difficult months need to go ASAP as the association of them left me emotionally drained. Understandably, most women choose to hold onto their maternity clothes until they get their "real body" back. Months or even years can pass and women can get stuck in their 'in between' wardrobe. This is when your style can start to disappear. If you can identify with this, no matter what your weight, whether you’re pre or post pregnancy, I encourage you to change the memories your clothes hold in order for you to move forward and to start feeling good about yourself. I suggested to a very good friend of mine, who recently lost an amazing 15kg, to get rid of her old clothes. Understandably she was very emotional about doing this as those old clothes shielded her body from the world. I explained that she would never be able to embrace her new body in her old clothes. My friend needed to find her new personal style, to create new memories and remind herself that she can feel confident in her clothes again. It took a few weeks for her to build the courage to have a huge cleanout but once she was done she felt extremely liberated and excited for what lay ahead . Sometimes by holding onto old comforts that we are used to, we really can hold ourselves back from finding our true style.
I would love you to think about yourself being a "confident you", which can be difficult if this is not your natural disposition. Try using some of these tips to find your inner-self and your personal style. Perception is a wonderful thing...when you look the part you will be the part, and trust me, your confidence will follow.
YOUR HOME WORK
Create 3 or 4 mood boards of people that inspire how you would like to look. Using the rules above IDENTIFY + DEFINE + SHAPE.
Here are my mood boards to give you an idea of how to "SEEK INSPIRATION". These women have given me wonderful inspiration over the years. They are strong business women who have a very true sense of self. I especially love
- Denim is key to their dressing
- Minimal make up and simple natural hair
- Fashion without looking like a fashionista
- Core basics are important
- They add high end fashion with accessories and footwear
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