Have you worked through this series of exercises to help you discover your style – what have you learned about your personal style?
What are your style words?
Have you got multiple style personalities or are you more of a one style woman?
Did you discover anything about your style that surprised you?
Have you figured out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve upon?
How Have Formative Style Messages Impacted on Your Style?
As you grow up, there will be many messages you receive both verbally and non-verbally from your family and culture about what you wear, what you should wear and what is appropriate. You will also get messages about your body which can impact on your body image and well as messages about how you fit into the world and if you measure up.
These messages that you may not even realise you’ve receive can still be impacting on your style choices today and possibly in a negative way.
Something I discovered when assessing my style and influences when I did these exercises for myself a few years back when thinking about formative experiences I realised why I’m such a bargain hunter – and at that time to the point where I couldn’t buy an item if it wasn’t on sale. When I thought back to my early shopping experiences, I heard my mothers voice in my head say “I’m not going to buy you any new shoes as you’ll just grow out of them.” and “I’m not going to buy you any clothes as you wear a school uniform most of the time and it’s not worth it.”
What I heard in my head was “you’re not worth it” and “you don’t deserve to have any clothes/shoes”. So I became an extreme bargain hunter – I still love a bargain, but I can now see that I am worth buying things at full price, I don’t have to just have the leftovers at the end, the scraps that nobody else wanted because that was all I’m worth.
I realised what a destructive voice this was for me and set about changing my thought patterns. Because I also understand my style so well, I am also well aware when I find something that is truly me, that it is worth spending the money on as I’ll get the wear out of it and in the end, it will be a bargain as I love it so much and it makes me happy.
What about you? I’d love to know what you’ve discovered about your early style messages!
I´m not able to define my style ( if there is any ) yet. Loved the exercises though. My trouble is, that I´m too hasty in buying things. My hastiness goes also back to the childhood, when I only got to look at things, not having the chance to buy anything. So now I just buy, and look and think afterwards. I know what suits me, but I get this terrible buyers remorse, and end up giving away stuff I have bought. Like you, I think that I am not worthy of pretty clothes. I have a very expensive taste in everything and can´t just settle for less. I wish to have just a small wardrobe, which would allow me to wear my clothes mixed and matched; just adding some pieces up or down. I feel I´m pretty close to it now. I just change my coat and boots and grab a bag, when I have to appear public. I still have to learn to be more patient with my buyings. Like you said: Keep the price tags on for a time. In short, I guess I´m an urban cowgirl, with expensive jewelry and a designer bag. I know, that this sounds hollow, but I´m just being totally honest.
Imogen thank you so much for setting those exercises!I owe you a drink!I haven't posted here for ages,but I've diligently done each exercise, over the past few days, and it really has been a lot of fun.
My dislikes were sequins, severe tailoring and trends. My likes were quirkiness, femininity, drama and vintage/vintage inspired. Words I wanted to be described as included fun, theatrical,whimsical, artistic and friendly. My favorite garments seemed to echo this – but I was a bit startled to realise that 'glamorous' was one of the words I used to describe how my favorite things made me feel when I wore them. I would never consider myself to be a glamour girl!(I'm talking about old Hollywood style glamour, not the newer,tinsel edged variety!
There's a serious shortage of casual clothes in my wardrobe. I don't really feel comfortable in casual clothes, and I hate jeans and trousers.I can't make my style work with T shirts and Havaianas! I work in the library of an art college, so I do get plenty of opportunities to wear the eccentric, vintage inspired things that make my pulse race (my students and colleagues love my dressing up, and I'm more than happy to oblige!)When I'm at home, however – I don't have a thing to wear!Do you have any advice?
Once again, thank you!x
Great post! I think of my style as rock business. I like to wear elegant things mixed with different details that make it personal. I always picture the outfits in my head and think of them as a complete story. What do you want your outfit to say? I too have a blog about fashion and personal style. http://www.fashionstyleadvice.com – Check it out! Milana
Well, I did discover some interesting things about my style:) When I went through my wardrobe I found out that many garments were bold and yet feminine, with strong colours that just make me stand out in the crowd. But it was really a surprise to see that the first words I thought were "school manga"! But, mulling over it, I realized that mangas had played an important role in my life – and still do it. Even if I don't read many anymore, I still love their lightness and playfullness – and this is how I want to look like:) I'm shy like the most part of manga heroines, but we always have something that makes us standing out in the crowd. For me it's the creativity, the artistic side of myself, and that joyous playfullness I've had always mask:) I have never been the one speaking first in a group, always standing in the shadow. I hated it, but was unable to act different. Now I know I'll be able to smile and stand on the bright side of life:)
I learned that I look and feel better when I wear bright colors near my face. I was always afraid of the attention that brights might bring Now I try to think of color and color combos as something to help communicate my quirkiness.
Similarly, I have come to grips with the fact that tailored clothes that hug my shoulders and show my waist don't make me look like a vain show-off, but really help me feel good about my figure.
I also learned that my fall/winter style is really fuzzy. I don't have a clear idea of how I want to look when it is cold, so I always feel frumpy and awkward. This year, I will devote time to making an inspiration board or look book to help me get it together.
Thanks for the post!
My style seems to focus on drapey tops (slim-drapey, not bell-tent drapey) and very tight pants, always, always in neutrals. At most, I'll wear a pastel "colour" along with the browns, taupes, mushrooms and greys. I love monochromatic looks with textures taking the lead role. My problem is that I tend to buy too many of the same thing. I have this fear of it disappearing off the fashion racks and being left with no choices in my preferred style. I've been wearing this style since my teens, but I do make sure that I add something, or change something to make it "of today."
So I have about 15 drapey black tops (empire line, some grazing the waist, all past the derrière), 10 mushroom-taupe tops, 12 white tops, 3 brown tops, 3 grey tops, to go with tight jeans bottoms in a variety of neutrals. I pitched most of the black leggings, but kept the Wolfords. I also have some black treggings. I wear light heels or boots depending on the situation or weather. (My sister thinks it's awful not to wear dresses except for when I'm on vacation in a hot place…)
I love the colours of the sea, so my jewellery is all silver/white/aqua, except for the crystal and copper talisman pieces I make. I guess I don't step out of this mould because it makes me feel secure and comfortable and it can always be dressed up if needs be.
I think I'm getting more comfortable with my style. Imogen, you rock…
I did part of your exercices. Loved it.It make me find suprising things: All the words I can use to name the qualities I like in clothes style I could also use to describe my hair for many years, and it is true that I considered them my best asset:
Clothes that:-has movment-is tall/long- is feminine-is sensual-lightfull-luxuous in a vintage way ( broderries, old metal, deep color velvet, textures).That look rare. My hair were: Very thick and long with some curls, many colors in it: Mix of deep strawberry blond and blond, ash blond and dark red. So I would wear them untied or made gorgeous inventives things with it. Now I am 48. Since 5 or 6 years I started to feel that they were hard to wear natural ( unattached)cause I started looking a bit like a witch so I had no choice to tie them all the time, wich made my hair style most of the time looking like a little girl, or like a grandmother. I decided I'd started to have them cut more often but it is hard to have a coiffeur who understands this textures and quantity of hair and the haircuts often end up looking like a caricature of the cut. Feel nostalgy about my hair. What do you thing of very long hair for o grown woman? My husband/boyfriend says he feeled in love with my thick and long braid ( breed, bride??? You know this indian style thing ) I was already 44 years old.
One of my best friends (my age)sticks to her long to knee hair. I dream I could cut them shorter while she is sleeping cause I am sure having her hair around her face'd bring out her femininity and the softness she's hiding….I find many woman have problems having a style thet goes with her age.Sometimes it is a jewelery thing, or hair, or shoes. Or they go from girlich to older without transition ( without ever cutting their hair?). Like me? I want to find my "lady age".
The wise elegant age of my stronger years.Later in my life, I'll be the wise indian.
I've gone through most of the excercises so far and discovered several things.
first of all: I love dresses and the look of them. I just never buy or wear any because I feel too insecure about my body and my shape to really be more daring with them. I'll give them another try, my biggest style resolution for fall / winter is: less jeans, more dresses, more skirts.
but there is actually a question I've got.
I came up with a nice list of words that describe how I'd like to be percieved (strong, feminine, open, friendly, succesful, sophisticated, stylish, approachable, creative, fun, elegant, unique) but I can't really say which clothes would transport that image. any help there?
I know you showed two pictures and I saw why you attached the words to them that you did back in the examples but I'm somehow still having difficulties.
I didn't have the time to go trough the exercises but find them fascinating.
I think my main 'problem' is that I like to try things even if sometimes deep inside I know they are not the ones for me.
But I will do the exercise and tell all about it.
Even after losing 50 lbs., I still didn't feel worthy enough to buy clothes for myself. I didn't even know where to begin or where to go. I hired a stylist/personal shopper. She guided me gently through a process to help me find a style and clothes that would be right for me and help me find the confidence that I needed to buy the clothes. Four years later I still think she was worth every penny.
I buy lots of things but I don't think the fit is often right. I would love more lessons from you on what correct fit looks like, and how we can learn to see if something fits us correctly.
I was interested to see that the words I picked for my style reflected the less obvious side of my personality. Most people who meet me say I'm bubbly, outgoing, fun, strong personality, etc. But (or, perhaps, so) like styles that are sleeker, more elegant than fun & bouncy clothes.
I call myself a twisted classic. Fun to read all the great comments here!
My internal message is a sad one. When I was 13 I was molested in a fair while wearing something I particularly loved – a smart well fitted jacket and skirt. I internalised the blame and it is only after so many years that I realised I’ve hidden myself in clothes I don’t particularly love ever since because of the fear of attracting the wrong attention. Now I try to go out of my way to choose things I really like but may have felt conscious about before – I have a lot of catching up to do! 🙂
So sorry to read this Cinthya, I completely get it, and clothes can become armour or a way to hide. They can also become a way of expressing who you are as a person. Glad that you are now exploring them in a new way.
Agreed, and thank you for your wonderful tips and advice!
You are the first blog I have ever came across that really challenged my current struggle with clothing, It used to be so easy to find clothes I liked. It has become a struggle for a few reasons, I’m older, I have moved to a different state that I don’t love and lastly I feel like I don’t know myself anymore and I feel indecisive about what I want to project and I cant seem to find anything that reflects what I m looking for. You really dig deep and challenge my perspective on myself, very introspective approach. Thank you for being the type of Coach/expert you are. I’m very impressed beyond words.
Thanks so much Tuere for your comment – it’s really made my day! I know from working with women at all stages of life that the key ingredient is figuring out who you are and what you want the world to know about you – the rest is then so much easier as that’s the stuff where you can apply the scientific principles – but until you know who you are it’s all so much harder! Hope that there is something here to help you with your struggles!
You may find this new post useful as it walks you through some steps to figure out what you do want to project https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2022/04/aligning-your-style-from-the-inside-out.html