I was asked recently on a 7 Steps to Style webinar if I’d share more “interpretation” of personality style with my outfit photos. Just to help those of you who are trying to learn to read clothing more effectively some tips on what elements of each piece might belong to each personality style category.
If you like this as an idea, I’ll do regular outfit posts like this where I share how I interpret the different elements of my style, how I put outfits together and the elements which influences my choice of garments and accessories I choose to wear.
I mentioned in this post my personal style recipe some of the words that I need to think about when choosing clothes. When I do a personality style quiz (which is part of my 7 Steps to Style program) my style categories include:
(yes I’m a bit of a ‘bitzer’ personality wise, and blend of lots of personality elements, and this is very normal!).
Interpreting Personality Style in an Outfit
Let’s start with the garments, then we’ll get to the accessories.
Asymmetrical butterfly top. The top is a floaty chiffon fabric (feminine) over a layer of comfortable knit fabric (relaxed). The pattern of butterflies is curved and nature inspired (feminine) in a medium to slightly larger scale (element of dramatic, but not over the top dramatic). The pattern is medium contrast (relaxed) and the top has an asymmetric hem (creative).
Striped skirt. Made of stretch knit fabric which is super comfortable (relaxed), straight shape (classic) but which shows off my shape (feminine), stripes (relaxed) and textured (relaxed), mix of patterns between top and skirt (creative)
Necklace: made of polished sea sediment jasper (relaxed), in a larger scale (dramatic) but in a traditional style (classic)
Earrings: silver (relaxed) with small filigree detail (feminine) and a few dimantes (feminine)
Watch: traditional shape and style (classic) but in larger scale (dramatic) but with numbers made from diamontes (feminine)
Shoes: wedge without much of a heel (relaxed), turquoise blue (dramatic), two textures (creative), purple nailpolish (creative)
Hair: Smooth ponytail (classic), reason for ponytail (relaxed)
Makeup: Pink lipstick and some eyeshadow and makeup but not overly dominant (feminine)
Will you discuss your ponytail more? I get so much flack about wearing my long straight hair in a ponytail. Mostly from women, mostly from women older than me who see it as unkempt, childish, lazy, out of style (I think, based on the comments they feel free to dump on me). One even went so far as to tell me my hair (naturally straight as a string and I keep it long so I can pull it back) was NEVER in style except for a very short time in the 1970’s. Another said, “Why don’t you do something with your hair?” When I asked what she meant, she said, “Well you could at least comb it.” This was after a short one block walk in the wind from my car to a meeting. My hairdressers usually say, “Why don’t you just keep it?” when I ask for advice. It’s unusual that it is still dark brown and healthy looking as I get older, it seems.
Ponytails – kind of depends how you wear them, how low or high and how long your hair is I think as to what they communicate.
In the BBC TV show ‘Doc Martin’ the character Louisa absolutely rocks a ponytail.
Thank you! I’d never seen the show. Louisa is a good example for me to aspire to.
Go with whatever you want & how it makes you feel. Sometimes it’s easier to just work with the type of hair you have than fight with it all the time.
I’m 45, and have very fine straight (coloured) hair down to mid back. Mostly wear in a bun or ponytail, as I hate hair in my face. But I can do extravagant updo’s when I’m dancing.
I had really short hair from about 20-30. Had to be washed every day so I could style it, needed tons of product and a cut & colour every 4 weeks. Hats, wind or rain would leave a limp mess glued to my head. Now I only need colour, foils and a trim done every few months.
You can style up a ponytail. One of my defaults is to reserve a section at the front & put the rest in a high ponytail at the back of the head. Then spray & tease the underneath of the front section, so it has a little volume. Gather it together on the top of your head, so there’s a bit of shape, maybe a twist. You can put a couple of pins there if you want. Smooth the rest, then put a pin through the lot and secure it just behind the elastic in the ponytail. I put another thin elastic band on the ponytail, including the extra from the front, then you can take the pin/s out if you want. You can make it look super neat & polished. Could wrap some hair to cover the elastic, or put the rest in a bun, or double up & clip underneath. Split the front section in 2 so there’s a centre or side part. Takes minutes, can disguise un washed hair if you’re in a hurry
Some great ideas here! (if I could be bothered!)
I really like the lines found in this feminine look: the asymmetrical hem of the blouse agains the skirt and its length are perfect! Plus, blue, blue, blue! Very pretty outfit indeed Imogen!
Ann from Kremb de la Kremb
Imogen, as always, I love the science of your styling formula. Your emotional intelligence, and your passion and generosity in sharing with others. Thank you.
If I wish to meet some one in person, it has to be IMOGEN . I love each and every article and pics. Though I worked in the IT, I was never into browsing or learning through internet as it kept on shifting my focus to different sites, clicking random links. This is one I am hooked onto and cannot think of anything else until I finish one article. I am addicted to this site. I cannot wait in the evenings for everyone to go to bed and for me to read two or three articles. It’s a nice feeling to windup the day in this way.
Thanks so much Anjali – it will take you a while to get through all the articles!
Great article!! Very helpful.
OMG! I love defining my waist but have muffin top. This outfit is a revelation on how I can wear fitted pencil skirts and keep it feminine with loose drapey tops. Thanks for doing this piece!!
Watching this again as I’m going through the 7 steps. I wish you would do a blog post (or direct me to it if you’ve already done it) about each of the personal styles (classic, relaxed, elegant, etc) using the same base (such as a pair of jeans and a knit top. I think I am somewhere between relaxed—comfort over every other element—and elegant chic—what I wear must be flattering in most ways, if not all ways. Does that make sense?