Tips on How to Cultivate Your Style


15.CULTIVATE YOUR STYLE - you can learn to be stylish


I have read (and heard) some people say that style is something that is innate.  You either have it or you don’t.  And the people who say this tend to be people who are naturally stylish and have an innate sense of style and aesthetics.  I believe that because they haven’t had to work at becoming stylish or developing their styles, they think that is must be something you are born with.

But I disagree.

I believe you can cultivate your style.

You can learn how to be stylish in a way that works for you and expresses your inner wonderful woman on the outside through the tools of clothing and accessories – as your style.

As with any skill that you learn, you need to practice it.  Like learning to ride a bike, or play an instrument or even cook a decent meal.  Practice really will help to build those neural pathways in your brain and hone your abilities.

Style is no different.  It’s not a secret that can’t be learned.

There is a science to style and I’m here to demystify it for you.

I’ve spent years (over a dozen years now) learning the secrets of style.  Then taking the science and turning it into something you can replicate.  That’s why I started writing Inside Out style back in 2008 as I knew that so many women struggle with their style (I can tell you that I was one of them before I learned what I know today).

It’s completely possible to revamp your style and learn all the insider tips and tricks – the science and the art of style.

Understand more about your style and what you love - you can learn to be stylish you don't have to be born with style
Blue is one of my signature colours and I love turquoise jewellery as it goes with so many colours. How fun are these curly Larimar stone earrings (from the Larimar online shop)?  They add a little quirk to my outfit and repeat the blue in my necklace (and eyes).

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Take Action

Get into your wardrobe and play dress ups.  Take a hero item and see how many outfits you can create using it.

Dress from the shoes up (if you have a fun coloured pair of shoes).

Dress from an accessory  – take a statement necklace and create outfits around this.

Photograph your outfits (so you don’t forget and can refer back to them).

Take not of what is and isn’t working.  It may be scale, volume or proportion issues that you want to focus on.

You may discover that an item needs an alteration to make it work better for you (and remember needing alterations is not a sign of failure or that anything is wrong with your body).

Go into stores and play dress ups.  Try on outfits you’d never even consider normally, just for the experience.

When you’re trying on outfits in the stores you wouldn’t normally, think about what words spring to mind – what kind of woman would wear this outfit?  What are her personality traits?  What does the outfit say to you?

Take your style recipe shopping (do this at a different time to the first in-store exercise) and then walk around stores looking for garments that speak to your recipe and then try them on.

Go into stores you’d normally avoid.  This is a process of exploration and growing.  This is not about shopping or buying.  In fact you may want to leave your credit card at home so you can’t purchase.  If you end up finding an amazing outfit, I’m sure the store will hold it for you (this also gives you the opportunity for a good “power pause” as Jill Chivers calls it, to ensure that you love it as much as you think a few hours or a day later).


Further Reading

Take the body shape calculator quiz and download your free body shape bible (my professional opinion on your body shape is available in 7 Steps to Style)

Discover more about colouring (and don’t forget if you want my professional opinion on what colours suit you best then my 7 Steps to Style program is the way to go) by reading up some useful posts.

Think about your style recipe and signature style.

Find out why Evolve Your Stylers have found the ‘selfie’ to be such a valuable tool in developing their personal styles.

Read Jill Chivers thoughts on The Art Gallery Method of Shopping ( particularly useful if you are an impulse shopper).

Create balance in your style – this fascinating post by Angie of You Look Fab shows how some of us may swing one way then another through our lives with our styles.



Linking this post to:  Top of the World, My Refined Style,  iwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday’s Fab FavouritesStyle Stories,FlatbumMumThe FABulous Journey,Mummy’s Got Style,Sydney Fashion Hunter


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Wow, Imogen, this has been so useful: “what kind of woman would wear this outfit? ” I did this with a heavy canvas beaded bottom handbag that I picked up at the thrift store on a lark because it was so “not me.” I looked up the unfamiliar brand (an Anthropologie line) that is from India. Here is what I got from the exercise:

    She bought this at the museum gift shop after an event her women’s league held.
    It reminds her of when she was young and traveled to India (or wanted to). Now she
    wear it with her country club linen shifts to show ‘another side” to her.

    It’s the same side most of her set has. They like to dream of escape to
    exotic freedom and perhaps instead of looking on as at a museum exhibit, they
    will remember how to immerse themselves in heady indulgence. Though it won’t
    change their lives upon their return. I am the opposite. I dream of the kind
    of safe, secure, conventional life they don’t want to think defines them. So
    I am also defined by my dreams. Theirs are of unconventionality, mine of

    This explains a major proportion of my wardrobe selections! Putting on
    conventionality but using staid items signifying country club life and not
    the conventionality of the latest trend items. Wearing my dreams on my sleeve.

  • I absolutely believe you can learn style. I did it from your blog. I was known for my bad dressing style. People would tell me that I had to “try harder”. The problem was that I didn’t know how! I found your blog with all the explanations of color, body type, pattern mixing, etc. There were several “aha” moments. I was utterly shocked when people started to refer to me as a stylish dresser. That’s because of your blog.
    Style absolutely can be taught!

    • That is such lovely feedback! It’s so true that you can learn, it’s a skill like any other with a science that can be taught. Go you lovely stylish dresser!

  • Great advice! I have – slightly – updated my style recently. looked on pinterst at things I was drawn to and tried to buy more stuff like that which works together instead of random items which i love but dont really suit me! #brilliantblogposts

  • I love this. The optimism with which it is written that we can all revamp our style is just inspiring! I think we can all get stuck in a style rut with what we think suits us and is classic, and sometimes we need to shake it up! Sometimes we need to be pushed out of our comfort zone to try something different and it can be such a great confidence boost, in good times and especially in difficult times! Thanks so much for such a fab post- I look forward to reading more form your site and Abby and I look forward to trying out some of your tips! Lou

  • Just returned from a women’s (and a couple of men) jewelry-making retreat, and was over-whelmed by the compliments I received about my “style”, Imogen. Now there have been times in my past when I thought I looked quite stylish – and I have received a compliment or two in the past – but my problem was I had no idea what I was doing so I could repeat it. Since joining Evolve Your Style and your 7 Steps to Style I now know what suits me style-wise and color-wise – and why – and can use this knowledge to make the right fashion choices for me. That “and why” mentioned above is so important, and I thank you, Imogen, for providing me with that knowledge.

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