The Inspiration You Need to Create Your Style Recipe


Style Recipe Ingredients

Style recipes help to shape your style.  They give you a framework and the ingredients you need when shopping for clothes or putting together outfits.

I think they are an essential element of becoming truly stylish in an authentic way.  I’ve written about them many times and why you must have one – which you can read here, plus I’ll link at the bottom of the post to further reading on style recipes (or style statements or style words, depending on what you want to call them).

What are the ingredients in your style recipe? How do you define your style? Get inspiration from others style recipes here.

So when I read a conversation about the ingredients of style recipes on my private 7 Steps to Style  group, I asked the members if I could share their thoughts with you as I think they provide some great inspiration into finding a style recipe that works for you.

It seems to me that we use our style words in different ways and in different levels of detail (all of which are excellent, and suit everyone individually).

I know for myself, I have distilled mine down to two words, which actually to me, mean a bunch of different things.  In fact, I’ve written about my 2 word style recipe here.

Creating a style recipe - get inspiration and tips from others recipes
This outfit meets my functional individualist criteria

Style Recipe Inspiration

I describe my style as ‘Sprightly Pragmatic’. Sprightly = quirky, colourful, with a hint of cheekiness, underlying energy, vibrant, vim, interested, curious. Pragmatic = comfortable, situation-specific, practical, unfussy, warm, decent quality, natural shapes or softness, not restrictive or boxy.

Mine are currently still:

  • Comfortable
  • Flattering
  • Approachable
  • Vibrant
  • Chic
  • An O twist (boho/retro)
  • These are all fairly straightforward descriptors. I’m a pretty straightforward kind of gal I guess

I can’t say that I invoke my words every time I select an item; my words are more descriptive of what I love. My recipe is romantic theatrical bohemian with empathy. The empathy is that I need one item as a conversation piece to encourage social interactions.

Understated Elegance

  • Understated…as in low key, effortless, relaxed, subtle – translates to simple lines in comfortable clothes.
  • Elegance…as in composed, graceful, refined, balanced – translates as soft tactile fabrics, closely considered palette of Serene colours, pared back use of accessories

Fluid adventurer – but that may change if I take a second look in a while.

  • Fluid: flowy, movement, always changing, teardrop shapes, rounded shapes and prints.
  • Adventurer: practical, comfortable, not afraid to experiment, independent. I did use this recipe to make some outfits, and some did work, but some didn’t. It needs tweaking, I think it isn’t complete yet.

Idyllic Femme Fatale

  • Idyllic works well for the rural parts of my life yet it is beautiful and serene.
  • Femme Fatale has the mystery and alluring quality but suggests that there is a brain behind the look.

I also have a group of words I use structured, detailed, timeless and symmetrical. I haven’t yet found a way to get those into fewer word.

I realized with greater clarity recently just how simple my classic style choices are. My style character vignette still works well but I had a little fun with another style descriptor.

“Simple full-bodied classic. Occasional top-notes of ballet, nautical or sporty. Understated refined finish. Pairs well with a serene palette (sic).”

My words are calm, soft, simple, natural, and graceful. Although truthfully, I could probably stop at calm and hit the mark 90 percent of the time. It is the one word that others will invariably use to describe me, whether my lifelong BFF or someone who met me five minutes ago. Because I am striving to look like “me,” that is the word my outfits need to reflect.

My style phrase is Sensual Elegance with the style recipe: Sensual, mysterious, comfortable, friendly, creative.

  • Sensual – soft, feminine, touchable (as in fabric), feast for the eyes, quiet (not noisy fabric or accessories), makes me feel happy wearing the piece/s, must LOVE the piece/s (except basics which may be simply functional).
  • Elegance – feminine, refined, classic shapes, graceful, flattering
  • Mysterious – playful, whimsical, quirky, unexpected, fairy-like, gossamer, lacy, soulful

Still a work in progress but normally fits pretty well.

My current recipe is Innovative Spine.

  • Innovative because I like to experiment, be creative, and have my clothes be versatile and resilient yet still comfortable and feminine.
  • Spine = flexibility, strength/confidence, earthy/elemental aspects, edginess, and polished.

These words are not perfect, and I struggle with adding feminine and softer aspects to my style, but they work for now.

Other words I use are Quiet Rebel, natural, textured, armored and approachable – although I do not aim to be approachable all the time.

My phrase is Authentic Treasure.

  • Authentic means to dress for myself, as myself. This means practical and comfortable pieces for my lifestyle now. I’m also not afraid to alter a garment to better suit my needs.
  • Treasure often results from a hunt in a vintage store or being patient and waiting for the right coloured pair of trousers. It also reflects my preferences for long lasting clothes, recycled pieces and sustainability.

If I go shopping for clothes, they should be ‘classic-relaxed with interest, in natural materials’. Silhouettes should be ‘clean, but lively and a bit sexy’.

Outfit combinations should be ‘sensuous and high contrast, both in colour and texture’.

Finally the details: ‘festive statement accessories and prints’. 

What is your style recipe and what are the ingredients?  I’d love to know – please share here in the comments!

How to Create a Style Recipe – Further Reading

Finding your style recipe

What is your style recipe?

How to find and develop your unique style

What’s the one thing you must do to be stylish

How language impacts upon your style

What’s your signature style?

Discover your signature style

Why you should be authentic in your dress

Tips on how to cultivate your style

How to discover your style superhighway

How 3-5 style guidelines are all you need

Asking thequestions to find your personal style statement

7 steps to Style - discover your style once and for all

Linking Up to: High Latitude Style, Not Dressed As Lamb


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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  • I am very probably functional individualist as well. I share with you an H shape, and a large bust. And a preference for the colour blue. Despite all this we dress very differently. My functional nature demands pockets in all my outfits and that very much defines how I dress.

  • My style “identity” is very confusing to me. I say “identity” because I don’t have a better word for how my personality, lifestyle, self confidence, and my career influence my style. My life experiences have changed me, and I now realize that as I grow, my style reflects that.
    It’s confusing to figure out where I am currently. I dress a certain way for work, depending on the environment I will be in that day, and I often dress just to keep warm in our Oregon weather. I think I’m kind of unpredictable.

    • There are many reasons we dress in different ways – and you have to bring lifestyle, environment, occasion and personality all into it. This means that you’ll dress differently and that’s perfectly normal. very few of us have a ‘uniform’ that looks so much the same. It’s good to work through some of the style recipe posts and see if that helps. There is lots more in my online programs on helping you define your style recipe too if that’s of interest.

      • Thank you for your quick reply! I’ve started looking through the posts, and jotting down a maximum of 3 words that come to mind when I’m fully dressed for work. Being the analyst I am, I jot down the weather, and how much time I spent putting myself together. We have had snow several times over just 1 month, which isn’t entirely common here, and most of the year we have rain and mud. My summer style is easier to sort out, so I’m focusing on when the seasons call for more layers.
        -One thing I need some help with though regards weight loss. I’m a V shape, and petite, 152.4cm tall. My shape has always been the same, but I went from a stable weight as a teen, to some fluctuations in college, then I struggled with an already present eating disorder and I was down to 42.2kg (I had gained a little and went from 128lbs down to 93lbs. Very difficult time in my life.
        My clothes were baggy, my body shape was the same, but lacked definition. I was taken to my Dr. who put me on medication that caused very rapid weight gain (40lbs in 4months, I had gained some healthy weight back by the time I was put on medication) It was a massive change. I lost 35 over about 2 years, and have mainted for 3 years. I noticed that part of my wardrobe problem is fit, and my mindset. I still see the bigger me, and I try to cover myself up and just look boxy and uneven.
        I followed your weight loss journey and I was wondering if you dealt with anything similar?
        (Sorry it’s so wordy. I didn’t know where to look for any tips on this subject)

        • HI Olivia,

          I personally haven’t had that kind of weight loss or gain (though I find the whole pounds thing very hard to figure out as I’ve been metric all my life). I think with lots of weight loss or gain, it can take the brain a long time to adjust to seeing what is really there. I know for me, changing from brunette to blonde took me 2 years to really not be shocked every time I saw myself, and it took some time to learn to dress the new me, different contrast levels coming into play. I do know with clients who have lost lots of weight that there is often a tendency to wear oversized clothes and hide, as that’s what they have done for some time. I think what may help is taking outfit photos for yourself, just so that you can really see what you look like in each outfit, and then if you are dissatisfied with your outfit, work out what to tweak or change.

  • Passionate Fun!
    Passionate because if I don’t like it – why buy it, why wear it, why do anything? And Fun! because we don’t need any more bad or sad or difficult in our lives. 😉

  • I loved reading the recipes of others, thank you for collecting them and making a post out of it.

    The most distilled phrase I’ve worked out would be ‘luxe natural creative’ – – – -but as I am typically really wordy, I can’t help but expand it – – – ‘natural’ encompasses organic, carefree, fresh, lively, Californian, unconstructed, comfortable to touch and to move in…. ‘luxe’ means feminine, sensual, alluring, intriguing [my color group], well-groomed…. and ‘creative’ includes adventurous, bohemian, artistic, handcrafted. The work wardrobe would dial down the sensual/alluring aspects and focus on natural and creative, which fits my industry (architecture).

    Now the challenge is to break out of my t-shirt + jeans or [boring] neutrals ruts to step up the game a bit…..

  • Mine is a relaxed classic in Kibbe’s parlance). Specifically: Competent, functional. Cursive.
    Cursive means movement, but controlled (like cursive writing is flowing, connected but controlled). Thus: not boho–no frayed edges, no rips, but not buttoned-up classic. Soft structure.

    Recipe instructions: Neutral plus a color. (Medium value, low color contrast). Charcoal grays, rose brown, denim blue. Anything that goes with blue-gray or dusty purple. Avoid pink – makes me look like I’ve been crying. Watch the contrast when wearing separates! Color near face.

    I also think of this as the Goldilocks style: Not too stiff, not too drapey, not too dark, not too light. Not too structured, not too unstructured. Just right!

  • I love these. I’ve decided that my style recipe is Simply Charming.
    The “simple” aspect encompassing the classic style which I am naturally drawn to, as well as the lines that suit my petite stature. I really need to be careful with extra fabric and too much detail!
    The “charming” aspect is adding in small touches of whimsy, or magic – like a small, twinkly earring or a sweet, metallic ballet flat. I like to think these echo my pixie qualities – heart shaped face, upturned nose, etc.

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