What’s the value of a style recipe? Let me share …
Every morning my husband and I walk around our local park with the dogs. We pass many of the same people on our jaunt each day and over time I’ve started “naming” these people using something that identifies them, so much so that I can say to my husband “tall hiking man” or “photo pole guy” and he knows exactly who I’m talking about. In essence, I’ve created a style recipe for each of these people that I pass in the park.
These identifiers you will notice are about something in their physicality (the only ones who don’t get these names are “screaming lady”, “clapping man” and “dancing man” who are identified by their consistent actions).
If you translate this to a style recipe, it’s a tool that helps you tell the world something about you.
If you were walking around my park, what would you like me or others to pick up about you?
What’s your personality? What do you want people to know about you? Who are you and how can you express that through your image?
Given that your image is communicating without you saying anything, what it is that you want it to say?
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One of the things I think is important is to ensure that your style recipe works for your whole life, not just work, but for everything you do. Who are you at your core and what do you want people to know?
My Style Recipe
My style recipe is Functional Individualist with a Touch of Glamour.
It used to be just Functional Individualist and then I decided that I enjoyed my outfits that had a bit more glamour involved, so I added that in as a reminder.
For me, the functional element works no matter what I’m doing – gardening? Then I wear my activewear that allows me to stretch and move easily. Going to a special event? Then I’ll pick out a fancy frock and jewels that function in that environment. Sitting at my desk, it has to be comfortable for sitting and working at a computer, so I don’t like bulky bracelets that get in the way – not functional for me (but you will see I wear a lot of bracelets, they are just not the chunky kind). My pencil skirts are all made from super stretchy ponte fabric that are totally wash and wear.
The individualist element is me liking to be a little unidentifiable – you don’t know where my clothes came from. I’m never sporting an identifiable look that says “she shops at XXX”. I like things with a touch of difference or how they are put together is a little unique.
Where is the glamour? It might be in the colour, or some sheen, a floaty fabric that swishes as I walk, maybe some bling or statement jewellery, it might just be in the manicure! It’s functional glamour – that fits the environment!
So when you’re thinking about your own style recipe – it should be something that gives you guidelines that you want to follow, but also enough wiggle room that you don’t feel boxed in or that it only works for one aspect of your life.
What are the Ingredients for Your Style Recipe?
Figuring out what your Style Recipe means is a super important part of defining your style recipe.
You want to make a Key Lime Pie? Then you need to know all the ingredients in it – not just that it contains limes! What’s the base made from? What else is in it?
The same goes for your style recipe – what are the ingredients in every word?
For example if FUN was part of your style recipe – how would you express this in your clothing?
- Bright colours
- Warm colours
- Prints and Patterns – and if so – what sort? Stripes? Checks? Abstract? Objects? Which say fun to you?
- Colourful jewellery? What’s it made from?
- Lightweight fabric
- Fluffy or furry fabric
If you were to look at the image above – if you were to select FUN as part of your style recipe – what (if any) of the elements of design say fun to you from the clothes and accessories above?
I’m pretty sure that even if FUN was important to you – you wouldn’t wear everything here (assuming it all suited you and made you look fabulous) as how you interpret the word – what the specific ingredients for fun are for you, will be different to the next person.
Take the time to figure out your ingredients – what you love (don’t forget to check out the elements of design and how they communicate here) and then start using your style recipe and see how it works for you.
You may need to tweak it, or completely rework it! It should provide you with a great framework for your style, not stifle your style or be too broad as to not be helpful.
Remember, that defining your personal style is the easiest way to have a wardrobe full of clothes you love to wear!
And if you want help with your style recipe, the amazing 7 Steps to Style members are a wonderful resource – plus in the program there are additional tools and resources to help you figure out what you want yours to be.