Defining Your Whole-Life Style Recipe


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?

Watch the Video



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.

Style Recipe tips
Functional – comfy stretch check skirt, cashmere jumper, flat knee-high boots
Individualist: leopard print scarf mix pattern with check skirt, then add in the little 50’s women brooches

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.

functional individualist style recipe
Where’s the glamour? In this outfit for me, it’s the leopard chiffon scarf!

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

Creating your style recipe and defining the ingredients


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.

More Tips on Defining Your Style Recipe

Developing Your Style Recipe – Tips and Tricks from the Professional

The Inspiration You Need to Create Your Style Recipe

Why You Must Have a Style Recipe

How Your Pets Can Be Inspiration for Your Style Recipe

Finding Your Style Recipe

Defining Your Whole-Life Style Recipe


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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  • This was a really helpful video, thank you.

    I need to think more about it but at the moment my style recipe seems to be functional and quirky. When you said that going too far in creativeness feels “costumy” really resonated with me. I like a subtle little touch that is different but not in your face. Dressing appropriately and fitting in is very important to me, maybe my word is appropriate rather than functional?

    I don’t want to dress too conservatively but I also don’t want to stand out too much. For example, your blue manicure is very eye-catching, it drew my eyes to your hands as you gestured while it brought out the blue in your beautiful necklace, it is perfect for you. I would be uncomfortable drawing that sort of attention to my hands but would love to wear the necklace.

  • I would not feel happy with the blue nails either, although it looks lovely on Imogen, it would be off me or scruffy in a second, but I do like it for a very special occassion. Back to style words, I would have said elegent when I was working, but in a laid back sort of way, belted coat and jackets (safari style) for instance, not too formal, as I worked in a national art museum, then taught art. Now retired and making art for myself again, I would still like to reflect that artiness, but not with anything obvious like a scarf tied around the head (this is a bit of a cliche I have sometimes seen!) which looks downright hippy on an older person. I am a friendly person and a downright modernist too, so trying to figure out a style that brings all this together – living in the countryside as well! So – friendly, relaxed, modern and creative.

    • There are lots of ways to add creativity to outfits without it feeling cliche – ususual construction, asymmetry, wearable art patterns, mixing patterns …. the list is endless – you just have to figure out which you enjoy!

  • Hi Imogen, I have just started Evolve Your Style and I’m learning SO much about my style. Some of the days are just really hard because they don’t fit my lifestyle at all. But I want to thank for sharing so much for us to be our better looking selves. I didn’t know that I really prefer an “urban” look, although I do look really good in “country”, and I didn’t know how important comfort was to me, until I tried on a lot of clothes and realised that they are not really comfortable to wear and that is why I avoided them.
    Sometimes all the information is overwhelming. I could read your blogs all day!
    Again, thank you so much.

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