Over the years I’ve been working as an image consultant I’ve realised that style is a journey, not a destination. Your clothes must express who you are, without this you won’t appear confident. Without confidence, you won’t be anywhere as near stylish as you could be.
So how do you combine what you like with what suits you?
A Process Of Discovery And Experimentation
Pinterest is a fabulous tool for finding inspiration. Create yourself a Pinterest board and collate images of outfits that you like onto this Pinterest board.
If you don’t have a Pinterest account, There’s no cost involved in creating an account, you just need either a Facebook account or an e-mail address.
When you’re adding images to your board, try to make sure the outfits are reflecting items that you actually own and love – a polka dot top or a denim jacket. Look for various interesting and inventive ways to wear these pieces and pin them.
Once you’ve got 20 or 30 different outfits or garments, you’ll start to see specific themes and styles emerge. Are you drawn to floral prints? Animal prints? Checks? Asymmetric construction? Waisted shapes? Details and embellishment? Texture? Monochromatic outfits?
Don’t be afraid to delete pins ruthlessly. Pins that you feel indifferent about not only distract from pins you love but also completely distort the overall feel of the board.
Match What Suits You Physically
To create outfits that make you look amazing, you need to know what suits you physically. Truly knowing your body, measurements, and what features you want to show off is invaluable knowledge.
Knowing your body shape is just one part of the equation. If you’re not sure what body shape you have, do the Body Shape Quiz to find out! Body shape guidelines just tell you where to add horizontal details to balance and where to add vertical details to elongate. They tell you a little about the styles but certainly not everything about what flatters your figure. If you combine your body shape with information about your body variations and body proportions, they work together to create your body equation
If you’d like my professional opinion on your shape, proportions and variations, you can get this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program (along with a personal colour analysis plus so much more) as it will really help you understand all the layers in your personal style
Find Your Aesthetic
Even if you wear different things all the time, you may notice, there are themes that run through those different garments. I had a client who incorporated textural elements in her wardrobe with many pieces that have tone-on-tone texture such as lace detail but in the same fabric underneath; cut-out detail or subtle embellishment.
You might notice that you’re not attracted to bold accessories or bright colours because you know you can make a statement with so much less.
You might be drawn to things from the past from your favourite vintage shops but there is a difference between wearing a head-to-toe period look for authentic vintage fashion and vintage-inspired fashion where you mixing vintage items with everyday clothing.
Your style may have a boho-chic aesthetic with flowy and loose natural fabrics; retro patterns in neutrals and warm shades and statement accessories.
Understanding your personality dressing style is super important as your personality influences way more about how you dress than your body shape. Much of what you choose for your Pinterest board will not have been based on body shape or any physical elements of you but is reflective of who you are on the inside. When we dress to highlight ourselves in an authentic manner, we feel the most comfortable and confident.
I developed the Personality Style Quiz that might help you figure out which are the personality dressing styles that work best for you.
Consider Your Lifestyle
As always, you need to consider your lifestyle. There is no “list” of clothes that every woman needs in their wardrobe as our lifestyles differ so much. What you need in your wardrobe will relate to where you live; the climate; how you spend your time and what you want to project with your image.
The percentage of time you wear it should be reflective of the percentage of clothes you own and wear. There is no point in having a huge casual wardrobe if you spend the majority of your time in smart business clothing.
Work out what you really need as far as your current lifestyle goes, then start working towards having your wardrobe reflect this.
Combining The Elements
Bringing those different elements of what suits you physically together with your style personality and aesthetic and what works for your lifestyle can be a challenge.
It’s not about identically imitating the exact look you saw on Instagram or Pinterest but looking at what it is that you like and why you like it and then considering how you may be able to adapt that for your own style and your own wardrobe.
Don’t worry about copying the outfit exactly. You can substitute pieces with something you own that’s similar. Figuring out how to wear something in a way that is comfortable to you can take a lot of forms: it might mean buying different versions of current trends. For example, wearing an oversized top as a petite person, you’ll want a scaled-down version with shorter sleeves and a narrower fit in the shoulders, maybe even a shorter top overall.
For example, let’s say you want to recreate an outfit that is centred on a wrap dress but you have a straighter body shape. How you make it work is to consider the structure of the outfit and create an illusion of a waist by wearing a faux wrap where the wrap edge comes just below the bust instead of at the waist, and without ties that create a horizontal line around your body.
You may have pinned a simple outfit of fitted jeans, flats, a striped shirt layered with a scarf. Your jeans may be a different cut to suit your body shape and the scarf a different colour to suit your unique colouring but in this way you can use Pinterest as outfit inspiration.
If you want to take it one step further, take a selfie before you run out the door and save the photo for easy future reference. Taking an outfit photograph is a powerful tool to help you really see how your clothes and accessories look on you. Taking a photo helps you be more objective so you can see if the colours are working, the contrast is right, the fit is good, the shapes are flattering, the proportions balanced etc. Photographs help you to see the rules in action. Get my tips on how to pose for those photos here (so you don’t hate every outfit as you don’t like yourself in the photos.
Learn More About Your Style
Doing a program such as 7 Steps to Style will give you the help you need on the “what suits me” element of style, discovering the colours, contrast, and other physical elements, as well as giving you detailed assistance in understanding how your personality influences your style choices.
If you’ve completed the 7 Steps to Style (or had a consultation with an image consultant) and really want to dig deeper into your style – then my Ignite Your Style Genius is a program that has a series of monthly activities that will help you further develop your style.
More tips to help you find your style
Why Taking An Outfit Photo Can Really Help You Become More Stylish
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Wow, you’re hitting on so many great elements to consider!
Very helpful. I used to be very confused about combining elements
I make a lot less shopping mistakes nowadays: I am learning what works for me and what I wish would work but I won’t reach for: less wasted money and more of a closet that I like.