Have you ever looked at a photograph of yourself, taken at a certain point in your life, and wondered what on earth you were thinking when you chose that outfit? It’s like peering into a time capsule, revealing your past style choices and, sometimes, fashion faux pas. But here’s the thing: style isn’t just about clothes; it’s about the story you tell the world and the connection you make with it.
Connection and Belonging
Connection and belonging hold significant importance in terms of personal style and fashion trends as they play a vital role in shaping our identity, confidence, and social interactions.
Personal style is a means of self-expression. When we authentically express ourselves through clothing, we communicate our values, preferences, and individuality. Feeling a sense of connection and belonging allows us to confidently showcase our unique style choices without fear of judgment or isolation. This authenticity is essential for maintaining a strong sense of self and projecting a genuine image to the world.
- Imagine attending a themed event where the dress code is specific and uniform-like, leaving little room for personal expression. How did you feel when you put on the mandated attire? Did you feel a sense of belonging to the group, or did you feel your individuality fading?
- Think about a time when you tried to fit in by adopting a particular style or trend that didn’t resonate with your authentic self. What motivated you to adopt this style, even if it didn’t align with your preferences? How did wearing this style impact your self-perception and interactions with others? Did it lead to a genuine sense of belonging, or did it feel like a facade?
- Consider an outfit you’ve worn that holds sentimental value, perhaps a family heirloom or a cherished accessory. What emotions did this outfit evoke in you? Did it feel like a piece of your identity, a connection to your roots? How did wearing this outfit impact your confidence and interactions with others?
Fashion trends can create subcultures and communities of individuals who share similar style preferences. When we find a community that resonates with our aesthetic, we experience a deeper sense of connection. These communities provide a space where our choices are celebrated, fostering a feeling of belonging and camaraderie among like-minded individuals. Incorporating current trends into our personal style allows us to adapt and evolve while still staying true to ourselves. When we embrace trends that align with our values and preferences, we can feel both connected to the broader fashion landscape and confident in our ability to integrate new elements into our wardrobe.
Working with Current Trends
Trends come and go like waves, and trying to ride every wave can leave you feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from your authentic style. However, you can use trends to your advantage. Rather than adopting a trend wholesale, consider how you can incorporate elements of it that resonate with you. For example, if the current trend is all about bold patterns and you’re more of a minimalist, you could introduce a patterned accessory or a subtle detail that adds a touch of trendiness without compromising your personal style.
Social Values and Disconnect
Have you ever bought an outfit that you thought was a fantastic deal, only to wear it once and never touch it again? This phenomenon highlights the disconnect between our values, what we buy, and what we actually wear. This is where the concept of values comes into play. How do your clothes align with your values and how you want to be perceived? If there’s a dissonance, it might be time to reassess your shopping habits and focus on pieces that genuinely resonate with you. If you value frugality, you may buy only the cheapest items off the sales rack, but you end up not loving them because they don’t reflect your personality, or they don’t fit well, or they don’t flatter you in some way or other. Alternatively, you may eschew all trend items and your wardrobe becomes very dated. If you have a high Social value (wanting to fit in and be like others) you’ll be more likely to buy into trends, if this is true for you, be wary about how much you spend on them if they are a short term fad, rather than a longer-term trend. If you want to learn about values and what yours are and how they impact on your style in my 7 Steps to Style program.
Exploring Your Blind Spots and Pitfalls
It’s human nature to have blind spots when it comes to our own style. These are the aspects we might overlook or underestimate, and they can impact how we present ourselves. Take a moment to consider the types of clothes you consistently gravitate towards and why. Are there certain styles or colors you avoid because of some message you’re received in the past (something about your body that may not be true, for example). Often we take on board advice or opinion from someone that we take as fact, such as “you can’t wear a pastel with black” which was something that was in one of the early What Not to Wear books. This was because Trinny and Sussanah, the authors used themselves as their own models, and for them, with low-value contrast and warm colouring, black and a cool pastel colour looked terrible, yet for others who have a higher value contrast, it can work really well. Identifying these blind spots can be a revelation. It’s about breaking free from self-imposed limitations and embracing the full spectrum of your style potential.
Getting a Style Education
We’re constantly bombarded with new trends and styles, and it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind. That’s where a comprehensive science-based style education comes in. Just like learning a new skill, understanding the fundamentals of style can help you navigate the fashion world with confidence. Discovering what works for us on an individual level is crucial, as personal preferences and body types vary. It’s not about blindly following trends; it’s about uncovering what aligns with your identity.
Your next step if you want to really become the boss of your wardrobe and image if you want to become much smarter about what you should wear so that you’re always communicating in an intentional way, is to get a style education. You can do this by joining my 7 Steps to Style program and discovering how your personality influences every style choice you make, which colours and styles harmonise with your body and colouring, and how to use clothing to communicate in a way that works for you and your lifestyle.
As you embark on this journey of self-discovery and style evolution, remember that it’s a process. Your style is uniquely yours, and it’s not about conforming to external standards; it’s about expressing your inner self with authenticity. Take the time to reflect on your values, experiment with trends that resonate, and celebrate the moments when your outfit perfectly mirrors your personality. After all, style is a canvas for you to paint your story upon, and each day is an opportunity to write a new chapter. So, go ahead and embrace your style journey with excitement and confidence.