Finding, understanding and celebrating your personal style is a journey, not a destination. It can change direction, hit roadblocks, run out of fuel, be fast and furious and fun and adventurous. It’s not just understanding but also working with your personal style. So as a personal stylist, the first step with my clients, is understanding their personal style through their own interpretation.
Just looking at what someone’s wearing will not always give you a clear vision of their personal style. This is often because even the individual may be unsure of their own style direction. Maybe you’re stuck in a style rut, feel that as a person you’ve changed or you’re simply too afraid to wear the things you actually really like for fear of sticking out or looking silly.
What if I told you there’s a way for you to wear whatever you want (within reason) and make it work to your personal tastes. Although briefly touched on in how to style a longline denim jacket, let’s expand and clarify the best ways to understand and work with your personal style.
IT’S OK TO LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE
It’s ok to not like loud prints and it’s ok if neon clothing makes you uncomfortable. Understanding and wearing the colours that best suit your skin tone and personality, will make you feel beautiful and confident. It will not only make fashion fun for you, but it will also make shopping less stressful.
People often ask me why I wear a lot of black. My answer is I love it! Black is a powerful colour, striking yet versatile. Additionally, as a fashion stylist, it’s a stylish challenge to play around with textures and fabrics, which also gives many appearances to one colour palette.
It’s not bad to love a particular colour as long as you are still making an effort with your style. You also should not be sticking to one colour out of fear or laziness. You should feel comfortable to try new things if they tickle your fancy.
I previously knew a lady who only wore pink, her hair, her clothes, her home, her kids buggies… everything. No matter the looks or comments she got, she always walked with confidence because that’s what the colour pink did for her. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you only stick to one colour palette for your wardrobe. I’m merely saying don’t be afraid to love what you love if it makes you love yourself just a little more.
BEING SIMPLE DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE BASIC
When Kim Kardashian (roll with me here) stepped into Kanye’s style land, we saw her style go from leopard print and panelled mini dresses to monochrome ensembles and simple earth tone outfits galore. Now her style may have been simple, but it was anything but basic. My point is, don’t believe that loud prints and bright colours are the only way to make a statement. A simple sophisticated curated look can have even more of an impact when worn with confidence.
Although Michelle Obama’s style has recently become more daring since leaving the White House and embarking on her book tour, her days as First Lady saw sophisticated elegant and often understated looks. Megan Markle also likes to dabble in print and colour now and again but can more often than not be found in a simple solid colour dress with matching heels.
MASK YOU FLAWS IF YOU NEED TO
Accepting your flaws and flaunting them are two different things. Just because you understand and accept the way you are, doesn’t mean you have to have it on show to prove it. So wear that A-line skirt if want to create a shapelier figure. Wear those 3/4 sleeve tops if they cover your “bingo wings”. Rock that fringe or hat if it reduces your “5-head”. Wear that peplum top if makes you feel better about your midriff area. Wear that bra if it… well you get the point.
WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY
Generally, even if you’re not the biggest fan of cleavage or short skirts or dresses, it does not mean that every mini skirt or low-cut top that enters your world must immediately exit stage left. This is because there will be some instances where you’ll love the style of the piece so much it’s worth finding a way to wear it. Just as shown in the featured outfit. Styling the tweed mini dress with tights and a white button shirt underneath means that the dress works perfectly, even for someone opposed to dress above the knee.
Of course, you can always find a longer dress with a higher neckline, but it wouldn’t be the same because it wouldn’t be that dress! The tweed dress also had a silk bow stitched to the front of the V necklace but switching that for a waist belt shows personal style and a more flattering silhouette.
UNDERSTAND YOU’LL MAKE MISTAKES
Just like life, your personal style is a learning experience. Along the years your style will change, evolve and fluctuate. Go with it. Yes, you may look back in 5 years or even 5 months and cringe thinking what was I wearing? But you can laugh and move on, it’s never the end of the world. I assure you that even Anna Wintour’s had her fashion police moments.
TRUST YOUR GUT
In personal styling, most people usually start off by saying they don’t know what their personal style is. But as soon as I start showing them a rail of clothing, they are be quick to start eliminating pieces. Because ultimately, we intrinsically know what we like and don’t like. Although we’re just not always sure on how to go about putting it together. Saying that, I still encourage clients to be open minded because they often end up loving items, they first rejected but it was insisted that they “just try it on”.
NEVER LIMIT YOURSELF
Just as in life, don’t limit yourself in style. Yes, certain pieces work ‘better’ on particular body shapes but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work for you. Firstly, personal style is understanding your body shape but that is so you can work with pieces that best fit and flatter you, not to immediately rule out options.
Fashion is supposed to be fun and style is supposed to be personal. In the end there are really no rules, just self-imposed guidelines. Yes, getting your understanding of your personal style right can make all the difference between a great day and ‘what-day-is-it’, but it’s never the end of the world. A faux pas should be a lesson and a fashion hit should be a celebration. So just do you the best way you know how until you know better.
[Photography: Abi Oshodi]
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