Like a fingerprint, style is a personal and unique and communicates our individual identities. The choices we make regarding the type of clothes, the fabrics, accessories, the colours we are attracted to and the way we combine these ingredients all reflect our unique personality and styling preferences. We may have certain tastes in common with others, but each one of us will express it in a combination that reflects our own individual silhouette.
If we wear something that doesn’t match our internal self, it jars and creates what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Whether others are aware of it or not, they will pick up that something is amiss. In order to communicate congruence with our personalities, our clothes have to feel right, whatever right means to us as individuals.
We spend a considerable amount of money on clothes over the years and it makes sense to buy the ‘right’ clothes. What I mean by ‘right’ is the colour that suits us, clothes that fit us properly, garments that give us pleasure when wearing them and above all, an ensemble that reflects our unique style thumb print. So, where do we start?
By all means we can find inspiration from various style typologies, such as the classic, bohemian, romantic, casual, etc. They will give us some insight into what we are attracted to and where to start looking for our unique silhouette. However, our personal style is custom made and building a generic wardrobe will be as ill-fitting as the clothes with which we fill it.
Alas, there is no quick solution or ready-made checklist to express your unique silhouette. It takes time, patience, effort and perseverance. I can hear the comments that it is not worth it, but if you want to discover your personal style, that is what it requires.
The result is a wardrobe that you will love and one that will express your unique likes and dislikes and which will evolve with you over the years. Above all, it is also an enjoyable journey of discovery!
Taking the time to reflect on the outfits that have been your favourites over the years, will give you an insight into what you are attracted to and why. Are there certain silhouettes or combinations of silhouettes that appeal to you? What do you like about your present style? Which aspects of your wardrobe needs changing and why?
Think of any artist you care to name and you will immediately call to mind their unique style. From a fashion point of view, think of Channel, Vivienne Westwood and Carolina Herrera or any other artist from any discipline you care to mention. Their unique style is the thread that runs through all of their creations and makes it instantly recognisable as theirs.
The same is true of you. You too are an artist and once you find your unique style it too will instantly be associated with who you are. Draw inspiration from different colours, fabrics and silhouettes that you are attracted to and start shaping your personal style narrative.
Inspiration is everywhere we look, from nature and the seasons through to the endless variety of blogs, magazines and websites at our fingertips. Become aware of what you are drawn to from colours to shapes to certain looks. How can these inform and create your personal and unique wardrobe? Collect ideas that inspire and create a mood or fashion board and in time you will begin to identify a particular emerging style.
Is there an overall name or label that describes your emerging style? What would a typical outfit look like for it to reflect this style? What fabrics work with it? What does it say about you? It may very well be that you already have some of those garments in your wardrobe that you can build on.
Once you find what you love, search and experiment with different ways to wear it and what to pair it with. Be brave, be creative and don’t confuse your comfort zone with being comfortable!