style musings, style tips

style musings | identifying your personal style

hi, friends!

welcome to the first installment in my “style musings” series.  these posts will not feature outfits and will instead discuss various “philosophies” and advice when it comes to fashion, beauty, and style.  i’d like to discuss issues or concerns that a lot of women seem to have, and although it’s a pretty serious undertaking, i think this week’s style musing will be useful to you if i can get it right.  it seems that a lot of women feel that although they want to have a developed sense of personal style, they struggle not only with creating compelling outfits, but also with a simple lack of understanding of what they like and who they are sartorially.  to a certain degree, style has to really come from within, so it’s going to take a bit of work if you are wanting to improve it.  if having a great sense of personal style is important to you, and you’d like help developing it further, read on.

this may seem obvious to you, but fashion and style are primarily visual arts (yes, duh, i know).  what i mean by this is that when choosing pieces and having a style, what your eye likes is of the utmost importance.  as such, i would argue that the first step in really identifying your style is trusting your eye and going with it.  it’s instinctual, like telling yourself to trust your gut.  building your wardrobe around the pieces that aesthetically, you love and adore and want to wear, will not steer you wrong.  it’s a bit like decorating your house — fill it with the pieces you fall in love with, that you have to have, because you will almost always find a way to make them work.  then, as you acquire those items, you can fill in the gaps around them where it’s needed.  the same thing applies to your wardrobe.  buy the pieces you love, and as you wear them, you will begin to identify what you need to bring everything together or to make them more versatile.  one thing i always do is i pay attention to my inner dialogue when i’m getting ready.  if i think “oh, i wish i had so-and-so” more than three times, it’s probably safe to say that once i find it, i will get good use out of it.  yes, you are going to need basics and i am a huge proponent of buying really awesome basics.  however, the more interesting and unique the majority of your wardrobe is, in general, the more interesting and unique each outfit you put together will be.

the other thing to think about when it comes to fashion and style is how clothes make you feel.  for many, clothes may not make them feel much of anything.  however, if you’re reading this, i doubt that is the case for you.  clothing and dressing well, and as such, personal style, are also about expressing your inner mood, thoughts, and, ultimately…who you are as a person.  personally, if i had to wear a uniform everyday, i would not be happy.  choosing what i wear and loving what i wear is pretty much an all-consuming preoccupation.  when i don’t like my outfit, it throws me off.  in this, i think wearing what makes you happy is also a key part of the equation.  similarly, wearing what makes you feel how you want to feel is important.  i always tell people that my dream is to be able to dress like a “bohemian fairy princess,” at all times.  it’s about projecting the image of yourself that you are most proud of, comfortable with, and how you want others to see you.  truth be told, i think it says a lot about your inner life and how you feel about yourself. also, it’s really important to remember that telling yourself that you “can’t pull it off,” is not helpful. if you love it, wear it. but, there’s a difference between being intimidated by something and not feeling confident. if wearing something makes you feel self-conscious or at all uncomfortable, don’t wear it. but if you are into something, i encourage you to give it a shot.

now, let’s talk tactical solutions.  we live in a modern information era, where so much stimulation is available to you.  this is where the internet and social media comes in.  pinterest and instagram are the two most popular visual platforms, so i encourage you to use them in your development.  follow bloggers, stylists, brands, and retailers on both platforms.  sign up for a tumblr and follow other bloggers or users and like/reblog the images you find inspiring.  build pinterest boards dedicated to the items you like the best — you can even break it down by categories, such as shoes, accessories, tops, etc.  this will create easy to access, centralized spots for everything that your eye is most drawn to.  read sites like whowhatwear and fashionista, as they give tons of shopping and styling advice as well as up-to-date reporting on fashion and beauty trends.  this will slowly build your awareness of fashion.  you don’t have to follow every single fashion show during fashion week, but reading the highlights will definitely sharpen your sense of what is current, which will improve and develop your taste.

now, use these platforms and a bit of critical thinking to identify key similarities between these brands, bloggers, trends, and pieces that you are drawn to.  analyze them a bit to identify the key elements and common threads.  for example, you may be really drawn to certain prints — maybe you like stripes, or florals, or plaid — across all these categories.  now you know that instead of buying a plain black scarf, you can probably buy a really killer plaid scarf and find several ways to wear it.  something as simple as that maybe just enough to make you feel just a bit more stylish.  also, think of words to describe what you see as common themes.  maybe you see lots of “girly,” “feminine,” pieces and “mixed textures.”  with that, you have just made a major step in identifying and articulating your personal style.

i hope this was helpful.  i’d love for give me your feedback on the style musings series in the comments, especially if you have any idea of topics you’d like me to cover.  also, let me know how you stay self-aware when it comes to your personal style!  i’d love to hear what you are doing.

that’s a wrap, folks! ➸

many thanks for reading!

➳ alyssa

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