How To Easily Identify Your Signature Style
How to identify your style
Hello, my dears! How to identify your style is one question that I have been asked many times. So…I’ve decided to do a series of articles that discuss style: how to find your own, how to develop it and how to own it, my dear!
While I would like to claim that, yes!! I woke up like this! Or, I looked fabulous straight from the womb! I have to say that style is not exactly something that just magically happens. So let’s start with some basics. You know, some foundational ideas and definitions so that we’re all on the same page. Ready?
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To borrow a quote from Oscar de la Renta,
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”
So in that regard, style is something that is highly personal, and individual!!!!
What is the difference between fashion and style?
Style is something that goes beyond the current trends or even regional ways of dressing. Fashion comes and goes. It is what is left when a particular fashion goes that is style. It is very much aligned with your identity. Just as you and your personality may evolve overtime, often times, your style will do the same.
Do you remember in The Matrix, when Neo joins the “real world,” he was wearing tattered clothing, a shaved head and had those weird hole in the back of his head.
However, once in the Matrix, Neo was looking pretty hot, with a black leather jacket, cool sunglasses and fabulous Keanu Reeves hair. Morpheous says of his new appearance, “it is the mental projection of your residual self.” In short, Neo’s look was based on how he visualized himself.
Your style is sort of like that, but in a more concrete form. We won’t go back and argue the reality of the matrix, we’re here for other, more pressing issues!
To think of it another way, take a trend this season--neon. If you were to wear neon, how would you wear it? Would you wear a yellow neon mini with a biker jacket and Doc Martins? Would you wear a hot pink body con with stilletos? Would you wear a neon green cami with a black blazer and black slacks with black pumps?
Neon is the fashion. How you work it into your wardrobe and how you wear it is your style. When neon goes out of fashion, you would just replace it with another fashion.
Style is what you wear, irrespective of what the current fad or trend it. So what looks do you tend to go back to over and over?
"Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world—an emotion.”—Alber Elbaz
"Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it." —Diane von Furstenberg
What is your personal style?
Chances are, you have a decent idea of what your style is or may be. Here’s an exercise for you. Go to your closet and look at it objectively.
It’s not important as important right at this moment that you don’t have the clothes you want. Also try not to critique your clothes. This is just an assessment at this point, just seeing the lay of the land, so to speak.
Here are some questions to help you in your observations:
what colors do you tend to go for?
what silhouettes are common?
what patterns are there, if any? Stripes, florals, fun prints?
what fabrics and textures are you drawn to?
Now that you have this information, you can start to categorize your style, as it currently is. I have to emphasize that these are general categories and is meant to be a guide. If you do a search, you’ll find all kinds of categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories. But for now, we’ll start simple and go from there.
How To Find Your Style
Types of personal style
There are a few categories that can help you define your style. Knowing these can at least give you a jumping off point and make it a little easier to shop. These are probably some of the more well defined styles. See if any of these resonate with you!
This style is literally ART in motion! Lovers of this style are usually extremely creative. Clothing items and jewelry can be hand crafted, with fabulous fabrics and unique embellishments. I like that the embellishment produces pieces that can be 3-dimensional! Here’s a great Pinterest board I found, in case you wanted to see more of this style.
The Bohemian style is almost synonymous with hippies and gypsies and is more folksie. It’s the style of world wanderers, and so the style ends up being a mix of patterns and fabrics from across the globe, which is very cool! The clothing here tends to be really chill and organic. There are a lot of long flowing skirts, embroiderery, tassles, crochet. Peasant tops--really anything that is loose and comfy.
If you are all about t-shirts and jeans, you may fit in this category. This style is simple, no frills, easy going. This can include sweatshirts, hoodies, or running shoes. But unlike the athletic style, not every brand you wear is going to be traditionally athletic wear in either type of clothing or fabric.
The chic style of dressing takes casual a step further and dresses casual up a bit. So there will be outfits like jeans with blazers. It has elements of glam, as well as classic and sometimes trendy. It’s a bit of a hybrid. This style could be described as elegant or sophisticated, and is usually more understated than the glam or sexy styles.
Simplicity is central to this style. The pieces in the classic style are considered timeless, and even seasonless. The sihouettes tend to be simple, neither very baggy or very body hugging. The colors tend to be in neutral tones.
This is a style that is dramatically feminine. The colors are bold, the silhouettes strong. You will more likely see statement making clothing, not so much in the print, but in the clothing itself. Sleeves will be big or ruffled. Heels will be high or at least eye-catching.
Dramatic black is the central color of this clothing style, but is also accompanied by dark, deep colors and sometimes a surprising pop of bright colors. This look is edgy and often very emo feeling. Accessories and embellishments include spikes, studs and chains.
Here’s another more casual style. For the preppy style, think college wear. V-neck sweaters, polo shirts. If you like a simple crisp white collared shirt, plus or minus a monogram, you may be a fan of the preppy style. Or a simple A-line dress with a cardigan. Clean lines and simple, traditional silhouettes are what you love to rock.
The rocker style includes leather pants, leather jackets, ripped jeans and band t-shirts. But it’s also more than that--it’s anything over a little over the top! Like a leopard skin blazer with a faux fur lapel, or platform heels with ripped jeans. It’s similar to glam, but not as overtly feminine.
On the other hand, this style is all woman. The colors are soft, with lots of pastels or floral patterns. Fabrics tend to be light and flowing enough to be picked up by the wind and look like a freakin’ dream!
Flaunt those assets, but don’t hurt anybody! This style is all about showing off your body. The skirts are short, the cuts are low, the dresses are tight. You can show off as lot or as little as you want, just make sure you show it off!
If you think leggings are pants (let’s not argue, guys!) and you love rocking sneakers and hoodies, this is you. Athleisure is what you love. Your closet is filled with joggers and sneakers. Gym wear is your everyday wear.
This is a more gender neutral way of dress. Clothing is a bit looser, often with boxy silhouettes. Sometimes there is an overlap with menswear, as fans of the tomboy style may find that menswear have more of the vibe or the look they’re going for.
This is exactly as it sounds. So this category is going to be always changing! If you want to wear whatever is hot and now, I’m talking about you! You love being on the front lines of fashion and are willing to try anything once!
If you feel like your style is from a bygone era, you may have a Vintage style. Lovers of this style may have a certain era they love, but it encompasses every decade from the 1920s to 1970s. If you envision yourself as a pin-up girl or you have a retro vibe, this is your tribe!
This style is denim heavy, because this All-American look was made to be work wear! Faded jeans are what I think of immediately, with the obviously awesome cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Accessories may have tassels, or even a Native American influence.
Alright, my dears, hopefully these descriptions will at least get your gears going, thinking about how your see yourself and what style you are projecting. Does it surprise you? Do you think your clothing represents the style you want to portray? No? No worries! See “How To Change Your Style” and start the journey to a stylish, confident you!
This is just the beginning, as I discuss all things style. Remember to share the love! Come back next week for more, or better yet, subscribe or follow me so you get notifications of the next installment in this series. Until next time!
"Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There's no how-to road map to style. It's about self expression and, above all, attitude." —Iris Apfel