Defining Your Personal Style

I’ve gotten a few questions from you all on how I’ve defined my personal style over the years. It was a process that evolved overtime but really started to shape-up after I began working full-time after college.

My personal style is informed by how I look but more importantly feel in certain outfits. The best place to start when beginning to define your personal style is to identify a handful of outfits where you feel your most confident. Can you think of any?

One of the reasons you see so many of my work outfits on my Instagram page is because I want to capture my favorite work looks so that I can re-create them at a later date. If I wasn’t already keeping these pictures on my camera roll, I would really struggle to identify a few outfits that left me feeling like my best self. I would encourage you all in the upcoming weeks/months to capture some of your favorite outfits on camera so that you can start defining your personal style.

Once you’ve gathered 3- 4 outfits that you love to wear, the self exploration can begin. What do you like about each outfit? I’ve listed a few questions below to help tease out some answers.

  • What was the occasion?
  • How did you feel when put on the outfit?
  • How did you feel in the outfits as the day went on?
  • What was your favorite aspect of the look?
  • Did this outfit emphasis a certain part of your body? Was this intended?
  • Did you get any positive feedback from family, friends, co-workers?

As you start to evaluate each of your looks, begin to make notes. For example, if you find that you really like the fit and flare style (see below) take note. If you like how a certain color looks on you, write that down.

Outfit One

I love this combination of a fit and flare dress with a structured but still fun blazer. I feel like I could take on the world and dazzle my clients in this look. What I’ve gleaned about my personal style from this look:

  1. Dresses – are my go to for work. When dressing for client meetings, 9 times out of 10 you will find me in a dress with a coordinating blazer. Fit and flare dresses are my favorite because it accentuates the smallest part of my body.
  2. Blazers – I feel like I could take on the world in a good fitting blazer. While a black blazer is must, I like to use a blazer to add color and interest to an outfit. Always on the lookout for an eye catching blazer.
  3. Accentuate the waist – fit and flare dresses, empire waists, peplums and wrap tops.
  4. Texture – when possible I like to add texture to my wardrobe through textured fabrics, tweed, lace, eyelets, embroidery.

Outfit Two

This is one of my favorite outfits because it took very little time to pick out but doesn’t look slapped together. I love it when putting together an outfit in the morning just clicks. One of the ways to accomplish this is to build a capsule wardrobe which is why my personal style will always include the following:

  1. Black and White Patterns – whether its on a skirt, pants, blouse or blazer everything will match. Pattern is a great way to add depth and interest to an outfit without needing color.
  2. Textured/printed Skirts – a textured skirt or one with a print is an easy way to create interest in an outfit. I gravitate towards skirts that pair well with black, white, blue or pink. See my most recent tweed skirt purchase here.
  3. White/Cream Blouses – IMO you can never have enough white or cream blouses. If I’m ever struggling to put together an outfit for work my go to is a white blouse that will go with everything.

Outfit Three

I feel like a chic professional in this outfit and find I carry myself differently when I put it on. When I look at this picture, the following items stand out that I want to keep replicating in my outfit choices.

  1. Monochrome – I love the simplicity of a monochrome look, especially when done in a neutral palate.
  2. Textures and details – the pleated skirt, subtle eyelet design on the top and tweed jacket add to the femininity of the outfit and creates depth and interest.
  3. Proportions – I love how all these pieces hit me right around my waist, a area I try to emphasis where possible. When shopping I look for bottoms that start around my waist and blazers that hit just below. Anything I can do to distract from my hips 🙂
  4. Heels – I wear heels to work most of the time which makes its important to find a heel height and shoe style that is work appropriate but also comfortable.

This is a process that can be applied across many wardrobes like your casual wear, athletic wear and even swimwear! I’ve gone as far as completing this exercise with each season which is what allows me to take a pro-active approach to building my wardrobe.

Once you’ve identified your preferred silhouettes, color schemes, patterns and textures shopping becomes much easier. I’ve also found that I has less buying remorse because I am only ever buying items of clothing that fit within my personal style.

On the flip side, this same process could be used to determine when its time for an item of clothing to go. I recently decided to donate a pair of work pants after wearing them for the day and not loving how they grabbed at my hips but were baggy everywhere else. Life is too short to wear bad fitting clothes! Check out my post on how I decide when its time to say goodbye old pieces of clothing.

Happy personal styling!