Worried that you should know what your style is by now? Here’s how to work out your personal style – and be ok if you can’t.
This week in our Facebook group, one of our members reached out for some support from others in the group:
“Help, nothing to wear! I’m surprisingly clueless about my personal style, what suits, how to rebuild basics.” Alison
This was followed by a number of women echo-ing this woman’s sentiment:
“I’m following with interest as I feel that at 50 I should have a good sense of my own style 😬.” Rebecca
“Don’t stress I am 61 and don’t know what is my style anymore and I used to work in fashion 🙋♀️🙄.” Veronica
“I’m so confused about my own style, so I can totally relate. Some days I feel boho and others I feel like a more tailored approach. 🤷♀️” Jane
“I’ve only just figured out my style now at 46. It’s only by following Nikki and other women she recommends on Instagram. They give me ideas and I can play in my wardrobe and make better informed decisions of what to buy.” Melissa
I promise I didn’t make up that last quote, nor did I include it to give myself a pat on the back. I included it as it contained two key things that I do every day to keep my style fresh. I play in my wardrobe and I follow others on Instagram who inspire me for their individuality.
I’ve written an entire book about how to create and understand your personal style but it’s these two things that are my constants, because here’s the thing: your style or your concept of style will change as you do. It’s not something most of us are born with. It’s not something that should be based on any formulas. It should be about YOU.
I know formulas and guidelines can help. That’s why I’m always banging on about building capsule wardrobes as they ensure you have the building blocks to be able to show the world who you are. And it’s why I launched Styling You The Label – because I wanted you to be able to source quality basics that help you build a wardrobe over time.
For some, a wardrobe of classically styled basics will be their personal style. They won’t feel the need for anything else in their wardrobe. For others, those basics will provide the foundation so you can freely jump on in and add the show-pony pieces that speak to who you are. For others still, you’ll swing between days of wearing classic basics, to boho, to quirky/creative … all in one week.
And do you know what (to also answer Jane above)?
It’s OK. It’s OK to have a wardrobe filled with clothes of different styles. If they make up who you are on any given day, then embrace.
I’ve shared my two main style personalities below – classic and boho. I dress for how I feel on any given day or occasion and I give you permission to do the same.
Maybe it’s time for a wardrobe edit?
Have you done a wardrobe edit of late? No? Put it on the list for the weekend!
If you own clothes that don’t make you feel like “you”, it’s time to ditch them.
When you feel like “you” in the clothes that you’re wearing, you’ll feel more confident. And what makes me feel more confident, might not be what works for you. And that’s VERY ok. As I’ve long said, it would be a boring old world if we all dressed the same.
Ditch the “rules”
Blanket style rules thankfully continue to disappear from the fashion and style world. Trends are no longer being set on the catwalks. They’re being set on the street – or on Instagram – by women of all ages, shapes and sizes.
No longer do we need to be pigeonholed into wearing what our grandmothers did when they reached certain ages or stages. Your personal style doesn’t need to get packed away in the same box as your dry-cleaned wedding gown when you return from your honeymoon. And it doesn’t have to go on permanent holiday if you become a mum or grandmother, either.
It’s ok if your personal style is fluid. We’re complex creatures. Many of us like to explore that. Relying on a checklist of rules to help you create your style won’t allow the real you to come out to play.
Look for the spark
The only test you should apply to any outfit you’d like to wear is the spark test.
When you try something on, I want you to notice immediately if that piece (or outfit) brings a spark to your eyes. If the spark isn’t there, then it’s not for you. Please don’t force it just because someone told you should wear a certain colour or shape – or because a friend owns and loves a similar piece.
True style comes from within. It’s about honouring your personality (or multiple personalities like me!) and letting it shine through what you wear. Feel good about yourself and work on finding the confidence to make your own style rules.
No person’s style choices are right or wrong. They are that person’s choices. Respect and celebrate those around you who own and flaunt their individual style.
Celebrating all women really does start with celebrating – and prioritising – yourself.
Below are some questions I pose to you in my book, Unlock Your Style. Use them as thought-starters if you’re feeling a bit lost with your personal style. If you’re game, share your answers in the comments.
Remember, be kind on yourself. It’s ok if your style is a work in progress. That just makes the process more fun.
How would you describe your style to a friend?
List five things you like about your current style?
List five things you’d like to change about your current style?
Do you understand who you are better than you did 10 years ago?
Is what you’re wearing a reflection on who you are right now?