I have design books and art books all around the house for inspiration. I spend my evenings browsing Pinterest and style blogs for ideas. But the truth is that my style hasn’t really changed or been “inspired” by any of it. It works well for my clients, but I am pretty set in my ways. I wasn’t always like this. In college, I went through quite a few style changes. Even after graduation, I was still at a loss as too what my actual style felt like. I didn’t shop for myself, I shopped the season and I shopped the trends. I knew fashion, but I knew nothing about personal style.
Then my mother purchased a personal stylebook. I read it and remained unimpressed, as it seemed to repeat mantras that I already knew. Focus on the classics, how to dress for your body type, blah, blah, blah. It was repetitive. But then slowly it began to dawn on me that while I knew about basics, there weren’t any in my closet. It was filled with fast fashion and cringe-worthy trends. I was like Carrie Bradshaw in the first season of Sex and the City — in love with the fashion industry, but not quite fitting in. I picked up the book again and this time, I began to let the words sink in. I read a few other style books too, some good and some seemingly irrelevant, but eventually I started to see the difference between fashion and style and this was reflected in my wardrobe.
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up from personal style books:
1. You have to start with the foundation. Get back to the basics. While you may know what they are, do you really have them in your closet? Most women don’t. Everyone with any sense of style, no matter how different, has and starts with the basics. I started my hunt by searching for the perfect jeans and a great trench coat.
2. Size really does not matter. I do not worry much about the size that I am wearing for several reasons. My size tends to fluctuate, especially after giving birth. Another reason is that some brands tend to run small, while others run on the larger scale. I try to head into the fitting room with 2 sizes and walk out with the one that fits and not the number I am used to. If the number really bothers you, then cut the tag.
3. Trends are okay, but you shouldn’t be a slave to each new fad. This is where I often went astray, buying things that worked for only one season and then had to be tossed the next. Instead I stick to the basics and buy one or two trendy pieces that I can incorporate into the mix rather than wearing trends head to toe.
4. Investments are never a gamble. I am the queen of savings, but I will splurge on a few investment pieces that I will hold on to for a long time. Shoes are a great example. I’ll also splurge on classic pieces, like a black blazer, because I’ll wear it at least once a week and it makes the rest of my outfit look expensive.
5. Spend more on “daytime” looks. During the day, you are paid to look your best and that’s when most people actually see you. The whole “wear your Sunday best” mantra? That should be an everyday thing. At night, you can turn a fun thrifted dress into something super chic even if it costs you $6 by adding heels and lots of accessories.
6. I’ve learned a lot about style throughout the years and I’ve turned my own self discovery into a new career. I went from styling models to becoming a personal stylist. When I became a mom, that sense of style helped me get ready faster because I know what works and I can put outfits together quickly. After all these years I define my personal style as casual, comfortable, and chic the 3 Cs I call it.
What’s your personal style? Or are you still looking for it?