Everyone has been here at one point. I look back on old photos of myself when I was in college and I’m amazed at how much my style has changed. I was definitely still finding myself visually and experimenting with this and that. Constantly reading magazines and checking out my favorite style bloggers to see how they wore whatever was popular. At times letting my more stylish friends dress me to their liking, until one day I could do it myself. I could shop by myself, I knew what my aesthetic was, I knew what sizes to buy and what would look good on my slim, but shapely body. It was a process that took time and didn’t happen overnight. That’s why I’ve composed three questions you need to ask yourself to help you find and cultivate your personal style. Take the time to dig deep and figure out what you like, and I promise you it will make shopping and dressing yourself so much easier.
Who inspires you visually?
Who do you see and think, “Wow. I love her outfit. I wish it was in my closet.” This person can be a celebrity or even one of your friends or co-workers. Something about the way they wear their clothes is attractive to you. Use that to help develop your own style. The lovely thing about humans is that we’re all individuals. So two people can wear the same dress, but style it in different ways. I’m not saying to look like a clone of that person, but take key elements of their style and make it your own.
2. What fashion magazines or websites do you frequent?
The fashion media you consume says a lot about what you like style wise. For example, Elle magazine and Vogue magazine are both high fashion periodicals with different target markets. Vogue strives to create the fantasy of the more fashionably opulent consumer, while Elle gears it’s content towards working woman in 6-7 figure careers. In Vogue you will see a lot of crazy, unique couture or ready to wear pieces, but in Elle you see a lot of high end ready to wear for the office, a working lunch, or everyday wear. Look at your media. Do you prefer conservative periodicals like Town and Country magazine or edgy blogs like Where Did U Get That? This will help inform your thinking when you’re out shopping. Ask yourself, “Does this top say this or does it say that?”
3. When you picture your ideal best dressed self, what are you wearing?
When I was a college freshman I had an idea of how I wanted to dress, but was too afraid to implement it. Thank God I was placed in a circle of friends who weren’t having it and their tough love broke me out of my shell. From working retail I interact with a number of women of all sizes, ethnicities, and backgrounds and a lot do not trust themselves to make basic personal style decisions. They can’t decide on a necklace without their husband or a dress without their best friend. Asking for an opinion is cool, but everyone has different taste. I’ve seen woman get talked out of things they love by their friends and family, because they weren’t secure in what they liked. At the end of the day in your gut you know what you want. Trust your instincts and go for it. If it doesn’t look good, you now know what not to do for next time. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
I hope these three questions help point you in the right direction. The best advice I can give you is to just go for it. Step out of your style shell. If you want to dress like Rihanna circa the Loud album? Do it. If you want to look like Dorothy Dandridge circa 1955? Do it. The only thing you’ll regret is never trying.