3 Ways To Find Your Personal Style

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.

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  1. 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.

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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?”

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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.

*Photo above is from Vogue.com taken by Phil Oh.
*Zendaya’s photo is by Tim Regas.

Books: Tehran Streetstyle by Hoda Kotebi

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I went to a radical coloring book party on Friday and found fashion. It was unexpected, but not unwelcome. Sitting on a table between photographs and other bobbles was a little book, Tehran Streetstyle. I wasn’t going to buy it, but after a quick conversation with the author and photographer, Hoda Kotebi, I had to.

As I fumbled with my phone trying to remember my Paypal password, we had a quick conversation about the book. All the photos were taken in Tehran, Iran, a place that Hoda calls home, despite being born and raised in the States. The book is the product of her activism work in Iran and the only print street style book on Tehran’s underground fashion scene.

I left the venue ecstatic about my purchase. My friend Jaren commented over coffee the next day that she had no idea people dressed like that in Iran. Which brings up another powerful aspect of the book, it makes you rethink what you know about Iran’s dress code. The photos in the book show a lot of color, fantastic prints, stylish hair cuts, and great usage of accessories on the young and old.

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Grab your copy of Tehran Streetsyle ($25) on her shop site. Joojoo Azad Shop.
Visit Hoda’s radical fashion blog to find out more about her work! Joojoo Azad.

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Hoda Katebi on the streets of Iran from her blog Joojoo Azad.

 

5 Fashion Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

I’ve recently been in a sort of “fashion rut”. To be blunt, I had lost all desire and excitement for fashion and style. I still made sure I was dressed impeccably, but my love of fashion magazines was gone, I stopped paying attention to the collections and trends, I just stopped caring. I stopped caring, because I was bored. You ever get the feeling that all the models look the same, all the clothes look the same, the people you follow on Instagram or Youtube look the SAME? Where’s the individuality gone? Well, after some digging I realized that individuality does still exist and I’d been looking in all the wrong places.

A good place to start was on Netflix as it turned out. Search “fashion documentaries” and some good ones pop up. Here are 5 fashion films you must see. Covering topics from personal style to the dangers of fast fashion, each film sucks you in and makes you want to revamp your wardrobe right after.

  1. Fresh Dressed (2015)
    This documentary shows how hip hop influenced fashion from gang culture to designer labels.
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  2. Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
    I adore Bill Cunningham’s street style report for The New York Times. This documentary gives you a little slice of the man himself and his legacy in street style photography.
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  3. Iris (2014)
    Iris Apfel is the woman behind the big circular glasses and the loud accessories you may have seen on your favorite style blog or magazine. She even makes appearances in two of the documentaries on this list, Bill Cunningham New York and Advanced Style.
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  4. The True Cost (2015)
    Did you ever wonder how fast fashion can charge basically nothing for it’s clothes? Why most of our clothes are made in China or some other third world country? Even if those thoughts never crossed your mind, educate yourself on what it costs for you to have that new Zara coat.
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  5. Advanced Style (2014)
    Age really ain’t nothing but a number. Just because your old, that does not mean you have to act like it or dress like it.
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Cipriani Quann: Urban Bush Babe

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Every generation has it’s style innovators and trendsetters. That group of artists and everyday citizens that are always with it, ahead of the curve, and follow no rules. Each week I will feature someone that fits this mold. Today I’m going to start with the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Urban Bush Babes, Cipriana Quann.

I think the first thing you notice about Ms. Cipriana is her striking face and all of that hair, piled on top of her head in a stylish bun. Then the viewer will probably zero in on her clothes and go “Wow.” Or at least, that’s what happened to me.

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Photos By Joey Rosado

Trying to describe Ms. Cipriana’s style is like trying to put something in a box that just won’t fit. There’s a bunch of adjectives and time periods I can see where different ensembles may reference too, but it switches slightly in each photo. Let’s just go with the word “cool”, and leave it at that.

Check out her interview with StyleLikeU down below for the What’s Underneath Series.

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