Here at CF, we talk a lot about the latest... everything. From clothing trends to hot hairstyles to popular nail polish colors, we always keep our collective finger on the fashion pulse. But while it's fun to keep up with all things new and fresh, fashion isn't about blindly following trends - it's about expressing yourself with your clothing. At the end of the day, a strong sense of personal style is the foundation of every standout look.
In order to really delve in and have fun with fashion, you need to first understand your own sense of style. Once you know what's "you" and what's not, you can begin to cultivate a collection of pieces that flatter you, express your personality, and that you'll love for years to come. That's what true style is about.
To help you on the way, I've utilized the CF archives to compile five useful tips to help you develop your personal style. I hope you guys find them inspiring!
1. Determine Your Colors
I know this tip may remind you of women in the '70s asking each other, "I'm an autumn, what are you?", but I've noticed that having a personal color scheme is a hallmark of all truly stylish women.
To determine your colors, you need to assess your hair, skin and eye color as well as what colors you feel you look the best in. Determining your "season" can introduce you to a whole new palette of colors! The point of doing this is to use these colors as a guide while shopping so that you can select the pieces that will look best on you. I'm a summer, what are you?
2. Choose a Style Trademark
A style trademark is something that you either wear every day (like Blair Waldorf's "B" necklace) or simply an aesthetic that you are known for. It's that piece that your friend texts you about and says, "I was wearing _____ today and I felt just like you!"
Usually, a signature item or style chooses you, because it's just something that you love so much you have to wear it all the time. But it helps to think about what you value, what you find aesthetically pleasing, and what you love to wear most. Personally, my signatures are bold nautical stripes and Sperry Topsiders. What's your signature?
3. Embrace Your Shape
Although we're big proponents of wearing what you want regardless of your body shape, learning to dress for your body type can be a good jumping off point when developing your style. Knowing how to highlight your best features can save you time and take your look from average to amazing.
The most important thing you can do when studying your shape is to stay positive. Dressing well is all about having an underlying layer of confidence, and if you are overly critical of your body, you undermine that. Don't tell yourself that you have a pudgy stomach - instead, remind yourself that you have a tiny waist, or beautiful legs, or a shapely chest, or amazing arms - you get the idea. Highlight your assets and embrace your body as it is!
For more on this subject, one of the best style books I've read on dressing your shape is "The Science of Sexy" by Bradley Bayou. I've checked this book out multiple times from my local library and I love it so much that I finally bought my own copy!
4. Create a Personal "Look Book" or Inspiration Folder
A great aid for honing in your style, and also a really fun project, is creating a personal look book of your favorite past outfits. By documenting your style on a daily basis, whether by starting a style blog or just saving photos on your computer, you start to get a sense for which outfits you like best, and which pieces look best on you. It's a fantastic way to document your look as it evolves.
Another idea is to start an inspiration folder or inspiration binder to keep track of your fashion inspiration. I created my own book by grabbing a sturdy notebook and collaging photos that I like. I'd cut pictures from magazines, print from Pinterest, or even steal photos from my well-dressed friends on Facebook! Before I go shopping, I take review my book to remind myself what I like, what I'm looking for, and how I want to dress. Sometimes I'll even take it shopping with me!
5. Mix it Up: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed
Dressing like a mannequin from Abercrombie & Fitch is so high school! To personalize your wardrobe and move away from cookie-cutter clothing, try mixing up your wardrobe with vintage items or pieces that have been passed down from your mom or grandma (something old), add in some well thought-out designer pieces and trends (something new), and finish with thrifted pieces or even borrow from your friend's wardrobe (something borrowed). Finding a balance between these three things can make your look uniquely yours!
What do you do to home in your personal style? What is your signature piece? What do you do to make your style uniquely yours? Leave a comment!