Fashion is another avenue of self-expression, nevertheless defining your personal style seems more complicated than deciding on a makeup look for the day. Why is that? Is it because you don’t feel stylish, you feel like the style you have isn’t adaptable and you can’t find clothes? Whatever your reason, it doesn’t have to stop you from being fashionable. If you’re tired of being frustrated and uninspired by your closet, keep reading to discover steps you can use on your path to define your personal style. Steps that I’ve personally been using for the past three months while falling in love with fashion and my closet more and more with each new addition.
How To Define Your Personal Style
Step 1: Look At Your Closet
Pay attention to colors, styles, and patterns. Do you have an abundance of certain colors or styles and patterns over others? Over the next few days or few weeks, when you put together your outfits, pay attention to the style of clothes you keep leaning towards, also be sure to take a photo of your outfits.
Why? It may seem weird if you’re not used to doing it, but having photos of your outfits helps for several reasons.
- You can see how an outfit or color looked on you
- You can figure out which pieces you loved and felt amazing in versus those which made you cringe at the fact that you wore it.
- You can use the ones you love as future fashion inspiration
One other reason I like to take photos of my outfits, which has helped me tremendously is, it makes it easier to pick clothes out of your closet especially if you need help. You can skip over trying to find the perfect descriptive words and just present the picture of what you’d like to wear, it saves time and makes the process easier on both parties.
When looking at your closet, you can also consider signature pieces. A signature fashion piece is something you wear often, you become associated with it. This can be an accessory such as boots, pointy toe heels, a handbag, or a hairstyle or even part of your makeup look such as a bold lip. I wasn’t even going to include this part in the post originally, but I was having some fun with it so I figured why not? It’s fun to play around with. As you’re playing around with your style think about an accessory or two you always reach for or the ones you see while looking for fashion inspiration. What do you find yourself leaning towards?
Are you frequently on Instagram and posting photos of your outfits? If you are, that will make this part of the process of defining your style easier. I looked back on my recent Instagram photos and started with the outfits that made me feel amazing and added them to the “new style” section of my closet. When that was finished I moved on to the next step.
Step 2: Style Icons, Descriptions & Fashion Inspiration
After analyzing your closet, the next step is finding fashion inspiration. There are a number of places to find fashion inspiration, from social media to magazines to mannequins to art. Inspiration is everywhere.
Before we get deeper into your fashion inspiration there a few things you need to consider while you’re looking: your location and how you spend your time. The wardrobe you have if you experience all four seasons is going to be very different from someone living in a primarily warm area. For example, someone living in California will have different needs than someone in New York, therefore they’d have a different style.
I like to also make an effort to check out how wheelchair users are wearing certain styles because I’m a wheelchair user. This helps to give me some outfit ideas, get an idea for the fit of an outfit and so on.
- Instagram is a great place to start, especially with Like Know It App and the ability to shop for some of the products right through Instagram. Do you have a favorite celebrity whose style you relate to, again analyze what is it about there style? Are they wearing something you can’t wear due to your disability? If so figure out a way to incorporate the aspects of that piece into your outfit. For example, love the leopard print heels in their photo, but can’t wear them, look for leopard print shoes you can wear or another accessory such as a belt, bag, or piece of jewelry.
- Pinterest is another place you look for inspiration. Look at your boards to see what kind of fashion pieces you’ve pinned. Do you still like these pieces, again what about them? If you’re a visual person creating a Pinterest mood board or a notebook where you paste cut out pictures from magazines and such is a good idea. However, if you struggle with skills that involve fine motor skills Pinterest is a better option, no need to fight with the glue. Pinterest is also great because you’ll be able to pull up the board to look at when it’s time to go shopping.
- Blogs & Youtube Channels; Now some of these could fall under the purview of social media, but just in case it didn’t for you, I thought I’d put it here for you. Fashion Blogs are a great place to look for inspiration, you not only get to see outfit ideas, but you may learn about a new brand or two. This is how I learned about The Mint Julep and Red Dress, two websites where I found some great fashion inspiration and one of my new favorite sweaters
Do you have some ideas for your style and what you’d like to try? Now head back to your closet and look at the pieces for the outfits that make you feel amazing. What are some words that you would use to describe them? Write them down. Go look at your Pinterest boards to look at what you pinned. What are some words you would use to describe their outfits? I would stick to 3-5 words, any more and the process would get confusing and you’d be no closer to finding your own style. I’m not going to share the words I used for my style because I want to ensure you focus on what works for you during this process.
Remember how you separated out the clothes that made you feel amazing during step one? Study the rest of your closet, do the clothes in there bring at least 3 of the words to mind? Does it look like something your style icons would wear? If the answer to these questions isn’t yes, don’t add it to the section of your closet with your new style.
Step 3: Go Shopping (With A List)
Go Shopping. This is not the part where you shop till you drop, believe me when I went shopping for the first time a few months ago after starting this process, I was tempted to do just that. I know it’s easy to get all excited about your new style, but pause for a second and hear me out okay?
Before you start buying things, go back to the pieces you picked out that inspired you and the reasons you chose them. Now look at your closet and figure out what pieces you need. Don’t go buying everything you could possibly find that fits the new style because a) that could end up costing you a lot of money and b) chances are you are going to be refining your style, it’s a process, so maybe start with five pieces or three new things if five seems like too much and see how they pair with the clothes in the “new style section” of your closet.
I spent a few days and a weekend before my first “new style” shopping trip cleaning out my closet and doing research, otherwise called looking for fashion inspiration. I spent my time looking at various brands, from a few favorites to a few new ones. It’s always a good idea to check out new brands because if you spend all your time at places you know you’ll end up with the same kind of styles, going to a new place is a great way to look for inspiration and change up your style a bit if you find pieces you like or love enough to buy.
Write down your shopping list before you go so that you are not distracted by sales or a handbag other items you see in the store, you know what you’re buying and you should focus on those.
My List Included:
- A sweater that’s not a cardigan
- 2 Tops, one plaid
- A new satchel handbag
Would you believe me if I said I’m still looking for those tops that make me feel amazing? It wasn’t a total loss of a shopping trip though because I found some great sweater options and a great handbag.
Step 4: Start Putting Outfits Together: Create, Create, Create
After you’ve made your purchases, start putting outfits together. This part of defining your personal style is so much fun, mix, and match pieces to fit your new style. Have fun with it, go with whatever ideas you have, this the part where you let your imagination run wild. You can also refer back to your fashion inspirations like your personal style mood board and put your own spin on outfits you see there if you need a little help coming up with ideas. When you’ve put your outfits together, you try them on, take a full body picture, and look in the mirror. Do you like how the outfit looks? When you look at it, does it match with the new style you’re trying to create? When you take a photo, is it a winner for you? In other words, is it one of the outfits that makes you feel amazing? Why or why not?
When putting outfits together and trying things on to see how they fit and look, move around a bit in the items, before you take off the tags and decide you love the item. I bought a shirt that I ended up loving despite the seeming endless buttons. I loved it so much I took off tags and decided I was keeping it, even wearing it out later that night. Unfortunately for me, one button, in particular, kept coming undone. I ended up buttoning that one button three times, which wasn’t easy each time. If I had worn the shirt longer and moved around a bit, maybe I would’ve seen how easily some of the buttons came undone, now I’m stuck with a shirt, I love, but refuse to wear. Lesson learned
Step 5: Return, Refine, Repeat
The final step in the process of defining your personal style: return the items that don’t fit your new style or make you feel amazing. Refine your style, (if you want to) go back to your places of inspiration from style icons, social media platforms, and anywhere that inspires you. Finally repeat the process starting from step 3, keep going until you have a wardrobe that makes love your closet, no matter what you pull out to wear. Remember defining your personal style is a process, whether you create your style in one month or one year, have fun with it.
Defining your sense of style can be difficult for so many reasons. For instance, your style is always changing. Nonetheless, it should be fun. This five-step process should help you create a wardrobe you can feel amazing in anytime you pull something from your closet. In case you scrolled to the bottom of this blog post, the five steps to defining your personal style are:
- Looking in your closet for patterns, styles, and colors that you reach for repeatedly. Finding winners or outfits that make you feel amazing and why.
- Style Icons, Descriptions, and Fashion Inspirations
- Go Shopping (With A List)
- Start Putting Outfits Together: Create, Create, Create
- Return, Refine, Repeat
Now that you have all the steps from the plan that I used for defining my sense of style go get started on defining yours. Remember, whether it takes one month, six months or more doesn’t matter as long as you are having fun and have a closet full of clothes you can’t wait to wear.
Are there steps you used to define your style that you think should be added in this process? If so, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear all about your process for defining your personal style whether it was the same process I used or a few other steps.