How to Develop Your Personal Style

Posted by Audrey | Posted in Fashion Source | Posted on 14-10-2013

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Believe it or not- as unique as our thumb prints are, each person has their own individual personal style. You might not have discovered your own just yet but there’s no need to worry; we are all bound to develop our personal style as we grow to understand and recognize the person that we truly are. We know that this may sound confusing at first so in order to make this easy for everyone to digest, let’s break it down to its simplest form by answering three general questions:

  • What is personal style?
  • How does style differ from fashion?
  • Why is it important to develop a personal style?
  • How do we develop our personal style?

Defining Personal Style

Personal style is the ability to correlate and apply your personality, taste, desires, inspiration, history, beliefs, hopes, dreams, ambitions and lifestyle into fashion. It is who you are, a connection with your inner self that transpires into your outer appearance. Style is basically is the way you translate who you are and how people want to see you. It’s very much a personal thing.

As Epictitus the Greek Philosopher said, “Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” And by accordingly he meant your own, authentic style and not anyone else’s.

Style vs. Fashion

Note: Style and Fashion have a common ground but are completely two different things.

Fashion is the collection of popular trends and looks in a particular period of time; while style is the expression of your individuality through fashion, it is never restricted nor limited to time or fashion. It is the essence of you.

Fashion is there to guide and inspire you while style is what you create out of it.

Taking a cue back in time: When we were younger, our parents dressed us up in what would look on us on their own judgment (their personal style) but as we grew older we began to pick out our own clothes, we discovered what we liked and disliked, we judged what type of clothes or appearance looked good on us, so on and so forth as we grew to understand the world around us and ourselves. It was never easy, all of us passed through what we call ‘the ugly duckling phase’ or the awkward phase -many of us have experienced experimenting with different hair styles, cuts, colours, clothing, looks that we often took from magazines or our favourite celebrities from movies or even from MTV as music was a big influence in fashion. If you look through your old photos, you might find some funny looking moments – and then, our style later evolved slowly but surely, through lots of trial and error.

The Importance of Developing Your Personal Style

Imagine if everyone in the world wore the same exact clothes, doesn’t this thought send chills down your spine? We would all look like zombies and feel like robots! Let’s put it this way, take Marilyn Monroe for example, when you hear her name – what do you visualize? Her blonde locks, velvet red lips, and white halter dress blowing along with the wind– that was her signature look and up until now, we still think of her that way. What created her vixen look? Marilyn Monroe had the curves and personality to achieve that flirty, sexy appearance men found irresistibly attractive.

Well, what about Audrey Hepburn? She had a much more sophisticated and lady-like charm. Think Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where she was dressed in a long, black gown, a tiara pinned on her hair with a pipe on one hand – a look that was meant to be classy and timeless. She was and has remained a style icon even after all these years with her large and expressive doe eyes, petite figure, and soft-spoken manner.

Now, how would it look and feel if we swapped their styles? Would it still feel right? This analogy tells us that our way of dressing reflects who we truly are.

Developing Your Personal Style

If you ask a fashionable looking lady where she gets her style – it might take a while for her to come up with a brief but concise answer because really, she might have to summarize a description of herself. Style comes from everything a person was and has become. Sometimes, we might even encounter ‘late bloomers’ people who mature slowly or are somewhat left behind in time and on trends. Otherwise, there are those who are very much ‘fashion forward’ or those who appeal to the future. Developing your personal style is absolutely essential to defining the person you are. Whether you’re futuristic, a late bloomer or caught in between, here are some ways to develop your personal style:

  1. Reflect – Have you found your niche? Are you having an identity crisis? Reflect on the things that make you a better person. Connect with your inner self and find what makes you happy. Once you’ve figure that out, it will be much easier to settle in your own style. When you feel good inside, it radiates and your aura shines. There’s nothing more sexy than a flower in bloom.
  2. Assess yourself – Be honest – what do you think looks good on you and what doesn’t? What are you most confident in? Distinguish your personal interests, likes and dislikes, etc – cultivate your personal style through these aspects. You don’t have to follow trends all the time.
  3. Acknowledge your assets and flaws – No one is perfect. Would you believe it if I told you that models and celebrities are flawed too?   The difference is that they use some style techniques and secrets to look fabulous day-in-day-out. Once you learn to accept your flaws, you can do a much better job at hiding them and highlighting your best assets instead.
  4. Find Inspiration – Find a muse or style icon you are most drawn to, you don’t have to copy her style down to the bones. Having a style icon serves as your guide when you feel like you’re running low on trends. With social media platforms like WeHeartIt, Instagram, Polyvore, LookBook, Chictopia and Tumblr, you can search the world not only celebrities but source out fashion statements from people around the world like fashion journalists, photographers and style bloggers, who does an excellent job at translating trends and using their in their own way of dressing.
  5. Experiment – Get your creative juices flowing. Break the rules in fashion. Not long ago, print-on-print was a fashion taboo – who knew that today, the combination of mismatched prints and patterns or the clashing of two or three unlikely colours would be a mega trend that has taken the world by storm?

In conclusion, remember that whatever look or style you choose, it all comes down to comfort and confidence. As long as you’re comfortable in the way that you look and project a confident and happy person, you’ll be at your best.