They say that confidence is an inside job and I totally agree, but finding clothes that you feel good in can absolutely boost how you feel about yourself. Getting dressed is something that we do each and every day, so getting to grips with your style is not a vanity exercise or frivolous in my opinion, it’s a form of self expression but importantly also self care.
There is such an emotional connection between what we wear and how we feel. As Dawnn Karen, Fashion Psychologist says, we can use clothes to both express our mood or enhance our mood.
On a day when you feel a bit low, just try putting on something you last wore when you felt really good – maybe you gave a great presentation at work, enjoyed a laugh with friends or simply felt that you looked good – these feelings come flooding back again. Clothes can be powerful triggers, just like a piece of music, a fragrance or a photo.
So how do you develop your own style?
This is something that I get asked all of the time. You may well be someone who really doesn’t think that they have a style at all? Or you may feel that you used to be confident when it came to choosing clothes and knowing which styles felt like you but now feel that you’ve lost your way? Or maybe you’re simply overwhelmed by all the choices or clothes have never really been your thing.
1. Research and reflect
As with so many other things, the best thing you can do is to invest some time thinking about what types of clothes you like and dislike. It’s time to reflect on the things in your current wardrobe that you enjoy wearing (as well as those that rarely see the light of day – there’ll be a reason) and to do some research. It doesn’t need to be anything onerous – just flick through a few websites, magazines, Pinterest or start people watching and note down the looks you like or dislike.
You can go shopping too and simply browse the shops. Don’t buy anything, literally just see what is out there and think about whether it appeals to you. Be curious. This will potentially open you up to new brands that you may have previously discounted or never heard of. Don’t be tempted to buy anything as you’ll likely end up with that orphan item that goes with nothing else in your wardrobe. Coming home empty handed is a sign of success. This is a learning exercise not a shopping trip.
As you are looking through your wardrobe, shopping and doing this research, take photos or write notes on exactly what it is that you either like or dislike – is it the simplicity of the look? Does it look co-ordinated and this appeals to you? Do you like the fabric? Is the structure of the look appealing? Do you like an aspect of the cut/style of the item (eg. hemline, neckline, details)? Is it how the look is accessorised? Do you like the pattern? Is it the colour palette that you like/dislike? If it’s an item from your own wardrobe, is it the fit you like or maybe the comfort or where the seams/sleeves/hemline hits you?
Be as specific as you can be and you’ll find that as you add to your notes/photos themes will start to emerge. This is how you zone in on YOUR STYLE.
2. Describe your style
Our brain is so full that we tend to crave simplicity, so can you choose 3-5 words to sum up your style? Or a short paragraph perhaps. I describe my style as
- colourful – I’m a ‘Bright+Warm’ colouring type so always look best in bold colours and contrasting combinations of colours and I just love wearing colour. It makes me happy!
- co-ordinated – yes, I’m a ‘matchy matchy sort’ and like my outfits to look put together or polished, as some would say. I love accessorising and creating lots of different looks just by switching the accessories.
- current – I like to try new looks and give a nod to the trends – although I definitely don’t count myself as a fashionista!
- I love details! I enjoy wearing something with a twist – maybe the neckline is unusual, or the pattern is a bit different, or the cuff on a top has multiple buttons, or there’s a contrasting panel on my jeans (they sound awful as I’m writing this, but I love them – a Top Shop find in a charity shop!). I just like things that look a bit different in some way, or that I know I can put together with something else to create a different look.
I’m also clear about what’s not me. For example, I’m not into Boho/creative looks and neither am I into the very understated and paired back beige/black/white/navy looks. Whilst I want to be comfortable, it isn’t my biggest concern when I’m choosing clothes, so I’m as happy in a crisp cotton shirt as a beautifully soft merino wool jumper. I spend most of my time in smart casual clothes and, whilst I own gym gear, I’m not a joggers and sweatshirt girl.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t think other people look absolutely fabulous in these looks, and indeed I help many clients to find exactly these things (the ‘effortlessly stylish’ look’ being one that I often help others to create), it just means that I’m clear about what I like and so have a wardrobe full of clothes that are totally me and that I love.
If you’re not a wordy person, then instead of listing adjectives why not create your own mood boards. Have one for the styles you like and one for styles that aren’t you. You can use Pinterest to do this or you can get crafty with magazines, scissors, paper and glue.
The clearer you can be about what you like and dislike the easier it becomes to find clothes that you feel great in.
3. Get clear on the colours and styles of clothes that suit you
Once you’ve nailed ‘YOUR STYLE’ then the icing on the cake is learning how you can best wear these styles in a way that flatters your unique colouring and body characteristics (body shape, height, scale and proportions).
I love the trend towards wider leg styles of trousers/jeans, for example, but know that as I’m petite in both height and scale and have a neat hour glass shape, I generally suit more fitted styles. So I’m choosing wider leg styles that aren’t too wide, that are high waisted to elongate my legs and stop at a flattering point of my leg. I’m wearing them with platform trainers and will add block heeled boots for the winter to add a bit of height. These little styling tips and tricks can make all the difference.
(If you aren’t sure about your colouring type and the styles, fabrics, patterns that suit you maybe a colour consultation, style consultation or full image makeover could be a good start point for you).
4. Enjoy building the wardrobe you love
Taking these steps to figure out your unique style will help you build the confidence boosting wardrobe you deserve. So armed with everything you now know, you can enjoy buying items and wearing those that you already own in a whole new way … in a way that means you show up with confidence.
I’d absolutely love to help you on your style journey, so let’s have a chat and make it happen – as the L’oreal ad says, you deserve it! You can call me on 07917 6633330 or email me here: Hello Kerrie!