Personal style is the quickest way to express who you are. According to the Association for Psychological Science, a first impression happens within the first 1/10 second of meeting someone. Meaning, in less than a second, a person can gather a snapshot of what you’re all about and one of the most stand out pieces of that puzzle is what you’re wearing. There are, of course, other components in that snapshot and it’s not to say everything that comes after isn’t equally and more important, but like it or not, style matters.
One of the biggest Rob and Mariel credos is to ignore trends. Not only is “trendy the last stage before tacky” (thanks, Uncle Karl) and there are innate environmental sustainability issues in switching out your wardrobe every time something new comes along, from a stylist’s stand point, if you’re always following trends, you are never cultivating your own personal style. It’s shorthand for being a follower, and perhaps, not being yourself. Personal style is important for a number of reasons: communicating your values and taste, expressing what’s important (or unimportant) to you, catering to your lifestyle needs, and possibly most importantly, catering to your confidence.
Having a better understanding of your personal style or signature look in many ways, helps you better understand who you are. But just like understanding anything else about yourself, personal style is a journey without a finish line. It takes wisdom, experience, and culminating aesthetic ideals as you grow personally to establish style. As a result, we thought we’d help you out with a Step-By-Step guide to figuring it all out a bit more easily.
STEP 1: Understand What You Like
Begin accumulating images of everything that catches your eye, style-wise. About 10 years ago, we would’ve said go through magazines to tear pages out. Or even print from online. But now, with tools like Pinterest, Tumblr or Polyvore, it’s easy to create digital moodboards of your inspiration. At the very least, a simple desktop folder should do the trick. Pull from all sources you can think of: street style, big publication editorials, vintage photos, fashion blogs.
STEP 2: Create A Style Concept
Look for patterns in your moodboard or inspiration pulls: do you love menswear inspired looks? Are you gravitating more toward color or neutrals? Do you see a consistent style muse whose wardrobe you’re coveting? Are you more over-the-top or laid back? Do you prefer dressing up or dressing down? If wrapping your head around it all feels like pulling teeth, try this exercise: based on your pulls, write a 2-3 sentence statement you would send to a magazine if they were asking you to sum up your style.
STEP 3: Edit
Less really is more. Go through your closet and in the most honest way possible, donate the pieces that don’t fit into your personal style mantra. We love the KonMari method for this! It’s much easier to get dressed every day if the clothing you love isn’t cluttered by the clothing you don’t. It’s also much easier to act on you personal style method if your closet accommodates and reflects it.
STEP 4: Implement
Begin planning out looks in advance: it’s a little known secret that most stylish women do this. Take some time every Sunday to figure out how you can mimic the inspiration you pulled using the pieces you already have for the week ahead. It maybe as simple as throwing a jacket over the shoulders, adding a bright red lip, or rolling up your sleeves in a new way. After a while, it will become second nature and will require less and less planning.
When shopping, be mindful of the pieces you are purchasing. Exercise restraint with fast fashion or trends that might not work within your personal style mantra. Last and most important, cater your personal style to your lifestyle and your intentions: if you want your career to flourish, begin dressing the girlboss part more often. If you want a healthier lifestyle, integrate more athleisure looks you can take from the studio to the street. If you want to feel sexier, find a way to add lace or silk accents here and there or show skin when and where appropriate. No matter what, make sure the clothing fits with your day (don’t wear heels, for example, if your job is mostly on your feet) and fits YOU (tailor EVERYTHING).
Tell us your style mantra in the comments below.