When it comes to style, I usually know what I like. But that is not good enough for the left half of my brain. I need a formula that helps me think about style in an organized way.
It used to be that after browsing Pinterest or style magazines, I would be tempted to feel that in order to love my look and develop a unique personal style, I would need more. Fashion magazines are really good at making you feel the need to update and add to your collection of clothing constantly in order to stay on top of looking stlyish.
I hate that feeling. It made me feel limited. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling as though my creativity has a limit (aka a budget).
But once I realized that all that was a lie, I was greatly relieved, and began to feel less burdened about creating the style I wanted to cultivate. And the neat byproduct of this new thought process is this: it opens doors for style to develop more organically–thus being a better representation of who I am as a person. Which is the whole point of personal style, isn’t it?
1) There is a difference between wanting an item and wanting a “look”.
Instead of seeing a picture of an outfit I love and thinking, “I would love to own those boots/dress/pants,etc.”, I realized that what I was really thinking was, “I would love to look that good in an outfit; possibly even that one”. The thing that is usually appealing about a certain look for me, is usually that it is being worn by a confident person who can pull it off well–whether it is because they have the right body for it, or simply the confidence. I try to ask myself whether or not I really want an exact piece of clothing, or if maybe what I really want is to feel that awesome about what I am wearing.
2) Think of yourself as an admirer, not always a collector, of beautiful things.
Instead of being overwhelmed when I walk into a store and see so many things I love, I now allow myself to love the things I see, and then simply be content with the acknowledgement of my love. By simply acknowledging that I love all the beautiful clothing before my eyes, I say to myself, “yep, those are some beautiful things”, and move on. Sometimes, I purchase a beautiful thing I love, but I no longer feel like I have to own everything that I love. Do you know how freeing that is? It was never possible in the first place to buy everything that I loved, so the result was that I never felt like my clothing collection was complete. What a downer.
3) Trends do not automatically equal style.
I have been learning that trends aren’t all they are cracked up to be. For one moment, I ask you to think of the people in your life whom you would consider to be well-dressed. Are they collectors of trends? Possibly. Women who wear trends can be very stylish and lovely. However, I am coming to realize that the women I consider to have great personal style, are the women who are not necessarily wearing the latest and greatest. The women whom I see and think, “wow, they look great!” are usually the women who also make me think, “hey, why don’t I ever wear my black A-line skirt with a sweater like that”. In other words, they inspire me on a deeper level than the woman who make me think, “I need those shoes”. In other words, the kind of women whose style I admire are the kind of women that make me think they look great, not their clothes.
Overall, in thinking about personal style, I think it comes down to learning to capture what you find beautiful and inspiring. If you think about how complex and different each of us is, and then you think about how many “fashionable” people look so similar, it makes you wonder if the amount of truly original, uniquely-dressed people who look good is a much rarer phenomenon than we give them credit for.