The Secrets of Dressing to Suit Your Style
Looking great is less about what’s “in” and what’s “out” and more about what works best for YOU. Whether you are reaching for the next level in your career or embracing a lifestyle change, developing a style that is in sync with who you are says to everyone who sees you “I know who I am”.
Style is an art and a science and it is the sum of who we are. It’s not about beauty; it’s about being inherently individual, distinctive, and many times original. There’s a saying that you either have it or you don’t, but I believe having style in how you dress can be learned and developed.
The skill of dressing your best is developed through knowledge and use of your most flattering colors – your color style – plus an understanding of your body style and how to dress it in the most flattering way. But it’s your personal style — your spirit, your character — that pulls your look together. If you ignore your personal style and only buy clothes because they are the latest “must haves” or trends of the season, you lose your identity and risk wasting your clothing dollars.
How often have you tried something on and said, “It’s just not me.” Why not? It was not reflecting your “personal style”.
It’s important to understand and respect what is most comfortable for you to wear, what feels like you. Then, to present your best self, relate it to the fashion style that’s appropriate for your lifestyle.
Here are the five most often referenced fashion personality types and characteristics of each:
- Tailored Classic – you like an understated, refined look with simple lines and balanced proportions.
- Sportive – you like comfortable clothing – sportswear that’s suitable for active sports and casual lifestyles.
- Romantic – you like soft, unstructured, flowing clothing and very feminine touches.
- Dramatic – you like bold lines, intense colors, striking effects.
- Creative/Artistic – you like imaginative, artistic, unconventional mixtures.
Which personality type feels most like you? This is the type that reflects your most dominant personal style. Do any of the other styles also resonate with you? You might be a combination of these styles, as many women are. However, you will find it saves shopping time and money to stick with your dominant style for basic and major wardrobe items. As a result, you will have a more consistent look and a more flexible wardrobe.
Clothes for evening and sports activities are an easy way to break out of your normal image for a change. And accessories are a way to incorporate a secondary style. For example, if your look is mostly tailored, but you have a dramatic or creative side, a bold piece of jewelry pinned to your tailored blazer, or topping your business skirt with a brightly colored jacket, will make the statement you want.
Making it Your Style
Your career or lifestyle might require a certain way of dressing but for you to feel comfortable and confident, your clothing must also give you the feeling of “it’s me”. Two women can put together the same basic wardrobe pieces, but because of their “personal style” they will look different.
Here’s how one basic dress can become Tailored Classic, Sportive, Romantic, Dramatic/Creative (left to right) with different accessories.
If you are still struggling to identify your style, set up a file of magazine clippings of fashion looks that appeal to you or create a “style inspiration” board on Pinterest. You will see a pattern develop of the clothing style that feels most comfortable to you. You’ll also be inspired by the many different ways to bring both dominant and secondary styles together through color and accessories.
Taking time to identify your personal fashion style will free you from being a slave to fashion trends — jumping from one look to another — and help you build your wardrobe in a distinctive manner.
As Coco Chanel said, “Fashion is fleeting…style endures.”
If you would like more guidance plus a personalized approach to identifying your style and building a wardrobe that works for your lifestyle, please contact me for an in-person or virtual consultation. Our first half-hour together is complimentary.
Note: All art and photos courtesy of Palmer/Pletsch Associates, publishers of Clothes Sense, Looking Good and Looking Good…Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women.