You know that moment (no this is not an Oporto ad!) when you have no other way to describe something other than saying “that is so you!” or “I had to get them, they were just me!”? Of course you do! We all do, we all have those times when we have a connection with a shirt, some jeans (it’s rare, I know), or a pair of shoes; but why? We react this way because that item is part of our personal style.

Personal style, depending on how long you have been cultivating it will depend on how honed your skills are at recognizing it, and that is where I come in! Melissa has so kindly let me talk to all you beautiful readers today about helping define, create, nurture and exhibit you own unique style. So if you’re ready, here we go. 

Define:

Who loves answering questionnaires and quizzes? I know I do. That is why I love the definition stage so much.

  • What do you want to look like?
  • Who inspires you? What do they look like?
  • When was the last time you felt confident in your clothes?
  • Which pieces do you love? Which do you hate? Why?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • How do you want people to think of you?
  • Where do you spend most of your time?
  • What shops do you find your self drawn too (regardless of price range)?
  • How easy do you want getting ready to be?

All of these questions and many, many more help you build up an idea of exactly what your personal style is. For example, Who inspires you? What do they look like? A large source of inspiration for me is Victoria Beckham. Her clothes are fitted and extremely form-fitting, she rocks heels everyday and managed to morph her image from spoilt, trampy posh spice into sexy, earn my own way, Mrs. Beckham. This information is important for my personal style because it has helped narrow down that a) I don’t want to be trampy, b) I love heels and c) tailoring and fitted outfits are what I prefer. Take your time on these questions, answer them a few times when you are in different moods or places – it’s surprising what differences you’ll find.

Create:

Now that you know exactly how you want to portray yourself, let’s get creative about it! The create stage is where I flick through magazines, scroll Pinterest boards and breeze through blogs looking for what mirrors my definition. Collecting these images etc is what will help you visualize what you want and how to emulate it. You can arrange them in any way you like – I use Pinterest, an A4 binder and collages on canvas to display and maintain mine. Pinterest is probably the easiest way to do this.

Now look at your pictures and look at your wardrobe – do they match? What reflects your new look? What needs to go? What needs to be added? I find the easiest way to start off is to have a solid foundation closet (you can check out an example here) that reflects your new look; this makes the transition into your new look easier because it shows you where the gaps are in your closet and what is a priority and what isn’t.

Nurture:

This is the super fun part, but your wallet or partner may not think so… oh well! Nurturing your wardrobe is about repeating the definition and creation steps when you start to feel in a rut – but also introducing new pieces that you like/love but have been too afraid or concerned to try. I guess you could also call this phase the evolution phase.

I’ll give you an example – one year ago, a client of mine liked heels but would never wear them. She felt she couldn’t walk in them and that she felt “silly”. We started her off in lower heels and wedges to build her confidence and now she is rocking a good heel (red ones too!) and is getting compliments on her look and her shoes. She is planning on getting some more heels now. She nurtured what she liked and now it has become part of her style.

Exhibit:

This is where it all comes together in a nice little package called “Confidence, Compliments and Repeat”. Try a few outfits on at home first – say, if your planning on doing chores at home all day why don’t you dress yourself in an outfit you love and take it on a test run? Or play dress up with the kids but instead of you being outrageous like them, try a few new look outfits and get a feel for them before showing them off to the world?

Ok, now that we’ve tried them on and got a feel for them, let’s take them out in public. You already know what they look like, you know they feel fine and you know they’re the style you want – you know they are you! So there is only one thing to do, wear them with pride! Be confident in your choices, in your style, in yourself and others will see it. They will tell you that you look good, that your new shirt is pretty and that those jeans do look great on you! And from my experience, hearing these words are better than not having to share chocolate!

Having a clear a defined picture of who and what you want to be makes curtain your wardrobe, clothes shopping and even getting dressed each day, a million times easier. All the guess-work is over and done with; all you have left over is a wardrobe that reflects your personal style!

Thank you to Jac from All Yours Styling. I don’t know about you, but I have a few things I can do now to narrow my focus when it comes to my wardrobe. I particularly like the nurture step, where you shop and try and then shop again and try again. But then, that’s no big surprise!!

  • Loved this article – but I can’t find the link for the example of the foundation closet!

    • Sorry about that Janet. I found Jac’s link and added it. All good now. 🙂

    • Thanks Janet 🙂 I’m glad you liked it xx

  • river

    Is that Jac in the photos? I have to say that black skirt with the spotted top looks perfect on her!! The blue/purple shirt is also great.

    • They look fab, don’t they. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s her sister. But they are very similar looking. Haha.

      • Haha, Your sneaking suspicion is right, it’s Kylie from kylieofiu.com … I’ll let her know your kind words xx

        • Kylie Ofiu

          lol, just saw this and was reading through then “OH MY GOSH!!! That’s me!”
          I love that black skirt and it gets worn a lot now. 🙂 Thank you River! That pic was taken in the Cue dressing room. And thanks Jac for helping me.

  • Thanks so much Melissa for this 🙂 I loved writing it for you and your readers xx

    • You’re so welcome Jac. Any time. Just give our wallets a chance to recover first. 😉

  • Kylie Ofiu

    Great post, with so much useful advice. Since using Jac’s services I am so much better at shopping. Now I know what suits me and only buy clothes that flatter my figure. It is so much better to spend a litte more on good clothes that suit your shape and personal style rather than just what is on sale or in fashion.

    • I agree with that whole heartedly. Knowing your person style and then shopping with a singular focus is really important.

  • Tanya Price

    Love this piece – Thanks to both ladies!! I have no clothing style at all (partialy because I’m ‘cheap’ but mostly because I have no fashion sense!) and have enjoyed reading Melissa’s previous posts about her clothing choices. In my head, I’m still the little 20yr old who can get away with wearing whatever I want….reality is a little different!! When things settle down at home – I’m hoping to re-jig my entire wardrobe starting from basics and donating everything I no longer want or suit to charity.

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying the tips and the guest posts! It’s about acknowledging who you are now. You can always change your mind!

      And from one cheap skate to another, only shop the sales. 😉