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The Question of Personal Style

Friday, September 7, 2018

Finding Personal Style

Often I’m asked how I found my personal style. It’s a very interesting question, and one that isn’t much addressed in the fashion world. If it were up to the industry, our style would be that of a cameleon, endlessly changing with the seasons and trends because that is what will render profits. In fact, culturally we are taught that our style should never be defined, but forever in flux, and dictated purely by what by what everyone else is wearing and what saunters down a catwalk twice a year.

But when considering this question of finding our individual personal style, I’m telling you quite the opposite, and perhaps that makes me sound like an old lady wearing the decade-old blazer with mothballs in the pockets but at 30, I am very much settled on what I like and what I don’t when it comes to how I dress myself.

I believe our sartorial tastes should be forever evolving (which is very different from changing, mind you), but I also believe  it is both beneficial and beautiful to culitvate a specific aesthetic. Getting dressed is a decicion,  both a very personal and expressive one, but also one we do daily, so why not take it seriously? Every aspect of life can be artful, and I guess it comes as no surprise that as a fashion influencer I loyally consider clothes as a form of art.

And perhaps defining our style comes with age, in the same figuring ourselves out as humans does, or figuring out our art – be it whatever kind, painting, photography, music. Cultivation I suppose takes years. I’ve never, not once seen a well-dressed teenager, and I’m sure we can all agree that we cringe when we see photos of how we cut our hair and what we wore back then, yes?  It wasn’t until about 3 years ago did I have any sense of what my style was – I wore pretty much everything and I followed trends like a path that would lead me to eternal ‘chicdom’.

Truthfully, looking back, my wardrobe looked very messy, chaotic, sartorially I’d called myself lost back then. I also essentially wanted to buy everything because I wore just about anything, which let me tell you as broke as I was, this was very stressful to want to wear absolutely every trend that passed through a season. I wanted to be fashionable and fashionable ladies wear what’s in the magazines, or so I believed. In fact when my father bought me my first ever Chanel bag for my 16th birthday , I remember him sitting on a sofa at the Rue Cambon boutique, newspaper in hand, urging me to buy the classic 2.55. Instead I chose what was heavily featured in Vogue that year.

To this day, I regret not listening to the only piece of fashion advice he has ever given  me. Back then I would’ve been yearning for those bulky Balenciaga sneakers or double G Gucci belt, now pieces like that make me shudder. This sounds snobby, but isn’t it funny? Anyone with a defined taste in anything can inadvertently sound snobby when really they are simply very aware of what they deem good and bad? That’s not to say my taste is superior to anyone else’s, not at all, I just know what I like.

And while it certainly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of your own clothing, looking back on any woman considered ‘iconic’ – be it Audrey Hepburn, Edie Sedgwick or even the Olsen Twins, the one thing they had in common was a defined, consistent style that became their ‘trademark’. Call me old-fashioned, but I think all of us as women deserve to find our ‘sartorial identity’ rather than wear whatever Vogue or the mega influencers of this world decide to love. And so on that note, I wanted so shed some light on how I stumbled into and finally defined my own wardrobe and how you can possibly finetune yours.

Tips for Defining your own Personal Style

Firstly, and this is hard, try to block out all the noise, fashion is an incredibly loud sphere – there is always something new, be it a trend, the next ‘it-bag’ or another up and coming designer for us to tap into. You need to ignore this and instead allow yourself to veer towards what you truly and naturally like. I  always question why I feel compelled to purchase anything:  is it because I saw it multiple times on instagram (because let’s be honest, we are all susceptible to this), Would I still buy this if I stumbled upon it, having never seen anyone wear it? And will it work within my wardrobe?

These are good responses to seek from yourself before hitting ‘buy’. You’ll likely save some money too. I never shop on a whim, even a 40 euro  purchase is one I sit on for a few days. I couldn’t reccomend this enough. Just wait, no matter how inexpensive the item is. Secondly and this is just personal opinion and I understand most won’t  agree, but stay away from the pieces everyone buys.

This is why I try to avoid Zara, and despite wanting to buy their snakeskin EVERYTHING this month – I resist because I really don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing. I cannot even count how many Gucci Marmont bags I see on the streets and while it’s a wonderful bag, it’s become repetitive and boring to me. Look for something more unusual – and by looking for the unusual – you’ve already removed yourself from trend-led shopping which in turn will lead you to a more original, more true to YOURSELF wardrobe.

Thirdly, decide and then stick to a colour palette – you are not a rainbow – you don’t need to have one of every colour of everything in your closet. I’m boring and old which means I don’t much like bright colours with the exception of a butter yellow from time to time – other than that the brightest thing I wear is gold jewellery. I wear almost exclusively,   monochrome, the entire spectrum from white to camel and every variation of brown. You have no idea how much easier it is to shop when most colours are just off limit, buying becomes so much more concise as will your wardobe,  there will be endless coordination if you manage to stick to a set of colours, meaning  everything you do invest in will be far more versatile.

Also, embrace vintage or secondhand shops – it’s more likely you’ll find something you truly love when you have to rummage for it ; slick visual merchandising in the bigger stores can so often convince us of clothing that doesn’t really work  for us. I’m sure you’ve seen a head-to-toe ensemble in a shop window , stopped in your tracks and thought, ‘wow do I need that!’

The clothes I’ve bought for a few euros here and there  in the dusty, crummiest of stores are the pieces I’ve always returned to over the years because no one was pushing them on me, I had to find them. And what’s absolutely amazing too is that once you’re set and sure of your style, you’ll inadvertently save so much money – no longer will you be throwing cash at every half pretty item you see on instagram, but instead searching out the items that will seamlessly merge with what you already own. And finally, when all else fails – rely on the classics and that too is where I’d spend your bigger funds – the blazers, the trench or leather jacket,  the white shirts, the perfect pair of jeans – vintage Louis monogram or Chanel bags – because whatever happens next in the fashion world, the classics will always remain.

what i’m wearing: clothes from years past because when you know what you like, you’ll wear what you buy for years to come

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