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Developing Your Personal Style

When you've mastered the style basics of...

And you've done at least 1 recent review of your wardrobe. You can start to work on developing your personal fashion style.

Actually 'work' makes this part sound too difficult! I should say: you can have fun with developing your personal style!

Of course, like anything worth doing, this whole style thing does take a bit of effort. However, since we have to clothe ourselves anyway, why not choose to buy clothes that present you in a way that makes you feel good, reflects your personality and lets others see you in a way you'd like to be seen?

Outfit Still Not Right?

You may already have noticed that even if an outfit is in a flattering color and style it may still feel not quite right?

Reasons for this could be...

  • The fit is not quite right -- perhaps it's slightly too tight, or too loose in one area and not tight enough in another, or too short or too long. If this is the case see if you can alter the garment to make it work

  • The fabric isn't right for you -- it's too stiff, or too scratchy, or too synthetic feeling, or too matt or too shiny. Don't buy this item, or give it away if you already own it (since you won't ever wear it anyway!)

  • The style of the outfit is wrong for the occasion -- an important aspect of dressing well is understanding how to match the level of an occasion to the level of the outfit.

  • The style of the outfit doesn't fit your personality -- the rest of this article deals with this issue

What's Your Personal Style?

Image consultants use a system of style categorization to help you understand your personal style. I get my in-person clients to take a style quiz to identify their current style personality and to show them how they can develop their style.

The idea is to understand the style categories of the clothing you're attracted to. Each category conveys different messages such as practical, trustworthy, friendly, sexy, and so on. Understanding the impression you're creating means you can make conscious style choices and adjust your choices to make sure they're appropriate for the occasion as well as suiting your personality. Of course the categorization is quite subjective -- one person's Classic is another's Elegant -- but it's still a useful style tool.

Typically we have 1 main style personality which we combine with 1 or 2 other categories.

The system I use has 7 categories...


Natural

Characteristics: Relaxed, easy to wear clothes in comfortable fabrics.

Projects: Approachable, friendly, casual

Celebrities: Diane Keaton, Julia Roberts,

Classic

Characteristics: conservative, business like, timeless, tailored and structured

Projects: stability, professionalism, seriousness

Celebrities: Katherine Hepburn

Elegant

Characteristics: expensive looking, formal classics, good quality fabrics, tailored perfection

Projects: refinement, stately bearing

Celebrities: Princess Mary

Feminine/Romantic

Characteristics: softly structured, soft fabrics, light to medium colors, detailing such as ruffles

Projects: approachable, gentleness

Celebrities: Kristin Davis in the 'Sex and the City' role of Charlotte, Jane Seymour, Reese Witherspoon

Dramatic

Characteristics: strong styling, asymmetric styling, high contrast colors and patterns, bright colors, large accessories

Projects: a bold and commanding look, confidence

Celebrities: Maggie Tabberer, Victoria Beckham, Rihanna

Sexy

Characteristics: fitted and revealing clothing, non-structured styling, clingy fabrics, bold colors (especially red), leopard prints

Projects: sensuousness, sexiness

Celebrities: Sophia Loren, Katherine Zeta Jones, Marilyn Monroe

Creative

Characteristics: unusual combinations of colors and styles

Projects: original thought, artistic, creative

Celebrities: Lady Gaga (she's Dramatic as well), Sarah Jessica Parker

How to Find Your Personal Style

Try the following style project...

  • Collect pictures of clothes, accessories, outfits and looks that you like. Don't forget to include hair styles and makeup looks as well. Create a 'style file'. Try and identify the categories the styles fit in. Can you see a pattern emerging that identifies your primary and secondary style categories?

  • Try on outfits from your wardrobe. Identify the outfits that make you feel good and try and identify their style category. Are these categories the same as your choices above?

    If so, this exercise confirms your style personality categories. If not, perhaps your style needs adjusting to be more like the pictures you're collecting?

  • Confirm that any new style categories work for your personality and flatter your body shape by trying on similar styles in the shops. Take a camera and get the shop assistant or a friend to take a photo of you in the outfit -- this often makes it easier to assess your look

And most importantly, have fun with developing your personal style!

Click here for more help with discovering your personal style.


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About Me

jane liddelow

"Your style makeover may require a few tweaks or a total re-think. Using a mix of science and art I show you how to discover your style and look great every day.

Hi, I'm Jane Liddelow, the Personal Image Consultant and Stylist responsible for this site. Find out more about me here."

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