There’s a big difference between “fashion” and “style.”
Fashion — which refers to the collective expression of trends and the dominant women’s styles within a culture at a certain time — encompasses the ever-changing trends and cycles that surround us on the big screen, in magazines and on runways.
Style, on the other hand, relates to us as individuals and embodies how we interpret those ideas of women’s fashion with our own personal expressions.
When it comes to your wardrobe, it’s important to create your own personal style. This means reaching the point where you can distinguish what you truly like — and what looks great on you — from what the fashion industry tells you that you should like. But with so many mixed messages and fleeting trends, how do you develop your own personal style?
Consider the following tips to help find your personal style — which, in turn, will make you a more intentional shopper, saving time and money in the long run.
Outfits that grab your attention can say a lot about your style. Whether it’s in person, on social media or being worn by celebrities, take note of what piques your interest. Think about friends and coworkers you’ve always admired for their wardrobe choices. Search Pinterest or Instagram and “pin” or “save” images of outfits that speak to you.
After a while, you’ll begin to notice trends among the outfits you’re saving. These colors, silhouettes or accessories you keep noticing will help you to pinpoint your personal style.
Edit Your Existing Wardrobe
Take a detailed look at your current wardrobe, paying attention to patterns like which items are frequently worn and which haven’t been touched for several seasons.
Compare your Pinterest board or saved Instagram images with what you see in your closet. If you already own some garments that fit your vision, you have a head start in creating a wardrobe that matches your personal style. If there isn’t any overlap, don’t worry; you’ll just need to do more shopping for pieces in order to fine-tune your existing clothing to your personal style.
This is also a good time to pass along or donate items you haven’t worn for a while, or anything you recognize as not being aligned with your newly-inspired personal style.
Find Your Signature Pieces
The next step is to find clothing and accessories that will become your signature pieces. These high-quality wardrobe staples will be the pieces you can rely on to make you look and feel good — and to mix and match in order to create a multitude of different outfit options.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a blazer, a halter top, or a basic v-neck tee — remember, your personal style is yours to decide — it’s important to find flattering pieces that fit well and embody the style you’re seeking to develop.
Trust Your Style Instincts
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll likely feel confident in your personal style. Just remember when out shopping or when being inundated by the latest trends: you’ve done the work to figure out what works for you, so trust your instincts when adding new items to your wardrobe.
This means skipping a purchase if you don’t absolutely love it, or telling yourself to resist buying that new top just because it’s on sale.
Keep in mind that it’s okay for your personal style to evolve as time goes on, as life circumstances change or as new fashion trends catch your eye. With a basic foundation, you’ll be ready to welcome these changes — and you’ll look great while doing so.