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Who, What, Wear? 9 Steps to Help You Find Your Style

Photo by Chris Murray

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Is your closet like a who’s who of fashion personas, full of prairie girls alongside rock chicks nestled against preppy princesses? If so then it’s time you stopped following every fashion that comes along and learned how to find your fashion style instead.

Of course, it’s easier said than done to find your style. With so many possibilities, personas, and new fashion trends bombarding us every day, it takes a discerning mind to choose a style and stick to it.

But, once you’ve figured out what clothes make you feel most like yourself, your reward will be a closet full of looks that make you feel great every time you pull them on. Want to learn how to figure out your style? Keep reading to find out.

1. Make a Mood Board

A mood board is often the best way to start any creative project. This first step will serve as a kind of visual brainstorming session that you can then narrow down into more concrete ideas.

Pull images you’re drawn to from Pinterest, Instagram, Google images, and more. These images can be specific items of clothing, looks, a general vibe, color themes, or key details—in short, anything that catches your eye.

The result might be a little haphazard but that’s okay. This is just a starting point to tune your eye and mind into what inspires and influences you.

2. Seek out Style Icons

Now you have a better idea of where your visual inspiration lies, it’s time to find the style icons you most identify with.

These inspirational dressers might not always wear items you like. But that’s fine, you’re not looking to be a carbon copy of anyone’s style. Instead, you’re looking for ways to incorporate whatever they embody to you into your own look.

Look up your fashion icons online and save outfits, key pieces, and looks that appeal to you as a way to catalog your favorite looks for future reference.

3. Recognize Themes

While your icons may come from different eras, the themes and looks they favor might not be so different.

Consider what themes you see emerging between some of your favorite fashionistas. Are you drawn to the cool and edgy ensembles of Kate Moss and Debbie Harry, the effortless looks of Alexa Chung and Jane Birkin, or the showstopping style of Diana Ross and Rihanna?

4. Label It

As well as recognizing the themes you like, you’ll need to narrow these concepts down into something more tangible to help you discover your style.

Make notes about what it is that draws you to your favorite looks. Be as descriptive and precise as possible. Then, single out the labels that appear most often, such as classic, minimalist, bohemian, or ’70s.

Try to come up with three adjectives that feel true to your style. These adjectives will then serve as a guide when it comes to pulling together your looks.

5. Organize Your Closet

Organizing your closet can be an arduous task but it’s very necessary if you want to find your fashion style.

First, you’ll need to remove the items you wear all the time. Place these to one side then take out the items you never wear. You should then divide these clothes into three sections: ‘no’, ‘not now’, and ‘how?’

Anything in the ‘no’ pile goes straight to charity while the ‘not now’ pile goes into a drawer for future consideration. Now, it’s time to tackle the ‘how?’ pile. These are the clothes you want to wear but aren’t sure how to style.

Experiment and have fun playing around. After all, you already own these clothes so it’s worth trying to get some use out of them if you can. For inspiration, try to imagine how your favorite style icons might wear them. You could even search their name and the type of item, e.g. “Alexa Chung slip skirt” to see if they’ve worn something similar in the past.

6. Photograph Key Looks

Once your closet is organized you should have a better idea of what looks and outfits you can get out of it. Make sure to take a quick photo of the new ensembles you’ve created so you remember them next time you’re getting dressed and don’t know what to wear.

Taking photos of looks that work well is also something you should try to make a habit of. Having a record of these looks will inform future looks and will be a big help in your quest to discover your style.

7. Consider Why You Like Certain Clothes

Referring back to the clothes you wear all the time, consider what it is about these items that makes you love them so much.

It may be because that black maxi skirt is so versatile. Or because those vintage jeans are super comfortable. Or because that pink sweater is an instant mood-lifter.

Whatever your reasons for favoring these items, they’re an important part of your personal style. These are the qualities you value in the clothes you own and wear a lot so they should be the qualities you look for when shopping for new items.

8. Identify What’s Missing

Now you know what you wear all the time and why it’s time to identify the items that might be missing from your closet.

For example, you might have a crop top you’re keen to wear but no high-waisted jeans to wear it with. Or you might have noticed how handy it would be to have a different-colored version of something you’re always wearing.

And, now you’ve got a better idea of your style, it’ll be much easier to choose new items that you love just as much as your old favorites.

9. Go Shopping!

Finally, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with some retail therapy!

But always keep your three adjectives in mind while you browse. If something catches your eye, ask yourself if it fits your style. So, for example, if you’ve defined your look as ‘androgynous, ’90s, and tailored’, you’ll know that as much as you might like that ’70s boho coat, it’s not true to your style.

How to Find Your Style

As this guide shows, defining your style takes a lot of research, planning, organizing, and consideration. But, having a clearer sense of how to dress like your authentic self will save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Still need some help to find your style? Be sure to check out our latest blogs for even more fashion inspiration!

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