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Tips for How to Express Your Personal Style

2024 Style Series
February 5, 2024
2024 DFMD Style Series

Recently in our Define Your Style…Refine Your Wardrobe 2024 style series I shared my ideas on How to Define Your Personal Style. It’s one thing to create the three words that help you to identify it, but it’s quite another step to master the art of dressing in your unique style. So today let’s talk about how to express your personal style beautifully and consistently.

Express Your Personal Style

Have you decided on your three style angles? Mine are classic, effortless and elevated. But if you’re a regular around here you know I always want my look to be modern, too. I just decided that was a given for me and chose three other words to keep me anchored in my personal style.

If you haven’t yet chosen your three style angles to define your personal style, start HERE.

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If you haven’t yet chosen your three style angles, I encourage you to check out the previous blog post for a full explanation and step by step guide through the process. And you can always find all of the blog posts in the Define Your Style…Refine Your Wardrobe style series in the top menu of my website (up above).

But today it’s time to move on to the next step in defining your style and refining your wardrobe, and that is expressing your personal style authentically, consistently and beautifully through your daily outfits. Here are 5 tips to get us started on this always evolving journey.

Tip #1 – Identify the basics you need in your wardrobe to consistently create outfits that reflect your style.

It’s easy to get so eager to express your style that you jump this step and head straight to my second tip. But it’s important to have the basics in your wardrobe so that you can create multiple outfits from your closet that beautifully reflect your personal style.

Identify a Few Personality Pieces that help you express your style.

For me, since my three style angles are classic, elevated and effortless, those basics include (but are not limited to) modern jeans, a couple of button-up shirts, elevated t-shirts, classic trousers in modern silhouettes and lengths and classic boots and pumps. But your basics may be very different depending on your style angles.

Below I’ve created a graphic with some ideas for possible wardrobe basics for a variety of personal styles. Now I just thought of these quickly, and none of these are my personal style. So consider them with a grain of salt. But this is just a “jumping off point” that I’m providing you as you consider the basics you need in your wardrobe to consistently create outfits that reflect your style.

Keep in mind that the “basics” are not the personality driven pieces. That’s why many of the ones above include qualifiers like “in neutrals, classic, elevated, simple,” etc. These are the basic pieces that you will add the more personality driven pieces to in order to create balanced outfits. If you struggle to create outfits with the personality pieces you have in your closet, it may be because you don’t have enough basics to serve as the canvas for those styles.

Tip #2 – Identify at least a few signature or personality-driven pieces you’ll have in your wardrobe to help tell your story.

Remember I said in this previous post that “Your personal style is the story you want to tell about yourself through the clothing and accessories you choose and the way you wear them.” While the wardrobe basics are the canvas for that visual story, the personality-driven pieces are the brush strokes that make your story unique and a reflection of your personal style. You could also call these garments and shoes your signature pieces.

Tip #2
shirt or here (more affordable option) // jeans // blazer or here (more affordable option but no in black) // shoulder bag // booties (use code KAYBOOTS for $50 off your first pair of boots at Ally) // necklace // belt

One of my favorite signature pieces is the blazer. I feel my best when I wear a blazer. But, while the blazer is a pretty easy signature piece for me to identify, I have name a few other signature pieces if I want to be able to consistently express my personal style. For instance, what happens when the situation doesn’t call for a blazer?

Tip #2

So other signature pieces are more subtle but still play an important part in expressing my style. For instance, I also enjoy wearing elevated athleisure pieces, modern sneakers, linen button-up shirts (in the summer), modern chinos and cotton sweaters (in the spring and fall). What are some of your signature or personality-driven pieces in your wardrobe that help express your style?

Tip #3 – Make sure you have accessories that align with your personal style.

Accessorizing is key to creating outfits that accurately express your style. And when you collect those accessories systematically rather than just willy-nilly, you’ll discover it’s so much easier and fun to create those looks.

Tip #3
shirt or here (more affordable option) // jeans // blazer or here (more affordable option but no in black) // shoulder bag // booties (use code KAYBOOTS for $50 off your first pair of boots at Ally) // necklace // belt

Accessories include things like belts, bags and shoes, of course. I like to make sure I have those three items in colors that work together. I’ve made it my goal this year to ensure that I have a handbag, a belt or two and different styles of shoes (flats, heels, boots, sandals) in cognac, black and taupe (or nude) so that I can combine them easily to create cohesive looks.

Tip #3

Accessories also include things like jewelry, hats and scarves, of course. Again, this is the time to choose items that accurately express your personality and style.

Tip #4 – Choose a color palette that helps authentically express your personal style.

While I’ve had my colors analyzed before and learned that I look best in cool tones (both winter and summer), I don’t stop there when it comes to determining my color palette. That’s one of the biggest mistakes I see women make. If you try to fill your closet with all those colors you’ll be overwhelmed and soon discover that little in your wardrobe actually mixes and matches.

Tip #4

Instead, I suggest you choose for yourself 2-4 neutrals and 3-5 signature colors to wear each season. Sure, you’ll want them to be colors that look good on you. But also select colors that you enjoy wearing, that make you feel like your best self, that bring you a little happiness. Remember, these colors are a big part of what visually shares your story.

Right now my colors for Spring 2024 include the neutrals white, camel, grey and black, and the signature colors pink, blue, lavender and maybe green. (I’m still working through this selection.) By the way, denim blue is a neutral in your wardrobe and you don’t necessarily need to include it in your list unless you want to.

Tip #5 – Learn a few style hacks you’ll use to pull your outfits together to express your personal style.

It’s not just the clothes we wear that express our personal style, but also the way we wear them. In fact, that very thing sometimes sets one style apart from another. Since one of my style angles is effortless, I’ll often roll up the cuffs of my blazers and shirts, wear a gentle front tuck instead of a full tuck, keep my jewelry minimal and pop my collars.

Tip #5
shirt or here (more affordable option) // jeans // blazer or here (more affordable option but no in black) // shoulder bag // booties (use code KAYBOOTS for $50 off your first pair of boots at Ally) // necklace // belt

Style hacks can also include things like rolling up your sleeves a bit, wearing scrunched socks with your loafers, adding a scarf to your outfit, buttoning your collar, leaving one shirttail out in the front, draping a pullover sweater over your shoulders or tying a sweatshirt around your waist. You don’t have to like ALL the style hacks out there; just choose a few that resonate with you personal style and employ them consistently. Become an expert at them.

Tip #6 – Create a few style uniforms that help you consistently and authentically express your personal style.

A style uniform or style formula is simply a combination of garments and accessories that you enjoy wearing on repeat in a specific way. One of my favorite style formulas that feels very authentic to me is a great pair of jeans, a button-up shirt and a blazer. Outfits in which I use that formula will vary a little depending on the silhouette of jeans, the color or size of the shirt and the style of the blazer, as well as the way I accessorize. But I know that I can use that basic formula to create dozens of outfits in my closet so easily. And I know I’ll always look and feel my best in those.

Tip #5
shirt or here (more affordable option) // jeans // blazer or here (more affordable option but no in black) // shoulder bag // booties (use code KAYBOOTS for $50 off your first pair of boots at Ally) // necklace // belt

Thanks so much for dropping in. I hope you enjoyed this post in our Define Your Style…Refine Your Wardrobe 2024 style series. You can find the other posts in the series HERE. I’d love to hear from you today. Share with us your 3 style angles and the wardrobe basics that you find essential for your personal style. If you’d like you can also share your colors for spring and/or a style formula you enjoy wearing.

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PS – The outfit I showed today is indeed pricey. But I love every piece I’ve shown you here, including my new Veronica Beard bag (this is their first handbag collection!). My assistant Holly is working on a style board with this look for less. Subscribers can expect it in your email later this week.

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Next Up Wardrobe Essentials for Your Personal Style

next up, Wardrobe Essentials for Your Personal Style (click to access)

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Blessed for My Day

I thought this week we would walk through Psalm 19 together. These first six verses describe how the earth and all that God created in it declares His glory. You could say it “expresses His personal style.” The heavens declare his glory and the sky proclaims His handiwork. Day by day, if we take notice of the world around us, it paints a picture of who God is.

Today let’s take notice of the way the world around us works. Of the way the sun rises in the East and “runs its course with joy.” What a beautiful image! But let’s also be inspired by the beauty of nature and the way it tells God’s story to then tell our own story – creatively, beautifully, authentically – through the way we dress and then relate to others.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat. ~ Psalm 19:1-6

xoxo, Kay
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29 thoughts on “Tips for How to Express Your Personal Style

  1. My three style angles (still a work-in-progress): Refined, Confident, then one of these three: Sophisticated, Subtle, or Artistic.
    Wardrobe colors: Neutrals: Navy, black, white, grey. Signature colors: Blue, Green, Pink. I use these colors year-round, and vary the intensity of the colors for the seasons. I may go with pastel versions of the signature colors for spring, brights (fuchsia, grass green, bright navy) for summer and winter, and deep shades (berry/burgundy and emerald green/spruce) for fall and winter. My skin has cool undertones, so these colors work well for me.
    Wardrobe basics: jeans, dark trousers, elevated tees, shirts, blazers or jacket-shaped sweaters/cardigans.
    I am still working on signature or personality-driven pieces. I am not sure exactly what those items might be. I am leaning toward scarves and unique jewelry pieces to help add personality to my wardrobe basics, but I am not sure if that fits this category. I’m also still working on a style uniform, but I think it would be jeans or pants, a simple top, and a third layer.

  2. My style triangle is…classic, effortless, and stunning….I had to change these words a number of times until they resonated…I’m still not sure how they will work together but I did the homework. This is such a fun journey! Starting through the tips today. Thank you, Kay.

  3. I’m eagerly following this style series! My words have morphed several times….presently they are Polished, Tailored, and Fit/Modern. My neutrals are navy, black, brown, and cream. For color, green, turquoise, raspberry and ??? Work in progress. I’m warm-toned, hazel eyes/brown hair. I’m learning I LOVE stripes and small, repeating patterns that don’t overwhelm me. Kay, I hope I can find that Nine West striped shirt you featured! I really want striped button down shirts. Swoon.

  4. This series is very helpful and I’m working my way through the steps. Can you explain/define “elevated tee”? It’s listed several times in the example and I’m not sure I’m clear on what that is. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lori. For me an elevated tee simply means that it is a basic tee but looks a little nicer than some. It keeps its shape, has nice hand, fits a little more tailored or even close to the body for layering. It features a nice neckline, like the one I showed in my recent video on How to Identify Quality Clothing.

  5. My choices are natural, relaxed and simple with an artsy mix of colors. I prefer comfortable clothes full of color. I’m not a “look at me” personality but content in my own skin without being too showy.

  6. Does anyone else work on this homework all day. (Lol) Getting to truly know yourself is exhausting. Although, I now understand the style lines, colors, accessories, how to put them together, etc. They seem to be all the things I love and feel comfortable in

  7. Another comment…your comment resonated with mentioning having nothing in the closet that would mix and match. That was me because I love bold bright colors in tops and had nothing to wear with them except a black cardigan. I’ve been working on having a capsule type wardrobe so I don’t have to shop every time I have a function…which isn’t often.😶. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Careers are fabulous when they benefit others not just provide income.

  8. Oh Kay this was Wonderful and soooooo Helpful Thank you so much ❤️And I never knew that Denim was a Neutral !! You are really helping and Inspiring me and the other ladies by explaining how it all works , I never knew I had a ‘Uniform’ that is my go to , until you have highlighted this . Im going to get rid of the items in my wardrobe that aren’t ‘Me’ or my ‘Lifestyle’ things Ive bought for a lifestyle and style I wanted !, and now I know this is why I don’t feel comfortable in them or authentic and strangely when dressed in the ‘non me’ outfits I never get a compliment either. Thank you ❤️❤️❤️And I loved the BFMD today and have copied that i to the Beautiful little bookI received as a gift .

  9. I am enjoying this series and realizing that I was doing this without a conscious thought. My 3 style words are:classic, casual, pretty. My neutral colors are navy Black, and white. I always wear these (along with jeans) on My pants. I also have tees and turtlenecks in my neutrals. Now I love bright colors so I have crewneck and cardigan sweaters in winter and tees and blouses in bright colors for summer. Those are usually red. Pink, green, yellow, bright blue. They may be solids but more likely strips, plaid or prints. Shoes and purses are also neutrals. I am 78 and we spend the summers at our cottage so I live a very casual life style so it seems to work.

  10. Thank you, Kay – I am loving this series. One question – I love the graphic you designed above, but can’t read the small print under each sub-section of Possible Wardrobe Basics. Is this available as a printable? I’d love to see what is written beneath each sections. Thanks so much.

  11. Opened up your blog today and I’m wearing your exact same outfit. Though I have on Mother Wide leg jeans and Athleta white long sleeve blouse, everything else is the same, including the purse! Love it!

  12. My style is classic, polished and modern. My neutrals are camel, brown and black. In the spring and summer my neutrals are ivory, camel and kakai, olive green. Recently I have added navy to both summer and winter. I tend to wear less black in the summer. The colors that suit me best are warm like corals, greens and orange tones. I have a few t-shirts in colors I like pink lilac and yellow. Light shades of blue don’t look on me so only color I don’t wear. Kay you offer great advice in this series. I’m enjoying it.

  13. Hi Kay,

    I found that having my colors analyzed was the best thing I ever did towards making a cohesive wardrobe. I’m an Autumn, specifically a deep/blue autumn, so I look best in the deepest, most saturated colors in the palette, but only the ones that have a cooler warmth. My entire wardrobe is in that palette and everything mixes and matches beautifully. I’ve always loved autumn colors, so all the colors that look best on me are colors I totally love.

    You are so right about needing to have the basics to build a wardrobe off of, that was something I neglected for years. With my style angles (thank you!) of classic, feminine, and polished (thank you Maeve), most of my basics are the same as yours, leaning classic. My signature pieces and accessories tend to pull from the feminine angle.

    Choosing style hacks that work for me and the idea of a style “uniform” are going to be helpful for me to pull together my loose ends, so thank you for those tips!

    1. Carolyn, I have the same experience with having my colors analyzed. It gives me so much clarity and confidence in choosing my colors! That’s fun that you love your autumn colors!

  14. I am so enjoying this series! I am following along and have been working on my 3 words. I don’t think I am done but currently they are; feminine, cohesive, and simple. I also made a list of things I am not. there are quiet a lot of words left. so I will keep thinking on it. Today when you gave examples of basics I read those to see if one group resinated more with me. Then I started to make a wardrobe basics list for my words to see if I could, hoping that would help me better define my 3 words. Not yet! but I will keep thinking on it.

  15. I’m enjoying working through these steps and finding them so helpful!

    My style angles are: polished, feminine, and sporty.

    I recently had my colors analyzed and discovered I’m a Light Spring. Which means I’m having fun adding more color to my wardrobe! For my spring/summer wardrobe my neutrals will be apricot, golden camel, and light denim/chambray. My signature colors will be peach, coral, and teal.

    I’m experimenting with style uniforms and I’m liking the style hacks of: having a 3rd layer, a gentle front tuck, wearing fun and functional shoes. I’ve typically been pretty minimal with my shoes and since adding a few fun styles I’ve been amazed at how shoes can make an outfit! I’m also enjoying wearing open vests as my third layer. I like the way a long or 3/4 sleeve shirt looks under the vest.

    Good luck to everyone!

  16. Kay thank you for your guidance with Finding My Personal Style. I loved thinking through my 3 words or angles. I do want to obtain your printable but I can’t find the password anywhere. Can you send it to me? Thank you.

    1. Hi Debbie, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the process. The password is always at the bottom of the daily and weekly emails. Please check there for the most up-to-date password.

  17. My three words are outdoorsy, uncomplicated, and fun. This blog post makes so much sense! One of my style uniforms includes a high quality tee with jeans that fit well. After working on this homework, I realized I “settle” for jeans that I don’t like, don’t fit well, and don’t work! I will change that. My signature pieces often involve jewelry. I like fun and whimsical earrings and as an entomologist they often are artisan bees, butterflies or dragonflies. My colors include the greens and corals with neutrals of tan and grey. I enjoy reading about everyone’s journey. Thank you Kay!!