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.
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.
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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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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