I’ve been thinking lots about how we develop our own personal style, and how it shifts through the years as we grow and change. Our roles change, how much time and money we have available to spend on clothing ebbs and flows as do our life circumstances. I think each have a style signature, certain colors and styles excite us the minute we see them. Perhaps an era such as the 1940’s or ‘50’s really inspires us. Part of the equation is finding your style, and the other part is having the confidence to turn away from all the influences that might dilute or alter that style.
Stylists have all sorts of methods to help women find their style signatures, from quizzes and body typing, to just trying on piles of clothing. I copied looks from magazines as a young girl, experimenting until I found what worked for me.
Now I take note of what I reach for most each season, the colors, the silhouettes that look best and while it may not seem like it sometimes, over time, I have developed my own style.
A good foundation:
When I worked outside of the home, a good suit, either navy or black, priced at the very top of my budget threshold was the foundation of my wardrobe. It had to fit perfectly, and be made to last. That suit would serve as the back bone for every outfit I put together and I’d wear all or parts of it week in and out, for years. I made sure I had a couple of well cut skirts, and pants, a few blouses and piles of sweater sets.
During my working outside the home period, I “invested” in my clothing and ensured that I could wear my clothes in varying combinations because, frankly, I couldn’t afford to do otherwise. Because image played a role in how one was perceived at work, I was very conscious of creating tasteful business looks. Choosing classics with an occasional trendy item or pop of unexpected color, texture or pattern helped stretch my wardrobe and keep it from getting too boring or dated.
Life has changed—it’s been almost 20 years since I worked in an office, so the backbone of my wardrobe is now jeans. Mind you, I have a few jackets, dresses and skirts suitable for formal meetings, but mostly I wear jeans day to day. Working from home has opened me to a new style dimension, learning how to create a pulled together look in a very casual environment. And I do “dress” most days, though I do an occasional pajama day from time to time, usually on the weekends.
Lately, I’ve been reaching for my 2” gold hoops pretty much daily, they are light weight and add just the right amount of pop to the very casual looks I wear most of the time these days.
I have collected gold bracelets since I was 18, and wear at least one at all times. I have always loved the layering of several styles and textures, and when it’s not too hot, I love wearing several at a time.
Shoes and handbags also play an important role in my wardrobe. Jeans with an interesting shoe and handbag take the look up a notch, especially when considering jeans for a casual work look.
I had my colors done when I was in my twenties, which, at the time was very expensive, but worth every penny. I came away with a clear sense of what colors looked best on me and it made a huge difference. I also learned how to see when a color worked on me and when it didn’t.
A good fit:
Making sure your clothing fits properly is the final key to looking great whether you are going for laid back casual or formal business look. Having clothing altered when necessary is worth the expense; even inexpensive clothing looks more expensive when it fits properly. Some department stores still alter clothing either free or for a small fee at the time of purchase, so it’s worth asking, especially if you are making a larger purchase.
Whether you seek the help of a consultant, or go it alone, taking the time to develop your own style signature saves time, money and gives you confidence in putting great outfits together.
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