As a Denver, personal stylist, I’m sure a common misconception of my industry is that we arrive at your home and immediately start telling you what’s wrong and exactly what you should do differently. Nothing could be further from the truth! With a background in retail and outside consultative sales, I’ve always collaborated with my clients. No one, especially me (ask my husband) wants to be told what to do.
Personal style is the foundation of every decision we make about your wardrobe. And to make sure my clients feel included in the process from the get go, I assign style homework. Yep, adult homework, but this is fun!
Today I’m sharing one part of the homework to help you on your personal style journey. Make no mistake, it is definitely a journey—you probably won’t have an epiphany over night, and your personal style will ebb and flow over the years.
The details of your clothes (that you like,) such as ruffles, bows, embroidery, pockets, etc. can provide many clues to help define your personal style.
Here are 3 ways you can determine what details you like.
1. Look in your closet and consider the details/trims your favorite pieces have in common.
Here are a few details to get you exploring:
- Oversized pockets, collars and buttons
- Fur (faux or real) Trim
- Gathers (i.e. at the shoulders)
Be sure to make plenty of notes and even take photos to note what pleases you.
2. Create a Style File
Go through fashion magazines or catalogues, and tear out (ooh, ripping is so fun and satisfying,) pictures of anything you love. It can be a part of an outfit, a specific detail or even the color; however, for the purpose of this exercise, you might want to concentrate on the DETAILS.
Another option is to do the same with Pinterest—maybe even make a board called “Details I like.” Identify and make notes along the way as to what it is you like (on paper or Pinterest.)
Note: if you already have a Pinterest board(s), I urge you to edit. Delete any pins that after careful consideration make you wonder, “What was I thinking.” It’s easy to get pin happy but so much easier to come to conclusions from quality not quantity of photos.
3. Choose a personal style icon
Maybe it’s a woman in your office, a friend, a local media personality, or even a well-known celebrity. Take note of the details of her ensembles.
Once you’ve accumulated a decent number of notes/photos, you can start to make conclusions.
I have an extremely vivid memory of a style discussion with a client years ago. She told me, very definitely “I like bows.” Although it wasn’t the extent of our conversation, this one detail told me so much. She had a very feminine style with soft ruffles and bows.
Something you should know is that my client was an attorney. Our challenge was to strike a balance between feminine and tailored enough to be taken seriously. Yes, it can definitely be done!
Like with my client, now you can start to assign meanings to your preferred style details. There are no right or wrong answers—it’s intuitive and everyone’s perceptions are different.
Here are a couple of other examples to get your creative juices flowing.
- Big buttons: bold, whimsical, Avante-garde.
- Fringe or studs: rocker chic, ‘70’s nostalgic.
- Sparkle: glamorous.
These are simply a few of the many possible choices!
And if you’re worried that any of your details or meanings may not be appropriate for your career or lifestyle, don’t worry. Just like my client example above, there are ways to make every personal style fit into your lifestyle/goals.
Or if you’re panicking because you noticed your clothes and pictures are completely devoid of details, it’s perfectly okay! It might mean you’re a minimalist. Perhaps your style is sleek or classic.
While exploring the fashion details you like and dislike isn’t usually completely conclusive, it’s often very telling and a great first step to discover your personal style.