Finding your personal style can feel like a never-ending task. You can find your style with words as they can help you make your style more concrete and tangible. The words that describe your style will give you a framework you can check your items and outfits with to build a consistent style.
Fashion’s underlying layer
Fashion goes deeper than we all think. If you want to find your personal authentic style, you must be willing to look at yourself and ask yourself: who I am, what is important to me, what I like to wear and why. Only then will you be able to find a true style for yourself and feel very confident because you are expressing who you are in the truest and purest form.
Words work for your closet
That words work to identify your style and create a cohesive wardrobe is proven by several stylists.
Wardrobe stylist Allison Bornstein has created a simple but powerful style principle called the Three Word Method. This method is designed to help you create a wardrobe that is both functional and stylish, without feeling overwhelmed by too many options.
Also stylist Lizzie Edwards refers in her book “Look Like the Leader You Are” to style words. She starts by creating an inspiration board to identify your style words. Using your style words, you can develop your personal style and a wardrobe that aligns with it.
How to find the words that describe your personal style
STEP 1: Collect and describe what you like
There are 3 strategies to find your personal style by working with words:
- You can look at what you have
- You can look at what you pursue, based on for example an inspiration board
- A combination of both
Strategy 1: Find your personal style words via your closet
The first strategy is to take a look at what you already have.
So open your closet:
- What are common things that come back?
- What is that you like about these items?
It can be items, a colour palette, style or maybe a general feeling.
Write as many words down that comes to your mind. Don’t overthink it.
Examples of words that may come up are: luxurious, understated, relaxed, elegant, minimalist, strong, fun, chic, and expensive, but there are many others.
Strategy 2: Create an inspiration board to find your personal style
Another way to find your style word is by creating an inspiration board. You can make an inspiration board the old fashion way via magazines, a scissor, glue and paper or you can opt for a modern approach by using Pinterest or Instagram. What you prefer – and actually make you do it.
Do the same exercise as by strategy 1 and write as many words down as comes into your mind.
Strategy 3: The best of both wor(l)ds
When you want to be sure you find your personal style, you can use both strategies together. By looking at what you have and what you pursue, you can find a common theme.
Chances are that it is exactly what you really want. After all, you already have it – why else would you have ever bought it – and you’re pursuing it but probably weren’t aware you already had it.
Look at the words you noted from your own closet and those from the inspiration board. Filter out the common words and move on to step 2.
STEP 2: Explore a pattern
Take a look at all the words you wrote down.
- Can you categorize them?
- Are there any words that stand out?
Highlight the words that are important to you and cross out words that are not so important to you or you don’t resonate with anymore when reading them back.
Here you may be very selective and consider the words carefully.
STEP 3: Select your style words
You want to end up with 3 to 5 words that are going to represent you and your future style and wardrobe. Take a look at your list and select the words that resonate the most with you.
Can my style words change?
Of course, your words can change a bit over time. So if you feel a need to change, go back to step 2, as that are the words already close to your core style and see if you need to select new words.
Don’t get influenced
The hardest part of this exercise – and in general, in finding your personal style – is that you are often influenced.
By magazines, influencers, friends, family, your work environment, etc. That you sometimes need to adapt your style to your environment is absolutely true, but you really need to discover your authentic style.
The advice is to spend time alone. Be as selfish as you possibly can, because this is about your personal style. Your opinion is the only one that matters. See what you gravitate towards when you don’t have any other external people or opinions come into mind as you get dressed.