I’m pretty sure I read this same article title in an old copy of Seventeen Magazine or Glamour back in the day. But the question remains a never-ending one for so many of us!
Yesterday, I shared this reel about how I used to wear only black and grey (see above photo for reference) and now my wardrobe is full of color and pattern. I only really settled into my style in the last decade after I reached my 30’s. It made me think about that process of slowly discovering your style, and what I can share with you that might help you if you’re still on a quest to find your own style…
First, here are some questions to ask yourself…
Why do I wear what I wear now?
Is it because of comfort? Practical for work?
Do the things I wear make me happy?
Maybe you’ve never thought about if your clothes make you happy because you’re very practical with them. And being practical is ok! But if you’re feeling in a rut or feeling uninspired by your clothes, that might be the boost you need to make a change!
Does it make ME happy when I see someone dressed in a way that shows their true self?
I know for myself when I see someone who fully embraces their style and isn’t afraid to be who they are, I get joy from it. And, I get inspired by it!
What looks best on my body?
There is also a realistic sense we need to have of what works for us. This could either be based on our body type or just the types of clothes or fits that compliment us the best. This part isn’t about what society says you should wear but you really just knowing with your proportions, height, or body shape what types of pieces make you feel like your best self.
Whose style do you love but think you could never pull off?
Whether it’s a real-life friend, a celebrity, or a character on TV, is there someone whose style you love? Do you think it’s for them and not for you? I’ll challenge you to be inspired by this person and take note of the types of things they wear that you are drawn to and ask yourself why.
Here are some things that helped me find my style over time…
The cities I lived in
Where you live can certainly help define your style. The weather, the culture, the people, the level of style (or not) of a city can either inspire you or give you no inspiration whatsoever. I’ve lived in big cities most of my life (Philly, New York, Los Angeles), and I saw shifts in my style when I moved to a new big city for sure.
Friends and Co-Workers
I distinctly remember being inspired by some of my past co-worker’s personal style at both of my previous jobs. Seeing someone everyday and how they move and go about their lives also lets you see personal style in a new way. It’s not just a photo of someone that seems unattainable or out of reach. The same goes for friends (especially when new ones enter your life), I have been inspired a ton by friends in my creative circle here in Los Angeles and how they express themselves through their clothing.
There are so many times I used to say to myself, “Oh, I can’t pull that off” or “I wish I knew how to wear that.” Well, you don’t know if you don’t try. I felt that way for a long time about wearing vintage clothing, for example. I started liking the idea of vintage in high school and would try and wear vintage here and there. But it took years and years of trying different types of vintage and figuring out what fabrics worked for me to really feel confident about incorporating it into my everyday style.
Keep Image References
Whether it’s a Pinterest board or a folder on your Instagram, if you see a photo of someone with a style you love, save it! That folder can be a great reference for you when you’re ready to shop for some new pieces or when you’re looking at your closet and feel stuck on what new combination you could put together.
Confidence That Comes with Age
As I get older, I care less about what other people think when it comes to my personal style. I don’t even care if my husband will like my outfit! Dressing yourself should be for yourself and not for others.
Stop Saving Outfits for “Later”
How many pieces of clothes do we have that we never wear cause we’re saving them for a future party, vacation, or Halloween?! If it’s something you like, just wear it. Cause you never know if that occasion will come and you might as well get the joy from it now.
Naming Your Style
Once I established “fancy casual” as my style, it really helped steer me and give me inspiration going forward when I felt stuck or needed some new ideas for my wardrobe. As you get more and more excited and confident about your personal style, there may be some adjectives you’ll find that solidify you style for you as well that will help guide you. These can be words that are purely for you, but it’s a phrase or adjectives that get you excited and can make you feel like you’re starting to (or have finally) discovered your confidence in your personal style.
Such a fun blog post, Joy, and so thought-provoking! I tried naming my style and came up with 3 distinct ones haha. Love your style and love when you make style content~
Thanks Lizzy! What were your 3 styles?!
This is such an amazing post Joy. I love it. My style used to be way more weird and wonderful, but I’ve fallen into basic work-from-home-mom-on-a-budget-style since becoming a mother.
I’m printing out an image of you, Iris Apfel & some other women with bold style today to remind myself of where I’m heading!
Phases of life can def change things! Give yourself grace, too! But I love the inspo idea, too!