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How To Develop Your Personal Style

Along with setting out on her dream career, sharing a kiss in the rain with someone special and going on at least one weekend jaunt to Europe, every girl should explore her own sense of style. Whether you’ve already established your own personal style and feel that it’s time for a change, or if fashion is something you’re only just beginning to explore, the following steps will help you to create your own unique look which you are happy and comfortable with.

What does style mean to you? Take a moment, find a comfortable seat and write down your thoughts. Is it sweetheart necklines and childlike accessories, patent winklepickers and quality tailoring, or red lipstick and thick eyebrows? The beauty of style is that it’s completely subjective, and we all have our own idea of what looks good, and what doesn’t. No one can tell you what to wear – it’s something you have to discover for yourself.

Creating a unique look that is appropriate and pleasing to you will not just make you feel better about yourself – it will make you feel incredible. Imagine feeling more confident, happy, positive and blissful just from changing the way you get dressed in the morning. Not to mention that style is a great way to express yourself, make a statement, or simply to play and have a little more fun. And it can all be done with some careful planning and a little self-evaluation.

You
This process is all about you, so place your stack of Vogues to one side for a moment while you work through this first, all-important, introspective step. What makes you sigh with longing? Think about the things you’ve loved consistently over the past few months or years, and jot down some notes. Everyone has colours, patterns, textures, people and places that they instinctively like. Read old journals, scour your postcard collection or simply look at your surroundings to define exactly what it is that pushes your aesthetic buttons!

Inspiration
Treat yourself to a giant ringbound sketchbook and start collecting some visual stimulation. Compile magazine cuttings, postcards, stickers, photographs, artwork – anything and everything that speaks to you on some level. When you’ve finished, flick through and try to spot any reccuring themes. Maybe there are a lot of androgynous looks in there, with plenty of hard angles and sharp edges, complemented by an entirely monochrome palette. Whatever it is, the things you’re naturally drawn to are a pretty good indicator of what you should be wearing!

Define
Now, write a short sentance or phrase that will sum up the look that has become clear through creating your sketchbook pages. Let’s say that your sketchbook is full to the brim with ballet dancers, chiffon, ribbon and cupcakes, thanks to your childhood obsession with all things feminine and sweet. You might pin down this look as: “Romantic and elegant Degas dancer living decadently in modern day New York.” You can then refer back to this statement when you’re out shopping, looking for cosmetics, or scouring eBay for vintage goodies.

Refine
Whilst I’m an advocate of wearing exactly what you want to, and never mind about Trinny and Susannah-style “rules”, I do know that we look out best when we dress to fit and flatter our figures. If your sketchbook contains pencil skirts as far as the eye can see, but your hips aren’t your best feature, how else can you get the sexy secretary look to work for you? How about a full, knee length skirt rather than a tight-fitting pencil? Find a way to fit your chosen theme to your own size and shape in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Shop
Here’s the fun part! It’s time to bring your vision to life. What do you need to create your look? What types of clothes, cut, fabrics, fit and style are you looking for? Figure out the basic template that you’d like to adhere to – nothing too strict, but a certain cut of jeans, a particularly shaped skirt and heels that fit and flatter are essential. Now would also be a good time to have a clear out – sell or give away anything that you haven’t worn in the past 6 months, and anything that you don’t feel fits in with the phrase you drafted in step 3.

Edit
Now that you’ve tried your look on for size, how does it feel? Document your wardrobe and make changes as and when they’re needed. Whenever anything comes to mind, jot it down – an item that you’re missing, a colour you could add, or something that needs tweaking. Your aesthetic is an ongoing manifestation of your personality, so it will change and grow as you do. Don’t try and aim for a concrete goal – you will always be adding to your wardrobe, taking things away, and changing your mind. Just go with whatever feels good!

And…
If you love trends, then feel free to pursue them, but I think a much more rewarding experience is to find the cuts, colours and patterns that suit you best. I honestly believe that when it comes to fashion, nothing is more important than doing your own thing. We are all different. You can wear anything you like, and no one else can stand in the way of that. Do you want to shock, seduce, or simply raise a smile? The choice is entirely up to you, and the world of fashion is at your feet, ready and waiting to make your immense vision a sparkling reality.

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