It took me a full year of capsuling to develop my style.
But it doesn’t have to take you that long.
Throughout the year, I learned three little things that really fast-tracked the process. And — happy news — most of them are free!
ONE: Make lists.
We’re starting off on a very unsexy note here. :) But list-making is where it all started for me.
One day, I doodled out a pie chart that broke up the activities in my everyday life.
When I finished, I had to laugh — my closet was a pretty good representation of what “every woman should have in their closet.” But it was painfully obvious that the clothes in my closet didn’t match my actual life activities.
It was frustrating, but — how fascinating! — I learned something.
And just like that, I had instant style direction.
Other valuable lists I made? The average weather in my area each season. My favorite features to play up. Words that define how I wanted to feel in my clothes.
QUICK ACTION: You can download my free wardrobe planner to help you make lists + discoveries, but really, you could just start by drawing a lifestyle pie chart real quick. (Here’s an example, top left.) Just spend three minutes on it –it’ll give you instant style direction.
TWO: Spot the difference between a cool picture vs. an outfit that actually works.
Most of the time, people will suggest starting a Pinterest board to develop personal style.
But often what we end up pinning is the vibe of the photo and not the actual outfit. Then we look at our style board and we’re confused because we’ve got pins all over the style map.
I’ve done this so many times. I fall in love with an outfit that feels SO ME … and then once I put the outfit together, it’s so NOT me. It turns out I was just in love with the photo.
We’re drawn to great design — even if it’s not our style.
But I’ve learned a little trick to help with this:
Separate the photo into three layers — (1) clothes (2) setting or location of the photo (3) styling or hair and makeup.
First, focus on the first layer — the actual clothes. Ask the big question: Do you still think the outfit is cute when you remove the location and the styling?
This single question usually clears it right up for me, but you can keep going: Have you ever worn pieces like that before? If so, how did you feel in them?Can you see the outfit working with the way you usually style your hair and makeup? Does the outfit only work in that kind of location or can you see it working at your office or home?
A perfect pin is a photo where the clothes + setting + styling come together just right. The vibes all match. This could trick you into thinking that you love the outfit, when actually, you just love the vibe that’s been executed flawlessly.
QUICK ACTION: Hop on Pinterest, scroll til you find an outfit you’d pin, and practice separating the layers. Once you get the hang of it, start your style Pinterest board.
THREE: Decrease your fashion intake + increase your style intake.
I eventually hit a point where I stopped browsing through fashion magazines.
At first, I thought I needed their guidance. But really, it was just trend overload.
So I took it even further. I unsubscribed from clothing retailer email lists. I quit paying attention to the rules and the shoulds. If I saw an article touting “20 pieces every woman needs in her closet” I ran the other way.
In short, I created a quiet space.
And that quiet space helped me find a world of style resources:
I read books on personal style (Stacy London’s book helped me a lot in the beginning). I read blogs on building a wardrobe (Into Mind is an excellent resource). And I used apps that helped me get the most out of my wardrobe (Stylebook or Capsules are both awesome)
These resources taught me that developing my style is less about visual outfit inspiration, and more about the strategy behind building outfits. For so long, I confused the two — but not anymore. :)
QUICK ACTION: Create some quiet space and unsubscribe from retailer email lists + take a break from fashion magazines. Read Stacy’s book. Browse around IntoMind. And look into using Stylebook or Capsules.
03 | Bag by Ona
Do you have any tips for finding your personal style? Share away, I’d love to hear!