I’ve always felt drawn to several different styles at the same time — in interior design, in music, and especially in fashion.
Yet over the years, as I’ve honed my personal style, I’ve occasionally felt the need to fit the whole of my style underneath one label — as if I need to “pick one” style and forgo the rest.
It’s no secret as to why I’ve felt that way: Personal style is often presented to us as an either/or. Are you classic or bohemian? Colorful or neutral? Relaxed or tailored?
But to me, this either/or mindset zaps the fun right out of something that’s meant to be playful and open-ended.
So when it comes to my own personal style, I try to keep the either/or approach out of it. Instead, I like to pick three or so distinctly different styles, focus on a few of my favorite elements of each style, and combine them to create my own unique personal style.
So today, I thought I’d dive into the three different styles that exist within my current style and closet.
01: Natural + Relaxed
The natural + relaxed aesthetic is the foundation of my style — it’s been the most consistent over the years.
Key elements include:
- Natural fabrics like linen and cotton
- Elastic waists and pull-on bottoms (no stiff, uncomfortable bottoms allowed)
- Soft, worn-in, vintage denim
- Textural details like straw, soft leather, wood, and ceramic
- Flat sandals (no heels)
This section of my wardrobe gets the most use in casual, everyday settings — morning coffee runs, casual gatherings with family or friends, relaxing at home, working on house projects, errands, etc.
Here’s an example of this style — almost like a mini capsule. Some of these items I own, and some are just items I like.
If you see something you like, you can shop it and support my blog at the same time by using the affiliate links throughout this post.
02: Sophisticated + Chic
This is the newest style to join my closet. It surprised me, because I’m usually drawn to a more casual look. However, we recently moved from a small town to a big city, which means I dress up a bit more.
Key elements include:
- Fluid, luxe fabrics like silk (Machine washable silk is ideal, so I’m not constantly going to the dry cleaners. Elizabeth Suzann is my favorite for machine washable silk.)
- Shorts with a long inseam (4-6 inches)
- Pleated pants or shorts
- Dressy belts
- Oversized blazers
- Sculptural bags
- Low wedge heels
- Gold jewelry
This section of my wardrobe gets the most use in social or event settings — happy hour meetups, dinner dates with Aaron, going to a play or museum, etc.
Here’s an example of this style. Again, I have some of these items, and some are just items I like.
03: Romantic + Boho
This style probably makes up the smallest section of my wardrobe, but since it’s so different than the other two styles I’ve mentioned in this post, it’s such a refreshing counterbalance when I’m craving something different.
Key elements include:
- Printed dresses
- Maxi or midi lengths
- A slouchy, roomy tote
- Simple, minimal sandals that don’t draw much attention
- Little to no jewelry
- Undone hair and little to no makeup
This section of my wardrobe gets used for just about anything. I’ve worn my nicer 70’s inspired dresses to cocktail parties, and I’ve worn my casual, floral day dresses to grab coffee or groceries.
Take a look at an example of this style.
Mixing It Up
My favorite part of this whole thing? Taking each of these styles and mixing them together to create something unique.
My friend and fellow blogger, Anuschka Rees says:
“If you think about it, a style is nothing but a set of individual elements [for example: color, shape, texture, fabric, details, specific items, etc.]. To merge two different aesthetics, break them up into their elements and select which of those elements you want to incorporate into your own style concept.”
For example, I might mix my natural + relaxed denim shorts with a sophisticated + chic silk tank and blazer. Or I might mix a romantic + boho floral dress with a pair of sophisticated + chic heels and gold earrings.
While it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out how to mix styles in a way that feels right to you, it can be a delightful process. All it takes is a playful attitude and a willingness to try something new.
• • •
And there you have it!
Now I want to hear from you! Do you ever feel some sort of external pressure to pick one style only, even though you like lots of styles? What are your best tips for combining different styles into your personal aesthetic? If you had to pick 3 styles you feel represent you, what would they be?
And hey, I recently did an interview all about vintage shopping with my dear friend and fellow blogger Mary Beth of The Threads We Wear. If you have a minute, head on over — Mary Beth is right in the middle of a blog series on shopping secondhand, so don’t miss her other posts on the topic too.