As a costume designer, my job is to visually convey the personality of a character to an audience within the first few seconds they hit the screen. As an individual, you can approach personal style with the same intent, utilizing your wardrobe choices to offer visual hints about your authentic self.
Think about who you are and answer the following questions with one word. What is your best personality trait? How would close friends describe you? When do you feel most happy? Where does your inner confidence stem from? Take a couple of these key words and make them your style anchors. Use your style anchors to ensure your daily sartorial offerings highlight the best of who you are. Each time you get dressed; ask yourself if the image in the mirror conveys the message of your style anchors.
Focus on building a repertoire of statement pieces, not fashion statements, but garments and accessories that illustrate your style anchors. Utilize these items regularly as part of your signature look. For example, if your style anchor is Romantic, try incorporating a vintage Victorian locket into your everyday wardrobe. If your style anchor is Adventurous, invest in a high tech gadget watch and wear it with everything.
Now, throw out every generic fashion rule that tells you what works for your body type. Those rules are written by people who have never seen you in your skinny jeans, so how could they possibly know whether or not they work on you? Like fingerprints, every human body is unique and therefore clothes drape differently on each one. Over-generalized limiting guidelines may be the one thing holding you back from your ideal look. Get in the habit of being your own judge – if it looks good and feels good - wear it!
Don't get stuck. It is important to have a consistent style, but adopting a personal uniform isn't the answer. Never stop seeking inspiration to help you creatively express yourself. You don't want to be a slave to fashion trends, but you don't have to strictly avoid them either. Pay attention to what's happening in fashion on the streets and in the media, but think of it as a study sheet, rather than the verbatim answers to the final exam. Remember that fashion is dictated by the ebb and flow of big business, whereas real style evolves from some place within yourself.
Developing personal style evolves over time, so never stop experimenting with your look. Watch movies and try paying homage to stylish characters by incorporating elements of their iconic looks into yours. Play dress up with a close friend, partner or family member. Invite them into your closet and have them pick out an outfit for you from head to toe. Sometimes seeing yourself through someone else's eyes can show you a new perspective of your own image. Seek inspiration from sources of art. Choose a painting or a piece of music and build an outfit that captures it's essence turning yourself into a bespoke masterpiece.
Discovering your idiosyncratic style is a lifetime process. You can expect some trial and error along the way, but then again some of the most interesting style choices have found themselves on the worst dressed list. Just like anything else in life, it takes time and practice. Personal style is a journey, not a destination, so you might as well take the scenic route and enjoy the ride.
ABOUT KRISTEN O'REILLY
Website link: www.idiosyncraticstyle.com