DEFINE YOUR STYLE IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS

This post has been on my mind and in the making for a long time. I knew I wanted to iron out the process of how to define personal style and keep it super simple, but there are SO many articles and posts on the topic that I found it really overwhelming. Last year I developed a workbook to help DEFINE one’s personal style and while it was useful and somewhat effective it still felt too convoluted to me. Turns out, 1 year is a long time for someone as devoted to the quest of personal style as I am and has led to some great insights and findings that I was able to apply to this post and workbook.

This step to define my personal style was a critical one for me and has been integral to the success of my lean closet mission as a whole. Once I spent some time thinking about it and assigned a few key words to my style it felt a lot clearer to me, instead of just being a jumble of ideas floating around in my head. Having a definition in mind really helps when it comes to getting ready, planning looks, shopping and especially when I’m deciding what items need to go to keep my closet lean. So whether your style feels like a jumbled mess or you just need to get it into words, this exercise is for you!

Before we DEFINE YOUR STYLE here’s what’s in store today:

  • The Good News
  • The Goal
  • The Process + My Answers
  • Download The Workbook

Style Bee - DEFINE YOUR STYLE

THE GOOD NEWS

1 | You already know your personal style definition, you just haven’t put it into words yet. A lot of the people I’ve talked to about this topic have said they find it daunting or intimidating. That, and, ‘I don’t really have a style.’ is a common phrase I hear but it’s just not true! It might be that your closet is just too packed with things you don’t actually love to wear or that you’ve just been in a rut lately. But absolutely everyone has a personal style that’s worthy of a proper definition.

2 | This workbook involves ZERO Pinterest. I know people are always suggesting you pin your favourite looks to a board and you’ll start to see themes and common elements but those themes and common elements aren’t necessarily applicable to your true or current style. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest, and it’s an invaluable tool for seeking inspiration and beautiful photos but I think it can muddy the waters when you’re attempting to iron out your own style definition.


THE GOAL

While I’m obsessed with personal style and how it influences our daily lives, I don’t expect that many of you will take it so seriously, nor should you! It’s meant to be a fun, maybe slightly revealing and hopefully insightful exercise that helps you get a better sense of your closet and style. That said, the objective is that you’ll come away from completing the workbook with a few key words in your back pocket to refer to next time you’re putting together a look or going shopping. So let’s do this! (If you completed last week’s personal style assessment, now is a good time to keep it handy.)


Style Bee - DEFINE YOUR STYLE


DEFINE YOUR STYLE – IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS


STEP 1 | ASSESS | DESCRIBING THE GOOD AND THE NOT-SO-GOOD

Start by asking yourself the following:

A | HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU’RE WEARING A LOOK YOU REALLY LOVE?

Think about words like:

  • CONFIDENT
  • ELEGANT
  • PUT-TOGETHER
  • CAPABLE
  • EMPOWERED
  • COMFORTABLE
  • SLIM
  • ATTRACTIVE

I SAID: CONFIDENT | PUT-TOGETHER | ATTRACTIVE | UNIQUE | STYLISH | SOPHISTICATED | AT-EASE | HAPPY


B | HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU’VE WORN SOMETHING YOU DON’T LOVE?

Think about words like:

  • FRUMPY
  • FUSSY
  • EXPOSED
  • BLAH
  • UNCOMFORTABLE
  • SELF-CONSCIOUS
  • CONFINED
  • DOWDY

I SAID: EXPOSED | SELF-CONSCIOUS | DOWDY | UNPOLISHED | AWKWARD | CONFINED


STEP 2 | SORT | ISOLATE THE DOS AND DON’TS OF YOUR STYLE

A | WRITE DOWN ALL THE THINGS YOU DON’T LIKE TO WEAR AND DON’T CONSIDER YOUR STYLE


I SAID: BRIGHT COLOURS | ANYTHING SUPER GIRLY | BODY-CON DRESSES | PREPPY | STILETTOS | ANYTHING TOO REVEALING | CHEAP MATERIALS | SUPER TRENDY PIECES | OVERLY FANCY LOOKS | ORNATE JEWELRY OR TEXTURES | MAINSTREAM MEGA BRANDS


B | WRITE DOWN ALL THE THINGS YOU DO LIKE TO WEAR AND DO CONSIDER YOUR STYLE


I SAID : NEUTRALS | NATURAL FIBRES + BEAUTIFUL FABRICS | HIGH-WAISTS | RELAXED FITS | ITEMS MADE RESPONSIBLY | CROPPED LENGTHS | LONG DRESSES | STRIPES | SIMPLE SHAPES | CLEAN LINES | ELEVATED CASUAL | TIMELESS | EASY-TO-WEAR CUTS | VERSATILITY


Style Bee - DEFINE YOUR STYLE

 STEP 3 | GET REAL | IDENTIFY YOUR LIFESTYLE AND WHAT YOU DRESS FOR

WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU DO MOST? HOW DO YOU DRESS FOR THEM?


I SAID: STUDIO WORK > CASUAL | DINNERS / PARTIES / MEETINGS / EVENTS > ELEVATED CASUAL | DOG WALKS / TRAVEL > COMFY/CASUAL


HOW DOES THE WEATHER IMPACT YOUR STYLE AND WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL MODE OF TRANSPORT?


I SAID: 4 SEASONS RANGING FROM VERY HOT TO VERY COLD WHICH MEANS I NEED A WIDE VARIETY OF OPTIONS | I WALK + DRIVE MOSTLY AND BIKE + CAB OCCASIONALLY


Style Bee - DEFINE YOUR STYLE

STEP 4 | EXAMINE | RECOGNIZE THE SPECIFICS FROM LOOKS YOU LOVE

 A | LIST YOUR TOP 10-20 MOST WORN ITEMS


I SAID: FLORENCE PANTS | KAMM PANTS | CLYDES | LOAFERS | LINN TEE | LOOSE TEES | GEORGIA DRESS | SNEAKERS | KIMONO JACKET | CECILIA PANT | LEE CROP | JEANS | BIRKS | LINEN BUTTON-DOWN | STRAW HAT | GOLD ACCESSORIES | CROSS BODY BAG + BACKPACK


B | LIST YOUR TOP 3 GO-TO OUTFITS/SILHOUETTES


1 – HIGH RISE – WIDE LEG PANTS + LOOSE CROP + WEDGE/SANDAL + STATEMENT NECKLACE + CROSS BODY

2 – FLOWY DRESS + BOOTS / WEDGES + KIMONO + HAT + STATEMENT NECKLACE + CROSS BODY

3 – SLIM PANT + TUNIC + BOOTS / FLATS + GOLD ACCESSORIES + CROSS BODY


Style Bee - DEFINE YOUR STYLE

STEP 5 | DEFINE | PUT YOUR PERSONAL STYLE INTO WORDS


A | WRITE DOWN ALL THE KEY WORDS AND PHRASES YOU CAN THINK OF THAT ACCURATELY APPLY TO YOU STYLE. GET THAT THESAURUS OUT!


I SAID: CONSIDERED | MINIMAL | SIMPLE | CLEAN | NATURAL | VERSATILE | NEUTRAL | CASUAL | AT-EASE | RELAXED | HANDMADE | BASICS | PUT-TOGETHER | ESSENTIALS | WELL-MADE | NO-FRILLS | SPARSE | FUNCTIONAL | EFFORTLESS | CALM | CULTIVATED | REFINED | ELEVATED | ADAPTABLE | RESPONSIBLE


B | FINALLY, PULL THE 3 – 5 WORDS THAT REALLY RESONATE WITH YOU THE MOST. THESE WILL BE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE DEFINITION!


MY PERSONAL STYLE IS:

CONSIDERED | CLEAN | VERSATILE

And that my friends and fellow style enthusiasts, is all there is to it! 5 Steps, a bunch of answers, some thought and a thesaurus are really all you need to define your personal style. So please give it a try!

 DOWNLOAD THE WORKBOOK HERE

Style Bee - DEFINE YOUR STYLE

If you’ve made it this far there’s a good chance that you’re intrigued by this exercise.  If so, I’d love to hear how this workbook goes for you!

Now, if you’re not happy with your style definition that’s OK, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Conduct a Closet Clean Out. It’s much easier to define a style when your closet is lean. It’s possible that your judgement is being clouded by clutter and items that don’t belong.
  2. Go on a Shopping Fast. 30 Days of no shopping means you have to spend some quality time with your current clothes, explore the pieces you really love and see which ones are just collecting dust.
  3. Take the 10 X 10 CHALLENGE and explore your top items and how they can work harder and more efficiently for you. This challenge always reveals some key silhouettes and styles you’re gravitating towards.
  4. Try it again with a friend. We’re all our own worst critics so if you’re having trouble finding the right words or answering some of the questions it helps to have a good friend that knows you well to add some more objective thoughts. A glass of wine never hurt either!

There’s one last thing I’ll say before I shut up for the weekend, which is that Developing Personal Style and Defining Personal Style are definitely different things. I consider Defining Personal Style to be something you can do at any moment, whereas Developing Personal Style, is a much longer process, that takes time and thought and some trial and error. But, much more on that later!

 

29 thoughts on “DEFINE YOUR STYLE IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS

  1. I used your workboook on defining my personal style back in summer – and now I’m using the idea of it to work on our school’s corporate identity with my staff. I think it’s great to bring in a different approach than the business one. Thank you for your inspiration, I hope it will work out and I’m looking forward to working on that with my colleagues.

    1. Tina, thanks so much for giving it a try! I’m thrilled that you found it useful and I think that’s a genius application for it too. Good luck with the new branding! xo

  2. I just stumbled onto your blog this week and love what you do. I’m from Waterloo and nearly fell off my chair when I saw you were from Guelph! Thank’s for representing south-western Ontario in such a rad way.

    I worked through your workbook and ended up with relaxed, elegant, and tailored. I’m really big into sewing, and I can’t wait to start designing pieces that fit into this aesthetic. Thanks for putting all this fun stuff together!

  3. This will work well for those who have a style they like but don’t know consciously what it is — it will help them to hone it and refine it — but it won’t help those who are unhappy with the clothes they wear and want to develop or create a style that will suit them.

    For such individuals, I do think that looking at pinterest photos can help them identify what appeals to them, which they can then narrow down using considerations like whether they would actually feel comfortable wearing this or that look or style in activities they actually engage in, and so on, and whether styles they like are suitable for their climate, lifestyle, etc.

    At any rate, it was finding a single pinterest photo that helped me clarify what style I would like to adopt for a large proportion of my time. I had been wrestling with conflicting ideas about styles I like for some time, and when I found that particular image, I noticed that the style depicted would work for many different parts of my life, and solved a number of problems or conundrums I had had until then WRT my style.

    Had I simply examined what I was actually wearing up till then, I would be dissatisfied to this day. Sometimes people do need to create a personal style for themselves, not merely identify their existing style. I realise your post is about defining one’s style though, rather than creating a new one for oneself. But often people thinking in terms of defining their style actually mean identifying the style or styles that would feel them, that they would actually like to wear.

    Wendy

    1. Thanks for your input Wendy! Great insight and thanks for sharing your style defining experience. I agree that this exercise is geared toward those who are at least fairly content with their style. For those that are not I included a list of helpful resources at the end of the post. All the best! xo

  4. I just printed off the workbook and I can’t wait to dive in! My hubby is going out of town this weekend, so this will be a fun post-kid-bedtime-with-a-glass-of-wine activity. 🙂

  5. I recently stumbled across your website and I love it! Your closet mission and focus on buying responsibly really speak to me. This exercise was an eye opener for me. I realized that my most worn items are not even things I like, and definitely are not an example of what I want people to think of me. I felt bummed. Then I read your note at the end: defining your personal style and developing your personal style are two different things. Ahhh…so where is one to start when one doesn’t like their current look? Tips for a style overhaul? It’s a tall order, but someday I’d love for you to provide a guide for the style-challenged/style-overwhelmed. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Nikki, thanks a lot for trying out the workbook and letting me know how it went. I SO appreciate that! It can definitely lead to some unexpected findings. I’m so happy you asked about a style overhaul and I’m currently working on a post along the lines of ‘How to develop a personal style you love.’ It’s a ways out from completion but I’m aiming to have it live late this summer 😉 For now, try conducting a Closet Clean Out, I wrote an article for Poppy Barley that walks you through the process. I’m sure that will be a good place to start! xox

  6. This is such a great exercise and a really fun way to start thinking about personal style and how it relates to your lifestyle and personality. I’m a Fashion Stylist and Image Consultant and I notice a lot of my clients associate defining personal style with something scary or intimidating but this exercise just proves how fun and exciting it is meant to be!

    Thank you,

    Allegra xx

    http://www.allegraghiloni.wordpress.com

    1. That’s so wonderful to hear Allegra, thank you! I think it feels daunting when you don’t know what’s involved or where to start but it is actually really fun and insightful. All the best!! xo

  7. Excited to try this out! I downloaded your workbooks last year, but honestly found them a bit overwhelming too, so I’m curious to try this streamlined one.

    Thanks for always providing quality content on your site. It’s one of the reasons that it’s become one of my favorites over the last couple of years!

    1. Thanks so much Maria! I hope you find this one more straight-forward. It’s taken some time to iron out the right process but it feels much clearer now. I really appreciate your kind words and support! xo

  8. This is super helpful! Been filling out the workbook for the past hour and it’s so much fun. It’s been incredibly enlightening for myself! Thanks for sharing your great tips as always.

    1. That’s so great to hear! I’m thrilled that you’re finding it helpful and enlightening. I thought I knew my style in and out but it actually revealed some new things to me too. Thanks for the kind words Hilary! xo

  9. As always Lee a really phenomenonal post! I’ve worked on this a lot with you these last 2 years, but lately have been so emotionally down I’ve let bad shopping triggers come back, and done a few buys, and a few buy and returns.
    Going to do a 30 day shopping fast starting today! And now I’am going to do this worksheet. Thanks so much for all your hard work, it shines through, and you’re

    1. Thanks so much Jodie! I know you are diligent about maintaining a lean closet so I’m sure it’s just a blip on the radar. I’m definitely an emotional spender too. When I feel great I shop, when I feel shitty I shop. So recognizing those triggers is absolutely key, which you have. Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the rest of the weekend lovely lady! xoxo

  10. This is incredibly inspirational! The perfect weekend project – your thoughts and ideas about the task of identifying a personal style are so true.

    Thanks again! @hmkolupailo

Comments are closed.