Style Bee - How I Maintain My Sense of Style

HOW I MAINTAIN MY PERSONAL STYLE

06.14.19

At the start of a new season (looking at you summer) I often find myself getting a bit antsy and unsettled with my style. It’s easy to get swept up in all the new collections and trends flooding our feeds but the truth is that it requires a considerable amount of restraint to maintain a personal style that’s consistent, unique and well defined. Luckily, if that’s something you’d like to achieve, there are ways to make it happen!

I always try to remember that whenever I add pieces on a whim they usually end up clouding my sense of personal style. It’s the intentional additions that I acquire slowly and thoughtfully each season that really help to steer my style and support my goal for closet contentment. So whether it’s a personal purchase or a brand partnership, I do my best to keep the big picture in mind over short term gratification.

For today’s post I’m sharing some thoughts on how I maintain my style and a few of the simple tools I use to do so. Let’s take a look!


Style Bee - How I Maintain My Sense of Style

1 | REMEMBER MY PERSONAL STYLE DEFINITION


I’ve come to realize that my personal style definition acts just like any other intention I might set for myself. Similar to the words I start the day with, a personal style definition serves as a guiding thought through which I bring clothing and other elements into my life. Whenever I’m considering a new addition I think about the words I’ve chosen to represent my style and ask myself whether or not the item fits. Usually, if it’s not 100% yes, then it’s a pass.

My style definition is not set in stone and while it may change and evolve slightly over time, it generally remains quite consistent. For me, each word holds more than just it’s literal meaning and right now the words I’m using as a style intention are:

CLEAN | CONSIDERED | VERSATILE

Clean: This word evokes the concept of minimalist design, simplicity and no unnecessary extras. It alludes to timelessness, refinement and simplicity.

Considered: To me this word represents a wide variety of sentiments like thoughtful production and material choices, careful tailoring, uniqueness and attention to detail.

Versatile: This one I use fairly literally, meaning, able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities, which is just how I like my style and clothing to be.

I find that using words like these to guide my wardrobe choices really helps to maintain my sense of style and eliminates a lot of potential missteps.


Define Your Personal Style In Just 5 Simple Steps


Style Bee - How I Maintain My Sense of Style

2 | REFER TO MY STYLE MUSES


I will often refer to the women whose styles I’ve admired for a long time and look for themes in how they maintain consistency. This might be through colour palettes, silhouettes, staple pieces, signature materials and even go-to patterns.

Personally, I find myself drawn to individuals who wear pieces that fit really well, have thoughtful details, calming tones, classic patterns and a generally timeless aesthetic. They don’t need to have the same style as mine or even wear a lot of the same items I’m drawn to. In fact, I’m often drawn to a more exaggerated execution of what I might wear. I pull inspiration from seeing how they repeat pieces and choose styles that work well within their closet and apply those concepts to my own.

It’s also fun to shop vicariously through my style muses. Seeing how they choose certain trends and style pieces I might never consider always gives me new inspiration.

At the moment a few of my style muses are:

Sarah Crampton – One of the OG minimalist bloggers, known best by her blog name, Harper & Harley, manages to always make neutrals feel fresh and inviting.

Sylvie Mus – A stylist by trade and nothing short of a genius when it comes to menswear inspired pieces and proportions.

Mirjam Flatau – Mirjam has an incredible eye for shapes, colour and detail. I’ve so enjoyed following along as her style and creative work evolve but always maintain a top tier level of editorial excellence.



3 | STAY IN MY STYLE LANE


One thing I’ve found to be consistent across all my style muses, is that they remain steadfast in their own taste and visual expression. I think this is a critical part of maintaining a clear sense of your own style.

The community element of Instagram is awesome and has led to some incredible connections for many, yet at the same time, it can occasionally seem like everyone is wearing the same things and adopting a similar style. Sometimes this is just the result of certain trends, sometimes it’s the timing of marketing campaigns and sometimes it’s who you’re following. Usually, it’s a combination of all three.

When I start to feel like my feed is getting overrun new product or a lot of the same styles, I typically do two things. The first is take some time away from IG. It’s amazing what a week or two away from the app can do to ground your sense of self and renew your perspective. I always find my desire to shop decreases, my sense of style settles and my closet contentment creeps back into a healthy zone.

The second is to unfollow the accounts that are distracting my sense of style or feeling monotonous and seek out creatives outside of my usual IG communities. These might be a floral designer, interior stylist, beauty guru, artist or a new brand that’s showing their collection in a unique way. I usually visit the explore page for some ideas, which almost always leads me to some incredible creators.

It’s no surprise that the less my feed is filled with new clothes, the less I think about them! Which brings me to my final approach to maintaining my style.


Style Bee - How I Maintain My Sense of Style

4 | REVISIT MY FAVOURITES & WEAR THEM A LOT


Perhaps the most straight forward approach is simply to shop less and where what you have and love! Using this outfit as an example, I’ll walk through the items and explain how each element fits within my personal style longterm.

I’ve had this linen blazer for the better part of a decade now and it was a style defining investment for sure. It spurred on my love for menswear inspired looks, gave me an appreciation for thoughtful tailoring and has been a staple in my closet ever since. I’d consider oversize blazers to be a key element in my closet that I’ll enjoy wearing for decades to come.

I’d been considering a pair of wide leg pants in a rich neutral tone like these ochre raw silk pants for several seasons before this pair made their way into my closet. They were part of a collaboration with the brand but I didn’t add them simply for the sake of the partnership, I knew they’d be something I wanted to wear for years to follow and would fit well within the ‘considered’ and ‘versatile’ elements of my style definition.

Even though these suede flats might not seem like a timeless piece, I felt that they were just trendy enough to be stylish but simple enough to be wearable for several years. I’ve had them since the spring of 2017 and still find that they work really well within my closet.

I committed to wearing gold jewellery exclusively a few years ago and haven’t looked back. This way all my jewellery works together and by choosing thoughtfully designed styles like small pendants, signet rings, simple studs and other versatile classics I know I’ll be able to wear them longterm. I will add in the occasional tortoise statement piece like my Kate Hoops to keep things interesting too.

Since I keep my outfits fairly minimal, I like to have fun with bags and accessories. I love to find styles that are both practical and add some interest to a look. This wooden beaded tote is a great example of a clean design, versatile colour with a unique texture that makes it special.

Great basics like a fitted white tee are the foundation of my wardrobe and style. I’ve found these pieces are in constant rotation, no matter the season, and when I find an option that works for me I stock up! You can never go wrong with a fresh white tee as the start of an outfit.



OUTFIT SOURCES

BLAZER | old CLUB MONACO but a new version is available. | Similar here, here and here for less.

SCOOP NECK TEE | EVERLANE | $30 USD | TTS | Made in Lima, Peru – See the factory

WIDE LEG PANT | JAMIE & THE JONES | $245 USD | Relaxed TTS | Made in Nashville, TN | Similar here and here for less.

LUMEN NECKLACE | WOLF CIRCUS // BEADED BAG | ABACA // TORTOISE EARRINGS | MACHETE // SUEDE SHOES | old L’INTERVALLE | Similar here and here.



So those are a few different ways I maintain my personal style!

I think it all comes down to a combination of remaining in touch with myself, avoiding distractions/temptation and choosing thoughtfully.

WHAT HELPS YOU MAINTAIN YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

I’d love to know!


This post contains affiliate links. When you shop via the links above I may make commission on a sale at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Style Bee! All opinions are always my own.

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Larry says:

    Very nice post! Your style and fashion really inspire me. Say have you ever heard of Eri Silk? Has all the properties a fashion blogger would want to feel. If you’re interested, kindly visit our website https://www.muezart.com/ to learn more.

  2. Nancy-jean says:

    Hello Lee! Great Post. I too wear my pieces over and over with the odd twist here and there. May I just say that You are one of my style muses? I love how you mix natural colors with basic neutrals, as well as your overall clean aesthetic. Although my style is a bit more casual than yours, I look at how you put looks together and I get ideas for my more polished/dressy looks. Love your blog…keep up the great work!!

  3. Laurie L says:

    Hi Lee
    I started following your blog as an incentive towards curbing my shopping habit and developing a more minimal, mindful closet. I really understand your ideas about drawing inspiration from muses who might not have the same fashion aesthetic but share certain principals. I also find that your Style Bee methods have carried on to other parts of my life…..like my garden, this year I am putting in less plants but tending them with greater care. I look forward to reading each and every one of you posts!
    Best, Laurie

    • That is so kind of you Laurie, thank you! I’m so happy to hear that my approach has been helpful for you and I love that a less is more approach is filtering into other parts of life too! I find the same thing for sure. Really appreciate your great feedback and readership! xo

  4. Patricia Kay says:

    PS!
    I did all 5 Steps!
    Elegant.Unique. Clean. Classic.
    Free-movement.
    SO grateful! This post is so helpful!
    🌹

    • Ah, wonderful! So glad you tried the exercise 🙂 That definition sounds like a great balance of joy and sophistication. Thanks for your always encouraging and uplifting sentiments Patricia! xo

  5. Patricia Kay says:

    Perfect timing! There is often that whisper that wants to influence me to “do” what others suggest I add to my closet…. & from experience, it “sits” unused.
    I have always wondered what the underlying “method” you use to keep your style radiating the same beauty no matter the color, texture, shape. It is your commitment to your descriptions.
    I have not taken that on even though your worksheets express the vital role they play!
    Today I hear you! Thank you!
    My words may end up similar to yours. I love your style!
    Grateful for this post explicitly demonstrating what you teach in your worksheets & follow.
    Now I “get” why pieces are never worn. Time to edit & share with others, the pieces they might love & wear!
    Lee, keep on keepin’ On reminding!
    Have a great week.🌹❤️🌹

  6. Cathy says:

    Love this post. Your usual thorough thoughtful approach wins the day. Every. time.

  7. martine says:

    Eventhough I find it difficult to give words to my style and I often feel as if I don’t have some personal style at all, the one thing I do is just buy as less as possible.
    And only buy quality pieces and that are made with love.
    I love wearing them but because I have got ride of everything I didn’t love and wore, there is big hole in my wardrobe which I can only fill up up very slowly because of my small budget.
    Then there is also the problem that I see a lot of things (that I love) on instagram, often by US influencers, which are not available on the European market let alone the Dutch market 😉
    So every now and then I order something in the US knowing that I have to pay all the taxes and duties which is also a lot.
    But by doing so, buying less and only buying what I really LOVE, I feel I maintain and develop my personal style.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic Martine! I know what you mean about duties & customs for sure. I honestly think it’s worth the added costs when you find the perfect piece that you’ll wear for a long time. Too many times I’ve settled for something not quite right and then it doesn’t serve the purpose I needed it to. I think your approach to shopping super selectively is the way to go for sure! Thanks for reading! xo

  8. Kimberly says:

    Terrific post, as always very thoughtful and thorough! About two years ago I followed your ‘closet mission’ ‘guide and streamlined my wardrobe. I limited myself to buying one quality item per season. Although, I found it tough to discipline myself I stuck with it. Overtime my wardrobe is coming together and I’m putting my outfits together with more ease. Thanks so much for your guides and inspiration!

    • That’s so wonderful Kimberly! I’m so glad those tools were useful for you. Good for you for sticking to your guns and only adding one item a season, that takes some serious willpower! Thanks for trusting my methods 🙂 xo

  9. Alejandra says:

    Great post, Lee!
    Earlier this season, Andrea from Seasons&Salt also wrote a post about personal style, and made me think about, like her, my style changes a bit from season to season, being more relaxed and colourful now in Summer.
    However I find it difficult to put my style into words, have to give your worksheet a chance for that!
    Have a great summer, Lee!

    • Thanks so much for reading Alejandra! Andrea had some great notes in that post and I agree that most people’s style changes with the seasons. While the words I use might stay the same I find I’m drawn to more feminine shapes, soft colours and florals in the summer for sure.

      If you test out the Define Your Style worksheet I’d love to know how it goes and what words you come up with at the end! It’s really just a fun exercise that gets you thinking a bit differently. xo

  10. Nipa says:

    Hi Lee,
    I love how you’ve actually written down your style. It’s such a good way to not to get distracted by trends. Your post is so timely for me, as I’ve been wrestling with with the transparent bag trend which has flooded my social media feeds for the past year. On one hand it’s just so cute. On the other hand, it’s so… well… plastic! I thought I’d decide by asking my IG friends but now I’m thinking that maybe I need to step away from that discussion and see what my gut tells me! Thanks for the inspiration! Xo Nipa

    • Thanks for checking this post out Nipa! I definitely know what you mean about being torn on certain trends. A good option could be to look for a bag in that style on ETSY or Depop so it’s secondhand. With certain trends like that one I try to imagine if I’ll want to wear it a year from now and even 5 years from now and the answer often helps me decide what to do. xo

  11. Hello, I really enjoyed your post about personal style. In my 70’s with a supportive wardrobe, dressing is about following a consistent color palette and design line. Thrift shop/vintage, humor and beauty brings it to a whole! Blogging weekly @fancified.ca with Handsome is the cherry on top! @fancified.ca

  12. I actually have a Pages document on my phone in which I have listed my personal style words, some inspiration collages (almost nine of which are directly related to clothing), and a color palette. I do revise it as I lean in to my personal style and continue to evolve, but I find it’s been very helpful when I feel myself becoming too much of an “influencee”. I actually started the document when I very first used your tools for finding defining personal style, and it’s evolved from that point! I have way too many defining words, but it works for me!

    • Thanks for sharing your techniques Nicole! A one-stop source for all your personal style notes is a great idea. So glad you’ve found a method that works for you 🙂 xo

  13. Jennifer Y. says:

    Great post Lee; a few years ago I had to seriously re-evaluate my wardrobe, I was that person standing in my closet with “nothing to wear”, or rather clothes I didn’t want to wear for one reason or another. I am pretty sure I printed off your Find My Style list and wrote down what makes me feel comfortable, etc.! I purged, sold clothes, donated, gave away anything that I didn’t wear, like, fit properly. I started making a seasonal mood board (in PowerPoint!) and I have to say, it’s been incredibly helpful in reducing shopping. Focusing more on what makes me happy, and quality pieces has been a lot of fun, and the best part is I feel better about myself.

    Cheers,
    Jennifer
    P.S. I have you to thank for introducing me to St. Agni – I bought the Bunto loafers two months ago and cannot stop wearing them. #win

    • That’s so awesome Jennifer! Sounds like you’re really onto something. Yay! I’m wearing my Paris mules right now lol. Considering a pair of the Buntos next year 🙂 xo

  14. I try to use a lot of the same tactics. I am drawn to trends but I find that they pass, as does my interest in them.