How to Cultivate Your Personal Style in 4 Simple Steps

By Tess DiNapoli


Developing your own personal style doesn't just happen overnight.

While you can definitely seek out fashion inspiration or hire a professional stylist, there's something to be said about cultivating a curated and cohesive capsule wardrobe consisting of essentials that define your unique perspective on style and design. What styles do you love, and which ones aren't your cup of tea? We all have preferences, and great personal style means letting them shine through with chic and strategically selected pieces. And, since your wardrobe is meant to reflect your unique personality, chances are that your essentials won't be the same as someone else's.

Creating your personal style may be a process that takes weeks or even months. Beyond imagining your perfect wardrobe, you'll also have to browse around and do some shopping to make it a reality. But that doesn't mean it has to be hard. There are a few key steps you can take to make the process easier, so keep scrolling to discover our top tips—and remember that this is your personal style we're talking about, so take or leave advice as it pertains to you.


1. Identify Your Style Icons

Think about the people whose style you can't get enough of. Maybe they're royalty or celebrities, or they could be some anonymous urban flaneuse you saw getting out of the subway looking unbelievably chic. While you don't need to copy everything your style icon does, it can be helpful to think about how they put things together and consider how their cohesive personal style works perfectly for them.

You may also find that their style encompasses more than just fashion. They might give off a certain attitude or style their hair in a unique way that inspires you. Instead of simply mimicking them, try thinking about how you can blend your style and clothing with your personal aesthetic.


Also read about: 12 Instagram Influencers to Follow for Fashion Inspo


2. Recognize What Resonates With You

Now that you've identified a couple of style icons, think about what resonates with you on a personal level. Have you always had a love for loose, fluid bohemian silhouettes? How about structured, tailored blazers and outerwear that err toward the androgynous? Think about the commonalities shared by your favorite designers, articles of clothing and accessories, and take note.

Unsplash: Woman in fashionable yellow jumpsuit with white boots

(via Dom Hill/Unsplash)

Next, take a look at your own closet and start picking out pieces that also fit the bill. You'd be surprised by the entirely new outfits you can build just by shopping your own wardrobe! From there, you can determine what essentials are missing—and start planning your next purchases.

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Also read about: An Expert Shares the Best Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Closet


3. Look for What Stands Out

Identifying iconic, standout pieces is how personal style truly evolves. Of all the clothes and accessories you consider essentials, is there something that doesn't quite make sense with the rest? But is it compelling nonetheless? You may be on to something. Make this item the centerpiece of a new outfit or incorporate it creatively into a showstopping ensemble.

Unsplash: Fashionable woman in white top and pants with big coat and heels

(via Vladimir Yelizarov/Unsplash)

Work to style this outlier in a totally innovative and unusual way. If you're stumped, try searching for it on style blogs and social media pages to see how other fashionistas are wearing it.

"Always be on the look-out for those outliers; the impulse buys featuring bold, new colors or silhouettes. Then, trust your intuition and see where those aspirational pieces take you stylistically."

-Dana Finegold, CEO and co-founder of Tart Collections


Also read about: These 11 Pieces Defined Fashion in 2022


4. Consider the Whole Look

While your personal style can be encapsulated by your go-to "it" item, such as a favorite coat that goes with everything, or the distinctive knits you wear for most of the week, you can always take your fashion further. Be on the lookout for those perfect handbags, jewelry pieces and accessories that speak to your overall ethos, and consider your entire look from head to toe.

And there's one last thing that the biggest style icons always accessorize with: a healthy dose of confidence. Wearing an outfit you love doesn't just make you look good—it makes you feel good, too—so rock that confidence, and wear your personal style with pride.

Unsplash: fashionable black woman in sunglasses in front of cabin

(via Nsey Benajah/Unsplash)


Working to build out your own capsule wardrobe? Click HERE for 15 must-haves for your collection.