8 Stellar Ways to Create Your Own Unique, Personal Style
Style is a one-of-a-kind identity we create for ourselves, differentiating us from one another.
Each morning, we have two profound choices to make with the simple act of getting dressed: who we want to be and how we want the world to perceive who we are. When I really started thinking about it, personal style is an algorithm of DNA that we get to select ourselves–pretty powerful, right? We have the ability to shape how we look, so decoding our own personal style and feeling confident in our choices should be easy, right?
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Wrong. So wrong. Especially in a social media age where we are influenced by our surroundings via Instagram, Snapchat, media outlets, bloggers, websites, magazines, celebrities … you get the picture. With brands and influencers forcing marketing in our face 24/7, it's easy to lose sight of our own personal identity and give in to brands and people who are telling us what is cool and who we should be.
So, how do you reclaim our own style POV? It all starts with confidence, which is easier said than done. I know, because I finally took ownership of my style about a year ago. As a fashion producer and journalist, I am on the front lines of fashion week taking notes on trends, silhouettes and colors that I repeatedly notice. It's said that three makes a trend, so once I find three reputable designers showing off-the-shoulder tops for summer, it instantly becomes a "must-have," and just like that, a trend is born. A trend that transcends from runways to the web then makes its way on influencers, to stores and ultimately, into your closet.
But–do you actually like that item of clothing? Or did you purchase it because you want to be on trend and fit in? This thought brings me back to that famous Devil Wears Prada quote: "You're wearing a sweater that was selected for you from the people in this room, from a pile of … stuff."
That statement, while funny, couldn't be more true. So how do you get confident enough to define your own personal style? You don't have to abandon following trends, but you do need to learn about who you are.
1. Find Your Favorite Body Part(s)
Confidence comes from feeling good about yourself. One of the easiest ways to get feel empowered every time you get dressed is to identify the body part(s) you are most proud of and accentuate those. For me, I like my legs, so I frequently wear dresses and skirts. But, I'm not a huge fan of my arms, so I tend to avoid things that are sleeveless, because I know that the second I walk out of the house I will regret my decision. This leads me to the next point.
(Photo Credit: Elaine Torres via AllisonMcNamara.com)
2. Never Leave Your Room Unsure of Your Outfit
If you are unsure about something in the comfort of your own room, then chances are, you're going to feel 1000 times more unsure when you get to school or the mall. I've been guilty of this so many times because I love fashion and experimenting. However, there is a big difference between trying something new that you like and something that you don't feel your best in, or are only trying to wear because your friends are wearing that look. Chances are, if you're having doubts, swap it out for something you feel great wearing.
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3. Play Every Character
Who are you? This sounds a little extreme, but the following allowed me to identify my own fashion point of view. A year ago, I made a list of all of the people I admire, ranging from tomboy Cara Delevingne to overly feminine style icon Olivia Palermo, to the ultra quirky, vintage style blogger Chiara Ferragni, and I started trying out different identities. I learned quickly that I feel confident somewhere in the middle. I can't do overly girly outfits, but also don't feel confident in boys clothes. And along the way, I found that I really enjoy using accessories as my own signature, especially in the form of vintage bags, unique shoes, and printed scarves. The only person keeping you from being perceived a certain way is yourself, so if you want to be the edgy girl who always wears black, or the indie gal with thick frames and glasses, try it. And through that process of trial and error, you will find what feels natural and make it your own.
4. Find a Go-to Uniform
Hear me out. Super successful people, like former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, revealed that he had a daily uniform. This might sound odd, but having a look that he liked and felt comfortable in relieved him from the daily struggle of putting together an outfit, allowing him to focus all creative energy on the huge decisions he had to make at work. But that doesn't mean you need to sport a black turtleneck and jeans every day like Steve Jobs. So then, how does this apply to you? When you find an outfit that you love, remember it. That way, when you're in a style rut, you always have a look that you love to fall back on. Mine is a button-down top, skinny jeans, a blazer if it's cold and slip-on loafers.
(Courtesy Elaine Torres via AllisonMcNamara.com)
5. Pick a Decade
I've found that selecting a decade you admire and sticking with it is important for closet cohesiveness. It helps create a seamless wardrobe of silhouettes, styles and patterns that you love and that go together. My two favorite decades are the '60s and the '90s. I typically favor '60s silhouettes, like A-line skirts and peter pan collars, for most of my everyday wear, and then weave in the '90s with accessories, like a great choker or a plaid overcoat. I also love to look at style icons from those respective decades and take style cues from them too–Jane Birkin is one of my all time faves.
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6. Give Yourself Extra Time
One of my least favorite ways to get dressed is in a hurry. That's when the bad decisions happen and we end up with an outfit in No. 2. To avoid doing the mad dash, try giving yourself 10 extra minutes in the morning before school. This will give you time to get creative with your look. It could be as simple as a new hairstyle or something bold, like mixing prints.
7. Trust Your Instincts
No one knows you better than you. Sure, your friends might not like something you picked out, but that doesn't mean you won't style it like a total pro. Learn to trust your gut. If you like something, wear it. After all, fashion is all about having fun. And you never know–in a few weeks your friends just might be following your lead.
(Photo Credit: Elaine Torres via AllisonMcNamara.com)
8. Create a Mood Board
Whether I'm giving my room a makeover or planning outfits for Fashion Week, I create private Pinterest boards for just about everything in my life. I love taking inspiration from others and giving it my own twist.
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Now that you know how to define your own personal style, HERE are nine other ways to feel confident everyday.