How to Develop Great Personal Style

October 12, 2016

{This is a guest post from Anuschka Rees containing an excerpt from her new book. You can find more details at the end of this post. Check out her blog at INTO-MIND.com}

Where personal style comes from

Your style is a mix of preferences for different elements—like colors, silhouettes, textures, and patterns—that all together create a single visual narrative. Your style isn’t random and it’s also not something you were born with—it’s a reflection of your experiences and the associations you picked up over the years.

Perhaps at one point you watched a movie, fell in love with its heroine, her confidence and fearlessness, and her go-to look of shift dresses, diamonds, and killer heels. Or perhaps you went through a seventies rock music phase
a while back and now associate sequinned tunic dresses and leather jackets with a cool, free-spirited attitude. Or maybe your favorite aunt gave you a pretty turquoise dress for your fifth birthday, and you’ve loved that color ever since. You have probably forgotten why by now though. Associations like these happen subconsciously for the most part, and that’s why they are tricky to trace back. All you know is that you love all things turquoise.

All great artists have a personal style from filmmakers like Sofia Coppola or Quentin Tarantino to artists like Andy Warhol or Annie Leibovitz to fashion designers like Alexander Wang or Vivienne Westwood. Their styles run as common threads through their entire bodies of work.

Take Sofia Coppola for example. Whether her movies are about an aging movie star, a young queen in the eighteenth century, or celebrity-obsessed teenagers, they all share a sense of melancholy; dreamy, pastel settings; and close-up shots and slow camera pans.

And Annie Leibovitz has photographed hundreds of celebrities since the 1970s. But she always stayed true to her signature style of high contrast, bright lighting, and interesting, often tongue-in-cheek poses.

Sofia Coppola and Annie Leibovitz figured out what they like and they are sticking with it. And you can do the same.

That’s not to say personal style can’t evolve.

As you go through life, you collect new experiences; you read, watch movies, and discover new things. Your values may change, and so may your lifestyle. You continuously build new associations that blend in with your existing associations to create something new and different over time. One winter you may be super into chunky knit sweaters, wide-leg pants, and ankle boots; the next winter you may prefer a more slim-fitting silhouette and skirts. But once you have truly discovered what you like and what you don’t like, that deep underlying preference for a certain aesthetic is likely going to remain stable for a while, and it will be the baseline for all your future style shifts.

How to develop great personal style

Developing a personal style is like creating a sculpture.

Your favorite colors, materials, silhouettes, and other aesthetic preferences are the clay. Before you can do anything else, you first have to gather your clay: dig deep, immerse yourself in inspiration, and experiment with different colors, materials, and silhouettes to find out what you are drawn to. Then start sculpting: figure out how all your different preferences could fit together to create a single visual narrative.

Both of these steps take effort. Artists spend years defining their signature aesthetic. And the same goes for regular people who dress well. They didn’t just wake up one morning with a great sense of style; no, they spent years experimenting with different looks, sampled their fair share of now-cringe-worthy outfits, practiced, and fine-tuned.

If you already have a pretty good idea about how you like to dress, by the end of this section, you’ll have a superclear road map of your unique sense of style that you can then use to upgrade your wardrobe.

If you are a complete fashion newbie, get ready to gather your clay and discover what type of clothes make you feel your best.

My Encircled picks for creating the perfect comfort-wardrobe

The Minimalist Legging in slate grey

Sure, I want all my clothes to look good but they also have to be practical and work with my lifestyle. These leggings are my go-to pick when I know I'll be writing all day and want to be comfortable.

The Chrysalis Cardigan in stone grey

The Chrysalis cardigan is the definition of versatile and essentially eight pieces in one. Perfect for anyone who wants to keep their closet as streamlined as possible, without sacrificing style. 

The Nomadic V-Neck T-shirt in white

My advice for shopping for basics: be picky! Staples like t-shirts, jeans and simple skirts or dresses form the foundation of your outfits so it's important that they fit your style down to the last detail. I like t-shirts with a deep neckline and slightly longer sleeves, for example, so the nomadic is perfect for me.

Anuschka

About the Author, Anuschka

 

INTO MIND was founded in 2012 by Berlin-based writer, Anuschka Rees. INTO MIND is a minimalist style blog for fashion-savvy, eco-conscious young women who want to cultivate a strong personal style and curate a wardrobe that makes them feel confident and inspired every day.

 

  

Want to learn more about creating the perfect wardrobe? We're giving away two copies of Anuscka's book, "The Curated Closet"

If you'd like to purchase a copy (trust me, this is a book you want to invest in!) directly or learn more about Anuschka's book, "The Curated Closet" go here.


The Curated Closet Book Giveaway - 2 copies up for grabs!

Note: Reprinted from THE CURATED CLOSET Copyright (c) 2016 by Anuschka Rees. Photographs copyright (c) 2016 by Anna Rose Hankow. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. 





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