It's been a while I've been mulling the concept of personal style and how to explain it to people, who invariably ask me, when they find out I work in fashion.
In this era of "life-documented-on-Instagram," the consensus tilts towards personal style over trendsetters. We want to stand out, and one cannot stand out by being a copy paste, wearer of the latest trends. You need that extra dash! That personal flair. Even my nephew begs to have his bike and T-shirts reworked to carry his personal imprint.
Clothes can make one look taller, thinner, cuter or sexier, but, for us fashionistas, style is something else altogether. Its about creating an outfit that is as interesting and as creative as we are. One that cannot appear like we spent the good part of the morning, pulling together.
It's gotta seem effortless and comfortable, like we stumbled out of bed and threw it together before rushing out the door.
A quick scan through celebrated international style icons reveals that comfort played a key part in their signature style: Jane Birkin was the poster woman for flared jeans and Tees and Ines de La Fressange, for her boyish jeans, button down shirts, ballet flats and an effervescently positive attitude.
To sum it up, style is a question of attitude, with a capital A.
That's relatively easy to achieve when you are true to yourself. Know your body's weak and strong points, then adjust and modify around them, but mostly accept your body and yourself. You can never reflect the inner you, unless you are comfortable in your own skin.
How often have you stepped out of the door, and immediately wanted to turn around and go back home to change, because what you were wearing just didn't feel right?
Trial and error is the way to tackle this. Comfort is key, but that's not to be mistaken with stepping out of your comfort zone. Dress up in different ways, adopt a multitude of personalities and see which one fits. Adding a few accessories can spice up your look.
Then stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself what made me look my best? What item spoke to me? Then leave home. If you felt good, than you got it right.
Once you've settled on a style, start elaborating around it. Having a style doesn't mean starting from scratch every time. Just amplifying the style by adopting the same point over and over again. Mix it up with prints or colors for instance, but, stick to the same silhouette.
Once you master this trick you can be adventurous and adopt fashionable and trendy items by incorporating them to your personal style, to give it a modern uptake.
Below are a few tricks from someone who strives on personalizing every outfit:
Start with little touches like mixing gold and silver and all kind of metallics together.
Pick only one of these four assets: tight, short, shiny or low-cut.
I cannot say this enough: Layer! From the shortest and slimmest to the longest and oversized and vice versa. Don't limit yourself.
Get over the idea that you need to match from head-to-toe in one color. For people in fashion not matching is the whole point. Different shades and textures can form a perfect medley.
Have fun with buttons and zippers. Unbutton the bottom button, or button your shirt all the way to the top; or wear your shirt just buttoned at the top.
Wear the wrong shoes with your dress. Opt for sneakers, brogues or boots with your most feminine dress.
Confuse the seasons and wear your floral silky dress in winter. Maybe your tweeds in summer. Adopt the right items accordingly!
Be bold. Be different. Be stylish!