How to develop your personal style

We’ve all been there – stuck in a style rut and clueless about what to do about it. Eventually, some of us surrender and do nothing, while others grasp at every trend, ending up with a concoction of styles and trends that just don’t work together. The worst part is that the harder you try, the more dissatisfied you become with your wardrobe.

The ideal solution would be to make an appointment with an image consultant, who will take all the guesswork out of the process for you.

If this is not in your means at present, surrender/grasp no longer! I have a simple but systematic plan that will help you to develop your personal style at your own pace, over time.

Step 1 – define your ideal style

Your personal style should not be determined by the latest fashion. Your personal style is an expression of who you are. Someone should be able to tell something about your personality, just by looking at you. 

What we wear has a voice of its own.

Dearly Bethany (YouTube)

Take some time to think about how others perceive you. What is the first thing a stranger would think if they were to see you across the room for the first time? Would they think “she looks soft and elegant” or “she looks determined and ambitious” or perhaps “she looks relaxed and comfortable” or “she looks creative and expressive?”

Or would they think “too much beige” or “she’s a hot mess” or “she definitely doesn’t have her act together” or “did she shop from her grandma’s closet?”

The most attractive look is always the most authentic one – authenticity is universally attractive.

Molly Bingaman

Write down 3-6 words that describe what you would like to tell the world out there about yourself. How do you want to be perceived by others? These words may include but are not limited to professional, comfortable, cosy, relatable, elegant, romantic, dramatic, determined, feminine, strong, ambitious, powerful, classical, creative, or athletic.

Step 2 – explore your style

Now that you know how you want to be perceived, it’s time to do some research. Hop over to Google or Pinterest and look for outfits in the style that you are aiming for.

  • Look for women with more or less the same body shape as you, in that style. Remember to emphasise the parts of your body that you like the most.
  • Look for ways in which you can adapt that particular style to fit into your lifestyle and daily activities. Ask yourself “would I actually wear this during a normal week of my life?”

You can save the images on your device or create a board on Pinterest to keep all of your ideas together. Pay close attention to WHAT it is about the outfit that you feel drawn to – is it the silhouette it creates, the texture, the colour, the combinations, etc. Consider whether you prefer plain fabrics or prints, bright or muted colours, minimalist or not, large or small scale, etc.

Gain inspiration and consider how you would adapt the look to suit you best. Perhaps the style is right, but the colour is wrong. Perhaps you would style the look with flat shoes rather than heels. Perhaps you like certain elements of one style type, combined with elements of another. Think about how it would work for you.


Step 3 – test your style

Now that you know more or less what you’re aiming for, it’s time to try it out. Start by going through your closet to see what you have that works already. Look for ways to tweak what you have, perhaps by having a few alterations done or by changing the way you combine the items in your wardrobe.

Spend a morning at the mall and try on as many as possible items in that particular style. See what works and what doesn’t. If possible, take a trustworthy friend along or take pictures that you can send that friend so that you get an honest opinion.

Step 4 – start transitioning

Now that you know what you are aiming for, as well as what works and what doesn’t, start transitioning to your ideal look gradually by incorporating what you already have with some new items. This step is also the time to skim your wardrobe of the items that no longer fit into your personal style.  

Make a list of the basic items that you still need to add to your wardrobe.  When buying something, ask yourself whether it goes with at least three other items in your wardrobe. If it doesn’t, rather don’t buy it and look for something more versatile.

Invest in a few accessories in your desired style. These may include scarves, jewellery, shoes, bags, belts, etc. A few carefully curated accessories can expand your wardrobe exponentially!

Step 5 – enjoy the journey

There is no such thing as a perfect wardrobe. Remember that each of us has our own unique style journey and that it’s something dynamic that changes as we evolve through the various stages of life. It’s important to enjoy the process, experiment and have fun!