Discovering Your Personal Style
By Emilia Muga
Finding your personal style can be challenging and intimidating, especially since we live in a world that values normality. That being said, I think many of us think personal style is synonymous with dressing trendy when, in reality, these are two very different things.
Personal style is used to distinguish oneself from others - by others I’m referring to people who blindly follow the trends. That is not to say that following trends makes a person any less fashionable. In fact, many people find comfort in wearing the latest trends because of its ease and convenience.
However, I’ve always valued having a defined personal style since it is a way to express myself directly and stand out from the crowd. Here’s my advice for anyone interested in discovering their personal style:
1. There’s No Shame In Copying
Most of us have a fashion icon we look up to; some of us might have several. With Instagram and access to the Internet, it is easier than ever to purchase pieces your favorite fashion bloggers and icons are wearing in their photos. Keep in mind that all of your fashion icons have their own fashion icons too, so don’t feel ashamed to use their style as inspiration for your own.
2. Look Beyond Mainstream Stores And Brands
Popular stores like Urban Outfitters, American Eagle and Forever 21 are focused on producing clothes that are current and trendy; however, personal style is something that evolves and can last a lifetime. Therefore, it’s a good idea to balance shopping at mainstream stores with purchasing investment pieces more attuned to your style from stores that focus solely on an individual aesthetic.
3. Shop In Non Mainstream Places
Take advantage of local flea and artist markets as well small boutiques. There you’ll find a plethora of accessories and clothing that aren’t sold anywhere else. If you’re anything like me--someone who can’t stand wearing the same thing as everyone else--an unusual place is your paradise.
4. Buy Because You Love It
Ask yourself, “Do I really love this or am I just buying it because everyone else has it?” As a teenager, I went through a Vineyard Vines phase, a Victoria’s Secret PINK phase, a Longchamp phase, and a Hollister phase, among others - not because I identified with those styles, but because I let society dictate my choices. Looking back, I have realized half the clothes I was wearing did not even look right on me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed the courage to dodge society’s pressures and buy clothes that look good on me and invest in pieces rather than waste money on trendy, throwaway pieces.
5. What’s Your Fashion Strength?
If people are frequently complimenting you on your fun eye makeup, accessory game, or statement pieces, it is because you’re good at it. Take advantage of these strengths and use them as a defining characteristic of your personal style.
6. Be Brave!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with styles you’ve never tried before. It can be hard stepping outside of your comfort zone, but you might find that these styles really work for you! If that’s something that intimidates you, you can start by doing something non-committal, like trying something on that you normally wouldn’t wear. Perhaps you won’t like it, but perhaps you will...and then maybe you can graduate to a new jewelry style or a new haircut!