The Pursuit Of Personal Style Is Never-Ending — Here’s How To Find Yours

The Pursuit Of Personal Style Is Never-Ending — Here’s How To Find Yours

As one design titan once said, “fashions fade, style is eternal.”

Written by Ana Eksouzian-Cavadas

The Pursuit Of Personal Style Is Never-Ending — Here’s How To Find Yours

Think back to all the aesthetics you’ve loved and eventually left behind over the years, and you’ll realise that personal style isn’t static.

As a kid, my style was defined by, well, whatever my mum dressed me in. It was saccharine, pattern-filled, and brightly coloured. But there was always a little room for self expression — even at a young age, I was experimenting with cargo shorts, capris and clogs, a sartorial approach that took me into my teens and an aesthetic that was a little more ‘tomboy’ than what preceded it. Call it an unconscious rebellion.

As I entered my 20s and a period of greater financial freedom — coinciding with a retail job that made fashion more accessible than ever — my look was far more experimental and fast changing. I was more daring with what I wore than ever before. I was finding myself and my personal style by emulating those who I considered to be the epitome of style. Trying on different hats, figuratively and literally, if you will, and seeing which ones hit the right note.

Now, as I prepare to exit my 20s, my personal style has become far more edited into something that’s more neutral and reliable, perhaps a reaction to the overconsumption I indulged in in earlier years. But even as my confidence in my own style grows, I’m learning that I still have more work to do when it comes to clearly defining and honing it, but in a way that still gives myself the space for inevitable growth.

It's a dynamic approach approved by TikTok’s fashion favourites, Allison Bornstein and Amy Smilovic — two women who are very much confident in their own definitions of their personal style — who encourage us to look at our current style and evaluate whether or not it’s reflecting who we truly are at different stages in our lives. (More on that later).

So, what actually is our personal style, how do we find it, and how do we keep it fluid while also ensuring we still look like ourselves? Read on for our guide.

What Is Personal Style?

Simply put, personal style should be personal. It's an aesthetic reflection of who we are and what we want to communicate about ourselves through what we wear. It's actually kind of deep, as we need to know who we are and what we want to say in order to be the kind of person who wears their clothes, instead of their clothes wear them. It’s an expression of our individuality, as well as our personal tastes, rather than a straight emulation of the style of others’. It’s also the first visual cue we give to others, so ensuring that you know who you are, and how you want to present yourself to the world, is key.


How To Find Your Own Personal Style

One increasingly popular way of defining your personal style is the ‘three-word method’ made popular by stylist, Allison Bornstein. At the core of the exercise is taking stock of the clothing you already have, and translating it into three very clear, very descriptive adjectives: one that’s realistic, one that’s aspirational, and one that’s emotional. Amy Smilovic subscribes to a very similar school of thought, but rather than nominating adjectives to describe your style itself, she advises to select three personal descriptors that outline who you are, and who you want to be — and she puts it, “it’s about the why, not the what.”

Another great way to find your personal style if you haven’t yet found it, or want to tweak your own, is moodboarding and finding inspiration in others’ whose style you admire. Create a Pinterest board or Instagram edit and fill them with pieces and outfits that call to you. Find commonalities over time and allow them to build your personal style.

Finally, it’s important to listen to yourself, your wants, your needs. How do certain pieces make you feel over others? Is an item of clothing mood-altering in the best possible way? Or is it having the opposite effect?

Finding Your Uniform And Building Your Own Style Guide

Once you establish your basic style principles, the logical next step is to design your ‘uniform’. Wardrobe configurations that you can slip on as mindlessly as the ones you wore as a child. Identify a few key pieces that feel most like you, and can take you through the everyday — this might be a white tee paired with white jeans and sandals, or a tailored black blazer and matching trousers worn with a chunky loafer.

If you’re struggling with what your uniform might be, look to the aesthetic approach of your favourite brands to create your own style guide. If the words ‘curated’, ‘understated’ and ‘polished’ happened to pop up in your ‘three words’ exercise, may we suggest checking out our Wardrobe Essentials Checklist?

Know When To Evolve

Just as I have seen changes in my personal style to this point, I know that there will be points in time that will see me re-editing my personal style. Whether it’s a major life change like becoming a mother, or something a little less world-rocking like changing jobs, there will be different requirements I will have for my wardrobe. Ensure that you’re giving yourself the flexibility to adapt your look to best suit your current situations while also abiding by your basic style tenets.

We also have to give ourselves the space to embrace the trends we once shunned (Birkenstocks, anyone?) As we grow more comfortable and familiar with ourselves, we may be ready to try something style wise we once may not have given ourselves permission to explore but haven’t been able to shake. So give yourself that grace.

Keep Your Eye Out For Fresh Inspiration

Inspiration isn’t hard to come by these days. Simply open any one of your social media apps and you’ll be met with one ‘OOTD’ after the other. But rather than passively adopting trending pieces or aesthetics, or being sucked into an algorithm that is deciding your fate for you, be active in your pursuit of style inspiration. Start following individuals whose style you admire and take note of how they approach their own personal style.

But style inspiration doesn’t stop at the closure of Instagram or TikTok — take notes of style you admire in the films and TV shows you’re watching, in the colour palettes of art you love, in the trends that evolve from the zeitgeist. Just because you’re going for individualism, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few notes.

Wherever you’re looking, always stay curious — you never know when and where inspiration will strike.

My current uniform of neutral colourways and versatile silhouettes serves me well at this stage of my life, but I feel almost confident that my personal style isn’t set here. In fact, it will ebb and flow. Once-favoured silhouettes or adored accessories will enter and exit my wardrobe as the years pass — as they should, there’s nothing wrong with introducing a star piece or two into, or working them out, of your wardrobe when done thoughtfully — but what should remain constant are the staples, the metaphorical glue, the timeless items that see you through every season, every outfit, every year.

Discovering (and rediscovering) your personal style doesn’t mean starting from scratch. It means quite the opposite actually. Our wardrobes serve as a capsule of our past and present, a true snapshot of who we are, not who we wish we were, or who we may want to emulate. So listen to what it’s telling you, don’t turn your back on it — it’s algorithm-free, and the core of it is likely trend-neutral. Work with it.

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