Finding your style 1 : using style categories

Do you feel good in your clothes ? Do they help you to feel you ? to feel confident ?

As usual my opinions on this topic kept spreading, so I’ve divided this discussion into sections. This first section is about using the style categories that stylists suggest for us.

– – –

Using style categories

Personal Style consulting is a big industry these days – in person, online, and in books. The consultant has a way of deciding what style category you come in, and then suggests appropriate clothes. The 4 styles usually included are classic, natural, romantic, dramatic. Then most stylists add other styles they think many people wear, such as boho, creative, chic, gamine, ingenue.

Ignore it when stylists say you ‘must’ or ‘must not’ wear some styles at a particular age. You probably combine several styles, and you probably find the balance of styles changes with changes in life style in different decades.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t fit cleanly into anyone’s style categories. I’ve tried the systems listed in the next post (and many others), and I don’t fit neatly into 1, 2 or even 3 of the categories suggested. I’ve never found myself liking everything suggested for a particular style. Or I like the clothes but have a very different body shape or colouring from the typical shape or colouring described for this style. In the past I’ve spent too much time trying to force myself to fit into various simple ‘types’, instead of realising that the key to decision making is how I feel about it all.

Stylists suggest options for you to try, in your clothes and in your life. They give you permission to try things you may not have done before. But these suggestions are just a starting point, you choose if you want to go further with them.

The important issue is not which category you are in, it’s how what you wear and do makes you feel : when you wear this do you feel special ? do you feel confident ? do you feel true to yourself ?

The categories are just a guide in getting to that happy position. The stylist has picked out, from the rich range of clothing possibilities, some styles which may be more likely to help you feel that way.

It doesn’t matter if your favourite garments and accessories are spread around in someone else’s categories. When you feel good about yourself, you’re too busy living your life to be bothered about what label describes you. At best the label just becomes a shorthand way of remembering your priorities, in clothes and in life. Such as : “I’m a 2/4 so I’m a double introvert so I prefer. . .”, “I’m an INFJ so have a constant tug between kindness and perfectionism.”

– – –

Starting from what you love

After years of exploring stylists’ suggestions, I know that my clothes need to be comfortable, easy to move in and care for, with soft lines, ‘modest’ body coverage, of high quality in design/fabric/fit/make, in textured light neutral fabrics. For detail I like ‘heirloom’ stitching and cargo pockets. I wear early 20c brooches, and flat shoes, and carry a basket rather than a handbag.

Which of those descriptions did you respond ‘yes please’ to ? or ‘aargh, not for me’ ? 😀 What does that tell you about your own style ?

Clothes like that ‘say’ quite a bit about me.
some Personality words : practical, value quality, private, a little quirky.
some Style words : Casual Chic with a touch of Ingenue.
I don’t look child-like or dainty, but ‘Ingenue’ is the style word nearest to some of what I do like. ‘Chic’ and ‘Ingenue’ don’t appear in many stylists’ word lists, so most stylists don’t suggest what to wear for those styles, and they miss out part of what is important to me.

”soft
A photo of favourite things, which I made years ago as a style exercise. These are embellishments, I wouldn’t wear them all at the same time 😀

It’s not surprising that stylists only mention styles that at least 10% of people wear. But that does mean that if you have some less popular elements of your style, the big style advisors aren’t the people to look to for help with finding out more about the possibilities. See the later posts for some ideas.

– – –

So choose your clothes according to how you feel when wearing them, not according to which style category they might fall into. The categories are tools, not an end in themselves.

Of course it’s good to have that ‘this is my tribe’ feeling. But it’s not good to wear clothes that we don’t feel happy with, just because they’re in a category we have identified with. There are on-line presenters who identify so strongly with one of the style systems that they treat the person who devised it as a guru who can do no wrong and must be followed to the letter. But I don’t find that extreme attitude is helpful for many of us.

Use the categories for suggestions about things to try. And don’t expect the categories to include all your preferences. Make your own decisions about what works for you.

Going through all this is definitely not a quick fix, but it can have a big pay-off.

Very Good Luck with your explorations 😀

– – –

There are 4 in this group of posts about personal style. The others are :
2. on-line style advisors.
3. exploring styles.
4. trying on clothes.

– – – – –

August 2019

= = = = =

Explore posts in the same categories: personal style

2 Comments on “Finding your style 1 : using style categories”

  1. Ceridwen Says:

    Thank you.
    This post resonates especially for whatever personality type it is that says “don’t label me/box me in/tell me what to do”!!

    • sewingplums Says:

      Yes agreed Ceridwen ! Some of the style systems do make me feel “we belong and you don’t”, or “you must be in one of these categories, there’s no other way”. I definitely try to avoid those 😀


Have you any comments or suggestions ?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: