Finding your style 3 : exploring styles

Do you feel ‘right’ in your clothes ? Do they help you to feel you ? to feel confident ?

How do you go about exploring which style is best for you ?
This may not be a quick and simple process.

Always attend to your inner voice. There are clothes you react to with love, clothes you react to with horror. But for many of us there’s a large range of possibilities where the effect is less clear-cut, so you have to ‘listen’ more carefully to whether you smile or cringe. Many advisors suggest you only buy clothes which score at least 8/10.

Sometimes when you ‘have nothing to wear’, are in a hurry, and don’t have easy access to good stores, this is not possible. But surely you don’t need to go lower than 5/10 ! This is a situation where it’s good to have done some wardrobe planning for your lifestyle. So you’re unlikely to be caught out by rare unexpected events, and have something wearable waiting in your closet for when they do occur.

– – –

Explorations

In my experience, finding the clothes that are best for you is not a quick process. It needs some effort, but there are many things you can try.
At each step – notice how you feel about the clothes – do you want to wear them ? do they make you feel good ?

There are many possible ‘exercises’, for both clothes and accessories. Start with the activities you think you will enjoy :

– start with one of the free or cheap systems for choosing your style category and work through the exercises (see previous post for some links).

– go through fashion magazines and catalogues and pick out pictures of clothes and accessories you feel good about.

– look at the designer collections during Fashion Weeks (vogue.com) (hmm, there are 100s of designers, that could be rather a big commitment). Different designers attract different types of customer, and most don’t design ‘everyday’ clothes, so don’t expect to like them all. Are there any that really appeal ? What are the elements of their designs that you respond to ?

Butterick, Kwik Sew, McCall’s, and Vogue pattern lines all belong to the same company and aim to appeal to different customers. Do you like one of them more than the others ? Or do you prefer Burda which has more ‘European’ style ? The Burda pdf patterns site is much easier to use.
Maybe you’re like me and pick out a few from each site.

– find an on-line store which has a good selection of indie patterns, such as :
US : Pattern Review,
UK : Dragonfly Fabrics, Minerva Crafts (scroll down left menu), Sewbox.
– and find companies which have good options for you.
There are 100s of indie pattern companies, they come and go daily, but it can be good to find ones you like.

– enter a style word at pinterest and make boards of items and outfits you like the look of.

– do a wardrobe sort and remove all clothes you don’t feel good about. They do rather attract your attention when you look in your closet, which is not a happy effect ! If the clothes were expensive and you feel guilty, at least put them somewhere where you don’t have to keep looking at them.

– remember outfits you have worn which made you feel good, right back to childhood. (The first outfit I was awed by was my 12-year-old’s velvet dress with lace on the collar. As I was wearing blue jeans and fleece when I did this memories exercise, that was a good and surprising ‘message’ for me.)

– if you live somewhere where this is possible, go on ‘playshops’ – leave money/cards behind and go to a mall or big department store where there are many different styles and just try on clothes and notice how you feel about them.

– – –

I love clothes, so I can pick out many pictures of clothes which are not actually right for me to wear myself. And I’m a pattern nerd – with a similar effect ! So checking in with ‘would I be happy if I was wearing this ?’ feelings is important.

Make your explorations into fun sessions. Allow yourself to notice when your heart leaps, to celebrate or laugh about the styles you find. After all, none of this is real yet 😀

I have a good visual imagination, so I can imagine myself in a garment, both at home and out and about. The results have often surprised me.

But imagination is not essential. The next step is – moving all this into the real world by actually trying on some clothes.
Ideas on doing that in the next post.

Good Luck with going through this 😀

There are 4 in this group of posts about personal style. The others are :
1. using style categories.
2. on-line style advisors.
4. trying on clothes.

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Links available August 2019

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Explore posts in the same categories: personal style

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