Get thee behind me.
For thou art evil, Style Funk.
Ladies (and gentlemen), it is Friday. Can we have an amen? And perhaps some choirs of angels chorusing, “Alleluia!” most emphatically? It’s been such a long week, wherein work has been more insane than usual, and home life completely off the cray chart. One of those weeks that I’d ever so happily forget even existed, given the option. Have you ever had one of those? Or should I ask, have you had one of those lately?
Anyway, I digress. Today, we conclude our chat on being caught in a style rut, and how to dig ourselves out of that particular conundrum. The original post discussed being uninspired (which happens to the best of us) whilst its follow-up dissected the various steps leading to style enlightenment (deep, I know).
Today, as promised, we expand upon our action plan to determine what it is that we love sartorially. Remember our five steps?
- Start by drawing up a list of your own personal style words.
- Identify your own “don’t buy” word or words.
- Collect photos you love, then dissect what it is you love about them.
- Then hop onto Pinterest, create moodboards, clip magazines.
- Finally, pick your favourite-est colours.
Style words. In defining what we love, and creating a vision of personal style, vocabulary is critical. If we can find the words to describe what we love, we can communicate that to others, and we can remind ourselves of our goals as our personalities, lives, circumstances, evolve. For this, I highly encourage you to not use design terms to define your style, such as, “eclectic” or “preppy” or “minimalist.” Instead, use regular adjectives. Or descriptive words which appeal to you on (1) how you want to feel (2) how you want to look (3) the image you want to convey. Words such as “playful“, “vibrant“, “unexpected“, “timeless“, “adventurous“, “imperfect“, “free“, “artsy“, “glamorous“, “wild“, “welcoming“. Then narrow it down to 5 or so.
My personal style words are, “adventurous“, “unexpected“, “fun“, “interesting“, “wild” and “unpretentious“. But I also have a list of “Don’t Buy” words. This list is equally, if not even more, important because it’ll be your best friend as you shop, helping you determine what will have “staying power” in your wardrobe. An example?? My primary “Don’t Buy” style word happens to be, “cute.” Arrggghh. I don’t do cute. Or “girly” or “pretty“.
NOW, DON'T BE SWAYED BY MY DON'T BUY WORD
“Cute” (or “girly” and/or “pretty“) may very well be on your list of style words, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s all about what you love, not what everyone else tells you to love. If you’re unsure what your “Don’t Buy” words are, start by picking a word which often leads to loads of dangerous and accidental purchases. Or a word which best describes clothes you tend to buy and wind up regretting. That word will prove to be the biggest help to you when you next shop.
Does all the visual inspiration out there really help you in putting together outfits? Or is it just confusing? Believe it or not, all of that eye-candy can help us discover what it is we truly love. But only if we look at all of our photos collectively, with the aim of finding common denominators.
Start by gathering all your favourite images (online and print). Decide on one style to focus on (you can, of course, repeat this process with various styles), say dresses, and narrow down your images to just dresses. Next, further trim it down to images of dresses you love. If this part is super hard, that is okay. Even going with your “best guess of what you think you love” will be good enough. Take a serious look at all of the images that just made the cut. Remember, the aim is that you are looking for commonalities and generalities. And ask yourself questions of commonality, such as:-
- What do all of these dresses have in common?
- What colours and/or colour moods do all of these dresses have in common?
- What do the patterns/fabrics present in these dresses have in common?
- What textures and/or finishes/trims appear in several of these dresses?
- What adjectives could I use to describe most of these dresses?
- Do I notice anything else that appears in most of these dresses?
Once you have answered these questions, take note of what you discover about your common loves. Literally, take notes. Write down all of the recurring themes and patterns, no matter how big or small. Then, after making these observations, reflect on them for a while, and see if you can narrow down your thoughts to specific observations and concepts. Then, confidently “own” these concepts!! If you discovered a touch of Fuchsia in every single picture, well then, perhaps it’s to admit that you love a touch of Fuchsia. Own it. It is YOUR love, afterall.
So, the next time you talk yourself out of getting that divine Fuchsia dress (you know, the one that makes your heart sing), because it’s much more practical to buy the black one, to hell with it, go with what you finally know you love.
PICKING YOUR FAVOURITEST COLOURS
First, can you list your favorite colours? If not, I humbly recommend you grab a box of 64 or more crayons (there are 120 of them, I kid you not). Check the official palette here or, for computer friendly colour codes, click here, and get in touch with your inner kidult. Trust yourself, and pick. Part of identifying your favorite colours is that it helps you to create a vision for yourself and your style. It helps you to know what you love. And knowing what you love can only make your style a closer reflection of who you really are.
Here are some tips for identifying your favoritest colours:-
- Snoop in your closet. And don’t forget your accessories. Are there a few colours you always tend to love? Or do you just buy the colours Pantone picks as being IN? Well. Ignore those, unless you really do love them, of course. And see if there are any colour schemes that bubble to the surface simply because you really, really like them.
- Pick up a fabulous fashion magazine. Which colours are you drawn to? Do they have a colour scheme in common? An accent colour that keeps popping up? Check magazines across different seasons to cover the gamut.
- If you find yourself always drawn to muted or neutral tones, hunt further to find your favorite punch colours. Remember those photos you love? Look more carefully. Do you see any impact punch colours showing up? Perhaps a red bag catches your eye? Or a pair of yellow and purple heels?
- Don’t fear that the colours are too trendy or seasonal. This is no place for fear. Not if you want your style to be uniquely you.
So pick a colour. Pick as many as you want, your list can never be too long. You need something to play with, after all. And there you have it, friends. The whole “get yourself out of that style funk” game. Step by step.
Blow by blow. I hope it’s helped. And I hope you’ll tell me if you discovered something new about yourself at the end of the process.
Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)
Yes, I’m biased but I don’t care. I think Eve looks AH-MAZING in this outfit. The colours. Her attitude. The shape and cut of her dress. Everything looks so editorial here, as though she just walked off the set of Teen Vogue. Psst. The yellow backdrop? Recycle trash container.
Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)
My fave of the three, this look is the simplest pairing of print. I relied on the camo to contrast against that houndstooth print, and then added the hat as a means to introduce Burgundy into the palette. I like it. I felt very carefree and happy in the dress +bomber get-up.
Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)
So, Jodie told me she decided to go all out with the print mixing because, and I quote, this project was with the two of us GRIN what can I say? You’ve completely outdone yourself, my friend, and I believe you’ve permanently sailed into the ranks of print-mixing maestro.
Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)
Next to Eve’s, Nancy’s is the outfit I like most. It’s so charming. So incredibly fresh and feminine without making her look like she’s in costume. The stripes are striking, as too the flash of red exuding from that tassel necklace. Lovely.
Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)
Charlotte is a vision in print and, I do have to say, deftly evading that dreaded “legs got chopped off” look, which is no mean feat. She looks incredibly polished and stylish in this ensemble, and I’m thoroughly rooting for her print blazer.
So, I would love love LOVE to hear all about your style words. Oh and what your “Don’t Buy” words turn out to be too. Are you learning anything new from all those images and photos you shortlisted? Any surprises? Tell me how it went!!
Don’t forget to link-up too!!
p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa
I link up here.