So I spend a lot of time talking about what personal style is and how to find your own. The reality is that finding your own definition takes a lot of personal questions and soul searching in order to find and define a style that is authentic and sustainable for you to dress by, in terms of money, effort, and time.
Recently, I’ve done a couple of podcast interviews where we talk about those things, and we start to get into what personal style actually is not, and there are three important no-rules I’m going to break down in this blog post:
- Personal style is NOT following and purchasing trends just because
- Personal style is NOT setting limits based on your body shape or size
- Personal style is NOT buying exclusively designer/”high end” brands
Especially with the weather (kind of?) getting warmer and my clients are looking at pieces for the summer and beyond, now is a great time to set good and HEALTHY rules to help you shop smart and for your style.
“Spring is the perfect time to do some inner work and be deliberate about what we want to weed out and nurture in our everyday lives… there are things you’ve outgrown.” – Whitney Baker, Electric Ideas Podcast
So let’s get into what personal style definitely isn’t.
Personal Style Is NOT Following and Purchasing Trends
Trends are trends for a reason. They’re fleeting. They’re experiments on a large scale. You should absolutely play with trends that catch your eye, but the reality is that trends are actually timestamps.
“When you’re just following trends, you’re just buying and buying and buying… and most times supporting fast fashion.”
My approach for trends is to sprinkle throughout. Add a trendy accessory here, and a statement piece there, but don’t buy entire new outfits based on something that will last one season.
- If you love that bucket hats are back, great! Buy one in a color or pattern that will match at least 5 outfits, including accounting for outerwear.
- Boho-chic crochet is having a moment, but that doesn’t mean you need to be wearing head-to-toe granny square garments. Pick a fun well-made cardigan, duster, or accessory that highlights the trend, is a piece you can easily layer to create different outfits
Personal Style is NOT Settings Limits Based On Your Body Shape or Size
I’m pretty sure all of us have been traumatized by Tyra Banks describing a “plus size model” or Stacey London telling a woman she can’t wear stripes because she’s of a certain clothing size. NOPE, WE ARE DONE WITH ALL OF THAT! (But to Stacey’s credit, at least she meant well most of the time.)
Don’t shop based on highlighting “the smallest part of your body”, i.e. your waist or legs, but use that element of your physical self to help define silhouettes that you enjoy.
Instead of worrying about your weight or clothing size, focus on balancing areas of emphasis in your outfits. Don’t hide, but also don’t try to highlight everything at once!
- “I’m not comfortable in skirts that go above the knee.” – I’ll never force someone entirely out of their boundaries, but this is when I’ll ask why without fail, every single time. Is it because you feel like your legs and thighs aren’t slim or “toned” enough? Is it more about physical comfort?
Solution: Try a longer skirt or dress with a high slit. Add cute contrasting bike shorts if you need that extra bit of comfort, but that shouldn’t look like straight up underwear. There are so many cute “ballerina” dresses out there like this one from Halara that would be PERFECT for this type of experimental look.
- “I’ll never wear crop tops.” – Showing any part of your midsection can be challenging, but I don’t want you to write off all crop-length pieces because you feel self-conscious about your body! Try cropped pieces that will move and feel flowy, like a boho-chic top. You can also wear a crop top with something highwaisted, so that you still feel covered.
Solution: Your stomach exists. Having a pooch or bulge is 1. Completely natural and 2. SEXY when you rock that with confidence because you’re enjoying your entire outfit!! One of my favorite lessons I’ve learned from TIKTOK is to stop looking at bodies with the cis white male gaze. All bodies are sexy.
- “Florals make me look and feel like a piece of furniture.” – Patterns can be hard. If you’ve ever read a celebrity magazine or red carpet recap, comparing florals and geometric patterns to housewares is a low-blow, go-to critique for the commentators. Comments like that live rent-free in our brains when we’re reaching for a cute pattern and then going “oh wait, someone on E! or Instagram said I can’t do that.”
Solution: So let’s break that thought pattern: look for abstract geometric florals/other patterns in your favorite color, like this stunning blue floral dress. Larger floral patterns that look more like a painting are also gorgeous, and cannot be compared to furniture, like this epic floral kaftan.
Whatever your “ick” is, start breaking down why and experimenting with smaller ways to try to bend that rule someone else has created for you and you’ve ended up enforcing for yourself. Why risk not feeling fabulous??
I have a couple of posts coming up that will teach you how to shop online like a pro, and the best size-inclusive brands on the market right now, so make sure you scroll down and sign up for my newsletter via the footer!
Personal Style is NOT Buying Exclusively Designer / “High End” Brands
This will be short and sweet: you can spend a lot of money on fashion that can be gaudy, tacky, and not fit… or have a really short shelf life. Don’t extend your budget just for a label. If you like the overall silhouettes, highlight what that is and have fun finding dupes. If you do want to make larger purchases, make sure they are good investments in staple pieces and more timeless styles that you’ll love for years to come.
Want to learn more?
I’ve had a couple of AMAZING conversations recently with fabulous podcast hosts on how to define your true personal style based on where you are in