If you read last week’s diary, you’ll know I’ve been having a wee style crisis, questioning my own taste and struggling with finding confidence in my look. I’m choosing to see this as an opportunity to hone my personal style, and make a few changes.
One of the things I’ve been pondering on is my own “style words”. These are words we can use to refine how we would want others to describe our style. When teaching the concept to others, I introduce the idea in this way.
Your style words are the labels you’d like others to use to describe your dress sense. They are aspirational words that help you focus on what you want your personal style to develop into.
Words like ‘elegant’ and ‘chic’ are most popular choices. Edgy and funky are also up there in the top-10 words women like to pick out. But really, they can be anything. Classic, contemporary, understated, minimal, simplicity, feminine, masculine, vintage, youthful, street-wise, rock-chic, sporty, earthy, bohemian, alt-hippy-mystic…. the list goes on.
Usually I have small groups of women brainstorm the possibilities. From their lists, I ask each woman to choose 2 or 3 that best align with how she would like to be seen. “Classic and understated, with a contemporary twist”, is an example as is “feminine, but casual and earthy”. “Masculine-feminine contrast” was a description I recall from a student who loved to wear pretty dresses with very masculine accessories, like biker boots and men’s hats.
Choose how you want to look based on who you are inside and reflect that person through the image you create – from Dress to Express (Tracy Williams)
Of course for some women, choosing a few wasn’t going to work. “Only three?!” I remember a woman exclaiming with much incredulity. No, not just three. That’s just a start, and a way of prioritising. In truth, you can have as many or few as you wish. And they can be as specific or as broad as you want. It’s your style, after all. The excercise is not intended to pigeon-hole, but simply to get us thinking about how we want to be seen, including the option of “a style chameleon”.
So what are mine, you might be wondering?
Well, after much pontification I determined that the words I want most to be associated with my style are “1950s Famous Five illustration style librarian or granny chic, with a quirky 1970s masculine twist” and I also want to add “classic, kind and approachable” to the mix. Sometimes. Although lately, I just want to be Debbie Harry x Vivienne Westwood. (Sonya sighs)…
I think my style might need to stay in lock-down a bit longer yet!