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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Discovering Your Style

Jan 12, 2018 10:00AM ● By Kate Branum
by Cathy Starnes

What constitutes great style? For some, gathering the perfect arsenal of everyday pieces and trendy accents is daunting; where do you begin? To answer that question, you’ll have to delve into your tastes. The best thing about building a wardrobe is that there isn’t a wrong answer, and the secret to having a killer sense of style is personalization.

A good place to start is by brushing up on what’s “in” at the moment. Trends serve as wonderful inspiration and are fun to play around with once you collect a comfortable closet of staples.

Begin the new year by conducting a style interview with yourself intended to discover exactly what makes you feel confident and secure. Here are a few steps that will help you determine your distinct personal style.

Create a fashion portfolio. Flip through fashion and interior design magazines and catalogs and tear out the pictures you love. You’re not buying these things, so it doesn’t matter if an item has a $14,000 price tag— you just have to love it to cut it out. You can also browse images online by perusing style blogs and websites, or by creating a Pinterest board. After you’ve designed your portfolio, sift through the images and try to determine what it is that attracts you to each one and start a list of any adjectives that come to mind.

List your personal preferences. Create two columns on a sheet of paper and label them, “What I Like” and “What I Don’t Like.” This is your chance to vent. Knowing what you don’t like is just as valuable as recognizing what you do like. Consider colors, textures, patterns, styles, details and fabrics.

Do you enjoy pastel colors and tend to stay away from neutrals? Do you fancy wearing abstract prints but avoid florals? There are only right answers; this exercise is simply about preference.

"Begin the new year by conducting a style interview with yourself intended to discover exactly what makes you feel confident and secure."

Conduct a body assessment. What styles do you think flatter your body the most and which don’t work well? Are there certain shapes on which you always get compliments? Do you like to highlight your waistline, shoulders or legs? Write down everything you can think of and determine whether or not you believe those styles compliment your shape.

Think about the pieces you want to move away from in your wardrobe and those you want to move toward. In order to have a clothing collection that’s just right for you, you need to know where you’re starting from and where you’re headed. Think about your style, your closet, getting dressed and the variety of things you have to choose from. What pieces are you having a hard time with? Those items are what you want to move away from. If those problems disappeared and your wardrobe worked for you 100 percent, what would it look like? The answer is what you are moving toward.

As you complete these exercises, look for adjectives that keep popping up in the description of your preferences, images and desires. These will be your style words; try to come up with at least five. The possibilities are endless: feminine, adorable, classic, creative, trendy, unique, dramatic, powerful, stunning, sophisticated, eclectic, bohemian, elegant, luxurious, mysterious, comfortable, approachable, casual, sporty, edgy and whimsical.

Once you’ve come up with your style words, use them as a road map as you decide what to wear, what to purge and what to purchase to build an amazing wardrobe that reflects YOU.

Cathy Starnes is a personal stylist and the owner of new retail concept, Iris Boutique, which offers unique women’s accessories with a side of personal styling.