Sunday, April 16, 2017

Finding your Personal Style - a Quick Recipe


One of the first things a client will ask me is how I make styling look so easy and effortless. A friend accompanied me on a photoshoot where I styled the model and said to me in amazement "I would've never put that together". My knack for style is probably coupled with a bit of dumb luck, but it was easy once I identified my own personal style. 

"So how do I find my personal style Michele?"  Well, to paraphrase what Glinda the Good told Dorothy in "The Wiz" - it's been inside of you all this time, you just have to believe in yourself.  Think of it this way - what is the difference between a good cook and a great chef (besides culinary school and training)?  A good cook can follow a recipe for lasagna to the letter and whip up a tasty dish, but a great chef will take that same recipe, mix up something about it - add an ingredient you never imagined would work, use some new-fangled cooking method, or whip up some "special sauce" - and make a lasagna so incredibly good that your jaw will drop. Your reaction is "what is that? what am I tasting?" and you know that all other lasagnas you eat in your life will be held to that standard.  It's the same concept with finding your personal style.  Start with the basics, but add the thing about you that will make it different.  That "thing" is less about fashion trends and more about who you are as an individual, what is it that will make your style taste different and unique?

My personal style is rooted in a little bit of tomboy - I have to be comfortable.
 In this picture, a blazer borrowed from the military covers a workout bodysuit. 
And the hat is just a stylish version of a baseball cap.

You may already have the ingredients you need in your closet and are ready to find your special sauce.  Or you may need to start from scratch and go shopping. Wherever you are in the process, these tips will help you create a recipe for your perfect personal style!

Get Inspired - Take screenshots of outfits you see on social media, take pictures of items that catch your eye at the mall, make a note of what someone had on that turned your head.  If you are super-organized start a pinterest board for your style wishlist.  You may not know what to do with these things right now, but the time will come around when you will.

      Experiment Smart - Okay so you saw something trendy that you like but you aren't comfortable with the price tag.  Maybe you aren't sure you can make cropped, wide-legged pants work.  Maybe the new "it" color won't be your color once you step outside in natural light. This is where stores like H&M, Forever 21, TopShop and Zara become your best friends. This way you can afford that impulse buy. But be sure to keep an eye on the return policies, in case the item doesn't work out like you planned.
      Zara's flagship store in London

      Accessorize - The easiest ingredient to add is an accessory. Want to wear the same black dress 4 different ways? Add a string of pearls to be classy, add a leather moto jacket with embellishments and ankle booties to be edgy, add a satin bomber jacket and a pair of Adidas tennis shoes to be sporty/casual, add a headwrap or scarf, big earrings, and wedge sandals or Birkenstocks to be boho.

      Ask For Help  - Don't be afraid to get professional help from a personal stylist. We have all types of advice and opinions (see all my good advice above!)  And last but certainly not least...

      Trust Your Gut - You know when something feels wrong/off about a clothing item and when it is you being stuck in your ways or afraid to step out of your box. Be true to yourself first or you will never own a look.

      Remember the best chefs end up using recipes as a reference point, or sometimes not at all.  They use their senses and old fashioned intuition to get a dish just right. Some great chefs never make a dish the exact same way but it still turns out amazing each time.  You are the chef when it comes to your personal style - the key is being comfortable in the clothes you're in and being sure they reflect who you are, even if it's who you are at that one moment and you are someone different the next day. Think about it - most great chefs have a specialty or 2, but they can prepare almost any kind of food; you can have one primary style, say traditional/classic, but switch up for a weekend music festival and be bohemian.  Whatever it is, sporty, urban, romantic, trendy, dramatic and who knows what else, whatever you decide to wear, be sure it tastes good to you. Everyone will notice and some may even ask you to share your style recipe!

      I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else
      ~ Pablo Picasso

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