Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to brand yourself, or just someone that is looking to learn more about themselves, I’m sharing my 5 steps to finding your signature style.
As someone who has spent years in fashion PR & marketing prior to starting a blog, I never thought that I would find it challenging to pinpoint my personal style. Whether it’s been a combination of having to represent other people’s brands for so long, or wearing so much black (the universal PR girl uniform) that I had lost my sense of self, it’s been far more difficult than I ever anticipated.
When I sat down to do it, I felt crazy. I had been working in branding for 12 years, so why couldn’t I BRAND MYSELF? I would ask my boyfriend Scott how he would define my style, I asked my family, my friends. The truth is (and now seems so obvious) but your signature style has to come from WITHIN. That being said, finding it is not as simple as you would think. Below I’m sharing my tips on what I did to find my signature style.
1. Create A Collection of Photos You Love
The things that you are naturally attracted to all have a common denominator. The hard part is recognizing it. Start by grouping together 20-30 images that you love. They can be quotes, pictures of you, other people, celebrities, makeup, anything that pulls at your heartstrings.
To collect them, I love using sites like Pinterest, my saved collections section on Instagram, or referencing my favorite past photos that I’ve posted on my Instagram feed. Organize these images all in one place so they’re together, a secret Pinterest board is my favorite place for this.
Want something you can touch and feel? Print out these images, or create a collage of magazine photos that you can hang behind your desk. Take a picture and keep it on your phone so you have it for reference when you’re out of the office.
2. Decide What You Don’t Like
They say to always follow your instincts, but in this information-filled digital world, it is way too easy to get swept up in everyone else’s style. One of the best things about influencers is that they are real people, who make trends look chic and attainable. Those crop tops and tiny sunglasses and wild prints? They look amazing on so many people, that I’ve literally been about to click “purchase” so many times.
However, when I stand back for a second and think about it, they are inherently just not my personal style, nor something that I would feel comfortable wearing. Knowing when something is NOT YOU, is an important step to discovering what IS YOU.
Create a Pinterest board or collection of images for these as well.
3. Assess Your Closet
What are your favorite pieces in your closet, and why?
For instance, when I saw this dress, I knew I HAD to have it. I didn’t care why, or where I would wear it, but I knew it was so ME that I would make it work. I actually said out loud, “This dress is EVERYTHING I believe in.” (when it comes to style, that is, lol). Ideally, you should feel like that about everything in your closet, so it’s a metric that I use whenever I buy or post about something.
Write down key words you would use to describe a few of your favorite pieces. Mine are “Elegant”, “Effortlessly Chic”, and “Timeless”.
After doing these practices, I had invaluable takeaways: my favorite colors, fonts, preferred content, clothing styles, and recurring themes. For instance, I learned that I’m visually attracted to shades of beige, rose gold, metallics, dusty pink, creams, whites. Magazine-style lettering and quotes about dreaming, and following your heart.
I prefer wearing feminine fashion, but it must always have movement (wide leg, ruffle, twirl-factor), oftentimes it’s classic pieces with a dramatic twist (a voluminous sleeve, embellishments, or an oversized bow). Content-wise, I love anything with a fairytale, whimsical, Parisian, NYC, floral, ballet-inspired, retro, or an editorial element to it. I admire bold, ceiling-shattering females that dared to be different and strived to inspire (Coco Chanel, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Diana Vreeland, just to name a few).
These are all things and people that I’ve loved since I was 2 years old, so while on their own they are nothing groundbreaking…the act of formalizing them into a collection has been vital. Seeing them all together has made it SO much easier for me to hone in on the style of my personal brand, and allowed me to cut through the noise.
It has enabled me to build pillars in my business that I can hold myself to, and decide what is, and what isn’t “on-brand” for me. I now hold myself to these standards when it comes to the content I create, to the brands I work with, to my logo, to subjects I talk about with all of you. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, or confused, I can take a look at those images, and remind myself of what my signature style is, and what my mission is with my platform.
It’s like that famous quote, “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.” Being self-aware of your style may seem surface-level, but it can truly seep in to everything that you do – and is the first step if you’re an entrepreneur trying to build a personal brand.
While I still have yet to fully refine in one chic phrase what my signature style is, for now I just call it, “Je ne sais quoi”… (A famous French term, which funnily enough, translates to: “I don’t know what. A pleasing quality that can’t be exactly named or described”).
Remember, the world just needs you to be YOU, so your challenge is looking within and extracting it. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you, it’s something I still work at each and every day.
Has anyone else struggled with this? I’d love to hear your tips on how you found your signature style!
Photos by Scott White
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