How to build your personal style in 2021
Building your personal style has always been something that is innate and takes time to figure out, but with a new micro trend popping up every week, it can be even more overwhelming to curate and define what you like and don’t like. The accelerated trend cycle has made many of us question how we actually want to dress, and with short-form social media apps like TikTok and Instagram it is easier than ever to see what's trending and what's “cancelled”.
So how do you build your personal style in a world of fast paced trends, and an excessive amount of choice? The answer is slow fashion.
Slow fashion is an approach and awareness to fashion that values buying better, buying quality pieces that will last in your wardrobe for a long time. It also values the environment, animals and the ethics behind where and who the clothes were made by.
Slow fashion can also refer to your own consumption habits, such as how many clothes do you buy a week, a month, a year? It invites you to step back and reflect on your habits, in order to make informed and essential purchases moving forward.
They are micro-trends for a reason, they will only stay “in trend” for a small amount of time. Micro trends are usually characterised by how quick they are to gain popularity, a good example of this is the ‘coconut girl’ aesthetic. This aesthetic has recently come about on Pinterest and TikTok and is associated with that laid back Cali girl vibe, wearing hibiscus print and chunky flip flops.
Micro trends can be uber tempting to buy into (some of them are just so cute!). But in order to build your style for the long term, it's best to avoid these all together; it will save you a lot of money too.
Avoid impulse buys
Have you ever been feeling down and somehow ended up online shopping for clothes at 3am? Yeah me too. In the past I would buy a lot of things on impulse for multiple reasons, but it would always have the same outcome - I would regret buying it.
One great way to avoid impulse buying is to have a list on your phone of pieces that you’ve had your eye on or looking for. For example, if you’ve seen a halterneck top on Pinterest and contemplated buying it, let your notes app look after that thought. Wait a week, then come back and make a decision. Giving yourself time to think the purchase through will help you decide if it was just an in the moment want, or a long term desire.
Create a love/hate list
Create a love/hate list of pieces you know you like and pieces you know you’ll never wear. Both lists can include colours, fabrics, patterns, silhouettes and specific clothing items - even brands! This will benefit you when you go to buy something and you’ll know exactly what appeals to you and what doesn’t.
Go on a shopping diet
Not buying any clothes for a period of time will greatly help you develop your own sense of style, as you will be forced to fall in love with what you already own and find new creative ways to wear your clothes. I would recommend a month or more.
Have a clear out
By cleaning out your wardrobe and trying everything on, yes I mean everything, will help you decide what you don’t like anymore and what you still want to incorporate into your style. This also means donating/selling the items that may not fit anymore which is totally fine! Remember we wear our clothes, the clothes do not wear us.
Having a curated closet that now fits us and consists of the things we know we wear a lot, is a great step towards defining your personal style.
Take pictures in all your favourite looks
Whenever you put an outfit together and feel like a fashion icon, take a pic! Not only are you getting valuable insta-worthy snaps, but this will also help you catalogue your outfits - perfect for when you’re in a rush. This in the long run will help you identify patterns. Things like the items of clothing you reach for most, your most worn colour combos, aesthetics you take inspiration from etc. You will be able to spot gaps in your style as well, for example you may be missing a staple trench coat that will elevate all your outfits and will greatly benefit your style.
Follow the 70/30 rule
This wardrobe rule is simple, 70% of your wardrobe should be basics, 30% can be trend pieces.
Many people’s biggest problem when it comes to dressing in the morning is the infamous “I don’t have any clothes” situation. This is often because we have too many ‘trend’ pieces in our wardrobes without having any basics. It’s kind of like buying all the ingredients for something, but not having an oven.
Trend pieces can perfectly elevate your outfit, but we need the foundations in place first in order to build a cohesive style.
Style that reflects you
In the last few years, the phrase ‘personal style’ has become glazed over with wearing the latest trends and having to conform to one aesthetic. When personal style should always be a reflection of yourself and what you want to show the world.
Your style should also reflect your lifestyle. Meaning you shouldn’t buy clothes that won’t work with your life, e.g. buying an unnecessary amount of coats and jackets when you live in a country with a hot climate. Another example could be not investing enough in your work clothes, that you probably will wear a lot more than your ‘dream aesthetic’.
At the end of the day fashion should be fun and experimental and innate to you, just because something’s not considered ‘trendy’ anymore and you love it anyway, just wear it!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope this will help those who want to develop their style!
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All pictures used in this article were sourced from Pinterest and Instagram.