If you've ever walked through a boutique and thought, "That looks like something So-and-so would wear," then it's likely your friend So-and-so has established a unique style for herself. Perhaps she did it by embracing a certain signature piece that looks great on her no matter what else she's wearing (e.g. she always wears a wide belt to accentuate her tiny waistline). Or perhaps she's created her own style by purchasing all her clothing at some out-of-the-way vintage shop nobody else has discovered yet.
There are many ways to build a wardrobe that'll make your style unique. Here are five tips to get you started.
5: Dress For Your Body Type
The absolute easiest way to look your best is to dress to flatter your particular body type and wear that style of clothing exclusively. It doesn't matter what size you are -- it's all about dressing to compliment your shape.
If you're shaped like an hourglass, wear clothes that hug your curves. Avoid loose blouses and dresses; they'll make you look bigger than you are. Think belts that cinch your waist and tailored blouses. If you're shaped like a triangle (smaller on top, bigger on the bottom), wear clothes that pull the eye up to the most slender part of your body. Think bold tops and statement necklaces, with dark, sleek pants. If you're shaped like an inverted triangle, you want to elongate the torso by wearing drop-waist dresses, skinny jeans, untied scarves and long necklaces. If you're shaped more like a rectangle, you want to create curves. Wrap tops, draping, and bias cuts help create the illusion of bust and hips.
4: Find Your Color Palette
In the 1980s it became a trend to figure out what "season" you were -- meaning, what color palette best suited you:
- Winter -- cool colors with light-to-dark intensity
- Spring -- warm and bright, with medium-to-light intensity
- Summer -- cool, muted colors with medium-to-light to medium-to-dark intensity
- Autumn -- warm and muted, with medium-to-light to medium-to-dark intensity
For example, a woman with dark hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion is referred to as a "deep winter." She should wear all winter colors, plus some of the autumn range to complement her skin tone and hair color. There are even seasonal consultants who'll take a look at you (or a picture of you) to give you a reading of your seasonal colors.
Dressing in a palette of colors that complements your skin will go a long way toward setting your personal style. You can build an entire wardrobe around these colors that you know looks perfect on you.
3: Bring Out Your Personality
Your clothes should be an extension of your personality. What kind of image do you want to put forth to the world? Are you a tailored, classic professional? Are you quirky and artistic? Flirty and romantic? Trendy and modern?
Use your look to show the world what you're made of. You'll feel more comfortable in clothes that are truly "you." If you're more the quirky and artistic type, you probably won't feel comfortable in classic, tailored clothes. And if you're into the tailored and classic look, you'll probably feel a bit out of sorts in trendy outfits.
Select pieces that represent your personality best -- peasant skirts, tailored button-down shirts and pencil skirts, ruffled blouses, platform shoes, pinstripes, polka dots. Whatever makes you, you!
2: Make a Statement with Accessories
You don't have to rely on just clothes to set your personal style. Try accessories, too. Some people are known by their signature hoop earrings, gold brooch or Chanel scarf. Think about certain celebrities and what you see them in: Uggs, Jimmy Choos, nameplate necklace, Birkin bag ... etc., etc. That particular piece becomes a part of her, part of her personal style.
Pick an accessory you love and run with it -- cocktail rings, bangle bracelets, scarves, flats -- something that people see and immediately think of you. Just don't make it too outrageous. The accessory you choose should be something you can wear just about every day -- bold enough to give your look a unique flair, but not so bizarre that it sticks out like a sore thumb.
1: Expand Your Shopping Borders
It's tough to establish a unique style if you're wearing the same clothes as the person sitting next to you. Having your own style means standing out from the crowd a bit. So how do you do this? If you want to shop the stores, you're limited to what's within driving distance. But with online shopping, your shopping borders are boundless. And many online stores even offer free returns.
If you'd rather shop around town than online, stick with the smaller boutiques or even vintage and consignment shops. You can find some really good deals and feel secure knowing you're buying something that nobody else is likely to have. Just that in itself will help you to establish a unique style. If you're really lucky, you'll find one great piece and several accessories you can use as the building blocks for your look. For example, there's nothing wrong with wearing the same plain white tee everyone else has, if you accompany it with a great vintage cardigan and fun brooch from a local boutique.
Lots More Information
- 5 Casual Clothing Essentials
- 5 Essential Accessories Women Should Have
- Tips for Working With Your Body Shape: Beyond Apples and Pears
- 5 Easy Ways to Change Your Look
- 10 Trends We Wish Would Die Already
- Quiz: What fashion era are you from?
- Style Makeover HQ. "Flow Seasonal Color Analysis: Do You Know Your Best Colors?" 2012. (April 2, 2012) http://www.style-makeover-hq.com/seasonal-color-analysis.html
- Thomas, Bobbie. "The Dos and Don'ts of Dressing for Your Body Type." Today.com. Oct. 1, 2009. (April 2, 2012) http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/33091361/ns/today-style/t/dos-donts-dressing-your-body-type/#.T3ojHr9WogE