Aesthetics, aesthetics, aesthetics. Aestheticism, or the concept of art for art’s sake, is one of my favorite things in this world. When I was younger I so often was told that things needed to have some deeper meaning. A story couldn’t just be a story, it had to be a life lesson or a moral teaching. A sketch couldn’t be just a sketch, it had to show character, hint at a world beyond our own.
But art that’s made just for the sake of being something pretty to look at is valid. It’s comforting.
So I’ve kinda latched on to the idea of aestheticism in recent years, as have many others. Now we have defined aesthetics that influence decor, photo editing, and fashion style!
In this sea of aestheticism, how can we find the aesthetic styles that really speak to us? Here’s how I find mine:
1. Make a list of words that describe your current style
Your current style is probably within your comfort zone of clothing, otherwise why would you have it? While it’s good to push your comfort zone from time to time, wearing clothes outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis can be quite difficult.
So start by making a list of words that describes your current style of clothing. These can be adjectives that describe the feeling of your style, or nouns that are specifically part of your style.
Here are some of mine:
- pops of color
- color coordinated
- retro/vintage inspired
- neutral palette
- over the knee socks
The longer your list of words is, the better, as it’ll give you more information to compare with!
2. Make a list of words that describes aesthetics that you like
Next, if you already have some aesthetics you like, make lists of words that describe them. As with step 1, the longer these lists are, the better, as you’ll be comparing information from them.
If you’re not familiar with various aesthetics, here are some of my favorites to get you started:
- the ‘classy’ aesthetic
- the ‘dark academia’ aesthetic
- the ‘light academia’ aesthetic
- the ‘cottage core’ aesthetic
- the ‘art hoe’ aesthetic
- the ‘minimalist’ aesthetic
3. See what your word lists have in common
Once you have all of your lists of words, go through them and pick out the words that appear in more than one list or that are synonyms of each other.
As an example, cardigans come up in quite a few of my favorite aesthetic styles, and so it’s no surprise to me that cardigans have been my favorite type of sweater for a few years now.
I also tend to stick to fairly neutral palettes, with my favorite colors to wear being white, gray, black, camel, beige, and cream, which are colors that show up a lot in my favorite aesthetic styles (‘classy’, ‘academia’, and ‘minimalist’). The other colors that I wear as accents (mainly red, yellow, green, and blue) show up a lot in the ‘art hoe’ aesthetic.
Once you have your word list, put it aside.
4. Look at various aesthetic images and choose the ones that speak to you
Step 4 is best accomplished with a Pinterest board. Start looking at various aesthetic images and save the ones that really speak to you. This is quite a fun and relaxing activity, so don’t be surprised if a couple of hours have gone by without you realizing it!
These images don’t have to be organized, and they don’t have to feature clothing either. Colors, textures, editing techniques, and subjects can all be revealing when it comes to figuring out your personal style. Don’t limit yourself to just one aesthetic style either. Often the people with the best styles are the ones who blend various aesthetics together!
5. See if any of the words on your lists apply to those photos
Once you’ve chosen a lot of photos that speak to your soul, go back through them and see which words from your list made in step 3 applies to the photos.
If you have a long list of words to compare from, you’ll probably find that a lot of things come up! For example, neutral and primary colors come up in almost all of my favorite aesthetic images, so it’s hardly a surprise to me that my favorite colors to wear and decorate with are neutrals and primaries.
Certain art styles come up again and again as my favorites based off of aesthetic preference, so you can bet that when I see a graphic t-shirt with one of those art styles on it, I’m thinking up all kinds of outfits to put it in.
6. Write a list of any aesthetics that have interested you in the past ~5 years (optional)
This may seem like a weird step, and it’s not a super important one, so you can skip it if you’d like, but I’d recommend writing a list of the aesthetic styles that you’ve been interested in for roughly the past 5 years. You don’t need to do the whole ‘word list comparison’ with these aesthetics, but it’s a good list to have.
Because we are creatures of habit, and we tend to return to the same favorites, the same comforts, time and time again. You don’t need to incorporate all of these aesthetics into your style, but keeping them in mind is important, as it’s usually the explanation for why you get a sudden urge to buy an item that doesn’t match your current clothing style or desired aesthetic.
7. Try out some aesthetic tests (optional)
Lastly, if you still have no idea which aesthetics interest you, you can try taking some aesthetic tests on YouTube! They usually don’t have a super diverse amount of aesthetics, but it’s a pretty good starting point.
What are some of your favorite aesthetics? And if you’re interested in me making some aesthetic tests, do let me know, and subscribe to my blog for further posts.