How to Develop and Refine a Personal Style – Part II

A couple of weeks ago I published a post called How to Develop and Refine a Personal Style – Part I, which focused on some of the external factors of developing and refining a personal style. Now I’m back with part II, which will focus on some of the internal factors, as well as how to take action in developing your style.

I highly recommend grabbing a pen and piece of paper, or having some way of recording information as you read this post, as I’ll be discussing some questions that you should ask yourself as you develop your style.

Write down useful information about yourself

When developing and refining your personal style, it’s important to stay true to yourself, and the best way to not forget about yourself and what you want is to write it down.

What type of image do you want to project?

Whether or not you realize it, what you wear and how you look will always project an image to others. Your appearance is often the first thing people will use to understand who you are as a person, so it’s important to understand what kind of image or look you want to project.

If you’re unsure of where to start with this exercise try writing down adjectives that you’d like people to associate with you.

What’s your lifestyle like?

It’s always important to keep in mind your lifestyle when you’re working on developing your own personal style. This includes how you spend your time, and it also includes the type of weather you live in.

I live in a climate with a lot of temperature and humidity fluctuations throughout the year. From hot and humid summers to dry and bitter winters. But I do tend to always be more sensitive to the cold than to the heat, so it’s more important to me to have warm clothing to wear or clothes that can layer up easily, to combat the cold.

I also spend the majority of my time inside my home, since I work from home. But I do like to maintain a slightly polished look despite the fact that very few people see me, because it helps me feel more professional and makes working from home a bit easier for me.

What have you enjoyed in the past?

We are creatures of habit, and so the style elements that you’ve loved in the past will probably resonate with you currently as well.

As I mentioned before, I’ve loved the look of red lipstick since I was a little girl, and I’m confident that I’ll continue to love red lipstick. I also fell in love with wearing the color black when I went through a goth phase in my early teenage years, and I still love wearing black (though I no longer consider myself to be goth).

What would your ideal self like to wear?

Something that I’ve seen on Pinterest a lot as inspiration is the saying “Visualize your highest self, and then start showing up as her.”

If you were the person that you dream about being, what would you wear?

How much time do you spend putting together outfits? How much time would you like to spend putting together outfits?

These are two very important factors to consider when you’re developing your personal style.

Are you the type of person who just grabs a few clothing pieces and then poof there’s your outfit? Or are you the type of person who spends a lot of time carefully considering your outfits before putting them together?

It might surprise you to hear this, but I have a tendency to be the former, though I’d much rather be the latter. Spending time putting together outfits is something that I love to do, and something that I’d like to do more. It’s an enjoyable activity for me, but I don’t spend very much time on it, so that’s something I want to change.

What do you love to wear? What do you hate to wear?

It’s important to keep in mind what you already know you love and what you already know you hate to wear. You probably already know some things about what you enjoy wearing and what you find looks good on you, so keep track of it and keep an eye out for it when you’re shopping for clothes!

Here’s a list of things I love to wear (and seek out in looks) and things I hate to wear (and will avoid):

TurtlenecksDolman sleeves
Neutral colorsNeon colors
Gold hardwareBusy prints or ‘trendy’ patterns
High-waisted pants and skirtsItchy fabrics
Easily mixed and matched piecesFlared pants

Purge your closet

There comes a point in your style journey where you just need to purge your closet of the clothes that don’t fit with your vision of how you want to dress, and that’s okay. When I was younger it used to be really difficult for me to get rid of clothes that I didn’t wear, but now that I’m older I see it as a shedding, just a simple part of the process that helps remove both mental clutter and physical clutter from my life.

I have a blog post on how to do an in-depth closet purge, so if you want more details on how I like to declutter my closet, give that post a read.

Remove clothing that doesn’t fit, is broken beyond repair, or that you hate

First things first, get rid of the clothing that you know you won’t wear, either because of the fit being wrong, the clothing falling apart, or that you just straight up hate wearing.

That being said, if a piece of clothing can be repaired (for example, it’s just missing a button or has a small seam rip that can be easily sewn up) then keep it separate from the rest of your clothes, and fix it on a day that you’re bored and don’t have anything else to do.

Remove clothing that doesn’t project the image you want to have

I hope you wrote down what kind of image you want to project earlier in this post when I brought it up, because now you’re going to be removing the clothes that don’t align with the vision you have of yourself.

As an example for myself, whenever I consider what kind of style and image I want to have, the words classy and professional come to mind. As a child and young teenager I often felt like I wasn’t taken seriously by both my peers and the adults in my life, so that has manifested in a desire to look mature and put-together now that I’m a young adult.

This means that I need to get rid of the clothing in my closet that doesn’t align with this vision, such as the bright blue sweatpants that I could probably upcycle into a cute craft project, or the graphic t-shirts that I haven’t worn in ages. (Don’t get me wrong, I do absolutely love graphic tees, but I’m just incredibly picky about the designs that I wear).

Remove clothing that has details that you don’t like to wear

Despite knowing what I do and don’t like to wear, sometimes clothing pieces that has details that I don’t like still manage to sneak their way into my closet. The main issue that I face is sleeves. I’ve always had very small shoulders, so most sleeves are too large on me, and I really dislike sleeves that fall off my shoulders. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does.

So every once in awhile I have to try on the clothes in my closet to see if any shirts or blouses that I own have this issue. And then it’s off to the thrift store with the ones that do.

Add clothing to your closet

Finally here’s one of the most fun parts of developing a personal style, in my opinion. Adding clothing to your closet!

Make a list of the clothing pieces you want to have

Start by making a comprehensive list of the clothing pieces you want to have in your closet. The more detailed this list is, the better, as it’ll allow you to take things slowly and really look for the perfect items for yourself. Here are a few clothing examples from my list:

  • Black, high-waisted cigarette pants
  • Turtleneck or mock neck tank tops (preferably in rib or skinny knit)
  • High-waisted A-line skirt

These aren’t items that I’m actively shopping for, they’re just things that I keep an eye out for or that I’m considering DIYing. By having a lot of specificity in my list, it encourages me to take my time in my search and find pieces that are truly great fits in my wardrobe.

Slowly introduce pieces into your wardrobe

I can’t stress this enough, please take your time when developing your style. Developing your style is a constantly changing journey, so don’t rush through it. This is something that will probably take months to do, and taking it slowly is the best way to ensure that you love the style that you develop.

Keep in mind previous shopping mistakes and problems

When you add clothing to your closet, it’s important to keep in mind the previous shopping mistakes and problems that you encounter (which you should have written down or thought about in the first post). Try to avoid them to the best of your abilities as you develop your personal style, in order to make the journey less stressful.

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