1. Be an Observer Aficionado.
The most essential key to develop or redefine your sense of style is to train the eye. This technique is a super simple skill that reaps what you sew ten fold, and always turns out to be fun!
Imagine you are a researcher on a new study or someone studying a foreign culture (which some of you might actually be right now), and are trying to find out as much as you can on this new topic. Use your everyday surroundings and observe as thoroughly as possible. What clothing pieces are they wearing? What colors are they wearing? Are they mixing colors? What shoes are they pairing with their outfits? What accessories are they wearing? What materials are they wearing? How are the clothes fitting their body?
Make a list of any questions to ask yourself in order to be as precise as possible. Take a look at several places in your environment; boutiques, cafes, train stations, malls, etc. Even observe your family, friends and co workers. In addition, fashion blogs and other outlets such as Youtube and Pinterest are wonderful sources to expose you to a variety of styles to observe.
When you come across a look that catches your eye, analyze it to find out exactly what makes this look a great outfit. Is it a specific piece of clothing? Is it the color of an item or color scheme of the entire look? Do you like the accessories? Is it the overall vibe of the look? That is how you become an observer aficionado. Train your eye to be attentive, closely observe how other people wear clothes and make note of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. Simple right?
Over time as you learn to perfect this skill, you’ll gain a better understanding of the types of clothes and accessories you like and how you like to wear them. This information will be essential when it comes time for you to refine your wardrobe. It’s a great tool to be inspired to wear existing clothes in new ways, or even to discover new staples to add to your wardrobe.
2. Make a Word Cloud.
Once you’ve done your fair share of observing your surroundings, make a word cloud of everything that resonated with you. This by no means is labeling your style or putting you into a category, but a means to recognize the building blocks of your wardrobe.
Because I am a visual person, I like to see the words that inspire my sense of style collectively. This is also a great technique to do whenever you're upgrading your wardrobe. Word clouds are beneficial when assessing your style to figure out what to dabble in first.
Use large fonts for styles, colors, pieces and accessories that represent your desired sense of style the most, and smaller fonts for things you want experiment with in the near future. Over time this resource will serve as a helpful guide as you continue to explore and upgrade your sense of style.
3. Imitate Like No Other.
OK. I know what you’re going to say, and I’m all about developing your own signature style. However, nothing these days is original. How does one come to master any kind of art in this world? You copy other people’s techniques until you master their skills, and put your own personal twist on it. When it comes to someone starting completely from scratch, this is extremely helpful because you have someone else’s outfit blueprint as a starting point.
Developing a sense of style from scratch can be scary for some people. Sometimes you just don’t know where to start, or how to start. You want to experiment, but have no idea what to do first. Here’s what you do first:
1. Pick an outfit and copy it.
2. Analyze what you like.
3. Analyze what you don’t like.
You can easily start with the outfit blueprints from your observation quest, or use resources such as Pinterest and other fashion blogs to find looks to replicate. I would recommend choosing every day type of looks that you can wear throughout the week.
Benefits of Imitating:
*Allows you to pay close attention to every detail
*Allows you to assess every aspect of the look including the fit of every piece of clothing to achieve the desired silhouette of the outfit.
*Allows you to discover your unique signature touches
Imitating is a helpful, creative technique to enhance your unique style because it allows you to discover new outfit formulas that you can incorporate into your wardrobe. If there’s a look that you copied, but didn’t fall completely in love with, use this opportunity to determine exactly what you don’t like and what you can do to tweak it with something that is uniquely you.
4. Let The Experimenting Begin!
In order to define your unique, signature style and build a wardrobe around it, it is imperative to expose yourself to a variety of style aesthetics. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a must if you want great style.
The only way you can determine what your style preferences are is by going through “the experimentation phase”. All gurus go through this phase. Most likely you will look back at some moments and say to yourself “What the heck was I thinking”, but don’t let that deter you from what is essential. This is a process that is unavoidable, and you’ll be happy that you went through it.
Helpful ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone:
1. Challenge yourself. Set up a challenge to try on an item that you loved on someone else, but normally wouldn’t buy for yourself. See if you can build an entire look around this piece.
2. Make it fun and effective. Actively seek out pieces, styles, materials and silhouettes that you normally wouldn’t go for. Spend that day trying on clothes in different stores. Take notes of what you like and what you don’t like.
5. Wardrobe Power Players.
Take some time to examine your closet and pick out your power players. These pieces are items of clothing that you wear the most. Even if you’re not happy with the wardrobe you have currently, there’s a likelihood you have a few power player pieces (say that three times fast) that you like to wear regularly.
Begin to analyze what sets these pieces apart from the rest of your wardrobe. Why do you wear them more often than everything else in your closet? Think about the details; style, color, fabric, fit, etc. For example, let say there’s a dress you own that you really like because it fits nicely. Why does it fit nicely? Is it the material? The shape? The waistline? The length? Even look at how others are wearing your power player pieces. This technique has the potential of giving you a fresh look on how to wear your favorite pieces in a new way.
Lastly, don’t sell yourself short. Really make sure you’re all about the details, as this is key to guide you when you start looking for staples to add to your wardrobe.