Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finding your personal style

Personal style. We’ve all seen the woman or man who has it. We know it the minute we see it. But how do we get it for ourselves? It has less to do with trends than in how one works those trends. Ever see someone who wears the latest thing (usually all the latest things at the same time), but has no style? The clothes seem to be wearing her, not the other way around.

So how do you look develop your own personal style?

  1. Identify your look: Go through magazines and cut out all the looks that stop you dead in your tracks. Put these pictures aside, in a folder or small box.

  2. Go to your closet and pull out 5 items that you cannot live without.

  3. Line up everything – pictures and outfits, on your bed, a table, whatever feels comfortable.

You should see a theme emerge – classic, bohemian, sporty-preppy, etc. Anything that doesn’t work within that theme, you will be gradually replacing with new clothes that really speak to you. This way, you will no longer face the “I have nothing to wear” dilemma, or worse, open your closet and see things you have not only never worn but still have the price tag on them.

Now it’s time to put your own spin on that theme. Mix things up a little. If you’re into the Bohemian look, don’t wear all the components at once (unless you’re going to a costume party). Wear a peasant blouse with a sleek mini skirt instead of the more expected (and costumey) long gauze skirt. Go back to the peasant thing with either a batik or straw bag or perhaps gladiator sandals with a slight heel to them. Into classic? Don’t do the whole matchy-matchy suit thing with the safe looking (and boring) shirt! Go for one of the new, more feminine and flowing tanks, and add bold jewelry rather than the expected set of pearls. If your “uniform” is jeans and a T with a black jacket and heels, make the heels in a great color or pattern, and wear the classic pearls with this. Or, instead of the T, go for a lacey or sheer blouse with a camisole under it, and the jacket over.

When you buy a 2 or 3 piece outfit, I suggest you to hang those pieces on separate hangers the minute you get them home. Try the pieces with everything in your wardrobe to get a fresh spin on them. You’ll find combinations you may never have considered before and stretch your wardrobe in the process. And it’s not about how much you spend. Re-sale shops are a great source – there is no reason you cannot wear a designer dress with a Goodwill jacket – just make sure it’s well-constructed and in good condition.

It’s not about how much you spend: it’s about knowing who you are and really owning that. And that is priceless.

Elizabeth Sutor is a Makeup Artist and Wardrobe Consultant. She can be reached at or 302.312.9241. Her website is

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