What Do You Like?

The first step to defining what makes up your personal style is to work out what you like. This doesn’t mean copying celebrity outfts top to toe, it means finding things that inspire you and working out what makes you tick.

There’s no short cut to this, but there are some steps you can take that might help

  • Go for a walk

Not just down the high street but down the side roads and the kookier areas of your nearest big town. What catches your eye? Don’t just think about the clothes in the shop windows, look at the people on the streets and the shops themselves.

Near me is a shop that has been empty a few months. Someone has started to do it up. They have removed the sign and underneath is a shabby vintage painted sign reading “Cosy Cafe”. The inside of the shop has slightly shabby sanded floorboards and is completely bare apart from an elaborate pristine white painted cabinet with curlicued corners and scrolled feet. To me, this defines my style, or how I would like to think of my style and it always catches my eye. It’s simple and elegant, the colours are muted, not over accessorised, but with a girly vintage feel.

  • Build a Lookbook

When you are reading blogs or magazines keep a note of what appeals to you. Save pictures to a folder on your computer and over a time you should see a theme emerge. Maybe there’s a lot of black, studding and killer heels and it’s that rock chick look that appeals to you, maybe it’s full of whimsical floaty fabrics or Mad Men style tailoring.

If no theme immediately jumps out at you try looking closer at the pictures you’ve saved. It might be a feel that appealed to your rather than the clothes themselves.

For me these 2 pictures really appeal. Although the actual clothing is very different in each picture, and I can’t really see myself wearing any of it, they both have a sense of quiet and whimsy that appeals to me. They feel magical. Detailed, but not fussy.

  • Look at your own photos

Many of us take photos, upload them to our computer and then never look at them again. Go back, look at old photos of yourself. What outfits do you like best? Why? How do they make you feel now when you look at them and how did they make you feel when you wore them?

Start taking your own outfit photos if you have the inclination. It might sound obsessive if you’re not a blogger or involved in an outfit sharing community, but think of it like a diet. Do this for a few weeks, look back over it and see what you’ve learnt and what changes it inspires you to make in the future.

Since I started taking outfit photos for Retro Chick I’ve felt that my personal style has evolved more naturally as I’m more aware of the outfit choices I have made in the past.

My first ever outfit picture for Retro Chick in September 2008. I liked the platform peep toes, I liked the full skirt and it’s length, the nipped waist and the shape of the top. I didn’t like the print on the T Shirt, prints like that just aren’t really me, I think my waist could do with more definition and I really need to stand up straight, I also think my hair colour is blah. Lessons learned for future shopping and hair dye experiments.

  • What did you wear as a teenager?

Teenage you didn’t care if the boss thought her tights were weird and she didn’t have bills to pay so that disposable income all went on clothes. Were you all crazy coloured hair and tights or did you spend your days dressed in black listening to the Cure? Maybe you saved up for the latest trainers, or maybe you lusted after little black Chanel dresses and bought copycats from TopShop?

This won’t be your look now, but it might help you to think about the way you dressed when you weren’t dressing for anyone else.

Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of style you like it’s time to think about Who you are in Part Three.

Photo by mydearDelilah

Photo by kalandrakas