Understanding and Developing Personal Style

Having a fashionable “style” is something that can be viewed as very subjective for more reasons than one. With all the outside influences from our friends, social media, influencers, and products being pushed into our faces it’s hard to understand what style is meant to be. It can be something that’s tough to fully form and call our own. With all the trends that constantly get shifted around people are hunting them down like pokemon. There’s nothing wrong with taking bits and pieces of inspiration from other people but, when you completely rip and call something your own you lose yourself. You get caught up in an endless cycle of spending money on pieces that you won’t wear 3 seasons from now. You become a fashion victim because you’ll constantly be in on the hunt for what trending next.  As a consumer, you have to understand what fits your profile and it isn’t the price tag of your pieces or the brand. There are 4 basic principles that create a solid style profile and that’s the shape, proportions, color palette, and layering.


Let’s start with the shape. There are 3 types of shapes  

1. The shape of one’s self 

2.The shape of clothing pieces 

3. The shape the gets created when the garments are on your body. 


Take a look at these outfits.

The model in the 1st outfit by Hellessy Resort has a slim body build with long limbs but, the shape of the shirt and trousers is fairly the opposite. The blouse she is wearing is sleekly tapered around her upper body and arms but expands out as it reaches her elbow giving it a ballon like an appearance. The trousers are tapered along the legs but flair out similar to a bell bottom with split seams. The model in the second photo is in an off-white look and is wearing tailoring that’s mostly oversized and slightly elongated at the arms and legs but still meshes well with the model’s body. Elements from both these looks can be used in other styles besides formal or business casual looks. 


Let’s move on to proportions. Proportions are comprised of the figure of the body and its measurements as well as proportions of clothing pieces. With that being said you have to take good care of your body Rick Owens said it best himself “Working out is modern couture. No outfit is going to make you look or feel as good as having a fit body. Buy less clothing and go to the gym instead.”


Take a look at these two outfits.

The 1st look is of stylist Louis Rubi who is around 5’8-5’9 and has a small/slim build. In his look, the proportions of all the pieces he’s wearing are completely oversized but all of the pieces are sound. They don’t overpower each other and the patterns aren’t too loud. There are ways of getting around wearing oversized clothing when you have a small frame you can belt pants in a certain way and tuck in tops a certain way that is appealing to the eyes. Getting pieces adjusted through tailoring is also another option.

The second look is of an older Yohji Yamamoto show, the model is short with a small frame but is wearing a slightly baggy double-breasted blazer with a beautiful pair of pleated holster pants that cascade around his legs to give a uniform look. Both silhouettes complement each other without one being too oversized. 


Now let’s discuss color palette, there are two routes that can be taken when putting together an outfit centered around color.

1. Blend tones and hues of colors

2. Mix and match colors and patterns

The 1st look is something that can be hard to pull off because there is a larger chance for failure if one or two aspects of the outfit are too overbearing it can completely throw off an outfit. Finding the balance between both patterns and colors is key. In the second look, there’s a perfect balance between prints and color blending, even though the stylist took the easy way out by centering the major parts of the outfit around black and white it’s still a solid look.


Finally Layering. Layering can be done using accessories or clothing pieces. Layering pieces in the summer can be a bit more difficult due to the temperature but, understanding the weight of materials and how light reflects and absorbs certain colors can keep you cool.

The 1st look is a solid way of layering a slim knitted sweater under a trench that creates a strong shift from certain fabrics and colors by creating a visual hierarchy. The 2nd look is a strong take of layer denim and workwear with subtle accessories that coexist with colors of the outfit as a whole but, don’t shy away from implementing more color to give more of a standout look. So that wraps it up, remember that solid outfits should be centered around the 4 principles shape, proportions, color palette, and layering. Although name brands can add to an outfit it isn’t the only thing, they’re more than enough second thrifts either online or in-person where you can find solid pieces.