There are so many types of personal style, it can be hard to narrow down which one works for you. This post will help you identify your personal style.
Do you know what your style archetype is?
Which styles instill the most confidence in you when you wear them? The styles you gravitate towards?
There are so many types of personal style that It’s challenging to determine which one is right for you. The fashion industry has many options that label our style in attempt to make it clear what our style is. But I don’t think they help.
The most popular are the 7 universal style types that are described in the book Universal Style by Alyce Parsons. They are:
Most women are some combination of these, which can get confusing. And these words can be interpreted differently. My dramatic and your dramatic could be wildly different. So how is that a style?
There are the standard archetypes:
These are combinations from the universal style types packaged under a different name. Which is unclear.
I have 4 style types that I use with my clients (and an upcoming quiz), and each has a combination of the 7 universal styles as well. They are:
- California Classic
- British Sophistication
- Metropolitan Chic
- Tailored + Timeless
Using these any of these labels is supposed to put you in a neat little box. This is good when the salesperson at Nordstrom asks if you need help. Why yes, please send me to the Tailored + Timeless with a touch of dramatic section.
See what I mean, it’s not saying anything about your style.
And, sometimes people can’t even identify which box they want to be in.
It’s all a lot. I’m hoping the post can help get you started on creating the best type of personal style for YOU.
Why you need to identify your type of personal style
Do you ever get dressed and feel like a kid in your mother’s clothes? You are trying to imitate your favorite celebrity or influencer, but you feel like a fraud.
Or, do you look at your overstuffed closet and think, I don’t have a thing to wear? You realize that nothing works together. You have gathered some great pieces but in various styles.
These are reasons why you need to know what your style is.
Otherwise, you’ll continue to dress like other people, but it will never feel right.
You’ll keep buying things so you have something to wear. But, the lack of consistency in your style will mean that nothing works together. This will keep your closet cluttered with things you don’t love. And make it difficult to get dressed each morning.
This is why it’s important to identify your type of personal style.
Using words to describe your personal style?
The first thing I do with my 1:1 clients is trying to put a finger on what they want to look and feel like when they get dressed. How they want to show up in the world each day. Rather than have them pick a style archetype, I have them tell me the words they want their clothes to exude.
Using words allows many style types to enter the equation. It also gives them the freedom to create their own unique style.
I’ll walk you through the process as I do with my 1:1 clients.
First, select one feeling word. A word that you want to feel when you get dressed. Some example words are:
You pick. Any word that describes how you want to feel when you put on your clothes.
Then you should select 3-4 visual words. Words that you want to see reflected back when you look in the mirror. These are words that people at the office, school, or grocery store would use to describe your wardrobe. They should explain how you wish to show up in the world.
You can also hyphenate words. I have a client who uses sexy-cute. Sexy and cute are two different visuals. Sexy-cute provides a third visual. And, it’s perfect for HER style and a total fit.
She created this style archetype for herself. And it works.
If you’re having trouble coming up with your words pull out your favorite clothing items and use words to describe them. If you use the same words to describe multiple items, these should be some of your words.
What do I do with these words now that I’ve chosen them?
Use these words as your North Star to guide you in your wardrobe selection. When you clean out your closet, make sure these words align with your clothes. If they don’t, let them go. They have served you well but it’s time to bless and release them.
When you are shopping be sure you have your style words handy. When selecting clothing items, ask yourself if they line up with your words. If they don’t, then don’t purchase them.
It’s a practice in admiring beautiful clothes, but understanding that you don’t have to have them all.
Soon you will see start feeling better in your clothes. The items in your closet will begin to work together. You will likely have fewer items, which makes it so much easier to get dressed each morning.
You will feel like yourself in your clothes. Not an imposter. But you have to start by clearly understanding what you want to look and feel like. Otherwise, it will be muddied.
What should I do next?
Know that this is not a one-and-done exercise. Your ideal type of personal style may change through the years, this is totally natural. You should revisit these words often and make changes as needed.
Once you nail your words, remember that there are other important elements to creating your style. Things such as identifying and dressing your body shape. Knowing the best way to wear or style your clothes. Creating a closet that all works together with a capsule wardrobe. Choosing your words is just the first step in identifying which types of personal style works for you.
Let me know in the comments what words you’ve selected to start your style journey.