The key to your personal style.
Across the Internet, the quest to define one’s personal style has been reduced into instagram posts and Vision Boards. Just complete a Vision Board with things you LOVE, and POOF! you’ll have an easy to follow treasure map that will divulge your personal style.
Suppose you’re drawn to gentle, soft blues and neutral beiges. Tranquility and serenity is the look you want to project. Except, on you it looks like a bowl of oatmeal clumps thrown on a pair of worn-out mom jeans. Yuck.
So no, what you like and dislike is simply a map to your likes and dislikes. That's not a style that speaks for you and says amazing things about you.
In desperation, you turn to magazines, fashion weeks, and designer lookbooks.
Before we go there, let’s remember something. Fashion, Trends, and Couture began as a man’s version of promotion and marketing for his business. Charles Frederick Worth was a dressmaker in Paris back in 1858. He was, essentially, an English street kid born into an impoverished family. At age, 21 he moved to Paris and, after 12 years, he managed to open a business and, like all good business owners; he sought to crush his competition. In those days, each dress was custom made, giving rise to the word “costume” for a set of clothing for women. Custom costumes made for the ball or the party or the luncheon. It was Worth who decided to make dress designing into an exclusive social event.
So fashion? It was born from just another ploy by another showman. Fashion, for all that it’s fun, is not the key to your personal style.
Yet, if it’s not about your likes and dislikes and it’s not about fashion’s latest and greatest, then what? What is your personal style? HOW????
It's in the arts.
To understand, we must move past the mercenary motives and go towards the arts. We must turn to literature to get an idea of what we’re doing here. Shakespeare explained:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts….
The meaning of this portion of the dialogue is that this world is a stage show and we are all in the performance. You can contribute a verse or a monologue. And in your life time you’ll play many rolls.
The Bard was correct and… Oh my goodness, the first thing you’ll need before you hit the stage is (OF COURSE!) a costume!!
Let’s take a moment and consider your personal style from the idea of people looking in at your costume and your performance. What is the role you play in life and what does your set look like? Have you built a stage? Have you put in the effort to understand your play? What are your natural talents? Are you funny? Dramatic? Thoughtful? Quiet? You can be any character. You can compose the dialogue.
You aren't your fears.
You don’t have to be the shy, awkward girl or a grandma in polyester stretch pants. You're free of the labels, fears, and worries. Just play your part.
But the final key to slaying your personal style is to understand this: Personal style is developed from the outside inward rather than from the inside out. To do it otherwise is to signal everyone that, to you, you’re far more important than they are.
In other words, don’t think about your comfort level and don’t think about what you’d like to say to other people. Think about your audience’s comfort level. Think about what you’d like other people to say about you. For that, you must understand them before you can insist they should understand you.
Your personal style is measured in the minds of other people. It’s like a Brand. Think of a box of Kleenex. Say the name and you know what it is, what it does and what to expect from it. You know what it looks like and what it feels like. You know what is smells like and where it goes in your house. One name and you know everything about it. The brand lives in your head.
Now, say YOUR name.
AhhhhHAAAA! Your personal style is really your personal brand.