Move over Gok! Defining your own personal style

From Trinny & Susannah to Gok Wan and websites like Dressipi, there’s no shortage of people ready to analyse you and tell you how to dress. While this type of advice can be very useful in helping to focus on styles that may suit you, it’s still important to let your own fashion personality shine through. Read on to find out how to rock your own individual look…

Dressipi style recommendations
Sites like Dressipi can give you recommendations on styles to suit you, but these shouldn’t be considered hard and fast rules

I’m a firm believer in the view that while it’s great to have a few key principles in mind to help guide your choices, if you see a top, or a pair of jeans and really love them, then you shouldn’t be put off just because it’s on the “no list” for your perceived shape. Style advice isn’t an unbreakable code – it’s more of a guideline (yes, I did just steal that line from Captain Barbosa in Pirates of the Caribbean!)

What is personal style?

It’s something – maybe a pattern, a style of garment or even a whole look – that’s “you”. Something you feel comfortable and confident in; something you’re drawn to whenever you go clothes shopping. It could be a particular shade of red, or a length of skirt, or a style of trouser. It could be an affinity for stripes or a preference for the androgynous look. Whatever it is, when you wear it, you feel more like yourself and less like you’re an actor wearing a costume. If you’re not sure what the elements of your personal style are, then imagine that you’re getting ready for a bit of a stressful day, where you need to feel confident and sure of yourself. What are you wearing? That’s a good place to start.

But how do you know the difference between your personal style and passing trends?

It’s about whether the detail that you’re all excited about is something fleeting or more longer lasting. The key question to ask yourself is “Would I still want to wear this style/hemline/pattern/colour next season? Next year? In five years time?” If the answer’s yes, then it’s more likely to be an element of your personal style.

But I’m a …. shape and I find myself really drawn to …., which every style guide says is the exact opposite of what I should be wearing

As I said above, style guides are a great place to start, especially if you’re unsure when clothes shopping. But they should be helpful, not rigid fashion laws. In fact, I think I’d even go as far as to say this applies even if you’ve had a professional 1-1 consultation. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to wear the clothes every day, so if you enjoy them, that’s all that matters. If following guidelines helps you feel more confident, then great, but let’s remember that fashion and style are fun, and nobody has any right to judge you. Not me, not the passerby on the street, not Trinny and Susannah and their mirrors of shame.

What’s your personal style?

I’d love to know what you’d consider makes up your own style, so please leave a comment or a link at the end of the post.

And, because fair’s fair, here are 3 elements of my style:

Knee length dresses

Knee length dress from Yours

I love dresses at this length, especially if they have a swishy skirt because you can wear them just about anywhere, and they walk the line between too young and too old and frumpy perfectly. I have so many knee length dresses in my wardrobe because you just don’t have to think about putting an outfit together when you’re half asleep and in a rush in the mornings. Dress + cardi and you’re done.

Bold prints

Bold print 'Morning Meander' top from Modcloth

This is a prime example of how you don’t need to feel bound by the “rules” of fashion. How many times have you heard it said that plus size people should avoid large prints because it will make you look bigger? I say stuff that! I’m a size 26, there’s no way that spending my life in head to toe black is ever going to convince anyone that I’m actually a size 10. If my size bothers them, then it’s up to them not to look and in the meantime I’ll have fun playing with loud prints, thank you very much!

Bright colours

Red mac from Simply Be

Again, I’m not going to spend my life hiding behind the colours at the muted end of the palette when I can play with electric blues, canary yellows and bright crimsons instead. Not only do I feel like I have an invisible glow when I wear bright colours, I like to think it also makes me conveniently easy to spot in a crowd when going out to meet friends.

What do you think? Do you feel comfortable going against fashion opinion, or do you think guidelines are there for a good reason? Let me know…


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