Creating Your Own Personal Style

Posted March 27, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Building Your Brand
You wake up in the morning, you wander over to a dark closet and you decide in a half-asleep state what to wear that day. Perhaps you grab the first pair of pants you see and a cardigan. Maybe you make it easy and grab a suit or a simple dress. Then there’s jewelry – simple, silver, gold, pearls? What’s the easiest? But at any time in this daily closet pull, do you think about your style? Do you think about what your style says about you – to coworkers, friends, potential clients, leaders, etc. Having a personal style isn’t just for readers of Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily. It’s something that can differentiate you, add to your poise, and enhance your personal brand.

Finding your personal style isn’t as difficult as you might think. You can certainly hire a personal stylist – someone who will help you by going through your current closet, creating outfits, and assisting you in shopping for staples you might be missing. If you have the extra cash, hiring a stylist can be a fantastic investment. But if you’re not ready to make the commitment, it’s easy to discover your own personal style with just a little bit of research and decision-making.

  • First, find your inspiration. Think of celebrities whose style you admire, movies where women in your industry are featured, retail stores that appeal to you, etc. Find photos that make you think, “I would love to look like that.” Start compiling these as inspiration.
  • Second, set your goal. In a perfect world, if someone were describing your style, what would they say? Which words would you hope they use? Choose three or four as the goal for your personal style.
  • Make your shopping list. To achieve your personal style words and to look similar to your inspiration photos, make a list of the staple pieces you’ll need. Is every picture you chose in a skirt? You may need to invest in some pencil skirts. Are they all in layers? Grab some jackets.
  • Shop in your own closet first. Now that you know what you need, go shopping – but shop in your closet first. Since you’ve narrowed down what you want, you may find you already have it.
  • Take your time. Once you have an idea of what you need, it would be easy to shock your closet and your credit card with a whirlwind shopping spree. But don’t. You might think you dream of wearing a dress every day in your personal style vision, and find out quickly you hate wearing tights or the undergarments you need to make that dress look fab. Give yourself some time to test your ideas.

About a year ago, I did the exercise above. The first photo I pulled was of ‘Miranda’ from Sex and the City the Movie, then I looked for a photo of Kerri Russell, then over to Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. What I detected was my own love of jackets, sweater jackets, big cowl necks and scarves – mostly with pants, but some skirts. I then thought about the words I wanted people to say about me – smart, stylish, flexible, fashionable. All of these things worked for me. Here’s the vision board I put together for my style:

What I learned from exploring my own closet is that I had a lot of jackets – but not a lot of scarves, cowl necks, and smart sweaters to go underneath. I wore most of my jackets with simple camisoles. So it was easy to adjust my style by buying a few staple sweaters and scarves. I also invested in a whole cadre of pants, but later realized I’m not a big pants person. I’m a dress girl. I wish, now, that I would’ve purchased just one or two pair of pants instead of five or six and let myself ease into it.

Overall, I now spend more time thinking about my personal style when I open my closet in the morning. I hope you will too.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."