Updated: Jan 29
"Fashion can be bought, style one must possess" mused Edna Woolman.
Audrey Hepburn, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Diana Vreeland, just to name a few, all dressed in a way that wasn't so much about fashion, but rather a very personal interpretation of who they were. They majored in selecting the colours, cuts, fabrics and shapes which effortlessly celebrated their best features and spirit.
Importantly, they wore pieces that allowed them to shine, rather than the clothing itself.
Read on for my top 7 tips to help you develop your very own great sense of style.
1. Know your colours and how to coordinate them
I recently did a post about the importance of wearing colours that match your natural colouring, and are therefore the most flattering for you. If you don't already have a palette of go-to-colours that you know make you look amazing, do yourself a favour and find out. I promise it will make dressing and shopping so much easier.
It's also super important to know how to combine your colours and understand what level of contrast makes you look your best. While some people will look great in black and white, others look best in a softer combination, such as navy and peach. Explore and allow your best colours to express your individuality and your own style.
2. Invest in timeless neutral pieces
Classic, timeless pieces never go out of style and buying them in your most flattering neutrals is one of the best investments you can make in your wardrobe and your style.
Don't skimp on great pieces such as a classic trench, blazer or shirt which form the foundation of your wardrobe.
When you buy them in your best neutrals,
they will easily stand the test of time and can be paired back year after year with other items in accent colours.
Take the time to find out what neutrals look best on you. Audrey Hepburn favoured black and white, which worked with her dark hair and fair complexion. Nicole Kidman looks great in creams and tans, which flatter her warm undertone.
3. Be objective about your body shape
Forget scrutinising and focusing on every flaw that you see when you look in the mirror - absolutely any body shape can look beautiful in the right pieces of clothing.
Instead of honing in on what you don't like, put the focus on what you do like to show off with clothing that fits you perfectly. Learn to look at clothing in relation to how it fits and emphasises your best parts. Don't get hung up on a certain size or think there is something wrong with you when the clothes don't fit - its the clothes, not you!
Discover what shapes, styles and fabrics are the most flattering for your particular silhouette. If you've got lots of curves, clothing that drapes and moves in and out with your curves will flatter. Straighter body shapes are enhanced by clothing that falls in a straight line.
4. Take some creative risks
Trust your instincts. If you absolutely love something that's outside of what you would normally buy, and it makes you feel good, go for it.
The key is, be willing to experiment. Start with something small, such as a piece of jewellery, and see how it feels wearing it. If you love it, and it feels like you, the only way to really develop and hone your own sense of style is by trying different things. Remember, great style is personal and unique to you. Get inspiration from those whose style you admire, but put your own twist on it.
4. Pull outfits together with accessories
We're often advised against wearing too much jewellery, but the fact is, most people don't wear enough. Well-selected jewellery and accessories are the glue that brings pieces of clothing together and forms an outfit.
Your choice of handbag, earrings, scarves, belts, shoes, even nail colour all have the power to reflect who you are and make your style authentically yours.
Choose accessories that highlight rather than dominate or overpower you, and allow your personality to shine through.
5. Become attuned to what things you like and don't like
When developing your style, it can sometimes be easier to start by thinking about what you don't like - and then rule these out of any future shopping or outfits.
I know that I don't feel good wearing anything that is overly flowing or hippi-esh so it doesn't make up part of my style - ever. By ruling out the things that don't align with us, we will naturally start to become aware of what does feel good for us to wear.
Keep a visual reference of what you do like and use this as your inspiration and filter to build your own style. Once you have a feel for what works for you, stick with it, no matter what trends or fashion fads may come and go.
6. Accept yourself - exactly as you are today
One thing I often hear from women is they are waiting for the moment they become a certain or perfect weight. The fact is that day may, or may not, arrive. Learning to be comfortable with your looks, and dressing in a way that reflects who you are, are key components for developing your own style.
Remember, style is not dependant on a certain weight, age or predetermined notion of beauty. The most radiant woman in the room has something more powerful than just the right clothes, hairstyle and makeup - she has an inner confidence. Make the most of what you have and put your best face forward.
7. Ask yourself the following questions
As you start to hone your style skills, get into the habit of asking yourself the following questions when looking in the mirror and assessing your outfits. You want a big YES to all of these and in the process be paring down the items in your wardrobe to your signature self and style.
Am I wearing my most flattering colours?
Are these clothes enhancing and flattering for my body shape and features?
Do they reflect my personality?
Are they appropriate for the occasion?
Do I feel comfortable?
Do I look terrific?