Style should be easy. If there are 7 billion people on earth, there are 7 billion styles. Because each person is not like the remaining 6.999 billion people.
But yes, coming back, style should be easy. It should not be difficult to execute. And it should be personal and a reflection your own personality rather than a blatant copy.
It cannot be borrowed. Inspired yes, but not borrowed.
Which is why I do not follow trends. Neither do I follow celebrities. I find that most celebrities have a team of stylists who tell them what to wear and how to wear. Social media has amplified so much that even ‘Airport looks’ are a thing.
Style is evolutionary. What you liked 10 years ago, you may not want to touch it with a barge pole now.
I have struggled hard to find out what that sweet spot is when it comes to my own style. Something that will remain unchanging.
I am not fashionable. Neither am I trendy. It is also not a carefully crafted statement.
It was something that I arrived at gradually. Trying, erring and selecting. I have been selective. To the point of being persnickety. And I think I can say that I have arrived at my own personal style. Something that will remain innately me. Over a long period of time.
This post I am writing is mainly for youngsters in their early 20s, who are trying to find out what should be their fashion statement. To simplify your journey. And not spend so much time in figuring it out.
I was, am and will be in the business of Communication.
Image is a crucial part of the business. And since we are in the ‘Age of Authenticity’, it becomes especially easy to be ourselves. It is so much easier that way.
If we are not being authentic, we are lying. And that’s never good for business.
So first let me debunk some myths about what style isn’t.
Style is not for the rich only
If you have a keen observation, you will realise that even your househelp may have her own style. I often look at people on the street for ideas or inspiration. How many times have we looked at Kim Kardashian or Priyanka Chopra for inspiration on their clothes.
Style is not wearing designer clothes
Designer wear can be aspirational. Sabyasachi and Anavila are my favourite designers. And they are highly aspirational. But I can own a personal style even without them. One doesn’t need to liquidate an FD for it.
Style is not copying your favourite celebrity
Celebrities give all kinds of fashion goals. But always remember that they have a team behind them. Their body type is different. And so is yours. What works for them, cannot possibly work for you.
You don’t have to be stylish person to find your style
Your clothes should reflect you and you alone. Not the other way round.
If style is not personal, it kind of defeats the purpose. Sorry to break it to you like this.
Finding your style is a step towards understanding yourself. And not just outwardly.
The manifestation is external. Most of it is internal. But this is not a post on ‘how to increase your self-confidence’. That will remain for another day, another time. And I got to disclaim that I am neither a fashion expert nor a domain authority on self-confidence tips.
But I do have experience in how to find your personal style.
When I was shopping for a watch before leaving for the UK for my post grad, I bought a cheap watch worth 700/- from a grey market store. My only criteria was that the dial should have Roman numerals.
I wanted a round dial, but I got a rectangular one. I wanted a tan leather strap, but I got a black one. Cut to, when the leather strap broke and I had to replace it and spend a dear sum of 10 pounds on a steel strap. The two silvers – the tone of the metallic frame of the dial and the spanking new strap didn’t match. Anywho, got it willy nilly and I am back in India.
Strangely so, this old watch with the steely look was a hit amongst my friends and colleagues.
I always regard watch as a necessary accessory.
I continue to wear it because it is in perfectly good condition.
Moral of the story – Inexpensive piece of accessory but gave me great value because I was conveying something of style to those around me who appreciated that watch.
Am I making sense?
So, coming back to how to find your personal style:
- Knowing your body type
This is nothing to do with size. Clothes should flatter you. Not overwhelm you. So I feel I have a nice neck. I wear clothes that show more of it. Therefore, I avoid shirt collars, T shirts collars or any kind of design which hides my neck.
And please don’t bracket yourself into pears, apples or triangles. Instead, wear different types of clothes, and strut in front of the mirror. See whether you feel good in it. If yes, go for it.
Remember, there is no right or wrong here.
Somebody had told me, don’t wear floral prints, it makes you look bigger.
I took it seriously and wore only solids for a good number of years. Till I realized that I was denying myself the joy of wearing floral prints that I so love. But I got to tell you that even with plains and solids, I had a blast because it helped me get creative with colour combinations.
2. Finding a Style Inspiration
Finding Style inspiration is easy. It used to be. Because usually style inspirations are celebrities. Actors, Singers, Musicians, Media personalities.
I am increasingly feeling that these days none of these celebrities have their own distinctive style.
A Kriti Sanon, a Janhavi Kapoor, a Sara Ali Khan are versions of each other.
But I find Kangana Ranaut having her distinctive style, even though her media brand is extremely questionable these days.
The point is to find your inspiration but add your own flavour to it and make it your own.
Wear it like it matters. Only then will you own it.
3. Define it
Ok, I am going to contradict myself immediately. There are style categories – classic, bohemian, romantic, casual, Dramatic and so on. Tons of blogs will give you how to dress up to fit into these categories.
Point is, you cannot bucket yourself into any of these. You cannot be one of them all the time for every occasion.
Because every occasion is a different mood and with a different audience. You got to clothe yourself accordingly.
I would like to define my personal style as comfort-ready.
There you go, I have defined it. I cannot be in anything that’s uncomfortable.
It is my paramount requirement.
So, you can go for an elegant saree with a really bohemian blouse. And you can do dramatic eye make-up. What is the resultant look? Neither of the categories right?
What you have effectively done is that you have mixed it up. A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.
So, while I would choose a saree that’s classic say lime a plain linen saree, I would pair with a random blouse, which may look edgy or bohemian. I might again go for simple earrings to offset it, which could be termed as casual.
But I have a final look that suits the occasion, worthy of comfort and builds my confidence. And is a 100% me.
I did this over a period of time and I saw that a pattern emerged.
4. Have Fun
Fashion is supposed to be fun. The process is creative. If something doesn’t look good on you, and someone actually points it out, evaluate it. The person is not you and is not walking in your shoes.
Follow trends if you think you will look good in them.
Try out new things.
Push the envelope every now and then to keep things fresh.
I wrote earlier that I steer clear of round necks. But I explored wearing them.
It looked alright.
You style is your personality and your clothes are a reflection of your personality.
Remember that as long as you are comfortable and confident, you can pull off anything.
5. And last but not the least, Practice
My sister after she got married, had switched to sarees and salwars.
Weight issues etc were looming on her mind. But one day, she wore jeans and came over to my place. Different yes, Weird, no!
She said I want start wearing them again. She did and she carries them so well now. She made people get used to the idea of seeing her in jeans. Now she is comfortable in all kinds of pants.
I hope I have managed to hrow some light on the intended subject.
Write to me via email or leave a comment below on your journey. A chat always helps to figure out things.