Wardrobe Building: Knowing Your Style

Whether working with a stylist or outfit planning for yourself, it can be very helpful to know three things prior to creating an outfit.

  1. The style you seek.
    • Classic – the workhorse foundation pieces of any wardrobe
    • Minimalist – harder to pull off than you’d think
    • Edgy – popular choice to keep classic from being to basic
    • Bohemian – an easy-going, modern hippie look
    • Romantic – the girly-girl look
  2. How far you want to take that style.
    • 1: a hint of the look
    • 2: moderate
    • 3: full-on version
  3. The environment for which you are dressing.
    • Casual
    • Professional/Corporate
    • Evening/Dressy

Most people have some trouble defining their style so the list below highlights traits, common stores/brands and style icons for several popular fashion styles.  I love to work from a primarily classic wardrobe and then adapt looks to a level 1 or 2 of a different style by using either one clothing piece OR a couple accessories (for level one) or a clothing piece AND a couple of accessories (for level two).  Using this formula keeps me from getting bored but allows to me to maintain a wardrobe that consists of primarily good quality, classic pieces.  Level 3 looks require a bit more commitment to the style as your signature.

Classicclassic-2

Traits
  • Quality fabrics: wool, silk, cashmere
  • Neutral colors but can go into more saturated brights
  • Stripes, herringbone, tweed
  • Tailored, non-exaggerated shapes
Stores/Brands
Icons
  • Kate Middleton
  • Jenna Lyons

Minimalistminimalist

Traits
  • Neutral colors
  • No patterns
  • Simple lines with dramatic or exaggerated shapes
Stores/Brands
Icons
  • Tilda Swinton
  • Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy

Edgyedgy

Traits
  • Leather
  • Heavy use of black
  • Hard details like spikes, studs, chain
Stores/Brands
Icons
  • Kristen Stewart
  • Elizabeth Hurley

Bohemianbohemian

Traits
  • Natural fabrics and accents (cotton, leather, stone, wood)
  • Floral or ethnic patterns
  • Flared trousers, flowing skirts, wedge shoes
  • Fringe, woven or embroidery details
Stores/Brands
Icons
  • Olsen Twins
  • Siena Miller

Romanticromantic

Traits
  • Floral prints, lace
  • Pastels, whites, creams
  • Flowy silhouettes, flared skirts
  • Feminine accents like ruffles and bows
Stores/Brands
Icons
  • Lauren Conrad
  • Florence Welch

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