How To Find Your Style…

The timeless man-tailored elegance from Ralph Lauren

For this week’s 15th Anniversary online post, let’s look back at this double-header style motivation post on FocusOnStyle from 1999 on how to find your style.

If chic style is what you’re after, I can help you redifine what chic is for you in my C’est Chic Crash Course. I hope you’ll join me.

How to find your style can be perplexing. But not if you simplify what you need to know to look great…

Two-Up For Something New: Stymied For Style and Fashion Puzzle

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]ear Sharon:
I’ve just switched careers and aside from the obvious more casual dress code, I am having some daily doldrums regarding my appearance.

Everything from makeup (or the lack thereof) to the horrific amount of time it takes me to fret through my entire wardrobe and still leave the house feeling funny needs reworking. How does one find their “style”?

I want to look simple, but elegant; classy, but hip. Any help regarding this would be greatly appreciated. – Bloodhound for Style (Carmichael, CA)


Dear Bloodhound for Style: As much as typical corporate dress can bore the bang out of you, it does offer an easy way out for someone who wants to avoid having closet encounters of the closest kind.

Once you’re out of the corporate uniform, suddenly a world of fashionable possibilities opens up and it’s pretty intimidating not to know where to begin. That’s where that funky feeling of leaving the house stylishly out of whack begins.

Sometimes, you actually are looking pretty darn good, but you’re just not perceiving yourself that way since the regenerated you is fairly new.

Other times, you can be right- spending a ghastly amount of time attempting to pull yourself together and still looking like you spun the fashion dog’s tail once around too many aaaarawff!

“Simple, but elegant” and “classy, but hip” blends a perfect recipe for a look that’s exemplifies clean, modern style. Okay, so that’s a whole lot of adjectives to describe the style of, let’s say, Gwyneth Paltrow.

As much as I despise aspirational celebrity fashion and rather think about making the most of what you’ve got, sometimes choosing a role model for style, helps outline what kind of clothes you see yourself wearing.

Find a person, famous or friend, that has the style you covet  hopefully, she will have a similar figure type. Examine what makes her look click and grab on to it. Then tweak her look with your individuality to make it more personal.

Although you’ve just abandoned the shield of business dress, you still want to include some “uniform” pieces in your revived casual wardrobe.

Find a skirt, pants, and shirt in the right style that acts as both your rainy day outfit when you have no time to get creative and as the glue to make all your other separates work together. Once you’ve got wardrobe basics down, add on to your inner style-diva’s content. Don’t forget a fabulous pair of shoes!

The same goes for makeup. Invest in a makeup artist to lay the groundwork for your “natural” face and get a good, manageable haircut while you are at it. Get whatever cosmetics you need for a basic, natural faceů then go crazy with color and dabs of of-the-moment cosmetic abandonment just because!

You have to feel at ease with yourself to look fantastic– stop straining and simplify your look with only the most chic basics that work best ů then, go hog wild with all those extras that make fashion fun and personal. Style on!

Fashion Puzzle

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]ear Sharon:
I have taken zillions of those personality style tests and would like to say I come out as one style type or another every time, but I don’t.

I know it’s probably not necessary to follow those ideas to the letter anyway, but to be honest, I have been unable to really ‘know’ myself, and identify some type of leanings in style.

It is important to me that I can say I’m a romantic, or a dramatic, and feel self-assured when I shop and dress.

I’ve been in the beauty consulting business for many years and I’m a 39 year old mom of three who stands 4’11” and is small boned, with long dark hair, dark brown eyes, and a light, cool complexion. I seem to lean towards florals, black, jewel tones, cools, flowing things, and anything vintage. I hate suits, pearls, sneakers, and anything too formal or stiff.

Could you give me some suggestions on finding a quiz or book that would give me a better idea for finding my true style? I would really appreciate any help you could give me, and thank you for taking time to read my letter. -Operation Style Quest (Sayreville, NJ)


Dear Operation Style Quest: Don’t get so stuffed down that it becomes a chore.

Personality quizzes are a terrific way to pass the time when you’re penned in a doctor’s waiting room or stuck on an airplane, but not to be taken as a serious way to map out your life.

Pluck up the courage to abandon those pigeon-holing labels and be yourself.

Think of yourself as the most diverse actress in theaterů everyday you get to star in a different play. On one day, you play a bohemian goddess, the next you play a minimalist dilettante.

Your abilities are so adept that they refuse to let you be typecast.

You seem to have much more of a descriptive sense of style than what you give yourself credit for. Find your “true style” by wearing what’s the most becoming to you, appropriate for the situation, and most important-what makes you feel good about yourself.

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Original Publish date: Published on January 01, 1998

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