“Ellen” was in her mid-40s and was strikingly beautiful, with sunstreaked wavy blonde hair and a curvy physique.
In one of my Image + Style classes, she explained that she had overflowing closets, but nothing to wear. Using shopping as a distraction from loneliness, Ellen often bought what was on sale or what the salesperson said was the current trend.
Her wardrobe was a confusing montage. It looked not like clothes for different occasions—which we all need—but rather clothes for different people.
Ellen was influenced by external forces to find her look, instead of focusing inward to discover it. To define her authentic personal style, she needed to connect to her true self and her natural physical attributes.
YOUR STYLE IDENTITY
“Style” is about understanding who you are and expressing your point of view in a consistent and recognizable way.
Real style is authentic. Authenticity comes from accepting yourself, not modifying who you are to resemble some imagined, better person. When you express your authentic self, you will attract the people and opportunities that are right for you.
Your style identity consists of your design palette—essentially the physical traits that you came into the world with—and your essence, the vibe you project and the way you show up in the world. Your aesthetic is your essence made manifest to the world. You were born with hair, eye and skin colors, bone structure and body shape. Using complementary colors and shapes in your personal
appearance will enhance those natural traits and create a harmonious effect.
For example, wavy hair and curvy features look best paired with organic shapes (such as the irregular or curved lines found in nature) for clothing, jewelry and hairstyles. Angular features are best accented with graphic lines and sculptured silhouettes.
In Ellen’s case, she described herself as “soft and classic with feminine, flowing lines and an artistic flare.” With this description and her natural attributes in mind, her ideal wardrobe would include cool, pastel colors with soft intensity and curvy shapes to complement her coloring as well as her curvy figure and naturally wavy hair.
Looking like the best version of “You” is the goal. If you are short, for example, wearing high heels does not make you look taller. Instead, wear petite cuts, and use color, line and proportion to look your best.
REFINING YOUR STYLE IDENTITY
Using Ellen’s newly defined style parameters, the process of editing her closet could begin.
Into the “out” pile went clothes she never wore, sentimental items, gifts that didn’t complement her coloring or style, and things she bought just because they were on sale. Bright colors, boxy shapes and frumpy, sexy and overly conservative styles went into the pile as well.
In the “keep” pile were feminine forms with flowing lines that resonated with her coloring and expressed her personality. After editing, what remained was a harmony of color and style.
Looking at her wardrobe, chosen with care from items she already owned, Ellen’s eyes welled up. “This is how I want to look,” she said. “This is me.”
Fredda is a visionary creative director, life stylist and empowering speaker. Her work in style and identity moves image consulting into the field of personal identity. Learn more about Fredda’s work at freddastyle.com.