As professional Stylists/Image Consultants it’s our goal to help clients find the answer to this question. I have realized that it’s a question that most people haven’t given much thought. When we ask clients, we often get answers that relate to personal wardrobe choices, as in “I like to wear denim” or “I’m the most comfortable in sweaters.” One of my favorite answers is, “I only wear flats.” These are good answers to other questions, but they have nothing to do with determining your personal style. Your personal style has more to do with who you are and who you want to rest of the world to see, and maybe even what you want people to know about you. So I’ll ask you again, What does your personal style say about you? Do you want them to see you as Confident? Sophisticated? Successful? Comfortable? Casual? Lackadaisical?
I posed this question to my niece on a recent trip back home. She’s a College Professor at two prestigious universities in the Philadelphia area. At first, she began telling me about the clothing that she preferred to wear until she thought about my question more. Maybe it was the look on my face that caused her to rethink her answer. She came up with “Function and Fashion,” so I asked her why. As a thirty something single professor she says that above all she wants to look cute, and secondly her clothing needs to have a good range of motion and reflect her metaphorical and physical flexibility. As an adjunct Professor, the nature of the job is to be flexible, so she needs her clothing choices to be able to adapt accordingly. Instead of a blazer, she opts for cardigans, because she’s constantly moving when she teaches. Also, you never know where there’s going to be a tech issue that needs to be addressed – a la roll up sleeves and get it done. Also, when running between buildings and campuses, she needs her footwear choices to be functional. As a young, single professional she needs to look cute because you never know when the right person will appear!
Your personal style can also evolve, and not always for the good. A few years back, my niece was walking by a mirror and noticed that function and fashion was being taken over by “Function and Frumpy.” She was wearing clothing that was shapeless with no style or personality. She realized that was not what she wanted to reflect to the world. She’s on a new personal style journey to find herself again and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Personal Style has nothing to do with your size or age, but more to do with making a decision to own who you are and reflect that to the rest of the world. My niece is a smart, beautiful, and accomplished young lady that’s finally embracing her true self. She’s my hero!