Style is an inside job.
I believe fashion creates and reinforces our focus on the external, and style does the opposite – it brings our focus and attention to the internal.
I’ve written about this before a few times (most recently here) and wanted to give you some tips to help you explore and liberate your own style insight.
Style can’t be purchased in a store. You can buy individual items that contribute to your overall style, sure. But you can’t go out in a single shopping expedition and purchase a stylish wardrobe. It just can’t be done. Why do I say that?
Because style takes time.
Sometimes the majority of a lifetime if the women of Advanced Style have anything to teach us (and I believe they have more to teach us than many of the fashion icons that are thrust upon us in the form of small and silver screen stars, including reality TV stars).
Style must be collected, created and curated.
If you want to liberate your own style insight, give these a try:
1. Stop shopping for a while. If you’re constantly bringing more stuff in, you can’t create a sense of quiet and calm, or an atmosphere of exploration – there’s too much ‘incoming’. Constant shopping creates too much noise, too much external stimulation, too many distractions.
You wouldn’t attempt to meditate with the television on, so don’t attempt to tap into your style insight with too many diversions in the form of new items coming into your wardrobe. What you want is to simply create some room, first and foremost. Just open up the space. And in that space, you can then tune into you. More on this in #2.
2. Tune in more keenly and deliberately to what makes your heart sing when you get dressed. Engage in some trial and error and ask yourself a few insightful questions such as these:
- What do you absolutely adore?
- What makes you feel a million bucks when you wear it?
- What feels a bit daring, a bit exciting, a bit sensational?
- What makes you feel “Oh YES – I’m the me I want to be, wearing this!”?
- What items of clothing do you love, and what ensembles (combinations of items worn together) do you love?
- What items would you buy again today? (so many of the items in our wardrobes we keep simply because they’re there, we already own them. If we had to choose again to buy them, we probably wouldn’t).
These questions are an advance on the 10 questions for finding your style, and will take you from good to great when it comes to curating a wardrobe full of wonderful.
3. Fine tune your style awareness. In the Art Gallery method post, I proposed that true art appreciators excavate why they like or dislike certain things, not just whether they like them or not. Take this same approach to liberating your style insight.
When evaluating an item in your closet – either at the end of a day’s wearing, or during a closet refresh, consider what it is about it that you like or dislike. Do the same if you are out and about in a shopping environment (although keep those to a minimum, as per suggestion #1).
Come up with a criteria of what you love and don’t love. And apply this criteria to other items in your wardrobe.
This is a great way to tap into the hidden magic lurking in your closet and clue you in to what you absolutely adore when it comes to creating your own unique style.