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Finding your personal style

My love for fashion began at a very young age. It began with my mom, who was a seamstress or a dressmaker as we would say in Jamaica. Her business, Nel-Mar Fashions, made everything from school uniforms to bridal gowns. I remember spending hours in the dress shop after school watching her take so much pleasure creating these pieces and having satisfied customer.

Mommy would also make our clothes and she often listened to our input. I have so many of these outfits etched in my brain. My primary school class party outfits, my high school prom dress and even my university presentation suits were all created by her.

She was my first fashion icon, she loved to dress up and she looked forward to every event because she was going to make something special, something one of a kind.

Personal style howerver, is much more than loving fashion and playing dress up. Your personal style is a part of your persona. It is in fact a communication tool. When you enter a room, before you speak, you are first seen and an impression is made of you.

There is no denying that clothing is integral; it distinguishes cultures, religion, status and profession. Clothing is also functional and it is a form of self expression. Whether we take fashion seriously or not personal style is something that we all have to consider. And for some this is very challenging.

While I am not a Personal Stylist or Image Consultant. I am, after a bit of trial and error and growth, finally at a sweet spot with my personal style. And several of my friends and collegues have often asked that I help them with their style. And this is actually something that I really enjoy doing.

So let's get into the basics of discovering your personal style!

Personal style is not just for some persons

Some of us may think that personal style requires too much attention and it is reserved for the fashion girls. On the contrary, having a personal style saves us from going shopping every single time we need to go somewhere. And it also prevents us from feeling defeated every time we are getting dressed. When we get dressed and leave our homes what we wear is communicating something.

We want to look good and feel confident. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom whose social activities mostly involve the kids and a few dinner dates and girls night in between. Or you work five days a week in a uniform and on your weekends you like to travel, go to concerts and enjoy fine dining. Regardless of your lifestyle we all put thought into where we are going and what we should wear.

Be deliberate about your personal style

The youtube videos entitled How to Look Expensive really irritate me. Personal style does not need to include expensive items. Be more concerned about what you are communicating. Do you need to be professional? Formal? Or Casual? Taking care to be appropriate, modest, comfortable, clean and neat are more important than looking expensive.

Be wary of trends

If I see one more unboxing of that Fendi baguette sequins bag I am going to scream.

The downside of looking at our fashion favs on social media is the fact that they all tend to carry the same trendy items. And these may not be your style. But after seeing it a gazillion times we start to think we need it.

Style influences can come from anywhere. I remember oohing and awing over the gossip girls. The preppy chic NYC style was everything to me. And that looked has influenced my style especially after living in New York City.

While trends are fun. It is better to have a base wardrobe with classic timeless pieces that can be worn repeatedly and in a variety of ways.

Be realistic - budget and lifestyle

Curate things that will fit your current lifestyle. Not your desired lifestyle. If you do not go on tropical holidays you do not need resort pieces. If your vacations are camping, hiking and yoga retreats, you will need to shop accordingly. And please, do not buy stilettos shoes if you cannot wear them well.

Every woman does not need a designer bag. In fact, nobody does. Do not be flustered by the endless lists of must-haves (there really are just a few of these).

There are so many styles of shoes and bags and clothing that I see each season that are absolutely gorgeous but have no place in my life. They would literally sit in my closet. Knowing your personal style curbs the tendency to make impulse purchases and create waste.

So while I may admire the style from Sex and the City.. Let us be real, if I had Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe I would still have nothing to wear to the places that I needed to be.

Enjoy your wardrobe

Being casual doesn't mean sloppy. and being professional doesn't mean being boring and uninteresting. Also having a personal style does not mean I will not wear leggings, a hoodie and my UGG boots to the supermarket. It means that you have curated pieces that you enjoy and feel comfortable wearing. You know where you need to be and exactly what to put on.

Looking effortless, requires effort (that's the gag). It is like meal prep. Sure it requires thought and work to shop and put your menus together for the week. But it is sure worth it when you can simply come home and fix dinner in 10 minutes, effortlessly.

The outfit pictured is neutral toned, can be worn to drop off the kids, go to the office then meet the girls for drinks.

Pinterest is a great place to look for help when finding your personal style. Try not to get carried away. Stick to the points above. If you feel clueless ask for help, ask a colleague or friend whose style you admire. Hire an Image Consultant to get you on the right path if necessary.

Have you found your personal style? What was your process?


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