Emma’s Style Corner: How to find your personal style

By Emma Ingenohl – 1851 Contributor

Graphic by Emma Ingenohl

In a world full of social media, mico-trends, influencers, and Shein, fashion and style as we once previously knew them are changing drastically. Trends are coming and going faster than ever before, leading to overconsumption and wastefulness. We’re being conditioned to think we need a different outfit for every occasion or every new Instagram post. An easy way to break out of this cycle is to find your own personal style true to you. Personal style is all about wearing what makes you feel good and most like yourself. It’s a form of self expression, just like all other art forms. Here are some easy ways you can dig deeper into yourself and the world of style to find your personal style:

Take note of your interests, values, personality traits- We can gain a lot of inspiration from the things we already enjoy. For example, are you a reader? Do you like a particular genre of music? Are some of your favorite movies or characters a reflection of how you see yourself or how you want to be? What means a lot to you? How would you describe yourself? Getting to know yourself through conscious effort may help you to figure out what types of styles you enjoy wearing. Maybe you’re a minimalist with a love for modern chic. Or maybe you’re a Gilmore Girls stan and get your inspo from the early Aughts.  

Search for inspiration beyond Instagram and Pinterest- If you’re seeking to break away from the grain, it’s best to stop looking for inspiration on social media channels, especially Instagram and Pinterest. These sites are hubs for microtrends and unrealistic expectations. Instead, try searching for designers who may capture a style or essence that speaks to you. Watch runway shows, process videos, and interviews. Learn about fashion from the past century. Fashion is cyclical just like anything else, so if something about 1970s fashion inspires you, there is likely a way to portray those fashions in a modern way. Look outside the box, maybe take a deep dive into your grandparents’ closet. 

Explore different styles- Just because you want to develop a new style does not mean you will know right away what that style is. And that’s okay! It’s okay to try out some different styles when you’re in the process of finding your personal style. In fact sometimes personal style is a mixture of a lot of different styles. The more you can experiment with fashion, the more comfortable you will be with it. How best to do this sustainably? That leads us to our next tip:

Source second-hand- Getting clothes from second-hand sources such as Ebay, Depop, Poshmark, Goodwill, Saver’s, etc., is an eco-friendly way to find original pieces specific to your personal style. Again, fashion is cyclical, and second-hand stores and marketplaces are a great way to find vintage garments that are just as stylish now. In fact, second-hand clothes are a great way to help develop your personal style because every item is different and likely something you haven’t seen before on anyone else. When you see something you like, you’ll know it’s of interest because you’re relying solely on your own opinions, taste, and style!

Block out the noise and wear what makes you feel good- Even though it can be hard, try your best to block out the noise of what the masses are saying and doing and don’t be afraid to follow your own path. It’s not a bad thing to like and wear a particular trend either! Certain trends will likely be part of your personal style. But, do not feel influenced to wear something just because everyone else is. We had this saying on my high school volleyball team: look good, feel good, play good. I believe that applies to all aspects of life. When you think you look good (whatever that means to you), you’re going to feel good (confident), and you’re going to play good (give a good presentation, crush an interview, etc.)

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