Be Your Own Personal Stylist--3 Tips To *Love* Your Wardrobe Like Never Before

April 17, 2018
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Some say that style is something you’re born with, but I don’t believe it can’t be learned, or perhaps finessed out of a person. I always say that style is having a point of view, so everyone has it in them, should they choose to explore it.

Fashion can be healing. I love a good makeover show and seeing a spring in someone’s step after a bit of grooming, flattering clothes, and self-care. If you don’t want to hire a stylist, here are 3 tips to be your own and really define your personal style.

How To Be Your Own Personal Stylist

1. Pinpoint What You Like

I’m regularly asked what I look for when I’m shopping, but what I gravitate to may be very different from what you would. My suggestion is to first take the time to figure out what you like. The easiest way to do this is to make Pinterest boards. I divide my style inspiration boards into spring/summer and fall/winter. If you ever come across any photos of outfits on the Internet that speaks to you, simply pin it on one of your boards. You might see some themes emerging.

If you take a look at my fall/winter board, you’ll see a lot of cozy knits and tailored coats, but what surprised me was how much I liked outfits with belted, high-waisted pants. I don’t own pants like these, so now I know what to look for when I’m shopping, especially in chaotic vintage stores.

I also take loads of inspiration from stylish people—see my fashion icon Pinterest board. It’s quite a mixed bag, from the rock star style of Julian Casablancas, and the extravagant designer fashion from Gianna Jun’s Korean dramas, to the usual actresses and It girls known for their good tastes. I may not be duplicating Iris Apfel’s eclectic looks—and simply copying someone else’s style is not honoring your own point of view anyway—but I do see elements of every one of my influences in my own personal style, no matter how subtle.

2. Know What Works for Your Body

Now that you have a general sense of what you like, figure out what flatters your body. These days, clothes are designed to look good on the hanger, which is one of the reasons why tall and skinny women have more options.

If you don’t fit that mold—and few women do—my recommendation is to take a look at stylish women with similar body types for inspiration. With so many fashion bloggers, celebrities, and public figures out there representing different heights, shapes, and backgrounds, there’s bound to be someone whose style you click with. Make a Pinterest board for this too. Notice what kind of clothes complement them, and see how you can put together equally flattering outfits in the styles you like.

Consider your proportions and find the best ways to balance them. I’m a little bottom heavy, so wearing tight jeans with a loose top is a comfortable and casual day look for me. I also like to define the waist, whether that’s with belted dresses or high-waisted pants.

For women of all sizes, a good tailor is your best friend. If something doesn’t fit the way you want it to, get it one size bigger and have your tailor do some magic. If I like the fabric and general style of a piece, but the fit is even a little off, I get it fixed. It really makes a world of difference.

3. Own Quality Basics But Take Chances

For those who have outgrown most of their clothes and want a closet makeover, I recommend building your foundation with a capsule wardrobe. I tend to rely on my neutral basics on days when I don’t want to think about clothes and still want to look put together. Sometimes I’ll wear an outfit that I think is totally unoriginal and uninspired, but others will love it and call me stylish. Go figure. Sometimes less is more. It’s important for me to have the quality basics to offset or complement my more eclectic pieces.

I do think only sticking to a capsule wardrobe is boring. Other times, more is more. It really depends on your mood, and you have to find your balance. I see ethical fashion bloggers doing the 10×10 challenges on Instagram (create 10 looks with 10 pieces), and I think it’s a good exercise in taking what you own and really think about the different ways to wear them. Unless I’m traveling, though, I don’t like to plan my outfits. It’s more work for me. Just grab and go is my motto. Once you own things you love and develop good instincts on what goes well together, getting dressed will be a breeze.

I suspect many are afraid of branching out of their fashion comfort zones. They probably assume certain things won’t look good on them. You wouldn’t know until you try on the pieces you like. How do you know what you need to take a chance on? This brings me to my next tip.

Read more about honing your personal style at

Also by Annie: I Switched To Ethical Fashion & Found My Signature Style. Psst—You Can, Too

Related: How To Wear Leggings Like A Style Icon–Plus 7 Pairs To Go From Yoga To Drinks

Finding Your Style Statement Words

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Photos: Amina Touray

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Annie is a film buff, lit nerd, and the founder of Terumah, a site created for smart young women looking for fun insights on style, beauty, travel, art and pop culture. A member of the Ethical Writers' Coalition, Annie is based in Toronto. Follow Annie on Instagram


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