What’s Your Style?

Do you feel confused when you look into your wardrobe? Are you overwhelmed when you go shopping? What is your style? For clothes? For shoes? For accessories?

Finding your style is never going to be quite as easy as 1-2-3, but it is possible and rewarding.

The most elegant women are those who have discovered their personal style and who, through years of dressing themselves with care, know exactly what suits them and stick to it.

-A Guide to Elegance, by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux

What's Your Style?

One: Realise that one of the more important (and more ignored) secrets to dressing with style isn’t having a lot of clothes. It isn’t wearing designer clothes or expensive clothes. It’s first and foremost about how you wear the clothes you have.  Clothes that are clean and tidy will always look neat.

Two: Accessories are important. Remember that it’s how you wear your clothes that is stylish. Everyone recognises that a pair of jeans and a blouse is smarter than a pair of jeans and a hoodie. (Although a hoodie has its place in a stylish wardrobe!) A pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt isn’t usually smart, but add a scarf and it is — and then add a nice pair of shoes and a pretty bracelet and it’s dressy.

Accessories like scarves and bracelets tend to cost less than the main part of outfits or bits of outfits such as skirts and blouses. Buy accessories with caution. Many cheap accessories are cheap because they are made by people working in slavery conditions. Many nicer accessories are free from the sweatshop labour issues, but they are more expensive. How much are you prepared to pay for a scarf or a bracelet? Check charity shops and thrift stores for bargains. Check your favourite stores during sales. When buying accessories, ask:

  • However great it looks on the model, does it reflect my personality?
  • However good it looks in the shop, will I wear it in my real life?
  • However cheap it is, does it complement or enhance any of my clothes?

Three: Do you know a woman who dresses with style? This might be a woman you already know personally or a woman you know of. For example, my pastor’s wife always dresses with style. I don’t want to dress exactly like her (she’s older than me and in a different season of life), but I’ve noticed that she’s always dressed neatly and that she adds feminine touches to her outfits. Likewise, I’ve noticed that the Duchess of Cambridge dresses with style. I personally wouldn’t wear many of her outfits (they aren’t exactly my taste), but I’ve noticed that — in newspaper and television pictures — she’s always dressed with dignity and elegance. Think about who inspires you to dress with style. What is their style? What makes their style distinctive and lovely? How can you learn from them, not to copy their style, but to discover and enhance your own style?

Four: Create your own book of “style”. You can use a notebook or an old envelope to collect pictures of outfits you like, snapshots of colours that attract you, or swatches of fabric you think may work for you. Keep your eyes open and your mind alert and it won’t take long before you have a sampling of designs and colours and fabrics that you form your own personal style. These shouldn’t be things you think you should like, but things you do like — outfits that you think you’d wear, colours that make your heart happy, fabrics that feel good under your fingertips. Some of the outfits may need “tweaking” — perhaps you love the combination of that skirt and that jacket, but the skirt is way too tight. Or perhaps the jacket is far too expensive. That’s okay. Hopefully you’re seeing your style emerge from the clippings.

Five: And, finally, the bit that is most fun and most challenging simultaneously is asking:

  • What style suits my body?
  • What style fits my lifestyle?
  • What style expresses my personality?

The goal at this stage is to identify what sort of clothes suit your body, fit your lifestyle and express your personality. This is the time to whisper a prayer for wisdom as the media and the clothing industry tells you how you “should” look and what you “must” wear. This is the time to ask mothers or sisters or husbands what they think. It’s the time to be honest with yourself in the fitting room and look at your refection from all angles.

We all have different body shapes and lifestyle needs — we can’t ignore them, wearing only what we like, and hope to dress with style.  For example, if the style of skirts you like accentuates your wide hips then don’t wear that style of skirt. If the style of shoes you like stops you from chasing your toddler around the house then don’t wear that style of shoes at home. Save the heels for dates with your husband, or a later season in life.

When you discover a style that you like, that you feel comfortable and confident in, and that you can wear physically and practically — then you’ve discovered your style.

And remember that your clothes, stylish or not, don’t affect your worth as a child of God. It doesn’t matter if you don’t care what your style is or if you never discover your style. It doesn’t matter if the style you like, initially, doesn’t suit your body or fit your lifestyle. What matters is that, whatever you wear, you wear it for the glory of God.

Elisabeth Allen
A scribbler from England who loves God and people, life and beauty ... and hope! What's better than hope - wonderful as it is! - is discovering and sharing it with others in words and pictures.
Elisabeth Allen

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conversations between sisters in Christ

  1. says

    What about us young ladies whose mothers insist we always wear long skirts and we feel better in jeans? (The jeans we’re not supposed to wear, but do in our rooms…) Should we just wait until we move out to find our style?

    • says

      Samantha, I understand exactly where you are at! My parents and I struggled with each other greatly at times over my clothing choices when I was younger and lived at home. (Now that I am married, I am blessed that my husband’s desires for my clothing styles and modesty are exactly in line with where my heart is, as well!)

      I want to encourage you that submitting to your parents over a matter like this is choosing to honor them, and that God always, ALWAYS blesses us for honoring our parents. Is it necessary in God’s eyes that you dress exactly as your mother wishes? I do not believe so, but if you can choose to lay your desires at His feet and submit willingly to your mother’s clothing decisions, I promise you that He will smile at your humility and will bless you for it!

      Also, perhaps you can open a calm conversation with your mother over this subject in which you can discuss possible compromises such as a tunic style top over pants? There are some cute styles today which can be worn very modestly, yet still make you feel comfortable and good about your appearance, and the two of you might be able to put some work into this and come up with some ideas that please you both. :)

      I will be praying for you, Samantha, as you work through this issue with the Lord and your mom! (Also, I am answering you with the assumption that you are in your teens and living at home — if you are older but still at home, there are other ladies on the team who have experience along those lines and may have other helpful advice for you!)

    • says

      Hi Samantha! You ask such a great question here. I’ve been pondering a response since I read your comment! :)

      A personal style isn’t supposed to DEFINE one’s identity, but REFLECT one’s identity. So, for example, I often wear a certain style of skirt. I’m not the person I am because I wear that style of skirt. I wear that style of skirt BECAUSE I’m the person I am. When, for whatever reason, we can’t wear the style we like, that doesn’t change who we are inside. Although I know it’s disappointing that we can’t express our personality in that way!

      Look for different ways to discover your style and express your personality. I often create “a jeans look” with a long, straight denim skirt and a nice blouse and scarf. Experiment with the clothes you AND your parents like and have fun!

      I choose to submit to a number of my parents’ convictions about, for example, clothes because I live in their home. I try to do this even when my personal convictions are different. However my parents and I often discuss our differences in conviction. Maybe you can discuss the issue of jeans with your parents. When we’re younger, the obligation to submit to our parents is greater, but Jennifer is right when she says that God blesses us when we honour our parents appropriately at any age, so I really want to endorse what Jennifer said and encourage you to honour your parents however you can in this situation.

      Pray about your differences in conviction and your relationship with your parents and trust God to work in your heart and their hearts.

  2. says

    Great post….I think my style is that I don’t have any….I have course know what clothes I like, but not much of it is for my body type. Great idea to just pull a few elements in here and there.

    • says

      I think that knowing what clothes you like is a great place to start. Oh, I know, it’s hard matching personal likes and dislike with body type! Have fun working with accessories and other helpful elements!

  3. Victoria says

    Some thoughts on this:

    For awhile, I was so desperate to “find” my gifts and talents and personality, that I focused on them, and had a faulty perspective. I looked to others in my efforts to define “me.” It got old. I eventually more or less gave up and asked God to just make me into the person He wanted me to be, and was ready to accept whoever that person might be.

    I have been blown away by His creativity and His astounding ability to design yet another completely unique individual! When I stopped looking outside and around me for what I now know can only be found within, He began revealing in me creativity that only He possesses. It is altogether exciting as I discover who He has made me to be, and everyday it seems I learn something else about myself that I never knew. I am only beginning to discover this, but it is wonderful! I encourage you to seek true inner beauty, and in doing so, as a Daughter of the King, you will find within the Creator of all things beautiful who happens to be the best Fashion Consultant and a positively Divine Designer.

    I must say, though, when this takes place, you may get strange reactions from those around you. My best friend said this past Saturday, with amusement evident in her tone and a bit of a teasing smile on her face: “Everyone’s ‘creeped out’ because you’re dressed nice!” She said it jokingly, but it was a true statement. Everyone was confused.
    My dad reacted by jokingly asking if I was going to a wedding, then upon seeing my reaction to this remark said consolingly “I don’t mean that in a bad way, you just look nice.” :)

    • Miss Theaphania says

      Wow I guess I never thought about it that way!!
      Sounds like a great idea!!! P.S I love this post!!!
      I never felt,well,never really liked the ‘fashion’ I
      mean I’ve worn ‘fashionable’ clothing but it didn’t feel
      ‘right’.
      I do like it -sometimes:)- when people get ‘creeped out’
      especially when I’m in Historical costume :)

  4. says

    I’ve been really blessed this year by Dressing Your Truth’s personality profiling course as well as the DYT course. I was skeptical at first, but have gone through with my mom and sisters and it’s made such a difference. It’s made me more confident in my personality type, more able to appreciate and relate to other personalities, and more happy with how I look and how to find clothes I like that look good on me.

    I second the accessories one….but I’m working at learning how to implement. I’ve never been an accessories person.

  5. says

    Good points! I appreciate #1…for a long time I tried to make up for my uncertainty about style by just buying a LOT of different clothes, figuring if I had endless options maybe I would happen on something that worked! :) (And since I shopped at thrift stores, it wasn’t very expensive…) I am now trying to learn the value of carefully selecting a few quality, versatile pieces, rather than endless odds and ends.

    • says

      Quality and versatility are things I look for in clothes too! It’s not always easy, because those things cost more, but it’s worth it when they look good and stay nice for years. I try, like you, to select a few things that are lovely and will last, rather than lots of things that aren’t of such good quality or versatility.

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