I’m a big believer in the notion of personal style, and the idea has certainly become a ubiquitous term in fashion.
A quick Google search reveals hundreds of thousands of pages exhorting people – mostly women – to harness their personal style. You would be forgiven for thinking that developing your personal style was the surest way to achieve career, romantic and creative success. But going down this rabbit hole will get you nowhere.
You will not be asked to define your
personal style in 50 words or less. But
just in case you are – here’s the truth of personal style.
Your personal style is innate. It is your appetite for style, and just like
your appetite for food, you already know what you like and dislike. Just as you sometimes don’t know what you want
for dinner, sometimes you don’t know what you want to wear. That’s not a crisis of style – that’s a
fleeting lack of appetite. You’ll
benefit from trying new things, introducing olive to your life as both a
delicious taste and a fun colour combination with bright red. Maybe you hate olive(s)! That’s cool – know that without having to
Google ‘do I like olive’.
You’ll develop your personal style over
your life, the way you develop your palette.
Nothing is more hilarious than that face babies make when they taste
something bitter, but those same tastes are wholly embraced by plenty of
adults. Similarly, even kids know what
they like to wear (ask any parent of a three year old who threw a fit because
they don’t want to wear *those* pants) but by the time you reach adulthood, you
develop a slightly different aesthetic.
No judgment though. Sparkly
rainbow gumboots are good at any age, in my opinion.
We’re being sold the idea of a holistic understanding
of our personal style, but that’s nonsense.
You don’t need to eat the same thing every day, and you don’t need to
look the same way every day. It’s easy
enough to lose sight of what you like and dislike, thanks to the pressures at
play in how we look and what’s on trend.
But I believe that we know what we like, deep down. Maybe personal style
comes from being able to be honest about your own reaction. Feel the feeling, and then discard the pants
that are the equivalent of that gross soup your cousin made that one time,
Just like your personal palette is ‘I like
things, so I eat them’, personal style is ‘I like things, so I wear them’. It doesn’t need to be harder than that, so
roll up to the buffet that is fashion safe in the knowledge there’s something
there for you (and lots of new things to try).