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How did you choose your style?

(31 Posts)
SantaMonicaPier Tue 26-May-20 21:05:35

I'm in my forties now and have always chosen clothes I like. As a result i have all kinds of clothes in different styles, some of which are 20 years old, and am not necessarily wearing clothes which look great or represent how I'd like to dress. I'd be interested to know if anyone had consciously chosen a style and how you selected this, did you use a personal shopper or stylist? Or figure out what looks good on your own?

OP’s posts: |
lojoko Tue 26-May-20 21:29:50

I worked it out through a long process of elimination. I paid attention to the specific ways in which things looked bad on me and the ways in which they looked good and tried to understand why. So for example, I suit crew and slash necklines. V-necks are bad on me. I think this is related to having wide breasts (big ribby space between them). So I don't wear v-necks or anything plunging or wrapped unless it's gathered on the side. I suit bracelet length sleeves. I have broad shoulders and slender wrists. And so on: neckline (slash, cowl, crew), sleeves (bracelet, sleeveless), waistline (high, dropped), skirt (a-line with pockets), trouser rise (high), leg (slim), jacket (biker). If I find a good cut for me I will buy 3 or 4 things with that same feature if I can.

So it's easy to eliminate vast swathes of clothes, going along like this, feature by feature. Then I reject most clothes that DO have the desirable features based on the fabric - no polyester, no acrylic, etc - so only silk, cotton, wool etc. Then colours - the best colours on me are burgundy, deep or dusty greens, heathers, browns, pinks. No need to try on that lemon yellow anything - it will look crap on me and I know it. I find most patterns to not work very well - I would never wear a ruffle as I'm too - I'm just not a ruffles and flowers sort of person and I would look and feel silly.

So basically I just eliminate almost all the clothes in the world, and the ones that are left, I buy. grin I never keep anything that doesn't work. I get rid of it straight away. And I do also get rid of things that are dated. I have a few things that are 20 years old and haven't dated but honestly most things DO date and look a bit wrong or shabby. I have to go to conferences etc and I just feel it's easier to be able to wear pretty much anything from my "smartish clothes" section than to have to dodge landmines in my own wardrobe.

Crystalspider Wed 27-May-20 00:48:11

I've recently started taking more interest in visualising outfits before I wear my clothes and styling them more, thinking about what I could have in my wardrobe that will last and look timeless rather than clothes that are too trendy, bright etc. I like to stick to colours I know suit me and i'm more for plain colours than patterns.
I look to pinterest for inspiration on colour combinations and youtube, audrey coyne has some really good videos on how to style, depending on your taste of course.

DelphiniumBlue Wed 27-May-20 01:07:38

I found " The Curated Closet" interesting to read, and helpful with developing a style, it gives you a lot to think about. Obviously you need to know what colours and styles flatter you, but there's more to it than that. Personally I like slightly edgy clothes, but some things I would like look dreadful on me, and there's more and more things in that category unfortunately. For example I would like to wear black cigarette trousers with a black polo, but I haven't been slim enough for that look for a long time! However black jeans and a long black v neck cashmere jumper gives similar feel, and work better with my body sha pe.
Have a look at the book, it poses thoughtful questions to help you get to the essence of your own style.

GrimDamnFanjo Wed 27-May-20 01:14:03

Yup to the Curated Closet! I was seriously impressed!
I have had my colours done and identified my body shape. I then read a lot about what styles work better than others eg only v-necks for me.
I put together a colour palette and then trawled Pinterest looking at styles I liked and tried to recreate them.

Joinaunion227 Wed 27-May-20 06:08:11

It was a happy coincidence of a few things - ans playing around with Pinterest saving looks that I loved definitely helped.

Firstly, thinking about the story I want to tell with my clothes and who I am as a person. Although this varies day by day (is it "in control, not willing to take any crap" or "luxuriously cosy" or whatever). So I aim for dramatic/decadent/glamorous. (Ha!)

The above is heavily influenced by the black and white Hollywood films from the 40s that I devoured when little.

Secondly, I analysed my body shape. I am a slim hourglass. I have a small waist, very long legs but then a short waist, proportionately big thighs and upper arms (think carrot), thick ankles, a long slim neck, good shoulders and bust.

Doing my research online and in real life, I found that nipped-in at the waist clothes suited me. Happily this chimes nicely with my 40s black and white film love. I rock a pencil skirt, slinky and sleek clothes. I should never attempt ankle straps or ankle boots unless very carefully cut. I can do trousers but they have to be mid rise to reduce the bulk of thigh even though high waisted skirts are fab on me. I have a variety of thin belts but thick belts make my waist disappear under the bulk because of the short-waistedness.

I also had my colours done (Autumn) but although I came out as a soft autumn, I will always be drawn to strong colours, dramatic shapes etc. It is just my personality - I like a statement bit of jewellery and drama etc.

So my looks tend to be:

Workwear: midi pencil skirt, nipped in vintage 50s skirt suits, draped sleek 40s dresses, thin metal belts, silk blouses, tailored shirts, cropped trousers and a masculine blazer and brogues. Structured tailored coats and capes. Heels. Pearl drop earrings. Gold and rust and cream and navy and olive and sage and orange and tan.

Casualwear: tweed or denim midi pencil skirts, cropped tailored jeans, polo necks, cashmere or silk scoop or v neck t shirts, tan sandals or brogues, brown suede OTK boots with short cord minis and a polo, loosely tailored mannish shirt and a sharply tailored blazer over the top of jeans. Silk cocoon coats. Bigger jewellery: pearls and gold and turquoise and tortoiseshell.

Occasionwear: lame, sequins, a lot of slink. Ad expensive as I can afford, usually vintage. Full length wherever possible. Draped 40s dresses with beading, gold metallic accessories.

You will see that, like PP, I mention fabrics a lot. It's key to making me feel decadent on a daily basis, even if just wearing a top and jeans. That and wearing perfume

Taddda Wed 27-May-20 06:26:07

I'm stuck I'm 'my style' so this is an interesting read for me, really want/need to change it up a bit- I had a dramatic hair colour change at the start of the year (Red to Blonde) so have changed to lighter shades of make up (less tango'd!) but my colours choices/styles of clothes don't seem to 'go' anymore- I also know I dress far younger than I really should and need to 'smarten' up a bit more!

I'm a size 8, 5'8, fairly bum seems to have made a slight 'reappearance' since lockdown shock, but really interested in the reading of how to discover a new style that suits!

EssentialHummus Wed 27-May-20 06:29:33

I thought about the clothes/outfits that people complimented me more, and broke down what it was about them that flattered me. Then bought more of the same smile.

SantaMonicaPier Wed 27-May-20 09:34:52

This is all so helpful - thank you all!

OP’s posts: |
Taddda Wed 27-May-20 10:49:58


I thought about the clothes/outfits that people complimented me more, and broke down what it was about them that flattered me. Then bought more of the same smile.

I think this is what keeps me stuck in 'my style'- but then is a compliment 'you can carry that off/get away with' wearing that?

homemadecommunistrussia Wed 27-May-20 10:53:12

Mostly, looked at Jon from Neds atomic dustbin and went from theregrin
Avoided the shorts as my legs are too chunky. Ditched the undercut when I got a proper job.

Taddda Wed 27-May-20 11:01:46


Mostly, looked at Jon from Neds atomic dustbin and went from theregrin
Avoided the shorts as my legs are too chunky. Ditched the undercut when I got a proper job.

'Wheres me jumper!!?' grin

homemadecommunistrussia Wed 27-May-20 11:31:16

Was that not The Sultans of Ping?wink

Taddda Wed 27-May-20 11:39:14


Was that not The Sultans of Ping?wink

I stand corrected! I always thought that was Neds! shocksmile

homemadecommunistrussia Wed 27-May-20 11:41:34

It is a classic though and a line that goes through my head most days. grin

Taddda Wed 27-May-20 11:53:25


It is a classic though and a line that goes through my head most days. grin

🤣As will that entire song in mine for the rest of the day!!

thedevilinablackdress Wed 27-May-20 11:58:25

Goth in winter
Wafty art teacher in summer
But also what a PP days about discarding all the things that don't suit you (pencil skirts I'm looking at you).
If I like/suit something that's in fashion I'll go for it, otherwise ignore.

dudsville Wed 27-May-20 13:10:28

I used to change my style each season as I'd get into a look and buy some things for it. That was fun and I enjoyed it and the result was a wide variety of clothes, but then I took on a longer commute and having to think about what I wore each day was no longer practical. (I never could put an outfit together the night before - how could I possibly know in advance what I wanted to wear?!)

I got my colours done and I thought about what I needed that would allow me to get dressed and be pleased with the outcome in less than 5 minutes. I did the requisite wardrobe cull. Now I have a uniform of sorts. I have lots of colour and pattern but it's all of a palette that's easy to pair up, and the cuts of dresses and trousers are all of the same ilk so I don't find myself halfway across England uncomfortable in a new shape that doesn't feel good.

I have kept a small number of things that I can no longer wear, a gorgeous dress and skirt in particular that I just love the look of.

FMLFML Wed 27-May-20 20:50:19

Whenever I buy anything I always ask:
- Does this go with at least 5 other items in my wardrobe?
- OR Can I make 3 new outfits out of it?
- Do I already own something similar?

I never buy anything trendy e.g. The cold shoulder trend, because it immediately gives the clothes a deadline of use.

Think about how men dress. Fewer clothes in simple styles, better materials, solid colours or heritage patterns. Think about proportion, fit and cut. (I buy a lot of menswear).

Check out Justine on YouTube. She's a French designer. Gives really good tips and explains things like your colours, tones, materials, etc. One great tip she gave was 'always choose the plain colour'. Plain colours are easier to style plus the manufacturer has to spend money on a patterned design so the quality is usually lower in order to maximise their profit margin.

Foals Wed 27-May-20 22:27:04

I have the day/uniform/sensible yet stylish clothes down ok, so I can pull an outfit out any day of the week and it'll be fine (if subtle, don't want to stand out on the school run), but I can't resist something jazzy, sparkly or unusual that catches my eye, be it pattern, fabric, or a certain "look" I admire, so I slide back into the habit of buying completely impractical items grin I can't help it.

I really wish I could pull off the expensive t-shirt, skinny jeans & blazer look with a casual swishy ponytail. I love it but I just don't suit it, it looks awkward on me. Sadly. I could probably attempt a watered down version of it, but for me, if I can't completely nail a look then I don't do it.

DelphiniumBlue Thu 28-May-20 17:13:10

No one has posted on this today, but I think it's a really interesting thread and would like to hear more.

grannycake Thu 28-May-20 18:07:04

I think your style changes to mirror your life changes. As a SAHM my needs were very different to my current management role.

I am also retiring this year so I expect my style will change again. Also my body changed after the menopause (not weight) but shape and I needed to look again at what suited me. And I can't wear high heels any more

thedevilinablackdress Thu 28-May-20 18:32:54

That's a very good point grannycake Lockdown has led to a staple outfit of tie dye leggings and a kimono 😆

NorthernNic Thu 28-May-20 22:09:13

Thank you for starting this thread OP as I have the same dilemma. I've just ordered The Curated Closet and have taken a lot from the advice already posted. Please keep us updated on your progress!

Joinaunion227 Fri 29-May-20 05:55:14

I agree about the lifestyle point. I work in the City (normally!) and do a fair few awards dos etc. so I need to be pretty smart/have more than the usual amount of occasion wear.

Now that I am WAH, my casual wear is being taken for a spin more often!

For anyone trying to figure things out, Pinterest is a godsend. Save the looks/outfits you like, have a wander through, then try to pull out themes. Do you love a biker jacket? Do you prefer structural shapes? Do you like the dramatic outfits? Or sleek outfits? What colours - neutrals or bright? Etc.

I would then cross reference that with your body shape: how do you make these things work for you?

And the final bit of advice, FWIW: if you love it and it makes you feel good, even if it is unflattering as hell, just wear it.

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