We are big fans of style over trends. Tan France, fashion guru from Queer Eye, has the same mantra. But how do you know what your style actually is? France shares his expertise through inspiration, creating a moodboard and not being afraid to experiment with your wardrobe. Read on to learn his 5 Tips for Defining Your Style
What Is Personal Style?
Style refers to a person’s particular way of expressing themselves—whether that’s through clothing, writing style, or a style of architecture. In the fashion world, “style” is usually shorthand for “personal style,” or the way an individual expresses themselves through aesthetic choices such as their clothing, accessories, hairstyle, and the way they put an outfit together.Style is timeless. Which is to say that someone who is stylish may or may not follow fashion trends, but they always stay true to their own aesthetic. Personal style is about developing a sense of self rather than simply absorbing trends.
How to Find Your Personal Style in 5 Steps
Finding your personal style isn't something you can do overnight. But there are strategies you can use to learn more about the clothing that works for you.
- Look to your own closet. Think about the clothes you have that make you happy. What are your favorite items in your closet? Pull these pieces out and think about why they make you feel good. Notice what they have in common.
- Find fashion inspiration. When looking for fashion inspiration, start with family and friends whose style you admire. Spend time on social media, and observe how friends and celebrities dress, from casual outfits like crop tops and leggings to work-ready blazers and turtlenecks. Blogs are full of fashion tips and inspiration, so find a few fashion bloggers whose style interests you and search through their archives for your favorite outfits. If there is a celebrity or an influencer whose style you like, try to find out who that celeb's stylist is, and look to them for inspiration. Fashion magazines are another great source. Learn about different style types, and identify the ones with which you most align.
- Create a fashion mood board. A mood board is a great way to work toward developing your personal style. Once you’ve gathered your fashion inspiration, compile the images into a mood board. Even if your inspiration feels all over the place, you might discover that a lot of your models are wearing denim jeans, a lot of them are wearing maxi dresses, a lot of them are wearing tops with ruffles—that's still an overarching vibe or mood that you're going for. Choose two or three images that exemplify the aesthetic of the group, and keep those images on your phone so that you can look at them when you’re out shopping.
- Create a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of basics that you can mix and match to create effortless looks. These are classic pieces in neutral colors that go with everything: a little black dress, a denim jacket, simple T-shirts, a leather tote. You might already have some of these in your closet. Keep the ones that make you feel great, and replace everything else with basics that really work for you. These items may be simple, but they’ll help you show off your unique style by providing a foundation for more exciting pieces.
- Experiment with unique style choices. Once you've built your capsule collection, it's time to add unique pieces to your wardrobe that show off your style personality. This might involve some experimentation, so remember that it's okay if you change your mind. Personal style is all about playing with fashion to discover which clothes make you feel your best. Start with bold accessories and pops of color and then work on mixing and matching prints and textures.
A fashion moodboard is a collage of anything that can inspire your wardrobe. It's a visual collection of images, objects, words, swatches, color, photographs, textures, and anything that else you can dream of. The sky is the limit!
Moodboards are frequently used in anything requiring a visual like in graphic design, interior design, branding, and fashion design. They are also a great tool for event design, like for a wedding. It's a way to put all your ideas in one space and see that idea develop from a thought to a first draft. Think of it as visual organization.
So how do we implement them into our world? Even though we may not be designing for a big name fashion designer, there is definitely a way for this tool to help your own closet! Besides them being really fun to make, a fashion moodboard can really help you when wanting to change something up in your wardrobe.
Do you want to try a new fit, color palette or craft the perfect NYE outfit? Take some time to find inspiration and let the ideas flow! Allow the ideas to cross over to other areas of your life. Maybe you'll stumble on the new color palette for your apartment or be inspired to try a new lipstick color.
We love Marc Jacobs's moodboard tips. Read his whole article here. We dropped a condensed version below.
Physical Vs. Digital
Decide what format you want to use. There are pros and cons to both options. Do you want to use your hands, cut out or print images, layer and collage on a board? Or are you more of drag and drop type of person? If digital is your cup of tea, there are lots of platforms to choose from.
"Where are you collecting most of your moodboard items from? If you tend to spend a lot of time online, all the while saving images that inspire you, go digital. If you love reading magazines and already have a stack of them to work with, go physical. Play to your strengths."
There are three steps to making a moodboard:
- Brainstorm your theme. You probably have some ideas in mind from the get-go. Now brainstorm some keywords associated with these ideas — for an interior design project, you might zero in on the style (modernist, Scandinavian, tropical), materials (concrete, ash wood, rattan) or color (mustard yellow, blush pink, forest green). This will help you with online image searches — try Google but also Getty, Unsplash, Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re not drawn to a particular idea yet, just sit down with an industry magazine or book, let your eyes roam and take note of what resonates. You’ll soon find inspiration.
- Collect your elements. Take your early sources of inspiration, then challenge yourself to think outside of the box to find more. Movie mise en scene, fashion editorial shoots, vintage illustrations, art works, fabric and color swatches, architecture, objects and clothing can all be good moodboard fodder. Don’t disregard typography either — an old-style serif font will have very different connotations to a clean and contemporary sans-serif style, and this makes it a great tool for you to showcase some keywords or relevant quotes.
- Review, curate and present your board. Odds are, you now have more material than is useful. Curate by choosing images and samples that come together harmoniously, building in some breadth to reflect your originality (or increase your chances of appealing to the client, if you’re working with one). A cohesive color palette is important, so discard anything that clashes. If you’re making a digital board, consider eye-droppering five key colors from the images into swatches. If you’re making a physical board, obtain real paint and fabric swatches for the same effect.
Here are a few examples of our digital moodboards! Have fun creating!
We hope you feel inspired to branch out and explore your own style! 👗