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How to find your personal style according to a fashion expert

Check out these stylist-approved tips

Olivia Palermo dons vibrant patterned outerwear
Orin Carlin
Content Writer
5 April 2023
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As far as fashion buzzwords go, "personal style" is one of the industry's most liberally applied favourites. But for the uninitiated, mastering the phrase may feel overwhelming – after all, what exactly does that mean

Personal style refers to a certain signature aesthetic that you have curated over time. Carving out your trademark look will not happen overnight, rather it is the result of sustained sartorial effort.

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READ: How to organise your wardrobe in 7 easy steps for a 2023 fashion reset

How to find your personal style

Leonie Hanne sports a statement oversized blazer © Getty
Leonie Hanne sports a statement oversized blazer

Make no mistake, finding your personal style is far from a chore. Honing in on the silhouettes, shapes and cuts that suit you best is a joy – it will stand you in excellent stead on days when you have little time to spare and in turn, your wardrobe will only house pieces that you actually truly adore.  

Hello! Fashion shares our fashion tips to help you find your personal style:

1.     Think about the fundamentals 

Annette Weber teams a floral tunic with a leopard print clutch © Getty
Annette Weber teams a floral tunic with a leopard print clutch

"Try and dissect what sort of style or looks you like and build a wardrobe from there," fashion columnist Joanne Hegarty advises. "Begin by asking yourself: 'Am I a minimalist or a maximalist? Delve deeper and think about colours and patterns. Do you prefer a neutral colourway or are you drawn to bright colours and patterns?"

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"Less is more in my book. For instance, I would like to think my style is classic with a twist or edge. I have classic pieces that I mix with more trend-driven elements to keep things looking fresh. I generally prefer a neutral minimalist palette occasionally mixed with a brighter colour or with elevated detailing."

2.     Turn to your fashion icons 

"Is there anyone past or present with great style that inspires you? For example, I love Sofia Coppola and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s chic personal style. Once you’ve discovered what sort of look you want to embrace, don’t rush out and buy lots of things in a panic. Go through your own wardrobe first and see what gaps need filling or hire a personal stylist to walk you through the process." 

3.     Splurge on sartorial soulmates

"Spend money on high ticket pieces only when you are madly in love. You know it's 'the one' if it's still on your mind a few weeks later. This will help you build a more curated, harder-working wardrobe."

 "For autumn and winter, I would prioritise purchasing a good investment coat because it’s one of the first things you notice on a grey day. Similarly, a luxe bag on your arm makes everything else look more polished."

4.     Wear colours that you utterly adore

"I'm a firm believer in wearing colours that you love. I don't have many rules about skin tones and colours, but I have little tricks for those pasty skin months. I often wear a bright lip to lift beige and dark tones, and another hack I use is popping a white t-shirt under a black, navy or grey round neck knit to brighten my skin tone," Joanne says.

Ellie Delphine wears statement sleeve top and camel skirt © Getty
Ellie Delphine wears statement sleeve top and camel skirt

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5.     Create a mood board

Like Joanne, fashion stylist and host of The Re/Dress podcast Emma Rose Thatcher finds that pulling inspiration from different sources is a great way of discovering what you like.

"This is always my number one tip – save images of outfits you love and take time to work out what it is you like about the look," Emma explains. "This will give you a little direction on styles that you’re drawn to. People often need more ideas, not things."

 6.     Edit your wardrobe accordingly 

Giovanna Battaglia rocks a playful print © Getty
Giovanna Battaglia rocks a playful print

"Pull out the pieces you feel your best in. Is there anything you could add to your wardrobe to make the most of these pieces? Often, it's the basics in our wardrobe that are missing but will be the game-changers in creating outfits. Pull out the pieces you don't wear and work out why. If you don't feel good in it, donate or sell. You're better off having a smaller, edited wardrobe than a wardrobe full of pieces you don’t wear."

7.     Make a wish list

"Is there anything on your mood board that you’re missing from your wardrobe? If black tailored pants appear a lot, but you don’t have a pair you like, add them to the wish list."

8.     The 70/30 rule

"I try and keep a 70/30 balance in my wardrobe – 70% of my clothes are go-to pieces I wear and turn to daily (for me that's jeans, tailoring, t-shirts, shirts, blazers, black dresses) and the remaining 30% are the more fun pieces that I love and use to inject personality into my wardrobe. The key is to work out your unique fashion formula. A capsule wardrobe is great for the basics, but it’s good to bring your own personality to your wardrobe to keep it interesting and unique."

9.     Build a tried & tested uniform

"Create around seven ready-to-go outfits at the start of every season that you feel your best in and wear them on rotation. If you’re pushed for time or anxious over what to wear to an important meeting or event, these will be the looks you can turn to in the morning and walk out the door feeling your best self."

10.  Three little words

"Having three keywords to describe your current look or the style you aspire to is super helpful when it comes to creating outfits and adding to your wardrobe. If something feels off, think of your three words and identify what is missing from your look."

11.  Invest in what suits you best 

"Invest your money in the pieces you wear the most and feel your best in," Emma advises. "For me that’s denim. I’ve got a big denim collection, but those pieces are part of my everyday wardrobe so it works out well in terms of cost per wear."

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