Style Series Part 1: Knowing Yourself
You are a collection of great things both inside and out; however, what the world sees first is the external. Therefore, it’s important to curate the image you project. We say curate because it’s never about masking who you are, but rather about accentuating who you are via your style of dress, your grooming practices, as well as your demeanor.
How you dress is the first and most immediate way that the world evaluates you – think of your clothes as a gateway to tell your story. Think of style as self-expression, as a positive energy that flows from inside, out. In order to have great style you must first assess your positive attributes and then present them to the world in visual form. Moreover, in order to tell your story you must know your story.
So let’s start with the things that most people cannot immediately see when they look at you and then expand outward from there. For this, we have a simple exercise to help you along the way.
A quick, 5-minute exercise can help organize your sense of style
1. Take a few moments to think about some of your strengths. As you do this exercise, it is important to sell yourself – don’t be shy, no one’s around but us. Feel free to be broad at this point. Writing it all down is a good start. Here are some examples we’ve come up with: creative, bold, approachable and spontaneous.
2. Now that you’ve gotten your list: write one quick sentence defining what these abstract concepts mean to you. View this section as your own personal manifesto of sorts.
3. Now that we’ve asked the important question of what you want, we can begin to focus on expressing these attributes.
Transforming these internal qualities externally is about finding them actualized outside of yourself. Oftentimes, it helps to see things visually. This certainly can be done through looking at magazines, images online or photo blogs and saving the looks that you think embody the attributes from above. However, inspiration can be found anywhere and does not have to only come from someone else’s idea of what is fashionable. Also consider looks from your favorite movie or actor, or even a favorite period of time, or a particular region in the world you identify with. At the end of the day, any visual outlet is really grounds for finding looks and themes that resonate with you. Find these images and group them according to the strengths you’ve listed above.
A collection of images from our own inspiration board
Now that you have gathered and grouped your images the next step is to study them. Try to understand what exactly it is about these looks that inspire you. How does that tie make the outfit look bold or what makes that color combination seem creative? Understanding your taste can also come from identifying things that you don’t like as well. For example “Yes I do like these colored shoe laces, but pairing them in the same outfit with the bowtie is a bit too loud for me”. Knowing what you do not like will make it easier to articulate what you do like.
The last step is to go forth with confidence. Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to express yourself. It might feel uncomfortable at first but that’s okay – going out of your comfort zone is part of the process. With your visuals as guides you should be able to better assess which colors you gravitate towards (light or dark, pattered or solid), and what kind of styles you are interested in (relaxed, bold, trendy, formal), and further, it should give you examples as to ways you can brings these ideas to life within yourself. To be inspired and then to activate that inspiration is an essential step towards taking your style to the next level. Now that you have your tools, go forth and create.
Pay us a visit at www.blacklapel.com. We’d love to get to know you better. If you think your story can help inspire others, please share your exercises and experiences with us via Facebook or email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to listen and we’d be more than happy to walk with you as you embark on your sartorial journey.
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