Women are bombarded by television and print mags with pronouncements about what we should and shouldn’t wear – what's in and what's out.
These days it seems every media outlet has a resident fashion expert, even the stodgy financial journals (who would have thought?). Fashionistas beat us relentlessly over the head with current and future trends, runway triumphs and celebrity red carpet blunders.
Trying to stay current with something as fleeting as fashion can be both stressful and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be either, as long as you don’t confuse fashion with style.
There is a big difference. Fashion can be like someone with multiple personalities – you never quite know who's going to show up for dinner. Style, on the other hand, is more constant and cohesive. Style is built on individuality – knowing who you are and expressing it confidently through your clothes.
You may wonder how one gets style. Well, it’s certainly not as mysterious or evasive as the experts would lead us to believe. Just as an artist has a singular ‘voice’, we all have our own indelible style. You just have to find yours, be confident, and then have a desire to put in the work required to feel and look good.
True style is internally driven, dictated by an aesthetic sensibility in your selection of clothes and in the manner which you pull yourself together. It is reflected in the way you carry yourself – a state of mind and an attitude. It is always about the wearer of the clothes, not the other way around.
Style is knowing what works well for your shape and personality. It is about knowing what you want to highlight and focusing on that. You must have a sense of what your best assets are and accentuate them without shoving them in people’s faces. A bit of discretion goes a long way.
Be brutally honest with yourself. Denial disguised as self-confidence is not an asset when it comes to cultivating style. If you are one of those people who still sees a lean, toned, slender 18-year-old body in the mirror (even though you’ve gained 40 pounds), continuing to dress for that body type creates a serious visual disconnect. Accept your body type and adorn it accordingly.
Make An Effort
Most women harbor a deep-down feeling they could look a lot better than they do, but they feel a bit blah and unmotivated. The reality is that they are totally overwhelmed by all the information and advice (those damn fashionistas again!) . They just don’t know where to begin. The thought of going into a department store and sorting through merchandise is intimidating, befuddling and exhausting, and they give up before they start.
But there are a few elementary steps you can consider when discovering and honing your individual style...
A former Ford model, Cecille spent over a decade in LA styling videos, then moved back to NY as the Accessories Editor for Real Simple magazine. She writes about fashion, beauty and fitness and is a consultant and personal stylist for men and women