Finding Your Personal Style

by Saturday, May 17, 2014

Alright. So I wrote about Personal Style (or the lack of it around here) in my previous post.

Now, I’m no style expert, fashionista, nor am I remotely close to being a shop-a-holic. On the contrary, I hate shopping malls and department stores. What I do however is keep my eyes open.

All through my travels (and I’ve touched over 40 countries in the last 10 years), I’ve noticed one thing unique to only Dubai – the cloning. Hence, the rant in my last post.

So, coming from someone who isn’t a stylist, who isn’t a student of fashion, and who isn’t even a fashion blogger, here are a few things I feel are just plain, obvious truths that every woman should be aware of when building on her own unique personal style.

 

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1. Know your body shape – this is the most important. Yes, I know it feels awesome to imagine that dress on yourself in your mind when you look at it in a catalog or in a store, but the story could be entirely different when you put it on yourself. Fact – not all fashion trends suit your body shape/size. Love your body, love your shape, and figure out what works best for it. It doesn’t matter if you have a heavier bottom and cant wear that figure hugging dress, it doesn’t matter that you have a bigger top and cant wear that strapless jumpsuit. Wouldn’t you rather look beautiful than look like a tart with everything popping out and the love handles showing? I know I paint a grim picture, but this isn’t about loathing your body. It’s about embracing it, and working with it to look beautiful.

Some good tips I found off the internet:

  • Most women’s bodies are pear-shaped, which means they have a narrow waist and wider hips. If you’re pear-shaped, buy clothing that draws attention to your slim upper body. Brightly colored shirts, scarves and modern-looking shoulder pads should work well. Wear tailored pants and skirts, as well as hip-length long jackets. Avoid pleats and stripes, which will further accentuate broader areas.
  • If you’re rounder and more apple-shaped all around, you’ll want to draw attention away from your waist. Go for flat-fronted skirts, empire-waisted dresses and tailored, wide-legged pants.
  • Don’t accentuate a flat chest with a deep v-neck. Instead, choose rounded-neck tops, and add a layered necklace to add dimension.
  • If you’re busty, accentuate your curves by wearing a scooped neckline that hugs your chest appropriately.
  • If you’re extra curvy, you don’t have to wear baggy, saggy clothes. You can still find fashionable, tailored clothes that comfortably compliment your body. Shop in stores that can accommodate your shape and buy clothes that fit well.

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2. Your occupation – you obviously cant wear jeans and a casual shirt to a consulting firm. Neither do you need to be in a well stitched formal suit if you work in a radio station. Figure out what your lifestyle/occupation’s demands are, and work your styling in accordance with that. Always remember to use accessories to add your own personal statement.

For example, this look could work at a radio station or ad agency:

 

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But you’d have to go with something like this for a more serious corporate look:

 

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3. Looking tall isn’t worth all that pain – so you’re short and want to appear taller, but your lifestyle is such that you’re on your feet all day? Is all that pain in your feet at the end of the day really worth it? Not only are you damaging the muscles/tendons in your legs/feet that will affect you in the long term, you’re also not able to enjoy your day-to-day life as much as you would were your feet not killing you all the time and were you not wobbling all over the place in your could-be-used-as-a-weapon stilettos. Give it a rest! If you really need to look your sharpest for those all important board room meetings, carry a pair of heels to work with you every day, or keep a pair in your drawers at your office desk. I know I always have a couple of pairs of heels in my car should I ever need one. These include a nude pair that go with everything, and a black pair that also go with everything.

Few examples of how easy it is to look good without heels:

 

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4. Understand how different fabrics fall on your body – we can’t all look good in spandex. ‘Nuff said.

 

5. Keep tabs on and make mental notes of what inspires you and what looks catch your attention – I know I get inspiration while walking down a street in say Barcelona or Hong Kong. Every single person dresses unique and something or the other always forces me to make a mental note. “Ooh look what she did with that scarf, I must try that” or “wow, that skirt teamed up with that jacket looks cool, let’s see if it’ll work on me, must try it” etc etc. 

 

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6. Figure out what colours work for your skin tone – a very quick and easy guide to follow is right here: Colours for your Skin Tone.

And if you’re lazy like me when it comes to looking for colours in a store (LOL), then here are some universally flattering colours that usually work for everybody: Universal Colours.

 

7. Tradition is Awesome, embrace it – Now this one’s especially for all my desi women. We have such a rich textile/fashion/design heritage! What’s stopping you from mixing and matching and weaving it into your wardrobe?! I personally love anything that’s from Kutch and Rajasthan and has mirrors on it. I also love how cool a white kurta looks on torn jeans, and of course, nothing is cooler than a patiala salwar teamed up with a tank top and a jacket!

 

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8. And finally – Keep it simple. Keep it classy.

 

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Until next time – keep Being Awesome.

JS.

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