Own your style

I can't tell you how many photographs it took to get this one right (I take consolation in that professional fashion photographers do the same). Let me tell you I am not a photogenic person: I know there is a camera out there and my face freezes in the most unflattering semi-hostile expression, but I did an effort here. [Photo credit: BRV].

Owning your style. You are the one calling the shots, but... How does one get around practicing it?

Nature versus nurture
Although there are individuals who are born with a great sense of style or develop it very early on, for most, style is a learning curve, a process of gradually training your eye to look for your best silhouettes, your best colours, and building a wardrobe in which basic pieces are complemented by trends. A wardrobe that you look at in the morning and lets you chose easily what to wear that day, versus a wardrobe in which you never seem to find anything to put on.
You have heard it before: style is not for one season, it is for all seasons.
First things first. What is good style in our culture?
  1. Dressing for one's body type. Kendall Farr says it perfectly in her book The Pocket Stylist:
    Your silhouette, the essential frame you are born with is the beginning of any
    conversation you have with clothes. Our measurements change (...) but your frame remains the one constant in the equation.
    Why is this reasoning so important? I think it is the beginning of self-acceptance: instead of defining ourselves by the part of our body that makes us feel worse in the changing room, we see ourselves as a whole, accept it and move on. A good understanding of your body is not only key to feeling happy about yourself, but also to building a successful wardrobe that goes with that happy person.
  2. Dressing in one's best colours. The right colours will make your skin glow and your eye colour pop out. Why settle for less?
  3. Dressing with a knowledge of Fit, Silhouette, Proportion, and the Right Length and how to create an unbroken line when you dress. Also knowing that fabric matters.
  4. Being dressed for the occasion. This knowledge leaves you in control of your image. Being dressed for the occasion makes you feel confident in how you are presenting yourself to the world, and lets you actually forget about what you are wearing. Then it is just you. The important things get through: not what you look like, but what is being said. What you wear suits you outside AND inside.
Second, adapting that knowledge to oneself and creating your own individual style.
When you have mastered "the technical stuff" above, it's a question of creativity. Individual style is about having fun and expressing your personality, something that can be recommended to everyone.
Third, using your time and money more effectively. Shopping strategy.
A lot of the "noise" fashion makes every season is obviously aimed at altering our patterns of consumption: we have to consume more in order to be fashionable. Not only is that goal unattainable, there is also a deep feeling of dissatisfaction that comes with the constant bombardment of things to buy that can obviously never be quenched. This is not only time consuming, it also costs us a sizable part of our hard-earned money.
Consider your wardrobe a living organism: most of what you buy should be considered an investment, especially "the big pieces" (a winter coat, a work bag, etc.), that should last a decade or, at least, several years. Then come the less pricey items, that can be more trendy, and then the small percentage of things that should be renewed annually. That's where learning about the best shopping strategies comes in handy: all of us can be that woman who knows how to shop, which is really a question successfully you are employing your time, money, and what personal satisfaction you are getting from the whole experience.
So... Who has great style?
When you consider a person you think has great style, what you mean is that what she wears really suits her. You can then see a piece of clothing, or an accessory, and think: "That is so her".
Also, that person's clothes simply seem to "just look better", they really fit and compliment them. Why? Because they fill in each of the four requisites above. Then, they have developed their own particular, individual style, that goes with their tastes, sensibilities, occupation, and personal life style.
I want this blog to be your compass to your own style, so I have come up with...

The Decalogue: How to Own Your Style in 10 Steps

  1. Know Fashion.
  2. Own Fashion... and not the other way round.
  3. Digest Trends and "Celebrity" fashion.
  4. Be Colour Savvy.
  5. Dress for Your Body Type.
  6. Learn about Silhouette, Fit, Proportion, the Right Length and the Almighty Unbroken Line. 
  7. Know that Fabric Matters
  8. Own Your Style: Express Yourself.
  9. Dress for the Occasion. COMING SOON!
  10. Build a Successful Wardrobe. How to Shop for Ageless Style. COMING SOON!