People often consider expensive clothes and following trends synonymous with having a sense of fashion. However, that’s not always true. Seeing celebrities dressed from head to toe in luxury brands can be overwhelming as they always seem like they’ve just stepped out of a magazine photoshoot, even when running errands.
Remember that celebrities have access to stylists and luxury brands, making it easier for them to look good at all times. Not to mention, looking good is an integral part of who they are; therefore, it’s convenient for them to spend copious amounts of time and money on styling. However, that doesn’t imply that ordinary people cannot look good, even when you’re on a budget.
True beauty and the essence of style lie in making any outfit or accessory look good with minimal effort and spending. So whether you’re a busy parent or work a nine-to-five, here are seven easy ways to curate a personal style while being mindful of time and budget.
1. Find your inspiration
Once you’ve started exploring what your style could be, start looking for inspiration. Look for inspiration in magazines and on social media. Platforms like Pinterest are a great source when finding fashion inspiration. You can look for outfit ideas that fit your current wardrobe and style or DIY existing pieces to create something new. We all have seen pictures of our favorite celebrities wearing stunning outfits knowing we cannot afford those luxury brands or stylists. Instead of feeling dejected over an accessory or clothing item, you cannot afford, think of ways to recreate that outfit with what you already have. For instance, you can create your own jewelry or accessories with supplies from The Bead Shop if you’re into dainty jewelry. Designing and making accessories for yourself is often better than buying something expensive that won’t go with every outfit or occasion.
2. Don’t try to copy someone else
Developing a personal style is in knowing what “you” want. It’s easy to come under the influence of social media, influencers, and celebrities, but instead of mindlessly giving in to trends, ask yourself what you would like. What colors do you enjoy wearing? Do you like changing the color palette of your wardrobe based on seasons, or would you prefer to stick with one theme all year round? Do you like business casual or formal for work? These are some questions to get you started finding your personal style. To avoid copying, focus on your interest, age, and lifestyle when creating outfits. Looking good should be stress-free and something that won’t break the bank.
3. Know what you want
An essential part of developing your style is knowing why you want to change your current look or fashion sense. For example, do you want to dress appropriately and look good for work? Or are you getting bored of your existing style and looking for ways to revamp your wardrobe? If you want to start looking good, do it for yourself and not for external validation. Of course, looking good will get you loads of compliments, but that shouldn’t be the primary motive behind developing a new style. One of the best ways to get started is to enlist your goals – in life and what you want to look like. Then, start jotting down clothing pieces, color palettes, and design elements that can amp up your style. Once you have a clear picture of what you want, use that as a guide when creating outfits or shopping for new items. This way, you won’t be wasting money on clothing pieces that don’t fit your taste and needs.
4. Dress to accentuate your natural features
It’s easy to feel dejected when you don’t see much representation of your body or skin type on social media or in the fashion world. For decades, the fashion industry has been hyper-focused on conventionally skinny bodies. While their outfit choices might look good, not everyone can relate to that. As a result, people have become their own worst critics. Instead of hating yourself for how you naturally look, look for outfits and clothing items that accentuate your body. For instance, if you’re petite with a curvier body type, you might want to invest in wide-legged pants or monochromatic outfits. People with slim bodies should avoid outfits and garments that add volume to their chest and shoulders. To develop a personal style that suits your body type, take measurements and bring them along for fittings. It’s also always a good idea to buy clothes or accessories you can try first and decide on.
5. Make use of what you already have
It’s tempting to throw away your current wardrobe and buy everything new, but that’s not a wise financial decision. When creating a personal look, look for items in your closet that you like and always get compliments. These are the ones you want to keep, and maybe purge the rest. It’s also important to notice what you like and dislike. For example, suppose you own a dress that people always seem to compliment you on, but it doesn’t hit the spot for you; get rid of it. Or, at least look for ways to turn it into something better, like adding a belt or different shoes. A closet walk-through is necessary when revamping your style. Give away items that are ripped, broken, or stained. Get rid of pieces that are no longer in trend unless you can look for ways to make them still work.
6. Invest in the basics
A rule of thumb when updating your wardrobe or style is to invest in basic clothing items. Staple clothing items range from solid-colored t-shirts and tops that go with almost any outfit, or pants and shoes that you can work with throughout the year. Basic outfits are crucial for every wardrobe and style. For example, you can style a pair of black pants or a white top in many ways. It’s easy to style black shirts or pants with almost any color, though you have to consider what type of fabric suits the weather or your needs. Similarly, invest in tank tops, jeans, skirts, and must-have shoes like black high heels or loafers. You can swap these clothing items, creating many different outfits and still look good.
7. Comfort over fashion
You might have heard the phrase at least a few times to prefer “comfort over fashion.” As cliché as it is, it is still valid. Look for comfort in every item you intend to buy or create an outfit. For example, you don’t want blisters from high heels that only look good but feel awful even when worn for a few hours. Similarly, just because skinny jeans have become a popular trend doesn’t mean you have to invest in a pair. If tight and fitted clothing makes you feel suffocated, switch it up with something that looks better and more comfortable.
Don’t give in to celebrity style, social media, or pushy salespeople when updating your wardrobe and style. Your style is “yours,” that’s why it’s personal. You should feel comfortable and confident with your styling and clothing choices. Seek fashion advice if you need it, or ask your loved ones to help you weed out items from your closet. Fashion and styling are not skills that people are born with. With these seven tips, you can learn to create a personal style and wardrobe that fits your aesthetic.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.