8 Tips to Help You Find Your Personal Style

Finding (and refining) personal style can be a struggle; we’re the first to admit it. We’ve all been there at least once, if not multiple times, as we gaze into our closet full of clothes and need something for the post-graduation to professional transition (so, platform sandals don’t work in office?), landing the big promotion we’ve worked so hard for, or dressing after having a baby (suddenly all those dry clean only silk blouses aren’t so practical). Regardless of what life throws at us, it’s important to be able to adapt while still maintaining a style that is all our own.

And why exactly is this important? The impact of personal style goes far beyond making a good first impression; great style is also about approaching each day with confidence, and the ability to feel legitimately beautiful in what we are wearing. Believe it or not, the right wardrobe can make a difference in that department.

In terms of your wardrobe, we want you to really know what you like, understand what looks good on you, and how to shop. So when you find the right piece to add to your closet you exclaim, “This is so me! So, we enlisted the help of one of the most stylish women we know, Jamie Krell. Her advice is budget-friendly, and she’s an on-air style expert. You remember her from E! News, The View, Access Hollywood, and The Today Show, right? Read on for Jamie’s tips for finding your personal style, one that is all your own.

1. SEEK INSPIRATION

Photo via Kendi Everyday

Jot down the names of your favorite style icons and do a bit of research via Pinterest, Google, or Instagram to gather inspiration from their looks. Maybe you gravitate towards Jenn Aniston’s minimal/clean look, but with a dose of Lauren Conrad’s femininity, and a side of Alexa Chung’s hipster-chic aesthetic. Pulling different types of inspiration from several sources is a great way to figure out what you like and dislike.

Homework assignment: Make a Pinterest board titled “Personal Style Inspiration.” (Tip: It can be a secret board!) Create a list of your five favorite celebs or bloggers, do a quick search on each of them, and pin the images and outfits that most resonate with you. Finished? Now, write down all the elements they have in common. Chances are, the characteristics you write down most frequently are the ones you most relate to, and the vibe that makes you the most comfortable. Why is this important? When you feel comfortable, you look and feel your best!

2. CLEAN UP & CLEAN OUT

Photo by Kimberly Genevieve for The Everygirl

Take a good, long look at your closet and the pieces you already own. Toss what you haven’t worn in the last year so you can start fresh. Then you can begin to rebuild and refine your wardrobe with a style that truly reflects where you are in your life and career. And if you waver between the keep pile and donate? Err on the side of placing it in the donate pile. The more you trust your gut, the faster the process will go.

Homework assignment: Start here, with these these closet cleanout tips. Then, find a few trash bags, a sharpie (and maybe a friend and wine!). Label the bags donate, trash, and sell and get sorting! A good closet cleanse will allow you to feel ready to become the true you, in terms of personal style. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get dressed when you have only a few spot-on options, instead of unnecessary clothing clutter! Plus, you can invest in quality new pieces with the money you make selling your old threads (more on that here).

3. SHOP SMARTER

Photo via Southern Curls & Pearls

If you only buy to fill the holes in your wardrobe, you’ll build a great selection much faster.

I remember starting my first job at E! two weeks after I graduated college. I was terrified! The thing that scared me the most wasn’t whether or not I would fail, it was mostly doubts about my wardrobe (truth)! How would I be able to dress trendy enough to fit in? Especially on a Ramen noodle budget? I thought the answer was money, but I didn’t have much expendable income to spend on clothes because I was a production assistant (otherwise known as the bottom of the totem pole). So I learned to experiment with the latest fashion trends the smart way—I would hunt for trendy deals at discount places like TJ Maxx and Forever 21. I would only splurge on staple pieces: leather boots, a great handbag, a nice coat. Plus, with a little extra attention (i.e. check the hems, test the zippers), it’s easy tell which cheap items will last and which items are just, you know, cheap. More tips on that here!

Homework assignment: Next time you go shopping, revisit your Pinterest inspiration board first. Likely there are certain items themes, and specific items you’ll need to re-create the looks you admire. Make a list of the items you don’t already have, and take it with you (or just keep it next to your computer while shopping online). Stick to your list so you won’t be tempted to stray and pick up another impulse buy. If you only purchase to fill the holes in your wardrobe, you’ll build a great selection of clothes much faster.

4. TAKE YOUR LIFESTYLE & GOALS INTO CONSIDERATION

Photo by Judy Pak for The Everygirl

The perfect wardrobe should not only represent your vision and creativity, but also be tailored to your lifestyle. Consider the persona you want to present to the world. You want your style to reflect your personality, but it also has to make sense in your field of work, your overall lifestyle, the city you live in and aligned with your long-term goals. Do you want a better job? Are you trying to make it in a particular industry? Think about adding a few sharp and appropriate professional pieces for interviews in that line of work. Or if you want to work in fashion, add more on-trend pieces (but don’t spend too much, as they’ll go out of style quickly!). If your work environment is casual, you may want to purchase more knits and jeans.

Homework assignment: Write down all the different situations you’re in during a given week—be it work, parties, dinners with friends or significant others, lounging, special occasions, the gym, and so on. Now, revisit this list whenever it’s time to clean out your closet, or shop for new clothes. If an item doesn’t check multiple boxes, it’s probably not worth your money. The key is to find pieces that can mix, match, and crossover from one category to another. For example, a great soft t-shirt to wear to the gym can also be worn with jeans and a blazer or tucked into a party skirt. Shop smart!

5. YOUR DRESS SIZE DOESN’T MATTER…BUT CONFIDENCE DOES!

Photo via Le21Eme.com 

Get out of that squeeze-into-the-smallest-size mindset, because that number doesn’t make you confident.

No one can see what the size tag reads on the inside of your dress (and truthfully, no one cares!). The focus should not be about fitting into the smallest size possible. And admittedly, who hasn’t taken two different sizes into the dressing room, secretly praying it’s the smallest one that fits? It happens to the best of us. But please, get out of that squeeze-into-the-smallest-size mindset, because a number shouldn’t make you confident—how you feel in your own skin does. And when you feel your best, you stand taller, smile wider, and people will notice. Or as Diane von Furstenberg put it, “Confidence. If you have it, you can make anything look good.”  So wear what makes you feel confident!

 

6. ASK FOR HELP

When you’re serious about your skin, you see a dermatologist. When you want the perfect photos on your wedding day, you enlist the help of a professional photographer. The same goes for style! Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a personal stylist—visit a department store or your favorite boutique and ask for advice and opinions from the sales associates and stylists. They know what they’re doing! Tip: you may need help customizing the fit of your clothes from a tailor. Why does Kate Middleton look so chic in just jeans and a blazer? Because they fit her impeccably. Seeking the help of a professional tailor ensures that each item you own shows off all your best assets!

7. STOCK UP ON ACCESSORIES

Image via Jeans Stories

Accessories are, without a doubt, the easiest way to pull any look together regardless of the vibe you want to achieve. You can update jeans and a white t-shirt with a bold necklace or pair layered, delicate jewelry with a dress for a more feminine feel. A cool ear cuff or stacked rings can give you an instant edge, and pearls can make you look polished and lady-like in an instant. Add a patterned scarf, opt for edgy ankle booties instead of your normal black pumps, or pull out a bright clutch to add more personality.

8. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS AND BE AUTHENTIC

Something that makes you feel confident and beautiful is never out of style

The single most important thing when developing your style is to be true to yourself. Don’t focus on the size or the designer label (this will only hinder your creativity!). Continue to experiment with different patterns, textures, accessories, and shoes. It all boils down to feeling good in your own skin—your style should reflect and celebrate your life, your individuality, and personality. Own your style, be proud of it, and embrace fashion as a way to express who you are and who you want to be.

I remember being told at E! that I “dressed for the job I wanted, not for the job I had” and I always remember that moment. I stayed true to my taste and what I felt best in, and people noticed. Trust your gut, because something that makes you feel confident and beautiful never goes out of style.

Have you struggled with your personal style in the past? What tips helped you?

  • I am seriously in the midst of doing this. While I am home over spring break I am cleaning out the closet (and bedroom in general) of stuff that I don’t wear or use anymore.

    Ashley
    Sunday Brunch

  • Allison

    You’ve inspired me Jamie! Incredible tips. Going to purge the closet this weekend and never pass up another great accessory again 🙂 Thank you.

    • Jamie Krell

      Thank you! Good luck this weekend! (Remember to grab friends and wine) 🙂

  • Madison

    I’m OBSESSED with the monogrammed clutch. Where can I find one??

    • Jamie Krell

      Hi Madison – Here is the clutch and you can monogram your initials and choose from lots of colors! Happy Shopping 🙂 http://www.giginewyork.com/Black-Uber-Clutch-Embossed-Python-p/obl-pyy-blk.htm

  • I loved your suggestions. Throwing away the dresses I don’t wear have always been impossible for me. I just keep them hoping I would wear them some day. And I thoroughly agree with the accessories point. They make a lot of difference to the whole look.
    Thanks a lot for this useful post. And that Pinterest board idea is cool. I do have a board like that already named “Mind Notes” Basically it has everything I liked and felt like buying. 🙂
    Regards
    http://www.finixpost.com

    • Jamie Krell

      Getting rid of dresses has always been hard for me too! I usually like to donate the items I don’t wear often each season – to start fresh (I’m about to do some major Spring cleaning soon!) It makes such a difference and is mentally cleansing as well. Thank you for your note 🙂

  • Daniela

    Just cleaned out my closet, it’s amazing how refreshing that is! I also have some organizing tips on my blog, Austinstyled.com – check them out! 🙂

  • Jessica Hall

    I absolutely love this. I’ve been struggling with my personal style for a while. I figured I would wait until I made more money. But the time is now. Time to clean out my closet and start feeling better about my image! Thank you!

    • Jamie Krell

      I’m so happy to hear that! And I love that you wrote, “The time is now” What a wonderful way to approach a style overhaul (and just life in general!) Especially fitting at the start of a new season 🙂 Good luck and I hope you enjoy the process! Happy Spring!

  • Sukriti Dahiya

    These are some very nice tips. I seriously need to clean my closet and get away with the stuff which I haven’t worn since ages.

    http://www.delhidaffodil.com

  • Melissa Thornton

    I love these suggestions, but in addition to employing the expertise of a professional (who is likely responsible for selling clothes) you can also enlist the expertise of a good friend. That way you don’t end up limited to one store and you can go back to them for advice as many times as you want/need.

  • Catherine Harmon

    I’m experimenting with my style by buying consignment—cheaper and WAY better for the planet and my wallet. My favorite site is ThredUp, use this link for $10 off! http://www.thredup.com/r/Z7IS7L

  • Chandra

    As a Personal Stylist. I’m happy to help anyone with #3, 6 & 7 ….My service and recommendations are free & all on-line. Sign up for your Styling Session: http://www.keatonrow.com/chandrakeyser

  • Jodi Swansey

    The black and white outfit with the olive vest is my favorite look on this post. She looks so great and put together yet still comfortable. I could wear heels or a pair of clean white sneakers and love it either way.

    http://www.throughmyowneyes.com

  • Black&White Insider

    Great post! I really need to clean out my closet… 🙂
    http://www.blackandwhiteinsider.com

  • I appreciate this post – I personally think that if you want to splurge on designer brands and you’ve got the money, that’s totally fine but it should be invested on staples in your wardrobe that never go out of style, like a black trenchcoat or a classic Burberry scarf, for example. That one luxury piece can easily give you the confidence to strut into any room, haha. All the other more trendy stuff you can find at F21, H&M, etc. 🙂

  • Michelle Hansen

    I really love the clothes that is in the top of this webpage! You know the white, beige, powder rose and laces. Where am I able to buy these clothes?

  • I’ve struggled with style since having my 3 children. My youngest is 6 now and I still don’t know! I get overwhelmed with accessories. Maybe the Pinterest board will help. I am always at loss as to what to wear to parent-teacher conferences and the rare occasions I go out. I knew my style in my 20’s, as an on the go dancer/personal trainer/hostess, alternative and hip. I’ve cleaned out my closet and have a few random pieces I like, but am frustrated.

    • Gosia Scarrott

      Hi Tiffany, I think women are very often confused about their personal style because as mums they become a different person. So the question could be whether you want to reflect who you are today or the person you were before becoming a mum. I believe in embracing your present self having all those experiences and new mindset and reflect it in your style. Why not invest in versatile pieces you just cannot go wrong with, eg well cut pair of jeans (dark navy, not washed style is super versatile), loose linen/cotton tshirt that you can partially tuck into jeans and a soft ponte (polyester/viscose/elastane) blazer nipped at the waist plus a pair of quirky brogues/ loafers to add more character to simple look. This is just an idea but one piece that reflect your character is all you need to go from ordinary to extraordinary, so think what this would be. Maybe a scarf in fun quirky pattern or stacked bracelets or edgy shoes. I guarantee you will feel yourself if you add one element that is unique to You. Good luck, feel free to check my page http://www.gsstyling.com or facebook.com/gsstyling Gosia

  • Thanks for this post.
    http://www.mademoisellegrenade.fr/blog

  • Monica G

    I’m always clearing out my closet, and I give it away to my local charity almost every two years. It feels great, because I know others could very well benefit from the pieces.

    Monica I.

  • Sparkle Johnson

    I love these suggestions, especially accessories tips. This is a very easy way to put together and outfit. The most boring outfit can pop with a few bold accessory statement pieces.

    Thanks for the post!
    Sparkle
    http://www.openstile.com
    blog.openstile.com

  • Camille

    Wow Jamie!! Such am amazing article!! I feel inspired to clean out my closet while renewing my outlook on what it means to wear clothes that really reflect who I am!! Fierce, confident, and classy all in 1!!! Thanks for the inspiration

  • Jocelyn Kosiba

    I recently just got told by my BF that my outfit looks like “messy girl wear” because my jeans are a little too big and my sneakers look like shit, they have paint on them. I asked my Dad what he thinks and he said, “I like your style, you look like a tom boy”. Not what I was going for, lol. I’m trying to figure out my own style currently, so far I figured out that I like the hipster/artsy look; I’m going to try to go with that.

  • Laura

    If you don’t mind, I would like to add here this breathtaking jewelry for women, I’m sure anyone can find something suitable. 🙂

  • MyRubySlippers

    This was one of the best articles I’ve ever read. I’m serious. Thank you so much! I will follow these steps religiously 😉

  • Flo la vita

    This post has really helped me, I am about to start clearing out my wardrobe now!

    http://www.flolavita.blogspot.com

  • SunflowerSister

    If “size doesn’t matter,” how come all your photos are of super skinny, young women. Furthermore, many of those styles/patterns would make a larger woman look even larger. Not sure I believe you.

  • Carly Hunter

    This was super helpful. I love Alexa Chung’s style.