Sunday, 30 June 2013

On Personal Style.

The past year has been one of immense growth. I've become more independent because I didn't have some of my friends around as much to lean on - I had to do things by myself. I've grown intellectually because I had to do lots of new kinds of research for my dissertation. And I feel my personal style has matured and developed a lot because of this blog. In the beginning, when I did more of a personal style and outfit of the day kind of blog, I was looking at lots of pictures of myself. It made me analyse things. The self-reflection led to a lot of growth. I feel like I've really come to understand the difference between what I like and what I wear.

This is the most important distinction you can make in figuring out your own sense of style. Several factors will lead you to establishing what the difference between the two is. I have been asked by several male friends recently about this. They're at that stage in their twenties where they kind of all look the same and don't really know where to go from there. I can understand how this can happen. Some guys craft perfect images and personas for themselves but others are stunted by laziness (not judging, it's just true), lack of interest, fitting in and (in the case of many an Irish man) having been dressed by their mothers for so long. Fashion, and clothing, is relegated as a female thing, a female interest. Women are encouraged to think about their appearance - perhaps too much, to the point that it is often emphasised as their only area of worth - men are not to the same degree at all. But even women can be lost. I felt I was for some time. In a world with so many stimuli, a world where you can see what's fashionable anywhere, anytime whenever you want, it's easy to be overstimulated. How do we find what suits an individual? I can only pass on what this year has taught me personally. Hopefully, the following factors and my explanation of how they affect my personal style will help people in finding their own.

My Style

My Style by fitzpac featuring burberry

1. Lifestyle.

Obviously this includes economic factors; are you a Prada or a Primark person? Or a little of both? More importantly, (as style cannot be bought) it will decide the style of clothing you wear. Think of things such as climate. Are layers something you need to think about? Statement coats? And so on. Do you spend much of your time in offices? Are you at college or in a more casual work setting? Do you need a professional you and a casual you?

For me, my lifestyle is varied. I could be in the library and classes one day, hanging with friends the next, travelling to and from my family home or attending some event. Comfort, therefore, is a biggie. As well as pieces which can be styled several ways. Short skirts are not so much of an option for me because I tend to climb things and jump and run and bend down to find books etc. That I walk everywhere means I wear few heels. The variable Irish climate means I need layerable pieces and lots of cute coats and jumpers.

2. Annoyances/Quirks.

These are more unique, personal factors. For example, I hate having my forearms covered all the time. I don't know why, I just do. This means I can't wear anything that isn't either short-sleeved or capable of being rolled up. Another one of these factors is that I hate fuss and am permanently late/in a hurry/clumsy/all of the above. This means I can't wear anything overly complicated with lots of straps or buttons or pieces. I need clothes that are easy and don't require lots of time to put on or take off. For example, much as I prefer stockings to tights (baggy crotches are irritating), ain't nobody got time for a garter belt.

3. Body type.

This will decide a lot of things and it's one of the hardest factors to come to grips with. It requires a lot of honesty and self-knowledge. I'm short yet leggy, have boobs and I worry about my stomach area. This all affects the choices in clothing that I make and, sometimes, where I shop. I know shirts in Zara, for example, won't fit my boobs right. I know some dresses don't suit girls with curves as well as they suit more boyish shapes. I know some things will look overly-sexual on me because of my body shape. I know I'm too short for other things without looking completely stumpy. Once you come to grips with how you actually look, you can make a lot of better clothing choices and feel more comfortable.

4. Tastes.

Some people like fake tan, some people like short hair. Some people listen to The Cure and some people love the colour pink. Your tastes in appearances and in other things such as music, film, tv etc will affect personal style. I'm into the natural look and not trying too hard. I think androgyny is sexy and I was a punk as a teenager. Now, I'm influenced by more music genres and I really like modern, urban fashion. This means that I don't like clingy clothes such as bandage dresses, I have minimalist tastes, don't like a lot of prints, prefer darker colours and like an edge.

5. Moods.

However, my tastes are not always the exact same. Most of us are this way. We wake up feeling super-confident and wanna rock a bitchin' dress or feel depressed and wanna embrace our inner goth. For this reason, your moods will also decide how you dress. I rotate between three broad categories of dress; rock and roll or punk inspired, cutesy clothes and super-modern dressing.

6. Icons.

Who you look up to and your beliefs might also affect your personal style. However, this is also an area to be careful with. There's a difference between people you admire, people whose style you admire and people you admire for both. One way, if you're stumped on how to find your personal style, is to look at images of different people whose style impresses you. You'll take away things and ideas and make them fit with your own image. Hopefully, you'll avoid copy and pasting. I'm really influenced by Japanese street style, anime, labels such as Alexander Wang, Jil Sander, Valentino, Rodarte and Dsquared2, and people such as Kurt Cobain, Gwen Stefani, Jared Leto, James Dean and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I think if you look at things you like and then see how they fit into the above categories, you'll be well on your way to honing a deeply personal style!

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