How to Define your Personal Style Aesthetic
Updated: May 17
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In a social media-driven world that is constantly blasting us with trends and “life-changing” products, it can be easy to get swept away and forget the things that truly mesh with our own personal aesthetics and lives.
How I defined my Personal Style Aesthetic
One of the most complex ways we present our SELF to the world. Your personal aesthetic goes far beyond how you choose to dress; it's everything from how you care for your home to your lifestyle, your hobbies, even your social media.
Joanna Gaines is my favorite example of a person with a well defined Personal Aesthetic. The way she dresses is earthy, country, minimal, organic, rustic yet feminine. These same adjectives come across in what she wears, how she does her hair, what her home looks like, how she keeps her nails... etc She has curated a Personal Aesthetic that is mindful of her lifestyle.
Some of you may already have a cohesive sense of self that goes beyond your wardrobe choices, I know a lot of people that do. I, however, was not this person I struggled with nailing down my personal aesthetic for years.
Not having a clear vision of my personal aesthetic constantly led me into a vicious shopping cycle that was ever more fueled by my “I have nothing to wear” dilemma.
This led to thousands in credit card debt and still after all that shopping... I had nothing to wear. I only used about 15% of my entire wardrobe.
So I scoured the internet, read up countless articles and discovered that in order for me to get out of that cycle I had to learn to shop with a clear vision in mind; a clear aesthetic.
Defining my personal style aesthetic took quite some time to figure out because I did not have a perfectly laid out plan like the one I'm about to show you. But once I did my wardrobe, my home and even my hobbies started to align and I have never had more mental clarity. I am above marketing schemes, I've learned to recognize where my money is well-spent and I no longer carry debt from compulsive shopping.
Define your Personal Style Aesthetic
01. What's holding you back?
Let's hit that reset button and try to suss out why you don't have a defined style.
The most common style traps:
Are you trying to mimic someone else’s style? An influencer maybe? A celebrity?
Stop trying to mimic someone else, you don't live the same lives, therefore you cannot embody their personal style. You also probably don't have their same body type or complexion.
Do you dress a certain way because you think you can’t afford the style you want?
You can look as expensive as you want with a little training and education on fabrics, hardware and fit.
Related: The Shopping Checklist that helps me Save and still look Good
02. Consider your lifestyle and personality
This is by FAR the most important step and is going to guide how you spend your hard-earned cash.
- If you go to parties once or twice a year then don't buy 5 cocktail dresses.
Instead, invest in pieces you will actually use.
For example: I wanted to have an elegant and timeless personal style so I spent a small fortune on heels. Only to use them less than 5 times a year. Why? I live in NYC! I cannot possibly wear these heels to work or out.
Although these shoes are beautiful they do not fit my lifestyle or personality.
I should have opted for elegant wedges, ballet flats, sneakers. They still convey the style I want to achieve while still adhering to my lifestyle.
03. Find your keywords
Choose 3-4 adjectives that describe what you gravitate towards. Keywords you wish your style represented.
Is your true self edgy? Do you like warm colors? Vibrant Colors? Feminine? Girly? Casual? Sexy? Playful? Boho? Free? Flowy? Graceful? Trendy? Forward? Rustic? Country? Cool?
Any adjective is fine, these will help create and define your personal style aesthetic vision board.
Related: How to Find your Power Colors
04. Start your own style vision board
Once you have 3-4 keywords and a color palette you can make a vision board either on my personal favorite: Pinterest, a good old piece of paper using magazine cut-outs and pictures or in an Instagram favorites folder.
Check out my Pinterest boards for keyword combination examples:
Elegant x Boho x Sophisticated
05. Make a shopping list of the key essentials you need to embody your style
Essentials are pieces that we will always need when putting an outfit together. These are not trendy or overly designed but can be paired with trends if that is your chosen aesthetic.
Now the essentials for MY personal style aesthetic may not be the same for YOUR personal style aesthetic but here is my example:
- Classic Handbag
- Tailored winter coat
- Basic well-fitting shirts
- Dark wash - no rip jeans
- Leather Belts
- Classic monochromatic sneakers
- Pointy-Toed Heels
- Structured Wedges
- Dainty Sandals
- Ankle boot
- Stud earrings and Dainty jewelry
- Signature Classic Watch
Doesn't sound like you right? Well, that's because this is the list for MY Personal Style.
If you have a grungier personal style instead of a tailored coat you would have a leather jacket and instead of basic shirts, you would maybe have graphic tees.
Related: Where to shop for Quality Basics