When I work with my clients giving them advice on what styles/colours best suit them, another major factor to take into consideration is what is known as their “style personality”. In fact, it’s your style personality that acts as the catalyst to bring your whole look together in a way that is uniquely you. It reflects how you like to interpret fashion and wear clothes.
I often encounter good examples of this when weeding a client’s wardrobe. There may be an item lurking unworn at the back of her wardrobe which is absolutely ‘right’ from a colour and style perspective but when I ask her why she doesn’t wear it, the sort of response I get is “it just doesn’t feel like me” or “I try it on but I don’t feel comfortable in it so I take it off again and choose something else instead”. This is a clear indication of style personality ‘misfit’ – perhaps she has bought it because she saw a friend wearing it or a look in a magazine. Whilst it’s good to experiment with your clothing and sometimes go a little outside of your comfort zone, it’s still really helpful to know and understand your style personality.
Your style personality is derived from many different influences – your upbringing, how you see yourself, how you want others to see you, plus other factors, such as your age, build, profession, lifestyle, environment, culture, etc.
At Colour Me Beautiful, we categorise six different style personalities: Creative, Dramatic, Romantic, Classic, Natural and City Chic. It’s not about putting someone in a box – most people favour one primary style personality with possibly one or two secondary preferences. Let’s explore each style personality – a helpful way of understanding them is to look at how people in the public eye dress or the style of certain fashion designers.
The Creative style personality loves to combine items from many different sources including vintage, eBay, charity shop or flea market purchases, alongside High Street or designer pieces. She may have built her wardrobe over many years and enjoys combining pieces in interesting and different ways to create her own unique style. She will go for stand-out accessories, such as unusual jewellery or scarves, hand-made or ethnic bags, brooches and hats. When she gets it right, she will look amazing but on a bad day, she runs the risk of looking like a car crash!
Examples of Creative style personalities are Paloma Faith, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Helena Bonham Carter (remember her whacky red carpet dresses?) Designers who are ideal for Creatives might include Zandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood.
The Dramatic style personality loves to be noticed and wear clothes and/or accessories that are striking or follow the latest trend. She doesn’t particularly care whether clothes are practical, washable or even if they suit her, as long as they grab people’s attention and get people talking. She likes to dress up when going out and will use bold colours and loud prints and wear striking accessories, like statement jewellery, jewelled or studded belts and colourful scarves to make an impact. She usually loves a full face of makeup, preferably with a bold red lipstick!
Katy Perry, Christina Hendricks and Serena Williams all have dramatic style personalities. They might choose Italian designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Roberto Cavalli or High Street brands All Saints, Desigual and Ted Baker.
The Romantic style personality loves clothes that are feminine and adorned with detailing in the form of ribbons, bows, ruffles, flounces, applique, beading and sparkles. She will choose patterns such as florals or pastel prints and luxury fabrics, such as cashmere, silk and satin. A Romantic will love pretty accessories, such as floral handbags, decorative jewellery and hair adornments.
Kylie Minogue, Penelope Cruz and Leona Lewis are all exemplars for the Romantic style personality. Romantic brands include the French designer, Chloe, and Per Una at Marks & Spencer, Whistles, Phase Eight, Joules and Laura Ashley on the High Street.
The Classic style personality loves to match, look smart and well turned-out rather than at the leading edge of fashion. Her main priority is to co-ordinate her outfits and she doesn’t tend to feel comfortable mixing different textures/patterns or wearing daring colour combinations or bold designs. It’s a must for her to wear matching shoes and handbag and she will also prefer coordinating jewellery and a matching scarf.
The Queen, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton are all examples of Classic dressers. Favourite brands for Classics are M & S and M & S Autograph, Hobbs, Jaeger, Pure and John Lewis Collection.
Feeling comfortable in her clothes is the most important consideration for the Natural style personality who prefers casual and uncluttered styling. Formal dressing is likely to feel constricting for the Natural and her clothes need to be easy-care, washable and ideally non-iron! She will feel most at home in deconstructed or loose-fitting clothes she can relax in. Accessories will be minimal and practical, such as rucksack-style bags which carry loads of things. Shoes and/or boots will be comfortable with probably flat or low heels.
Examples of famous Naturals include Kate Winslet, Emily Blunt and Julia Roberts. There are many High Street brands who specialise in clothes for Naturals – think Fat Face, White Stuff, Seasalt, Mistral, Boden, Crew Clothing, Great Plains, Superdry – but, not surprisingly, few designers!
This style personality likes to follow trends rather than High Street fashion and she prefers to invest in elegant and quality pieces which will stand the test of time – think of it as understated, Parisian chic. She shops with care and may also like to spend on quality shoes, handbags and jewellery to complete her look. She tends to play it safe by going for solid neutrals rather than bright or bold colours or patterns.
Good examples of this style personality are the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister, Pippa Middleton, Victoria Beckham, Amal Clooney and Christine Lagarde of the IMF. High Street brands which would attract the City Chic shopper include Massimo Dutti, Zara, LK Bennett and Reiss. On the designer front, Armani, Victoria Beckham or Michael Kors.
Can you change your style personality?
You may find that, as you progress through the decades and different lifestyles, you change the way you dress depending on the impression you want to make. For example, in your teens and early 20’s, your focus might be mainly on creative or dramatic fashion then you may transcend into a classic or chic style if you have a professional career or veer towards natural once you have children. Many of the clients I meet who are in their 40’s, 50’s or 60’s come for a style consultation because they feel that they have ‘lost their way’ or become stuck in a rut and this can be a great platform to try something new and different without going completely out of your comfort zone.
So please contact me for a consultation to discover your style personality and how to dress for it. As well as chatting through your preferences and asking about your lifestyle, I will get you to complete a style personality questionnaire which helps define where you feel most comfortable and we can use it as a basis for discussing where you would like to be.