This three-part series gives you insights on how to discover and create your authentic style. A gentle approach to tune into what you love and works best for your lifestyle.
Today I’m imagining I am meeting my ‘authentic style muse’ at a cafe in Europe to talk authentic style.
M is the woman I think about when approaching a new piece to write that is not my expertise. I want her point of view to be included for you. She inspires me and has creative influence over what I say.
Because this conversation is essential to my article, I set aside ample time to talk and discover M’s insights. I’m curious about what influences her.
She takes off her coat, it’s a chilly Autumn morning and we settle into our chairs to sit in the sun at a cute Kreuzberg cafe. M loves to talk about style. Wearable and home style. We order our coffee and she smiles and waves to someone she knows across the street. “So Jenn what’s the piece your writing. How can I help?” M askes straight up.
I’m doing an article on authentic style. “I’m thinking this article will be the first of a three-part series”
“I’m starting at the beginning. What is an authentic style and what is the first step if you want to create your own? Any ideas M, I’d be grateful?”
M gives me her Mona Lisa smile, tilts her head to the side gathering her thoughts. “Authentic style is how you speak to the world about who you are without saying a word”.
“Let’s say; I took a picture of every woman at the cafe or in the street. We could make up a story about her from what she is wearing” M is using her hands as she talks and add’s “Learning how to interpret someone’s style is the first step” “Then your reader can decide what’s right for her”
“Just like a costume designer working on a movie, she will articulate the visual character of the actress by what she wears” I’m shifting in my seat and would love her to tell me about what I’m wearing and what it says about me. But I don’t. I’m more interested in asking my next question.
“I want to be able to explain to my reader how to create an authentic style, where to start?”
M paused and said, “She must be willing to trust herself. When she is mindful and intentional about what she buys it will have a positive ripple effect on how she feels about herself.
“Being unique, expressive and experimental or even having a classic understated style like European women is still authentic”.
“When she invests in clothes that are right for her it gives her inner confidence. Having an authentic style is about being intentional and thoughtful about the clothes you buy, it becomes second nature after a while”
I sit back in my chair and sip my coffee for a moment. “Okay M, I’m starting to get a feel for what authentic style is, but where to start?” “Because I’m feeling a little anxious and want to rush home and empty the wardrobe and start again”. M laughed and shook her head, “No, no, well okay you might want to reassess some of your clothes, I promise you will enjoy discovering your signature style” she went on without a hesitation
I said, “Well that’s a relief because I’ve wasted tears, money and time over what hangs in my wardrobe, or what doesn’t!”.
M’s eyes lit up, telling me she was ready to get down to business. “Perfect then let’s start with a simple exercise”.
“Awesome!” I said and leaned forward in my chair with my notebook ready.
Train your eye to see the authentic styles in other women.
- Learn to describe several different styles.
- What story could you make up about her style and life?
M starts to point out women in the cafe and the street. She tells me a little story about their style and life.
The woman pictured above in the cafe M described as Modern Minimalist Chic. This young woman has a tight capsule wardrobe of great quality mid to high-end labels. She is loyal to one or two brands and selects several new outfits or pieces each season online to carefully consider what her wardrobe needs to refresh it or update then shops in store. Most of her wardrobe is monochromatic with one or two pieces with strong colours like tan, rust or pale pinks. She spends the same attention to detail on her accessories and grooming.
Next, there was a beautiful young woman looking directly at us, and M described her as European Feminine, Fresh and Quirky. She chooses clothes that drape and have a feminine silhouette showing her small waist. She combines influences from different decades but stays within a soft colour pallet, small prints and keeps her look focused on what she is wearing and keeps her hairstyle simple and accessories fresh. She prefers dresses or skirts and cute jackets. She shops online, in small local boutiques and op shops or when she travels.
Across the road, there was a woman walking her car and M said her style was Eclectic Op Shop, very popular in parts of Europe. This style creates a very individual look that can mix with clothes from different decades, textures, colours and silhouettes. More experimental than many styles and cost-effective. The downside is it takes commitment, time and skill to make this style work in your favour.
Another Style M pointed out to me was Minimal Natural – This woman is uncomplicated and loves natural fibres. She chooses comfortable clothes and a wardrobe that is easy to take care of with little maintenance or fuss. She is confident in who she is and is content with her style. The colour pallet is based on neutrals with blue, black, grey and white as favourites. She has one or two great quality bags, a few shoes. She loves wool and has a great coat collection for winter. She wears her clothes out and does keep them but replaces them regularly. The minimal neutral has relationships with key sales staff who call her when a new interesting white blouse arrives. When she finds a label, brand or shop she likes she is a loyal client.
Actions steps to d
iscover your authentic Style:
The reason most women are confused about their stying is they have a wardrobe of too many styles. When you can find a style that matches your personality, character and lifestyle, you can be consistent. This gives you an authentic ‘signature’ style. You save time, money and heartache. Finding your style is part of your self-discovery. You need fewer accessories, shoes and bags.
- Start to notice when a woman has an authentic style.
- Create a short description of her style
- Tell a story about her personal style, shopping preferences and lifestyle.
- When you notice an outfit, a woman is wearing you like ask yourself why you like it.
- Start to notice brands, labels and shops to figure out who they want to attract.
- Go through your wardrobe. Can you see any patterns of a style that is more dominant?
Next article will cover how to fine tune your style and let go of clothes that are not your authentic style. Have fun, remember this is a mini experiment and