Monday, 12 October 2009

10 Steps to Fashion Freedom

I picked up a great book at the library this week, 10 steps to Fashion Freedom by Malcolm Levene and Kate Mayfield.   A few years ago, my friends would tell me that they saw a lovely item and it was 'definitely me' I had a particular style that really seem to reflect who I was.  I have found that getting older has impacted on my sense of style.  This book digs quite deep to help your your style statement.

I copied this synopsis from as it does a pretty job of describing what the book is about.    I am on step 3 and so far my style statement is 'I project a style that is unique and charismatic'.  This takes into account my love of colour, my creativity, my quirky side and my friendly manner. As I go on reading the book I guess this could change.

10 Steps to Fashion Freedom 

How well does your fashion style represent your personality? Are you making the most of your unique assets and special qualities? For whom are you really shopping, anyway? Find out with these steps to fashion freedom!

1. Passionate Beginnings

Identifying your passions can open the door to your personal style. Ask yourself the following: "What do I feel passionately about? Why do I feel passionately about these things? Is there any aspect of my passions that is reflected in my image?"

2. Creating Your Personal Style Statement

It is important to define your goals relating to your image. What do you desire your image to be? Make a goal-oriented statement such as, "I present an image of clarity, confidence, and comfort." If you do nothing else, this step alone will empower you.

3. Healing Your Image Wounds

Everyone has image wounds. Although we wish it weren't so, our self-esteem and the way we feel about ourselves in our clothes is directly related to our body image. How have other people's words affected the way you feel about yourself?

4. Inner Style Inventory

There is outer style and then there is inner style. There are many aspects to your style that are not related to clothing or grooming. Think attitude, behavior, and communication -- our definition of inner style. We all have inner style assets, whether they include a good sense of humor, a pretty smile, or an engaging personality. What are yours?

5. Aesthetic Field Trip

Get out of your house! Go to a place you have never been before; near or far, outside or inside, just go. Go somewhere where your eyes can drink in new sites, new colors, and different people. This step is about tapping into your own personal creativity. Learn about your tastes and aesthetic sensibilities.

6. The Spirit of Clothes

The four most important things to look out for:

Quality: If you raise your level of quality even half a step, that alone will be enough to make a difference in your wardrobe.

Design: Good design has clarity, purity and simplicity of form.

Currency: Being trendy is only about the clothes, while being current enhances and projects your personality.

A great fit: A good fit is always flattering, comfortable, and encourages confidence.

7. Color

Choosing the right colors for your wardrobe is one of the hardest things to do. We suggest you bust color myths such as "The colors I love are the ones I should wear." Wrong. The colors that you should wear are the colors that complement your skin tone, your hair, and your eye color.

You need to do a bit of research to find out which colors are best for you. The next time you go shopping, take someone with you whose eye and taste you trust. Other people sometimes see us more accurately than we see ourselves. Then, ask yourself these questions:

Does the color "wash me out"?

Does the color make me look more alive?

Does the color make me look pale?

Does the color flatter my eye color and skin tone?

Notice how you feel in the color. Do you feel more confident in one color than another? Does another color make you feel inexplicably angry or sad?

Another way to research color is to notice to which colors you are drawn in other areas of your life. Perhaps you are drawn to specific colors in a painting or furnishing fabric. Do you ever think of wearing that color or accessorizing with it?

8. Your Personal Style Profile

By now you will have enough information about yourself to start developing a profile of your individual style preferences. These things will be personal and specific to you. A picture of your own personal style will begin to emerge.

9. Closet Analysis

It's time to get into your closet. This is not just a closet clean-out. Rather, it is a time to analyze and edit your wardrobe while armed with all of the new information you have about yourself. This is a cathartic, uplifting, and liberating experience.

Use your personal style statement as your guide to what stays in -- and what goes out of -- your closet. For example, if you wish to project an elegant impression, it is likely that your leather-fringed bomber jacket is past its prime.

If the clothing item doesn't fit you anymore, it's time to let it go.

Less is more. You don't have to have a closet full of clothes to create a personal style. Be ruthless, especially if you have a tendency to collect clothing items that you no longer wear and to which you have only become emotionally attached.

Make an appointment with yourself. Give yourself the luxury of time to thoroughly complete the task.

Create your own categories for your wardrobe. For example, a change in employment might create a new category for you, or it might delete one. If you have recently lost weight, get rid of your "hiding" clothes category.

When you have completed the closet analysis, it will be easy to see what is missing in your wardrobe. Make a list of all the items that need replacing. Perhaps your trusty pair of black pants that you wear with everything needs replacing with a more current, better-quality, or better-fitting pair. Do you have a lot of tops but no bottoms (or vice versa)? Then, make a list of the items that are missing or items that you need to complete an outfit. Is there an item of clothing that you love a lot? Maybe you'd like to buy two more just like it, or in different colors because you love the style.

Take the list you have made and choose which items are top priority.

10. Shopping

At last! Sometimes it's better to leave the store empty-handed rather than make the same old mistakes. You'll go ready to shop with the list you have created from your closet analysis. Now you can become a seasoned and experienced shopper.

Create a budget and allow for an additional 10 percent.

Go shopping only when you have plenty of time.

Visit a few shops you've never been to before.

Look for items on your priority list first.

Ask yourself before you even try on a garment, "Is this the old me or the new me?"

Ask yourself if the item is congruent with your personal style statement?

Try on the garment and ask yourself if you feel confident, secure, and comfortable.

Ask, "Does the item represent as much quality as I can afford?"

Ask, "Is it an excellent fit?"

Ask, "Does the color flatter you?"

Ask, "Does the style of the garment flatter you?"

Kate Mayfield and Malcolm Levene are the authors of 10 Steps to Fashion Freedom: Discover Your Personal Style From the Inside Out (Crown, 2001). They founded the Image Development Consultancy, which caters to corporate, private and business clients internationally.

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