Finding a signature style is one of the biggest challenges any creative person (or wearer of clothes) will encounter. I've tried out many different ‘looks’; some of them cute, some of them…not so cute. Even now, as a supposedly grown-ass 23-year-old woman, I get frustrated with my wardrobe, my hair, my make-up, the decor of my apartment, the layout of my blog, and just about everything else in my life, for not representing me as I want them to. Some days I want to rip it all up and start again, and I’m here to tell you that’s okay. It’s never too late to find your real style. In fact, from scratch is the most creative place to start.
How Do You Want To Make People Feel? Maya Angelou said that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. How do you want to make people feel? How do you want your readers to feel when they visit your blog? Or when they look at your photographs? How do you want to make people feel when they meet you in person? Choose your layouts, content, outfits, or whatever else, with that in mind. Think about the emotion you want to inspire in someone, and then consider how to achieve that. For example, if you want to make people feel calm and relaxed, you’d choose very different things to those that would make someone feel inspired or excited. A good way of figuring this out is to write down what emotions certain colours/words/images bring out in you, and then ask people if they feel the same.
Start A Pinterest Board Pinterest is an amazing tool for finding imagery you like and collecting it all together in organised groups. Make a board and call it something like Blog Inspiration, or whatever. Make it a Secret Board if you are rebranding and don’t want anyone to know about your new look! Collect everything you think is relevant and beautiful and inspiring, until you begin to notice emerging themes. Some of the themes in mine when I first did this were fairy-tales, the colours red and pink, female-centric photography, and Americana. Look for the similarities in your Pins; this will help you narrow your vision to a finer and finer point.
Learn From The People You Stalk Whether it be an amazing Instagram account, a blog, or a celebrity who’s wardrobe we want to steal, we all have style icons that make us wonder how on earth they do it. It’s never a good idea to copy someone, and the whole point of this post is to help you find YOUR OWN style, but a big part of that is learning from other people’s successes. Look at what your icons are doing right. Identifying their magic formula will help you find your own.
Keep A Scrapbook Keeping a scrapbook is a more intense way of creating a mood board. Making your own images gives you more control than you have on Pinterest, and it helped me find a style that was all my own. If I could wear my collages on my body, I totally would. No two scrapbooks will ever be the same, and you’ll be surprised how individual your pages will look.
Find Your Key Words, Colours, And Concepts Whilst you’re doing all this, take note of words, colours, and ideas that you go back to over and over again. These will be your signatures. You might be surprised by what comes up. A concept that I explore a lot, without ever really meaning to, is love. Love is one of my most used keywords, even when I’m writing about make-up or food. Every post I write is like a love-letter to whatever I’m writing about. You might find that you have a similar pre-occupation with friendship, spirituality, or beauty. Run with it.
Be Ruthless You won’t be able to include everything you like in this new, defined style of yours. There will be things that you will have to just admire on other people, or enjoy in private. A big part of defining your aesthetic is editing out the things that don’t belong. They say consistency is key, and that’s true; but remember that what you’re essentially doing here is figuring out who the fuck you are and what you stand for, which can take longer than an allotted weekend! Give yourself permission to rip things up and start again. Trust me, you’ll be doing it all your life.