Over the years I’ve written about the topic of fashion personas more than once. The subject comes up frequently with my clients and forum members. Lots of ladies feel that they don’t fit into any of the personas I’ve suggested, OR, they fit into different ones at different times, perhaps depending on their mood. This makes perfect sense. Don’t ever feel that you have to box yourself into one persona exactly as it is defined. It’s also perfectly fab to dress in a bohemian style one day, a preppy look the next, and a classic vibe the week after that. This chameleon integrity merely becomes part of your style.
The fashion personas are there to serve as a starting point. If you look through style books, browse through magazines, and read fashion blogs, you’ll find many more fashion personas that aren’t included on my list. Tough Chic, Romantic Eclectic, Urban Warrior Princess, Preppy, Punk, Androgynous, Tomboy, Retro Princess, Steam Punk just to name a few. It isn’t essential to familiarize with all of these personas, but it can inspire your own style, and it can be fun. They also serve as a common frame of reference that makes it easier to communicate with others about your style or the style that you aspire to.
Fashion personas aside, it’s often easier to describe your current style and the style you aspire to achieve in your own words. This is an essential exercise that I do with my clients at the start of a style renewal or a style refresher because it breaks things down in the simplest way. First, jot down whatever thoughts come to mind about your current style, then try to isolate the key adjectives. Do the same for the style you aspire to, and try to whittle it down to five to ten adjectives for each of them. It is great if fashion personas are among the adjectives, but feel free to use whatever adjectives describe your style the best.
To illustrate I’m going to use a fictional client, who I will call Daisy. Here are the adjectives that describe Daisy’s current style persona:
Here are the adjectives that describe the style persona she aspires to achieve:
Daisy clearly wants to build onto some of the aspects of her current style as she moves onto the next leg of her style journey. The Earthy and Romantic parts mean that Daisy will probably continue to wear Bohemian inspired pieces. But the new Tailored and Authoritative aspects mean that she’ll also explore Classic Style and perhaps add in a few pieces that she can wear in an Arty way.
As Daisy moves through her style refresher, she will continuously realign her dressing and purchasing decisions with her style goals. And while staying focused on the goals is key, there is always room to adjust them. In the process of cleaning her closet or shopping for new items Daisy might rethink some of her aspirations, or she might find a part of her current style that she overlooked. If this happens she can just adjust the goals and keep moving.
Not everyone will do this exercise explicitly. For some it will be completely intuitive. For others, taking the time to think about these things and writing them down will be an essential part of keeping them focused. It will give them direction, save them frustration and ultimately, probably even save them money as they make fewer purchases that get more wear. The reason it is essential for all of my clients is partly because I need to understand their goals.
Having done the exercise, you might find that there is very little difference between your current style persona and the one you aspire to achieve. If so, good job! That means you’ve internalized your style goals and can merrily continue on your current path.
If you like, have a quick stab at this exercise in the comments below. Jot down adjectives that describe your current style, then do the same for the style you aspire to achieve. How different are the two lists?