Have you ever thought about what shapes your aesthetic preferences? I’m not talking about practical factors like the climate you live in, your dress code for work, or your Mum-on-the-Go lifestyle. I’m talking about a more abstract level, like why you might prefer bohemian clothing to modern classics. Why avant-garde silhouettes are more your cup of tea than East Coast Preppy. Why you gravitate towards complex outfits rather than simple ones. And why you prefer black over white, muted tones to brights, or moody florals over rugby stripes.

One big factor in my case is the work that I do as a fashion stylist. You might imagine that working with clients across a wide range of different style personas makes my own style preferences quite broad, but it actually does the opposite. I find that it makes my own preferences narrow and focused. I think that being exposed to so much fashion also explains my love of combining modern classics with more trendy pieces. The modern classics are timeless and the trendy items add newness, so I don’t get bored with my purchases very easily.

Another factor is my emotional reaction to bright colors: bright sour greens and yellows, tomato red, turquoise, shocking pink and coral. And white, which to me is a bright. My heart lifts when I see these colours and I am drawn to them over and over again. I don’t experience the same sense of euphoria when I look at an earth tone, a muted shade of pink or black. 

I’m sure that personality plays a role too. I’m drawn to clothing with straight lines and angular drape as opposed to flowing curved styles with arty drape. The big flared midi skirts that I wear are have box pleats — which are straight line constructions — and not curved, ruffled bustles. Perhaps the straight lines and angular drape are reflecting my strict and impatient personality. After all, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Similarly, my preference for a polished as opposed to a deliberate RATE (rough around the edges) look must have a lot to do with my tendency to be a neat freak. 

And last, I’m drawn to a dressy style. Even my casual looks are dressier than most. I think this stems from being quite a formal person. I’m warm and friendly, but I’m not laid-back. I prefer a plan and don’t like things sprung on me. I’m “proper”, and this is reflected in my style. 

What shapes your style preferences? There are no right and wrong answers here. This type of analysis is not at all essential, and it’s all in good fun. Furthermore, your own style preferences might be narrow, but you can absolutely love a look that is outside your personal preferences on someone else. Knowing what you like for yourself, while at the same time appreciating a wide assortment of styles on others is not only fun, but truly reflects a love for fashion and style.