Style > Fashion. // photo by  Ian Bell

Style > Fashion. // photo by Ian Bell

Individuals will often say something like "I want to be more fashionable/stylish" -- and they use these words interchangeably. Style and Fashion are two very different things. Fashion is an industry that only survives if it can convince you that what you already have isn't good enough. Style is a manner of particular form and expression. Fashion and style can overlap, but they don't have to! So when someone speaks of elevating their style/fashion game, what they are really saying is, "I would like what I wear, and how I wear it, to say something more/different than it currently does." I frame it as such because the non-verbal impressions we make communicate as much as the words that come out of us. If someone looks put-together, we automatically frame our mental posture towards them in like manner. So with that said, here are three quick tips on cultivating a personal style.


I know that seems incredibly existential, but honestly -- if you aren't settled internally, your external expression will probably follow suit. Know who you are. Know what you actually like, and why you like it. This will help you decide on what to wear based on YOU and not based on what an industry tells you to wear. This will also help you feel confident to try things that seem outside of norms. Example: when I first decided to wear a wide-brimmed fedora, I was teased and called "Smokey the Bear" and Pharrell all the time. But I didn't really care because I loved the hat. Had I been insecure, those little jabs might have prevented me from wearing what is now a staple of my attire!


This exercise might seem odd, but just chill out and DO IT. Take a moment and list out as many adjectives as you can think of that you'd like to be associated with a description of "you" ... is it edgy? urban? refined? easy-going? sporty? dark? ... make a list, then narrow that list into a small few specific words. Now as you put on that garment or accessory, compare the way it looks against those words you came up with! If it's a mismatch, either re-think the way you approach wearing it (i.e. change the vibe of your button-up), or rethink wearing it altogether.


Often in an effort to attain a certain "look", we'll settle for something that is close but not quite right. Here's a personal example: I love hats. (Have I mentioned that enough yet??) There was a time when I would try and snag a cheap brim that is "close" to the look I was going for, but not quite right. The problem with this is that if it's not quite right, no matter how close -- it's still wrong! Don't settle for something just because you're impatient and want it "now", because it's a cheaper option, or for any other similar reason. Take a moment and review that garment or accessory and say, "Is this exactly what I'm going for, or is it just "close" and I'm settling?" If it's only close, be picky. Be patient. Wait till you find the actual right piece. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes when you decide to not settle.

Whether you're shooting to be fashionable, stylish, or all of it -- these three considerations are key starting points! Cheers, dear ones.