I always thought style was an individual thing. When I was a little girl, although my funds would never allow me to express it, I was always into fashion and style. I remember watching the movie Clueless, thinking I have to get a cardigan and some knee-highs like Stacy Dash and Alicia Silverstone. I would marvel at the clothes worn on episodes of Sex in the City, thinking when I grew up and got a job, I would always express my individuality through my clothing, regardless of the price or label. I was enthralled at designs and colors, wanting to be as “fly” and as glamorous as the celebrities walking the red carpet are. While other girls just wanted to look as sexy as the girls in the music videos did, I was more impressed with those who didn’t conform to society’s definition of style. I wanted to stand in a lane of my own, opting to choose different pieces when I could, to reflect my style. I colored my hair in various shades through out my life and even started thrifting before it was cool to admit.
Nowadays, I look online at different style sites and see that trends are being reported daily, some of which may or may not be for me personally. I see people rating others on their style, stating whether they like it or not. Often times, I notice people making very judgmental comments, that often have nothing to do with the entire outfit but mostly about personal choice. Is style something people should agree on or is it based on the individual? When people post their outfit pictures, allowing others to judge them thoroughly on their choices, is this for the individual’s ego or is it to see if the public agrees that their style is acceptable? I’ve never wanted to submit my pictures for something like this, and when I tried to get others to submit their pictures last year, it appeared that many people felt the same. Nobody wants to get bad reviews on their personal style, however it seems like it’s natural to want to know if people like what you’re wearing.
Personal style is supposed to be about what makes you look good and feels comfortable on you. If society has to ok your outfit of the day, are you really dressing for yourself or for applause? It’s harder nowadays to determine if something is of someone’s taste, or if they’re wearing something that is simply of the current trend. Nevertheless, if you have a personal style and you’re just a follower or trends, you may have posted a picture or two online, to display your new purchases. I see people (especially on Instagram) posting newly bought shoes, clothes, jewelry, etc. hoping to get likes for buying the most heavily labeled items out right now. I don’t want to believe that in order for any of my pieces to be considered “hot”, it has to have someone’s name heavily attached and monogrammed on it. My style is about the piece. Is it colorful? Does it fit into my wardrobe? Can I wear it in various ways? Can I up cycle the item when it gets old, damaged, or too big/small? If I wanted to look like other females, I would just stalk them while they shopped and I would pick up everything they bought. Unfortunately, that’s not my agenda. Although it seems to be for every girl that wants to wear something just because someone with a well known name has it on. I prefer to wear something that I know I won’t see at every event that I attend. Regardless of what your style goals are, there are a few things to remember and to keep in mind. Below is a list that may help you in perfecting your personal style, and not that “wanna-be” attitude that makes everyone else seem like copycats.
Wear what fits your body type – I’m very blessed in the breast department, so I know going bra-less is not an option. I also know that crop tops and body cons, are items that I have to prepare for. I won’t wear anything tight without some foundation on (girdle, spanx, etc.) and I have to wear a good bra that can carry the girls, because they’re huge. I see too many females walking around with sagging bellies and breast, wearing tight clothes that look like they’re suffocating the person wearing them. Wear your size and get realistic about what that size is. Even if you’re slightly thicker than the rest of us, no one wants to look like a busted can of biscuits.
Not every trend is for you – Of course, it would’ve been nice to wear those body suits that looked so good on Ciara and Rihanna when they came out. However, if your stomach looked as if you just gave birth to some baby Ciara’s and Rihanna’s a few weeks ago, then you probably should have just sat that one out. People love trends because of their look and style, but if your body type makes the look appear less than stylish, then why try so hard to be in the loop? The look shouldn’t look totally different just because you put it on, we should still know what you’re going for. Nevertheless, some of you will still try to get into a trend that just wasn’t fit for you. I loved the cat suit that Nicki Minaj wore in “Beez in the Trap”, I thought it was very sexy and I couldn’t help but imagine that style on me. However, imagining is where my desire stopped on a piece like that. With my love handles and uber thick frame, I could never wear something like that. Well, can someone tell that to the thousands of wanna-be Nicki’s that decided to get similar outfits for the club and nightlife events. Nicki was in a music video, you’re not… please sit down. Thanks!
A label shouldn’t break you – If your bank account doesn’t reflect that of a LV bag wearer, a Chanel jacket owner, or a Balmaine buyer than what are you doing? Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and wear clothes in your budget. If your closet is filled with luxury name brands, but you have no furniture, no car, and no food, your priorities are all mixed up. These labels don’t know you personally and will not send you free stuff, just because you’re a Stan. I don’t know of anyone’s life improving just because they went out and bought something that a rapper mentioned in a song. Forget about stepping into the hood and stunting on the poor, and wear clothes that fit into your budget. It kills me how many people will stand in line for the latest Jordans, but still have not registered to vote as of today. If the name/label wasn’t on the clothing or accessory, would you still have a desire to wear it? That’s the determining factor in whether or not this is your style or you’re just copping something you saw or heard about. Don’t be a label-whore!
Don’t turn your nose up – When I first started to talk about thrifting, some people were like “Eeeww”. I didn’t get it then and I still don’t now. People try clothes on at Nordstrom’s and Macy’s, just as they do at the thrift store. Some folks take things home wear them and bring them back, which means eventually those items end up back on the floor. To turn your nose up at the idea of thrifting is the same as saying I don’t buy off the rack. If you can afford to have your clothes custom made, then… do that. However, for those of us who can’t, we should consider all available options to find great items for our wardrobe. I can shop anywhere and make it work for me. I’ve gotten items from Thrift stores, Walmart, and even Family Dollar. I’ve also shopped (the clearance racks) of Nordstrom’s and Macy’s as well. It’s about how you put the pieces together. There is a such thing as “mixing highs and lows together” seamlessly; creating an outfit that is still stylish and chic. Fashion doesn’t have to make people feel poor or destitute because their clothes aren’t featured in this month’s issue of Vogue. I believe having style is the ability to make even the low priced items look amazing with a little creativity and pizzazz.
Create what you can’t find – If you live in an area like mine, you may feel restricted and limited on various styles that you may want. I get it! Nevertheless, you have many more options today than we did a while ago. These days, you can go online and have whatever you want shipped right to your door. You no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to get a certain look you saw in a magazine or pay a large amount to have it custom made. People have the ability to obtain any look with just a click of a few buttons and patience waiting for the mail carrier. What about DIY (do it yourself)? With a little research and some creativity, you can very well create a look yourself with just a few embellishments and a glue gun. I learned how to sew, paint, knit and bedazzle because I wanted to have the ability to make something I sought after. It was the most rewarding feeling to know that I can look at something and make it myself. I don’t worry about where I can find something or how much would it cost to have it shipped to my address. I just go to the craft store and get the things I need and I’m halfway home to a personally custom-made piece that looks good on me and fits my style perfectly. You can learn new techniques and DIY tricks online, with the vast amount of tutorials and articles available.
Reuse, Re-New, Recycle – While we’re on the subject of DIY, I just thought you should know I hate waste. I have clothes in my closet from high school, and yes before you throw yourself out the window with laughter, I do still wear them. I was taught that nothing is new under the sun, so all the trends coming out right now, aren’t anything new (just tweaked a little). I have no intentions of just throwing clothes away because they are no longer trendy or the “hot thing” now. If I don’t want it anymore, I look at my other options. I could add something or take something away, to create a very different piece for my wardrobe. This option ties into creating what you can’t find. Since style keeps revolutionizing, you can change and alter your clothes to update them to fit the current trends. If that is not an option, consider finding a new use for the item. I use old t-shirts for cleaning around the house, I’ve made pillows and stuffed animals out of old sweaters and coats for the kids, and I’ve even turned old accessories into embellishments for other outfits. I won’t waste a thing. If I can’t find use for anything and I really don’t want it, then I donate them to a local thrift store. Someone just like me may be able to find use for it that I couldn’t. There is nothing worst than just throwing clothes away, like food, you never know who could’ve needed it.
Think about your Intentions – Do you want to feel sexy? Are you trying to be comfortable? Are you dressing for yourself and your self-esteem? Are you just dressing to be seen? Think about why you want to wear a certain piece and how it fits into your daily lifestyle. No matter what you do, if your intentions don’t align, with what you’re wearing than you will always look uncomfortable and it won’t work. People have the hardest time admitting their true intentions, and most of the time they spend the whole evening concerned about what they look like. Their outfits always need constant adjustment and no matter how hard they try, they appear self-conscious about their outfit. This also ties into wearing something just because it’s on trend and doesn’t fit their body type as well. Be honest with yourself and the reason why you really want to wear a certain piece of clothing. When you dress with a certain intention and your outfit matches that, you normally feel comfortable all day and not worried about the small details of your look. You can’t say that you just want to be comfortable, when you’re wearing six-inch heels and a body-con dress, you sound crazy. Be realistic and wear what you want, just don’t have a false sense of what you can wear and what you want to wear.
Style for me has been an ever-changing experience, finding my true fashion sense as I matured in life. What I loved in my teens, I’m no longer interested in now that I’m in my twenties. I’m more conscious on how things look on my body and I dress more for myself, rather than the people I’m going to see. I think it’s important to be an individual no matter what and do what makes you feel comfortable. If it doesn’t fit, then you must… quit. Move on to something more fitted for you, your personality, and your frame. Don’t attempt to keep up with every other girl reading the same fashion magazines as you. Be creative and personalize your pieces, while wearing clothes that fit your lifestyle. It’s easy to try to keep up with celebrities, but who wants to take the easy route? Style is subjective; it is slanted towards the individual, and what he or she prefers to wear. So, always make sure that your personality and your intention is reflected in your outfit, not your taste in copying famous people and your bank account.
I highlight my personal style on “F Your Style” because I want to promote dressing for oneself, without spending tons of money, and displaying self-confidence while doing so. I don’t go running to buy the latest trends, and most often, my clothes are thrifted and up-cycled. I’m a plus size mother of two, with fashion sense. However, I don’t spend my time in major retailers buying up every trend, just to run back home and show the world that I can buy stuff. I want to show people that they can get great pieces from anywhere and make it their own. I want to show that style is about your creative ability, not the swipes of your credit card. To see my personal style, check out FYourStyle for more of my personal style and life at
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram: @GaptoothDiva
How Would You Describe Your Personal Style?
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