How often have you flipped through a women’s magazine to come across a quiz: “What’s your style?” Seems simple enough… but maybe too simple. Can our personal tastes really be summed up as Trendsetter, Classic, Girly, or Sporty?
We’re complicated beings that find inspiration through ongoing and ever-revolving stimuli, but admittedly, we also have preferences that often stay with us through our adult lives. So, when finding our senses of style, we’re told to rely on those consistencies to come to a conclusion about who we are, what we’re like, and what we offer. On an existential level, we are what we are and it doesn’t need to go any further than that. But, when creating a business around one’s style, such as a LaunchMyWear store, it’s a whole different ball game. So, I thought I’d investigate what the biggest influencers are in curating style and how you can use this to discover your brand’s voice.
Culture: Often, personal style may be related to the culture you grew up in, but can also be from cultures that you’re drawn to. The art, music, food, and behaviors you grew up around or were attracted to obviously play a huge role in your preferences now. For example, half of my family is Croatian. I grew up with a grandmother who donned a braided crown and babushka. There were summer kitchens and Christmas Eve parties serving seven variations of seafood and copious amounts of wine. I really enjoy the traditions and styles I was exposed to by my family, and possibly as a result, have developed a Croatian or global-influenced sense of style, often being drawn to folksy prints, embroidered dresses, and, yes, braided crowns. There are also cultures surrounding hobbies and interests, like nerd culture, for example. How did culture play a role in your tastes and preferences?
Personal influencers: Did you have a family relative or close friend that was always on fleek? Did they teach you what items of clothing to splurge on and what to regard as a passing trend? Maybe they bought you your first favorite dress or jacket. For me, this person was my Aunt Cindy. She taught me what details to look for in quality clothing, where to find a bargain, and what fashion pieces would remain timeless for years to come. These lessons were subtle, but, over the years, have stuck with me. Consider who helped you develop your fashion sense and what they taught you, because there’s a good chance those lessons are still influencing you today. Also, consider peers or people who had negative influences and told you to refrain from wearing something you liked or believed in, then mentally tell them off and move on with your life!
Famous and celebrity influencers. This is a big one. I would guess that 75% of teenagers, or more, gain influence from music, movies, and TV. These favorite musicians and celebrities often change over time, but their impressions can have a lasting effect. I’ve played with so many different types of music and style that it would be difficult to keep track of them all, identifying with “indie/punk/emo” as a teenager and onto electro pop and funk in my twenties. But there has never been a time when I didn’t love David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Prince. Find those influences that stood the test of time and examine how they might have played a part in determining your sense of style now.
Decade: Sometimes this ends up being the nostalgia you have for the way people dressed when you were a kid. Other times, you find yourself drawn to particular decades because of the culture or beliefs of that era, or maybe it ties in to one of the other influencers mentioned above. I’ve always loved the 60s. Maybe it was having a flower child mom, or because of the 60s reboot that happened in the 90s when I was growing up – probably all of the above. Looking at the time period you’re most drawn to can help you make discoveries about your own personal style.
Spatial/Visual preferences: Highly organized people often feel better when things are out of the way and in place, while others might have a “more is more” attitude. These states of mind can often extend to fashion preferences. I, for example, am a neat freak minimalist and this holds true for my taste in clothing and accessories. I don’t like any fussy or unnecessary zipper or button details and I have a strong preference for streamlined silhouettes. Dolly Parton, on the other hand, has a more go-with-the-flow, “why the hell not?” attitude which I appreciate tremendously, but just isn’t me. It’s interesting looking at how this last one relates to your other influencers. Although I love Prince jumpsuits and folky embroidery, I want quirks in small, thoughtful doses. Examine your own spatial reasoning and preferences in the context of your other style influences to see a bigger picture of what your style or brand might represent.
So, I guess my sense of style can be summed to Folksy-Classic-Fluid-Mod-Minimalist? Yeah, let’s go with that! What did you come up with? This can be used when developing a cohesive e-store on LaunchMyWear.com or if you ever need a little inspiration. And, as always, tweet your designs and ideas to @LaunchMyWear