Diane von Furstenberg said it best “assume-toi” – own oneself – a profound quote from her inspiring and motivational auto biography The Woman I Wanted to Be, which has influenced and guided me in my own personal transformation of rediscovering my personal style without limitation. To own oneself, in my opinion, is to authentically trust and know who you are from within and to own it unapologetically, which ultimately is illuminated through your visual presence, also known as your personal style. As such, for one to own their personal style is to embrace all of who they are intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically. When we are clear about the image we want to project out into the world, for example as an entrepreneur, C-level executive, creative professional or entry level employee we are visually communicating to the world that we unapologetically acknowledge our inner greatness and power. Furthermore, we accept our individuality, unique talent and skills; thus, influencing and shaping our style personality which I have written about in another article entitled What is Your Style Personality? And Why is It Important?
Just how do we begin to own our personal style?
Well, let us start with the intellectual aspect of our being. When I state intellectual I don’t necessarily mean your IQ; rather, I am speaking to your ability to clearly and passionately convey your personal points of view in life; your likes and dislikes, what you are passionate about and being able to share your lived experiences with other individuals, whether at work or in your social circle of influence; and to do so consistently by being present and bringing that passion to every conversation as a thriving, empowered woman with a PURPOSE and mission for her life. Women who immediately come to mind when I think about an intellectually stylish woman is none other than Diane von Furstenberg, Michelle Obama and Janice Bryant Howroyd – whom I have spoken about in another article entitled Executive Presence: It’s Not Executive, If It’s Not Authentic. Each of these women have nurtured their personal style in such a way that it telegraphs an intellectual aura about who they are from the inside out. I am sure you have heard the phrase the woman makes the clothes; the clothes don’t make the woman. In essence, we as women do not have to fall prey to the trends of each fashion season. Of course, we all can draw inspiration from fashion trends! But, what is most important and what I passionately coach and empower my image consulting and personal styling clients to learn for themselves is that – as women we can establish our own signature style, one that is authentic to our personal brand and style personality and that is reflective of our lifestyle aspirations, career goals and authentic self without looking like a carbon copy of our favorite celebrity.
The emotional aspect of a woman’s personal style is all about the energy that she emits from within that evokes a positive response from those around her. Two artists who come to mind that execute the emotional aspect of a woman’s personal style, and I am sure are no strangers to you, would-be Queen B herself the fierce and talented Beyoncé and the lovely songbird Adele. Side note – I am not here to argue semantics as to who should have rightly won the 2017 Grammy artist of the year award, but what I am here to point out is that both of these phenomenal singers have that certain je ne sais quois. One that visually evokes an emotional reaction when they enter stage right to perform. Fans of either of these two women (including myself) know they are in for a visually stimulating treat when they watch Beyoncé or Adele perform live in person and when critiquing their latest video project; as the audience/fan we know we are going to either be moved to tears or empowered to take action in some aspect of our personal life (Who runs the world? Girls!). That is the power of a well-executed, personal style and strong visible brand, one that can evoke a visually emotional response that leaves you intrigued and wanting more. If you have been paying close attention to Beyoncé’s personal style transition over the years you will have noticed that she unapologetically embraces the empowered goddess residing within her; most notably in the visuals of her profoundly beautiful Lemonade album. She is a self-proclaimed feminist, who effortlessly evokes a radiant, empowering energy through her music videos and artistic performances which has influenced and transformed her personal style over the years, both on and off the stage. Similarly, Adele’s emotionally laced lyrics, for example, “Hello” is pure magic! Watching her perform this song live you can’t help but acknowledge her poise and strong stage presence. Known for her sleek, black, wardrobe ensembles, impeccably applied neutral makeup and 1960s cat eyes Adele has stepped into her own signature style which has transitioned her into fashion icon status despite the industry’s bias and preference towards slimmer, modelesque figure types.
Spiritually expressing your personal style. Say what? Yes, you read that right ladies. What does spiritually styling yourself mean? Well, it depends on how you look at it. There is the application of appropriate colours we can use in our everyday wardrobe and accessory items that can elevate our energy and overall look, thus allowing us to feel more aligned with our authentic selves; I speak more in detail about Colour Analysis (HERE). Furthermore, nurturing your personal style should be part of your self-care routine. If we can make it a priority to visit the hair salon, take our annual vacation, attend our weekly mani and pedi appointments religiously why can’t cultivating our personal style be part of that routine? Personal style, in my opinion, is more than changing up our look every season; it is part of the essence of who we are and learning to take care of that aspect of our well-being, as a result further enhancing our overall image. Another way we can express our personal style from a spiritual aspect is by immersing ourselves in an environment that enhances our energy and gets our creative juices flowing! I personally like to meditate in the mornings before preparing myself for the work day ahead of me; however, you might be energized and inspired by playing music or going for a brisk morning walk. It may seem odd or perhaps trivial to you, but being more aware and intentional in how you cultivate and nurture your personal style from a spiritual aspect can add depth and substance to your visual identity.
Physically enhancing your personal style takes dedication and consistency because keeping your body healthy and in good form will require you to take action by maintaining a well-balanced diet and implementing a moderate exercise regimen at home or at the gym that will further enhance your self-esteem, as a result impacting your confidence and willingness to want to transform your image and style, thus motivating you to take risk in choosing new outfits that you normally would not consider. Now, let us clear something up right out the gates; I am not advocating that you lose weight to look like your favorite celebrity or singer; no, no, no that is not what I am getting at here. What I am encouraging you to do is to take care of the body that you already have and learn how to work whatever curves the universe has blessed you with. A great article to read in addition to this one is Body Shaming: An Image Professionals Perspective where I explore how my expertise and services can assist and support women, such as yourself in accepting their bodies unconditionally. Being healthy, staying toned and leading an active and healthy lifestyle has more to do with how you feel from the inside; and as I discussed at the beginning of this article learning to unapologetically embrace all of who you are will naturally illuminate and enhance your personal brand which should strategically intersect with your authentic personal style.
A lengthy, but necessary article! Too often I have observed women attempting to copy their favorite celebrity style, rather than drawing inspiration from them and utilizing that inspiration and making it their own. Diane von Furstenberg stated it best assume-toi, the rest will naturally fall into place.
Ladies, if you are interested in discovering and learning more about your style personality and how to nurture and cultivate it I invite you to review our Essence of Style package.