9 Steps to Defining Your Personal Style

Personal style is an elusive beast at best. Besides the fact that it’s ever evolving, we’re sure you also appreciate a handful of different styles. But which one truly speaks to you? That’s where we come in.

No matter where you are on your path to mastering your personal take on fashion, there are certain actions you can follow to hone in on it. We’ve nailed down the steps to discovering the particular look that speaks to your most fashionable self. Ahead, we're breaking down ways to tap into your unique style and all of the many nuances it has. See something you love? Then, shop the pieces our editors are praising right now.

1. Find Your Style Spirit Menagerie

9 Steps to Defining Your Personal Style



The likelihood of finding a single style icon who defines you? Kinda low. Most people are more of a mix, think a little Selena Gomez with a dose of Bella Hadid plus a dash of Rihanna. To figure out who your main influencers are, start by doing a Pinterest search of “style icons” and save the images you are drawn to. You’ll start to see a collection of repeat people (your style menagerie) who you can look to for inspiration.

2. Put a Label on It

Take a second pass at your inspiration photos, look beyond the names, and focus on the outfits. Pick a few words to describe the vibe of the looks. Are they classic, modern, eclectic, bohemian, or trend-forward? Settle on a handful of words that feel true to your style, and write them down for future reference, as they will help you clarify and define your look.

3. Snap the Winners

How to Define Your Personal Style



You know those special days when you walk out the door feeling like your most stylish self? Snap a quick picture for future reference. These are the outfits that epitomize your true personal style and should serve as inspiration for spin-off outfits.

4. Choose a Signature Piece

How to Define Your Personal Style


The Style Stalker

Audrey Hepburn had her cropped pants and ballet flats, Jackie O. had her oversize sunglasses, and Edie Sedgwick had her statement earrings and mod minis. All fashionable women own a signature item or two that becomes part of their style identity. Yours can be as simple as a personalized piece of jewelry or as memorable as a leopard coat.

5. Take Note of Repeats

Have a closet full of striped tees or ankle boots? There’s a reason your closet has an excess of a certain item. You purchase these items again and again because they make you feel happy and comfortable. They are your style sweet spot, if you will. As long as the item is flattering and works for your current style, we say to embrace these repeat offenders. As we mentioned in step four, it’s not a bad thing to rely on a signature staple.

6. Identify the Odd Piece Out

How to Define Your Personal Style



Take a hard look at your closet, and notice the piece or two that doesn’t fit with the overall vibe. Is there a bohemian embroidered blouse among a sea of collared button-down shirts? That’s your outlier. Chances are your odd piece out symbolizes a style you like but aren’t fully comfortable trying. If you’re aiming to evolve your look or try something new, consider going after pieces that feel more like that aspirational item.

7. Play to Your Strengths

Is there something people compliment you on? Whether it’s your amazing footwear game or your ability to style dresses like no one else, wearing clothes that play up your best style strengths will always look stylish, no matter what is currently trending. Find out more about which pieces successful women wear to feel powerful.

8. Don't Forget the Whole Package

While we’re mainly concerned with clothing and accessories, true style encompasses beauty, too. If you’re not happy with your beauty look, you’re never going to feel as fashionable as possible.

9. Know Thyself

How to Define Your Personal Style



Trust your instincts, and wear what makes you feel like the best version of yourself. If you have more classic style, wearing the season's most out-there trend pieces is going to look unnatural. Similarly, if you align with Rihanna’s tough-meets-glamorous appeal, a floral maxi dress might not be your best bet. Chances are you’ve likely already got a winning sense of style, so embrace it, refine it, and don’t fight it.

Shop the pieces our editors are loving right now:

A bag that's as artful as it is useful.

Get in on this season's most popular jean trend.

This desk-to-drinks dress is the perfect way to take on this season's popular leather trend.

Chic strappy sandals that will go with literally everything in your closet.

It's all about the vintage-inspired ruffle-collar blouse right now.

Polka dots will never go out of style.

The perfect finishing touch to your ensembles.

Every wardrobe needs a sophisticated staple trench coat.

Fashion girls are all over the long-shorts trend.

Yes, yes, yes to billowy dresses and puffy sleeves.

A luxe-looking croissant bag without the designer price tag.

We love everything about this easy H&M frock—from the puff sleeves to the striking floral print, the chic square neckline, and the flattering front slit. Not too shabby for $20.

This one-and-done jumpsuit is guaranteed to solve any fashion dilemma.

This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.