In Defence of Not Defining your Personal Style


Interviewer: “Define your personal style in three words”

Me (sweating profusely): “Errrr, uhm, fuck…” 
Interviewer: “Right… not exactly the descriptives we had hoped for”

This question gets bandied about at bloggers a lot in interviews for websites or YouTube style shows filmed during fashion week, and you know what, I absolutely hate it. Because for someone who blogs a lot about their personal style, I often find myself totally struggling to define it. 
When it comes down to the old “personal branding” situation, not being able to clearly categorise your personal style can be a real negative. If you firmly place yourself in a certain style tribe, continuously posting outfits that nail a certain sartorial genre, then it makes it instantly easier to solidify your status as a go-to for other members of said tribe for style inspo. Just look at the scope of bloggers – minimalistas, rock chicks, Kardashian-types (skintight body con hoodies with heels etc you know what I mean), normcore (yes, it still exists), and the retro-lovers who’ll live and die at the hand of vintage. All of them have signature aesthetic that they become known for. 

But I can’t stick to one or two themes. I’m greedy. I want to wear all of the trends in the exact same way that when I go for dinner with my boyfriend I make him swap plates with me half way through because I want to try what he’s eating too. You know food envy? It totally works for fashion too. And if fashion is a buffet, why stick to the sausage rolls when you can have some scotch eggs and cocktail sausages as well? Your clothes are your identity, so if you don’t want to, why limit yourself to just the one when you can be every single character in the book?

Some blogger was once interviewed on a piece about “How To Shop Zara” – I know, WTF right? Is it not just as easy as buying what you want and paying? But yeah, apparently not, and if that’s what you do then you’ve been doing it all wrong! You’re only supposed to buy from one or two of the trend collections in there, and nothing else. Sure, it streamlines your aesthetic, but how boring. Plus, how it is really *personal* style if you’re simple buying from one or two predetermined trends picked out by forecasters at a big corporation? 

Maybe I just don’t know my personal style yet because I’m still young, and I’m still experimenting, and I don’t quite know myself as I’d like to yet. Maybe I’ll only know it when I’m old, lying in a hospital bed, looking at photos of me when I wasn’t old and lying in a hospital bed, thinking “oh yeah, that was my thing wasn’t it?!” 

Personal style is about knowing yourself more than anything, and dressing to suit that. If you get dressed, leave the house, then immediately want to go back and change, that’s a strong indicator that you’re not being true to yourself and your personal style. I’ve long waffled on about how we should dress to feel our best possible versions, and that to me is closely interlinked with comfort. The older I get the less I’m bothered about exactly how I look but more how comfortable I feel whilst trying to look stylish too. That for me is jeans, T-shirts, flattering A-line mini skirts and masculine coats.

What personal style has taught me is the importance of a good foundation. I’m not talking no NARS Sheer Glow, I’m talking about the staple pieces that never go out of style that can be interchanged and worked alongside the trends du jour at any time – which is why you’ll always catch me rocking a good pair of jeans and a simple but always chic jumper no matter what season (just swaddled in the latest statement coat on top, naturally!)

So for god’s sake, wear every single trend at once. Try each and every piece of the sartorial buffet. And when someone asks you to define your personal style in three words just say anything you want to! (As long as it’s not “Errrr, uhm, fuck…”)

Sophie x

I’m wearing Topshop marabou jacket, ASOS jeans, Topshop jumper, VVA bag (c/o), ASOS shoes

Photos by Rebecca Spencer

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  1. As a reader I'd define your personal style in three words as 'staples/classics, girly and trends' – the trends part allows you to switch and try new things but the staples and girly parts dictate what items and trends you gravitate towards, like your recent fondness for embroidery and frills but your recognition of the importance of a good-fitting pair of jeans or a denim skirt. I'm not sure what my personal style is though…maybe it's hard to do it for yourself?