I’m still a lover of clothes I can move swiftly in, more techy and sporty than feminine. That’s my core Style DNA.
What is it? I reference it in so much of my work I thought I should write a simple blog outlining the basics. It’s a mix of internal feelings and external influences. I’m convinced that this ‘coding’ is set in us as children, or by the very latest teenagers, as this is when we push and explore the boundaries of our own identity.
Now, I’m not saying for a minute that what we wore when we were so much younger is exactly what we should wear today. But there are key flags or influences that will carry through.
Many people struggle to identify with this until I say, imagine wearing the opposite and they will instantly react and say no way! That doesn’t suit me! Or recall a time when they had to wear something that they really disliked as a child.
First step is to recall what you loved wearing the most during that time.
Here are some prompts for you:
For each memory that gives you a great feeling recalling wearing it, now look more at the detail of just why you enjoyed wearing it so much and expand on your choices from above.
For example - If you identify with active/hobby clothes – perhaps you loved ballet lessons, tennis, hockey – whatever your choice, what was it about them that made you feel really good in them? What were the colours, fabric, neckline, decoration and the style of what you wore and which parts do you recall as making you feel really special when wearing it?
List these all out and then circle what means the most to you.
These are the key influences you should look for in your clothing choices of today. They most likely will be adapted to suit your current lifestyle, but that common thread is the secret sauce to wardrobe success and pleasure.
What happens is that we simply forget as the years roll by what we really did like and enjoy wearing, when, if you recall, we had all the time in the world to dress up and explore what we did and didn’t like before all the big external influences overtook our decision making.
It’s become diluted by a mix of hard fashion trend marketing and then life ‘stuff’ such as a career, a boyfriend/partner/husband, money restrictions as you save like crazy for a first home, then maybe even the experience of becoming a mother.
Along the way we think, ‘I have to grow out of that phase’ or ‘I should dress in a certain way now that I am x, y, or z’. And the x, y or z we tell ourselves, well, it can be age, weight, career or any manner of things, including a partner’s expectation of how you should look. This is why it’s so easy to lose sight of what truly makes us happy and the reason we keep shopping for more Hope on a Hanger again which of course leads to the wardrobe full of clothes yet you still feel like you have nothing to wear…
You can read a little more about my own personal Style DNA story here but when writing this article for you, it made me recall a funny story from my early childhood years.
I wasn’t a little girl who ran around in pretty dresses. I climbed trees, collected insects, fought with my big brother and talked a lot to the animals around the farm. I found a hairy caterpillar when I was five, walked about a mile and a half home with it carefully placed in my corduroy pocket as I was so enchanted by this silky black, furry creature. I was heartbroken when I took it out to show my Mum as it was a grey worm! All it’s fine air had rubbed off during the walk. Miss nature lover was dragged to go clothes shopping and was bought a white dress with green spots on it for a party but a ‘nice dress’ really had no relevance to me. I did like the fact that when I spun in circles really fast the skirt was like a spinning top and it stuck straight out from my waist. That was kinda cool, but just to ‘look pretty” didn’t resonate with this five-year-old.
When I was transformed into this party going little girl instead of the tomboy I really was, waiting for my lift at the end of the farm road, the older boy from the neighbouring farm passed by and saw me. He commented how pretty my new dress was. I’ve been reminded frequently that I ignored the comment about my dress and proceeded to lift up my new dress and ask if he liked my new knickers...
Could this have been the start of my obsession with #BuyRightFirstTime, #WearWithLoveOften??! I liked them a lot and even at that age I knew I would wear them again unlike the dress, which apart from the spinning skirt was completely unpractical for climbing trees or pushing through hedges to see if I could find the birds’ nests. Trousers stopped my legs being stung by nettles or scratched to pieces. They let me scramble over granite dyke walls, and up trees. I could wear my power pants under my trousers time and time again!
I’m still a lover of clothes I can move swiftly in, more techy and sporty than feminine. That’s my core Style DNA. And yes, to this day, I do also have a thing for nice knickers!
Take a little time trying the exercises above and if you want to get in touch with me, I’d love to know if you feel you are still being true to yourself today and how you do it.
P.S. If you want to know more about how to discover your style DNA and get clear with what to wear today to reflect the real you, come join me in my ASKAY Style World. No more wondering if it actually suits you or not, we get to the heart of who you are and express it through your clothes.