I was recently admiring the Archibald Prize entries at the Art Gallery of New South Wales when I overhead two art enthusiasts talk about the portraits. I heard “tautology of choice….dichotomy of subject matter”, but didn’t have a clue what they meant. I don’t know much about what I like in art, but I recognise what I like when I see it. I suppose this is similar to how some of my clients feel when I ask them to describe their fashion style.
Every woman has inborn style and an eye for what she likes though she may not have the words to describe her preferences. Once she develops a small vocabulary about clothes, not only will she be able to describe what she likes, she’ll be able to judge if something suits her or not.
Here are five criteria commonly used to describe clothes. They come in really handy when you’re editing your wardrobe or going shopping. Once you know how these five words apply to you, you’ll only buy things you love that suit your personality and style.
Do you prefer bold, bright colours or neutrals? Are you drawn to vibrant or subtle colours? Do you favour a diverse palette or a narrow one? You can read this article for more information about clothing colour.
An item can be of one block colour or it can be made out of fabric that is imprinted with a motif. Motifs that regularly repeat in placement, colour and shape create a pattern. When motifs are irregular or random, they are described as a print. Do you prefer structured patterns or organic, random prints? Large scaled or small scaled? In high colour contrasts or tonal blends?
Design refers to the look and shape of a garment and the placement of details or embellishments. Do you prefer a structured silhouette or soft, rounded forms with few defined lines? Do things like ribbons, frills, pleats or piping appeal to you?
This refers to what the item is made out of. Do you like natural fibres or man-made ones? What’s important in the way they feel on your body? Do you prefer heavy or light fabrics? Stiff or soft? Different fabrics will require different levels of laundry care. Are you willing to comply with care instructions or are you the type to play washing machine roulette?
Whilst pattern is visual, texture is tactile and refers to how fabric feels on your skin or at your fingertips. Do you like smooth fabrics like cotton or denim? Ridged like corduroy? Nobbly like tweed or sensual like fur?
To get a sense of your preferences, simply get out a favourite item and describe it using these five criteria. Repeat the process with an item you don’t like and you’ll see the themes emerge.
Having the right vocabulary helps you become more proficient in a subject whether it’s art or fashion. Practise using these five words when thinking about your clothes. That way, you’ll be certain you only wear clothes that you love that are aligned with your style. This will save you so much money and time in the long run.
Thanks for reading.
If you need any other help with this topic on Authentic Style or would like more information, just send me a quick email at Sharon@coachmebeautiful.com.au.
Has this article been helpful? Please comment below or send me an email. I am always excited to hear from women who are taking action to dress in their authentic style.
Until next week,
Coach Me Beautiful
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About Sharon Billingham
Sharon Billingham is a Personal Style Coach who inspires women to live authentically. Sharon leads dynamic self-development programs that teach self-awareness, acceptance and action so women have the courage and strategies to succeed in their personal and professional lives.
Through her Authentic Style program and her five-step FLAIR TM process, she helps women reconnect with their inner selves, express themselves congruently through their appearance and acquire skills to realise their dreams.
Sharon has coached over 1800 people in the areas of sales, personal impact, communication and leadership. Her supportive and fun approach has helped many achieve lasting results. With loving yet down-to-earth advice, Sharon inspires women to take charge of their happiness by appreciating their gifts, expressing them through how they look and channeling their power into a passion for living big every single day.
Sharon conducts workshops and events that teach her unique authentic style process to women searching for deeper self-understanding, inspiration and the courage to achieve more in life. For more information and program schedules, please go here.