Gallery 116

Unique Treasures & Fabulous Finds

10 Ways to Develop Your Personal Style

Believe it or not, but you can look fashionably fabulous without breaking the bank. Scott Quinn Photography/Getty Images

When celebrities like Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham run out for a few things at the grocery store, they look like they’ve just stepped out of the pages of Vogue magazine. It’s easy to look fabulous all the time when you have personal stylists at your beck and call — not to mention a virtually unlimited budget at your disposal.

For those of us with limited bank accounts, however, looking fashionable can be more of a challenge. Yet fashion experts say that you can look fabulous, regardless of you much you spend. Part of the key to becoming a fashionista is figuring out your personal style — then finding specific wardrobe pieces that highlight it.

So, here are 10 ways to cultivate your own special look. You’ll find out how to buy clothes that accentuate your assets, learn tips for making the most of your existing wardrobe and discover how to look like a million bucks — without spending anywhere near that much.

10: Know Who You Are

Before you can figure out your personal style, you have to figure out who you are as a person. Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

How do you like to dress? Are you wild or more conservative? Do you prefer business formal or casual comfort? Is your current wardrobe classically elegant or fashion forward? Consider the persona you want to present to the world.

Think about:

  • Your age. Clothing should always be age-appropriate. If you’ve got grandchildren and you’re dressing like them, there’s a problem. It’s OK to want to look youthful — just make sure your outfits suit your stage of life.
  • Your occupation. You wouldn’t wear jeans and a cut-off T-shirt to work at a law firm, and you wouldn’t wear super-high heels and a short skirt to teach kindergarteners. Use your profession as your guide when you shop. Once you’ve got an appropriate ensemble for your job, jazz it up with a few accessories to add your own personal flair.
  • Your lifestyle. Stiletto heels are just fine for the city, but they’ll make you stick out like a sore thumb if you live way out in the country. Fashion should combine form and function, and it should fit well with your surroundings.

Remember that you don’t need to buy designer duds to express your personal style. Even jeans and T-shirts can be stylish if you feel comfortable in them and choose the right ones.

Fashion inspiration can come from a variety of sources, from magazines to your friends' personal style. M. Nader/Getty Images

9: Look for Inspiration

Find a celebrity or model (or a few) who best captures the style you want to emulate. Flip through the pages of leading fashion and entertainment magazines to find pictures of your style icons. Cut out those pictures and paste them into a binder or hang them up around your room to inspire you. Don’t copycat –just use elements of that celebrity’s look as a springboard to create your own style.

Take your own pictures. Carry along a camera or sketchpad as you window shop.

Inspiration can come from a variety of sources. Don’t just look at what’s hot today. Scour vintage clothing stores and flip through the pages of old magazines and history books so you can see the origins of the latest styles. Look to both modern and classic fashion icons, like Jackie Onassis or Grace Kelly. You might find that your personal style combines elements from both your grandmother’s era and your own.

8: Know What You Want to Accomplish

If you want to upgrade your career, you might want to consider upgrading your wardrobe Hugh Sitton/Getty Images

Do you want to get a new, high-powered job? Are you trying to meet the guy of your dreams?

Take out a notebook or journal and write down your goals — in life and in fashion. Then start to think about which design elements and accessories can help you accomplish those goals. If you want to get a better job, think about adding a few pieces to your suit collection. If you’re headed back to school, you’ll want to trade in a few of the suits you already have for some casual knits and jeans.

Once you have your list in hand, take it with you when you shop. It can also help to bring along some pictures or descriptions of what you already have in your closet. Ask the salesperson to help you pick out pieces that will enhance your current wardrobe and help you accomplish your goals.

Fashion-forward women should pick pieces that highlight their favorite body parts. Dan Hallman/Getty Images

7: Accentuate Your Assets

What are the best parts of your body? Focus on the areas that you like best; choose clothing and accessories to highlight them.

For example, if you have gorgeous blue eyes, show them off with eye shadow and liner colors that really make them pop. Endless legs deserve to be seen in short shorts and mini-skirts.

Know your measurements so you can find clothing that fits well. Write down your measurements and bring them with you when you shop.

Try to dress to your body shape. For example:

  • Most women’s bodies are pear-shaped, which means they have a narrow waist and wider hips. If you’re pear-shaped, buy clothing that draws attention to your slim upper body. Brightly colored shirts, scarves and modern-looking shoulder pads should work well. Wear tailored pants and skirts, as well as hip-length long jackets. Avoid pleats and stripes, which will further accentuate broader areas.
  • If you’re rounder and more apple-shaped all around, you’ll want to draw attention away from your waist. Go for flat-fronted skirts, empire-waisted dresses and tailored, wide-legged pants.
  • Don’t accentuate a flat chest with a deep v-neck. Instead, choose rounded-neck tops, and add a layered necklace to add dimension.
  • If you’re busty, accentuate your curves by wearing a scooped neckline that hugs your chest appropriately.
  • If you’re extra curvy, you don’t have to wear baggy, saggy clothes. You can still find fashionable, tailored clothes that comfortably compliment your body. Shop in stores that can accommodate your shape and buy clothes that fit well.

6: Take a Style Lesson

You don't need a degree in fashion to understand it. You just need a good eye and a willingness to learn. Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Don’t know your Armani from your Kmart casuals? Do you have to twist around and check the label to know what you’re wearing? Time to brush up — fashion illiteracy can stop your personal style quest dead in its tracks.

You don’t need a degree in fashion to understand clothing. You just need to be more aware when you shop. Look at different fabrics. See how polyester feels compared to silk. Learn the difference between plaids and houndstooth prints. Figure out how to see differences in an outfit’s stitching and cut.

Look for a variety of fabrics when you shop. Choose some cotton pieces for everyday, silk ones for dressing up, wool for the winter and linen for spring and summer. Learn how to care for your fabrics too: Cotton/polyester blends are great for everyday because they barely wrinkle, but you’ll need to keep your linens carefully pressed if you don’t want to walk around looking rumpled. Silks are more delicate, so be extra careful about spills.

Know which fabrics and textures are most flattering. Shiny, bulky, or stiff textures can make you appear bigger than you really are. Smooth, matte surfaces, like cashmere and jersey, can really slim you down.

As a student of fashion, your “textbooks” should be the big magazines, like Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle. Study the ads and articles, including the picture captions, to see what fabrics and colors are “in” this season. Look to the masters — Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and the like — to see what elements they use in their designs. Use those designs as inspiration to create your own fashionable looks more affordably.

As you develop your personal style, don't be afraid to throw out anything that doesn't fit your current look. Anthony Saffery/Getty Images

5: Assess Your Current Wardrobe

Get to know the contents of your closet. Looking through your wardrobe will help you identify your current style — what you like about it and what you wish you could change.

A walk through your closet will help you get a sense of what you feel most comfortable wearing — short skirts or long flowing dresses, business suits or track suits. Look at your clothing styles and colors, as well as your shoe and accessory collections.

Also use this opportunity to do some spring cleaning. Pull out each piece in your wardrobe and ask yourself:

  • Is it worn out, ripped or stained?
  • Is it more than three years old?
  • Is it out of style?
  • Does it fit?
  • Does it match anything else in your wardrobe?
  • Has it been hanging in your closet unworn for more than a season?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, put that item into a bag. When the bag is full, give it to charity and take the tax write-off, or sell it at a consignment store and make some extra cash that you can use to fill your wardrobe gaps.

4: Make a Few Changes

You don't need to reinvent your entire wardrobe to develop your personal style, but you do need to pick up a few new things. Tim Kitchen/Getty Images

You don’t need to reinvent your entire wardrobe. That would cost a fortune. Instead, update it. Start by introducing a few up-to-date pieces that reflect your style — some earrings, a new pair of shoes or a scarf.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, but take baby steps. If you’ve been very conservative your whole life, buy one “out there” piece. Shop in places you wouldn’t normally go, like an antique clothing store or (if you can afford it) a high-end designer boutique. You might find that you like taking a few risks with your wardrobe.

To save money, try updating what you already have. Do you have an old pair of jeans that’s starting to look ratty? Crop or roll them up into Capri pants or shorts. Have a pair of pants that no longer fits? Have them tailored to look like new. Re-invent an old boring dress with a new belt.

Although change is good, it’s also important to maintain a core wardrobe composed of a few well-designed and constructed pieces. Keep some classic staples in your closet that you can mix and match to give you more bang for your fashion buck. Head to the next page for some pointers.

The little black dress is a fashion staple that few women can go without. Inti St. Clair/Getty Images

3: Stock Up on Wardrobe Essentials

Now matter what your personal style, every spectacular wardrobe has to start with a few basic pieces. You can incorporate these classics into a variety of looks.

Here are the must-haves for every wardrobe:

Black pants. The quickest way to dress up any shirt is to put on a pair of black pants. Pick a versatile fabric that will take you through the seasons.

Black tank top. Wear it solo during the day, or throw a blazer over it to dress it up for nighttime.

Black turtleneck. Unless you live in Miami, you need this winter wardrobe staple in your closet. Just like the tank top, it can stand on its own or be used for layering.

White blouse. A plain white blouse never gets old, and you’ll never run out of ways to incorporate it into your wardrobe.

Jeans. Have a couple pairs of everyday blue jeans and a pair of black jeans for going out. Just make sure they fit you well, and don’t forget your skinny jeans — they’re real lifesavers on those “I feel fat” days.

Little black dress. This isn’t a cliché. Every woman looks great in her little black dress. It’s slimming, sexy and versatile.

Pencil skirt. Perfect for interviews or elegant dinners, this classic piece looks best hovering about two inches above the knee.

Trench coat. It looks stylish, and it will keep you dry and warm when the seasons change.

Cardigan sweater. Throw this over a tank top to transition an outfit from fall to winter.

Black high heels. Nothing shows off a great pair of legs better than a set of high heels. Black is the most versatile color. When you’re looking at heel height, go for both design and function. You can’t look good if you’re stumbling.

Once you have these essentials hanging in your closet, you can keep them updated with trendy jewelry, belts and shoes.

Rather walk around in flats than suffer in high heels? That's totally fine. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

2: Stay in Your Comfort Zone

Don’t suffer in stiletto heels when you’d rather wear flats. And don’t suck in your stomach to squeeze into a skin-tight pair of designer jeans. Wear what makes you comfortable.

If you’re not sure what makes you comfortable, look to your closet for inspiration. Sift through your clothes and pull out your favorites. Ask yourself why you love them. Do the fabrics feel good on your skin? Do you like the way the clothes make you look? Do you get a lot of compliments when you wear them? Use those favorite pieces as a springboard when you shop for new looks.

Speaking of shopping, don’t just rush in and out of stores — take time when you’re trying on clothes. Consider the ease of putting on the article of clothing, how good you look in it, and how well it fits in with your current wardrobe and needs.

Don’t go for the trendy; go for the comfortable. Wear what works for you. Paul Viant/Getty Images

1: Trust Your Instincts

No matter what the hottest designers, celebrities and stylists are saying on the pages of the fashion magazines, ultimately the only person you have to please is yourself. Buying an article of clothing that you hate just because it’s trendy is never a good idea. It’s going to hang idly in your closet until you finally decide to throw it out or give it away.

Similarly, don’t give in to pushy salespeople who are trying to convince you that they know what looks best on you. If don’t like what you see in the dressing room mirror, you won’t like that outfit any better once you get it home. Thank the salesperson for his or her time, and make your exit.

At the same time, if your instincts are telling you to put on the same ratty sweat suit you’ve been wearing for ten years, that’s the time to ignore them. Turn to the people you trust to help you weed out items in your wardrobe that didn’t showcase your best judgment.

For more fashion tips, take a look at the links on the next page.

Written By: Publish Site: tlc.howstuffworks.com/style/10-ways-to-develop-personal-style.htm

10 Tips on Finding Your Design Style

1. Multiples. Do you have multiple items of the same color, shape or style around your house? This is one big “tell” I look for as I look through clients’ homes. A kilim rug in the front hall, a kilim rug in the bedroom, another one in the living room? That means that you like kilim rugs. It sounds way too simple to be that easy, but most people stop seeing their style even when it’s right in front of them.

2. Form over function. Do you work on a desk that is too small, but can’t bear to replace it? Have a couch that is crazy uncomfortable, but it’s still in you living room after all these years? That broken clock that’s still up on the wall? Take a good long look, because this is a dead giveaway to your personal style. There is something you love so much about this piece that you have chosen its form over your need for function.

3. Where you shop. Do you browse the same store all the time, even when you’re not looking to buy? Does a good flea market make you heart pound with excitement? Where you look for your furnishings speaks volumes about your style. New, used, found, handed down from family; where your furniture comes from represents your style.

4. Art. What you have chosen to hang on your walls says something about you. Art is purely personal, not tied to function or need and therefore is usually the best indication of your style. A vintage movie poster means you probably like classic lines in furniture, while an abstract lithograph likely means that modern design is your bag. Flea market oil painting of someone else’s relative? Eclectic is your style.

5. Most recent purchase. A French country dish towel that caught your eye in the store, or an impulse buy of a Tiffany-style lamp that you thought you’d never like, but do. The last thing you bought for your home is a fantastic indicator of what your style is, especially if it is design departure for you.

6. What unites your stuff? Do you have terra-cottas, rusts and warm yellows all around your house? These are the sun-kissed colors of Mediterranean design, so you should look for rough-hewn wood tables, terra-cotta lamps and vases to polish up your style. Does all your furniture have lean, sharp lines, and you don’t have a single thing on your mantel? Your style is thoroughly modern. Whether it’s color, scale, shape or era, the uniting element in your home is the best place to start when looking for your style.

7. What’s your favorite hotel? This is my secret weapon in finding a client’s design style. Always stay in cozy country B&Bs? Like the modern city high-rise hotel? Or do you go more for the traditionally furnished places? Hotels have clear design styles, so use them to help you find YOUR style.

8. Odd man out. When there is one piece different from everything else in your room, take note. Chances are, this is one style you like, but are afraid to fully venture into.

9. Travel. Where you chose to spend your vacations, and what you bring back with you are great style indicators. Always go to Mexico on your holidays and have a full set of cobalt-blue wine glasses? You like the hacienda look. Love your family vacations at the beach and have jars of seashells in your bathroom? Coastal cottage is your style.

10. Best room in the house. What’s your most fave room in your home? Look to your best design work and repeat it. There is nothing wrong with having all your rooms designed similarly. In fact, it can bring a calm and serene feel to your house.

Written By: Karen McAloon Publish Site: www.hgtv.com/decorating/10-tips-to-find-your-style/index.html

How To Create an Art Gallery Wall

Make a Statement

Jen Bekman, founder of the popular online art shop, 20×200, finds that creating a gallery wall is the perfect way to make a personal statement at home. “This is your opportunity to make a statement about who you are and what you like. Mix paintings and photography, black-and-white and color and combine high and low pieces,” advises Bekman. Image courtesy of 20×200.

Have Fun With the Layout

Before placing your collection of pieces, Bekman suggests playing with a few layouts until you identify the best one for your gallery wall. “I recommend laying your framed work on the floor to try out a few setups. You can even use painters tape to outline the size of the wall to help you visualize. Take cell phone snaps of a few variations that you like as you go. To start, use two to four pieces hung in the center at the same height to establish your anchor or focal point and fill in from there.” Image courtesy of 20×200.

Think About Placement

As you are designing your gallery wall, think about the placement of each piece, particularly when you’re hanging art over a sofa or chair. “When installing artwork over furniture, leave at least eight inches between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture,” says Bekman. Be sure not to hang pieces too low or too high. Eye level is best. Image courtesy of 20×200.

Develop a Palette

You can showcase art with a variety of shades for a colorful display, or use works in a similar color palette that will complement the space that your art hangs in. Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio and curator of its new Art Shop, is a fan of a gallery wall with a specific color palette, “Design a whole room around modern abstract paintings. I’m loving working with the bold black and whites. It’s so graphic and chic — a palette that works all year!” Image courtesy of Dwell Studio.

Create a Wall Story

Gallery walls can also be used as a unique way to document and tell a story of your travels and experiences. You can include photographs from recent trips and prints and artwork that you bought while on vacation. Lemieux is a fan of identifying pieces that have a sense of story to them. “I’m always inspired by the vintage art I find while traveling and have developed a deep love of collecting pieces from flea markets and galleries all over the world. I love artwork that has a back-story. It’s a real conversation starter.” Image courtesy of Dwell Studio.

Frame Your Work

Your gallery wall is not just about the art on display, but also the frames that highlight the art. For a clean look, frames in the same color and style are the perfect fit. You can also mix and match picture frames so that you work feels like it has been collected over time. “Frame your artwork with unique frames. Go for something distressed for an old-world vibe. I’m always finding vintage frames at flea markets. They can add so much visual interest to the home,” remarks Lemieux. Image courtesy of Dwell Studio.

Go Off-Center

“Ideally you’ll have one picture to build from, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be centered,” interior designer Hillary Thomas advises. When building your gallery wall, try hanging pieces to the left or right of center for an arrangement that is less formal. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs.

Mix It Up

Illustrations, paintings and a menagerie of distinctive pieces can all have a home on your gallery wall. “Do mix in drawings with photos and paintings. The more eclectic, the more you’ll get a ‘salon’ feel,” says Thomas. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs.

Let Loose

The final and most important thing to remember when creating your gallery wall is that there is no specific formula for creating a great display. Thomas’s final tip: “Creating a gallery wall can be intimidating, but don’t overthink it. Just jump in!” Enjoy the creative process and have fun creating a unique gallery wall that you will enjoy over time. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs.

 

Written By: Jeanine Hays of Afrochic Published Website: www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/how-to-create-an-art-gallery-wall/pictures/index.html