Although most of us must meekly admit defeat when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, it
is never too late to start anew when it comes to one thing: your wardrobe. Fashion is an ever-
changing industry, with many new trends and styles to choose from every year. But personal
style is something much more.
Your personal style is fashion with context. The clothes you wear have a lot to do with the
things you do in life. Right now, as students, it can be tempting to follow trends and not pay too
much attention to our more individual preferences. When our context sometimes includes rolling
out of bed ten minutes before class and rushing out the door, personal style can often take a
That being said, college is a great time to truly define and refine your personal style. We are
still young enough to get away with some trendier items, but it is the perfect time to realize what
kind of clothes we want to wear for the rest of our lives.
Defining your personal style does not mean that you have to pick out a pigeonholed
category, such as “preppy” or “vintage,” and rule out things from any other style. A large part of
the process is realizing that nothing is off limits. With a little confidence, you can definitely pull
off any look that you want.
With these simple things in mind, there are a few easy steps you can take if you want to start
to define what your own unique look is going to be.
1. Take inventory of what you currently have and clean out what you don’t want. A good rule
of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in a year, you likely won’t wear it again.
2. Make a list of basics that you feel lacking. Often the most inspiring outfits are done when
people style something basic in an interesting way.
3. Flip through magazines or look at online resources such as Lookbook.nu, chictopia.com or
the Teen Vogue Fashion Click (fashion.teenvogue.com) to see what you respond to most. Keep
in mind that trends aren’t something to avoid completely, just don’t go head to toe with it. Think
about friends or celebrities with style you find inspiring. What elements do you see?
4. Slowly start introducing pieces of the aesthetic that you want into your wardrobe. It isn’t
about a total overhaul, but rather building a foundation for the rest of your life.
The next step to developing a personal style seems obvious: actually develop and wear the
style. No matter how cool your new wardrobe becomes, when you have to be in class at 8 a.m.,
the sweatpants look remains tempting. You can steal a trick from your elementary school years
and pick out your clothes for the next day each night. This way, you can avoid the hassle of
feeling like you have to change multiple times before you can head out the door.
On a similar note, don’t be afraid of your new style. Style is supposed to be a fun thing, a
source of expression in your everyday life. So, take advantage of that. Don’t let yourself fall into
a fashion rut just because of a busy schedule or fear of trying new things.
Remember that having a personal style does not mean having a label. Wear what you like.
Every outfit does not have to fit into a category or specific trend. The most important thing is that
you find a style that you enjoy wearing, and feel like yourself in.