Designing & building a style of your own.

Have you ever considered that getting dressed could be a form of art or design? What if you opened your wardrobe and compared getting dressed to building an outfit.

My styling studio is shared with my husband’s construction company. This morning I was sitting at my desk and I started thinking about how styling and putting together looks can be compared to well thought out building designs.

That’s My Style, is built on encouraging women to build and create a style that is aligned with themselves. If you build it, you own it! If you own it…..people notice. Confidence in life is everything.

I recently styled a young corporate woman that had no weekend clothing options. Her wardrobe consisted of only structured, close-fitting dresses. After a 3-hour personal shopping session, we basically built her look from the ground up.

Your first step is to think about what core basics you own. Your key pieces that are crucial to creating various outfits. Examples of basics are quality tees, jeans, soft tops, block colours. The type of key items you need will depend on what your most comfortable in and your body shape. These are the items I refer to as the building blocks.

After you have established your core basics or building blocks, then it’s about the design principles and overall structure. The cut and lines of a garment will dictate where the eye will go and can even trick the eye into thinking your body has different proportions. Vertical lines are well known for tricking the eye into adding height. Well-positioned panelled seams in a dress can help narrow a waist or trick the eye into creating curves for an athletic body type.

An effortless everyday look can be based on structure and flow. Flow in your outfit is when the eye follows curves or soft lines. It is a sense of volume and movement. It’s identified as a more feminine and soft silhouette. Think floral or oversized polka dots, soft flowing fabrics like silks and chiffons, frills and ruffles. Using soft layers or scarves to create flowing lines can be great to hide areas that you are more self-conscious about.

The structure is about hard lines, strong seam, detailing and contrast lines. Strong elements like stripes, jagged prints or metal hardware. It has a more masculine feel. The structure can be used well in corporate environments to look and feel more knowledgeable and powerful.

When styling women, I often focus on combining both elements of structure and flow into their everyday outfits. I believe the two together create an effortless and adaptable look. Picture a pair of structured jeans and a loafer shoe worn back with a soft top with long flowing sleeves and tassel earrings. All elements working together.

Then there is the ‘rule of thirds’ or balance and harmony within an outfit. If you were to cut the body right through the middle, the result can be predictable, flat and even create the illusion of a more masculine body shape. By shifting the main focal point up higher on your body, you enhanced the shape and create a more feminine silhouette – a visually interesting composition. Think high waisted pants with a tucked in tee or blouse. This balance will automatically lengthen the legs.

All good designs have a focal point. This is the element that pulls people in and the part of your outfit that leaves a lasting impression. The focal point could be an oversized accessory, bold shoes or interesting prints or textures. It is the talking point and what people will remember you for. I believe it’s the part of your outfit that speaks volumes about your confidence and personality.

If you want a sleek and minimal look, then think about having blank or clean lines. This is where you can use block colours, streamlined silhouettes and sculpted jewellery. Minimal is timeless, reserved and modern. It is well thought out and planned.

Comparing getting dressed to effective principles or design, can help you to explore and play with different elements that you may have never considered before. What element is holding you back from building a style of your own?

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  • Luke Payne
    Posted at 06:24h, 24 March

    I love the comparison to building. It makes how to dress so clear.