Anyone who’s watched Mean Girls–or been to middle school–knows the power of a few choice words. Oof. They can be brutal, friends, and the wounds they inflict can last a lifetime.
But the beauty of this power is that you don’t have to simply accept the adjectives that have been assigned to you. It’s not a one-way street! You can rewrite those words that people use to describe you–and that you use to describe yourself. You can get a second chance at making an impression, and your personal style plays a big role.
So let’s commence with a whole lotta love for oneself, followed by an honest assessment and then a plan for wearing those words that you wanna see and be. You can do this. You are capable and smart and strong. (See? Personal style adjectives. Embrace them. Own them. You rock!)
Start with your list of personal style adjectives.
Take a bit of time and write a list of adjectives that you believe best describe you and your current personal style. (Need some inspiration? See this extensive slate of suggestions.) Be honest. Maybe you’re sassy and serious. Maybe you’re quirky and professional. And maybe you’re swanky and shy. We’re all a big mix of “ands.” And that’s ok! How do you do you?
Note: I said write a list. I really do mean “write” a list. Don’t just let these words bounce around in your head like a three-year-old with 13 other three-year-olds jacked up on cake at a birthday party in a very small room. It’s much more helpful to see these words. You’re also going to want to track the words you gather later in this process. So get them down, on paper or tablet or phone.
Make a list informed by others.
Buckle up, buttercup. Because now you’re going to ask other people for the personal style adjectives they’d use to describe you. If needed, explain that you’re hoping to upgrade the way that you present yourself. Try to get at least two or three words from each person.
Seek input from a range of people. Ask a few friends and family members, and maybe some neighbors and acquaintances. Importantly, choose a few coworkers, mentors or other professional people in your life. I don’t know about you, but the way I present myself to my kiddo is wildly different than the way I present myself to my boss. Let’s hope that’s true for you, too. (Even if your three year old says she’s the boss of you.)
Mix and match
How does your current list of personal style adjectives compare with how you’d like to be perceived? Were you fairly spot-on with your self-assessment? Or were you shocked, in ways bad and good, by what the people around you had to say? Keep these lists handy; you’re going to use them again in a moment.
Now think about your icons.
Who do you look up to? Just considering your heroes and idols might elicit some personal style adjectives that you want to shoot for. Whether it’s Nicole Kidman for her cool grace, Michelle Obama for her sunny warmth, or Jack Nicholson for his general badassery, think of a few well-known folks whom you admire and the ways you might describe them.
Consider why you like them and how they project their image. Chances are a large part of it stems from the advice of highly talented hair and makeup artists and fashion stylists–the kind of advice you can get from the RidMe team.
Remember that someone else’s look might not be entirely achievable. You can’t choose big, curly hair when your hair is thin and stick straight. You can’t emulate the look that suits an Audrey Hepburn body shape when you’re Salma Hayek. Think instead about the feeling their style conjures for you, and translate that for your personal shape.
And consider what you’d like to be known for.
What qualities might reasonably suit you? Perhaps you don’t really aspire to be runway-fresh, but you do wish to be thought of as a trend-leader. You can be cutting edge without falling off the cliff. Boho vibes are way different than granola hippy–not that one is better than the other, but they’re simply on a spectrum, ya know?
So give some thought to how you wish to present yourself. What personal style do you think might be the best kind of magical unicorn shoe: It elevates you, inspires you, and makes you feel incredible and confident, yet is comfortable enough that you could run a 5k? (Also, if you buy a shoe like this, you’re legally obligated to tell us where you found it.)
See whether you can craft a personal style statement using five adjectives or fewer. More, and your closet might be a final resting place for one-hit wonders that don’t go with anything. Some examples:
- fun, funky ball of energy
- clean, minimalistic, sophisticated and simple
- go-with-the-flow, casual, effortless
- earthy, organic, eclectic
- bold, sporty and spicy
- sharp, sleek and slick
Now, write down your #goals. Aim high. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re all that and a bag of organic salt-and-vinegar chips.
Check your closet and compare.
Are your clothes meeting your personal style goals? Or are the adjectives you’d use in here describing an entirely different person? One you don’t really want to hang out with? If you’re seeing any signs of a sad, bored, drab, tired person in here, please give her a nudge and encourage her to embrace a bit more life.
It can be helpful to write down your personal style adjectives and keep them handy the next time you to a store or shop online. Measure each possible purchase against the image that your adjectives evoke. Does it adhere to the general theme?
Of course, your workout gear is going to be different from your business wear; but even within categories, you can find a wide variety of choices. Yoga pants, for example, vary from plain black and utilitarian to daisy-printed, neon, striped, short or long, flared or narrow, with cutouts or lace or any of a hundred other styles. So in the immortal words of Madonna, express yourself!
You can repeat this exercise to identify your personal style adjectives as your tastes and lifestyle change. Perhaps make it a semi-annual exercise along with a closet organization and wardrobe evaluation. And show us your style along with your personal style adjectives on the RidMe app. we want to see how you’ve represented your best unique you!