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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Personal Style = Personality

These days, I have been perusing fashion websites and magazines, in anticipation of New York's Fashion Week, coming up! Fortunately, I am not obsessed yet but I feel this passion growing and for now, I just want to cultivate it and let it grow as it pleases. Who knows? Maybe in another two or five or ten years...ah, dare to dream! :)

In my amateur belief of what fashion is-- I simply see it as a way for one to express one's personalities and sense of identity through the clothing one wears. That said, I have little or no appreciation toward the crazy designs of well-known designers, which otherwise is known as art. What I do love in fashion, style and shopping is to find that article of clothing that emanates a specific feeling for the wearer and the observers.

Generally, personal style can be characterized into seven categories:

1. Classical Style - Mastering the Classic look is having timeless outfits that are not extreme in fashion. They are tailored and semi fitted so you can actually dress down or up. Classic styles are very versatile and functional. In color and fabric, it is best to go with natural coloring and add dominant and bright colors for accenting. They are at their best in matte surface and traditional prints.

John Galliano, Fall 2008, first look
2. Feminine - Mastering the feminine look requires elements that are draped and softly structured, in a modest length with small details and soft textured fabrics. Feminine women love their natural fiber with matte-sheen in light to medium colors and prints.

The feminine person is romantic and captivating. The look they convey is relaxed gentle, and caring. They appreciate the fine things in life, like soft and luxurious clothing. They like taking life easy and don’t like to be hurried. In business attire the feminine woman will find it difficult to convey the look of authority because of her soft nature. The feminine style in shoes is medium to high.

Tadashi Shoji's Fall 2010
3. Dramatic Style - The dramatic person loves non-classic looks in clothing. Her clothes are always highly structured with lots of dramatic lines and designs. She prefers big bold prints with lots of colors, crisp fabrics in geometric and abstract designs and patterns.

Dramatic people like to be noticed and to be the center of attention. They give the air of authority and convey confidence in their unique look. They like to be in control in any situation. Their clothes reflect their personality the look of strength and authority in style and color. They like to be around people with energy and excitements. Their heels are medium to high, but never conservative.

Christian Siriano, Fall 2009
 4. The Natural Style - The natural or sporty person loves to wear clothes that are classic and casual in style, and still gives them comfort. These gently tailored clothes are easy to care for, usually in medium to light colors, and practical in style and look. The fabric is made from natural fibers in matte finish and practical in length. Often they are in unmatched pieces with no visible coordination. They love the look of sporty patterns that are structured like menswear.

The natural personalities are very friendly, modest and always look at the brighter side. They generally don’t care about the way they look; comfort is their issue, if you give them a choice, they would rather live in their T-shirt and jeans. The total image they give is comfortable, relaxed, and not restricted. They love being outdoors; they are athletes, and never stand still.

Summer 2010, Designer: Not sure
5. Creative Style - Creative people like their clothes in unique unexpected combination. They love mixing all their outfits together they wear their clothes in any style, shape or color old fashion with new structured clothes with flowing, nothing will stop them from being creative in their own world.

Creative people are so unique you can’t copy the way they dress even if you tried. They are artistic and very creative; they can actually pull together a complete distinct look by mixing different styles or colors and actually succeed.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Fall 2010
6. The Elegant Style - Elegant people like their clothes to be formal and in top form. They do like the fabric to be the best, with elegant, monochromatic colors. Two colors may often be the limit in an outfit, rather than the commotion of too much distraction in their look. They love the luxurious fabrics and natural fibers like silk and cashmere.

Dennis Basso, Fall 2010
7. The Sexy Style - No element of classic in the construction of sexy clothes. These are tight, body hugging and show a trendy hemline any length short or long. The look is both in bold and daring or basic colors. The fabrics worn often have glitter and shine into to them. Many are in animal prints with low cuts tops.

Sexy women’s styles are glamorous seductive and feminine. Sexy people could be very curvy or slender in body form, the look gives one message and the message is exiting and compelling to men. This dress form is sexy and provocative.

Alberta Ferretti, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, and Chanel, Spring 2009

Granted, we do not and cannot live in the fashion world where it's OK to walk around in see-through dresses and weirdly mixed dresses, but how we choose to portray ourselves to the world is present everywhere. The question is-- which style do you have? A better question is: Which style do you want to have?

Recently, a Chinese friend asked me once if I can teach him how to have style. The conversation went along the lines of:

Me: What kind of style are you?
Him: I don't know. Just tell me how to dress and what to wear.
Me: OK...then, what kind of style do you want to have?
Him: Hmm, I've never thought about it. Should I?

The key to personal fashion, I've realized is that one should dress according to one's personality. In other words, the clothing must suit you. Since clothing can define a person, then either make sure that the clothes portray the personality that defines you or tailor your personality to the clothing style that you want to wear. I guess my latter statement will generate some indignation from fellow readers. After all, why should one change one's personality just to wear certain kinds of clothes?

Let me give you a personal example. A few years ago, when I assessed my personal style, I came to the conclusion that I was someone of dramatic style. After all, I am a confident person and one who can easily garner center of attention. When I shop for jewelry, I love things that are big and bold colored.
Big & Bold Jewelry style, Fall 2008
Just because I like bold colors and big jewelry and that I am confident doesn't mean that I am necessarily a dramatic woman. After all, all my life, I have admired and respected a few women in my life, including Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, etc. And what do all these women have in common? They are beautiful, graceful and elegant. I remembered watching Desperate Housewives and thinking to myself: Yes, I like Gabriel Soliz's dramatic style, but Bree is definitely my favorite! To be a classy and elegant woman is my goal.

As they say, beauty is only skin deep, so true beauty must comes from within. So over the years, I have worked to perfect my inner beauty so to speak. From the way I carry myself and speak, I try to be a graceful woman. Actually, sometimes I pretend that I am a princess. :) Gradually, my style has changed, from bright colored clothing and dramatic jewelry to a more toned down and simple style. However, it would be stupid to get rid of all this dramatic flair, after all, I have no intentions of changing my identity, only a little bit of how I wish the world to see me. If I can describe my personal style to you-- I'd say that I am a mix of classic and elegance, with a twist or flair.

In conclusion, a personal style can tell others what kind of person you are, but more importantly, it pushes you to work hard to become the person you admire and respect.

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