What is Personal Style? Depends Who You Are. By Rachel Muckley.

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Accessorise with a watermelon if you have to.
Images from Miranda Kerr’s Instagram account: @MirandaKerr

When people speak of personal style, I don’t think they realise the inaccuracy of the statement. The phrase is thrown around in such an oblivious and commonplace fashion that in a way, it has lost its sense of privacy and effectiveness. I think this to be the case because, in 2015, there seem to exist only a handful of carbon copy looks one can take on. Granted as women, we have a more liberated artistic licence in choosing how we appear to the world than men but the fact remains that what we might like to think is an idea of originality and style presence is really just a direct association with what that girl sitting next to you in the coffee shop is wearing.

Most young women, these days fall into the categories of

  • Rock chic
  • Classic/trendy
  • Hipster/grunge
  • Feminine/vintage

It is near impossible to conjure up another category and if one is found then you can be sure it is but a mixture of elements from the above styles.

So what is the significance of a personal look that is in fact, no way personal? Do we chose a look in haste to define who we are to others or more interestingly, perhaps to ourselves? What does it mean to dish out a certain complex to generate a character ideal when this might be interpreted incorrectly by the varying opinions of others In contemplation, is it even worth the hassle to do so when other people’s minds are so diverse and unpredictable with fluctuating likes and dislikes. Probably not. When you decide to follow through on a particular look and proceed to fill your wardrobe with a whole new set of strange and foreign looking armour, certainly the worth of it is lost if its only purpose is to please others? Maybe that’s a far flying statement to say that clothes should be bonded soulfully with your being and discard the outside world totally, but I think it’s fair to give the concept some merit if only to take away the self-placing and invisible pressures of outside judgement.

Only recently, I began to feel vacant (yes, vacant) in my idea of style. For some reason, I could not decide what I liked and what I did not. This has never been the case before as from the age of 3 or 4 I enjoyed the security and control of knowing exactly what I liked to wear and sticking to it. In the mid 90s I was dramatically in love with puffy floral dresses coordinated with matching scrunchies, when I was 13 I seemingly liked eyeliner and combat trousers and braids, at 17 I wore vintage dresses and ballet flats and then at 20 jumped on the bandwagon a bit with the rolling stones t-shirts and excessive amounts of black. And when it was all over, very tirelessly, I walked into a clothes shop one day and could not decide what I wanted. And it seemed to me that in my indecision lay some bit of confusion over the true purpose of my life. Surely the two must be linked by the heartstrings. I’m not certain why it bothered me so much that I had lost a ‘personal’ look. I guess as a big promoter of individuality and someone who truly loves to see people do things outside the box, things that are readily frowned upon or deemed the most hated word ‘weird’, I felt myself slipping into conformity and someone else’s shoes.

After much Googling, I uncovered the Miranda Kerr style! For me, it summed up all aspects of where I am in my life right now. It’s classic, sometimes daring, sometimes demure and leaves freedom to incorporate all parts of styles I’ve liked in the past to adapt to fashion today but interestingly also leaves room for individual style exploration and creativity. The model wears stilettoes, Burberryesque coats, plaid shirts and high waised jeans, midi skirts and daring party dresses. I thought it was me, in mind over body and that’s how I knew it was right. In it rests no rigidity perhaps existing in other more defined looks and while this may appear as a positive thing, meaning that one has an exact idea of what to look for in the clothes shop, I’m impressed by it’s sense of liberated adaptability and true essence of the ‘personal’.

And so we are back to the original question of what it means to have personal style. Everyone has a different view on how they look and why their chose to create that look but with me, personally, I give importance to what I wear because I give it a deliberate association with the way my mind works. What I like to think about, my dreams and ambitions, who I admire, what my morals are even. And so it’s importance is huge. Not only for a sense of direction but also in reaffirming to yourself who you are and how established and put together you feel as a person. And while I am not suggesting that your importance as a person is downgraded by nonchalance in fashion, it’s certainly intriguing to see what a difference wool, velvet and silk make. That is, whichever you’d prefer.

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Rachel Muckley

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