Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creating Your Personal Style

I had th opportunity to teach a class for Activity Days last week on Creating Your Personal Style.  I really enjoyed sharing some new ideas with the girls and I think they really enjoyed it as well.  Because there is so much to be said about the topic I created an outline for them to take home because I knew there would be no way I could possibly share all I had to say in one hour.  I have really enjoyed preparing for this and writing the outline I almost felt like I just need to go ahead and write a book.  So, at the risk that you all might think I'm crazy, I thought perhaps I'd share my outline here and see what people think. I realize that the very first part is pretty vague if you're not familiar with those particular makeover establishments/books but I have all my resources listed at the bottom, or you can just ask me if you're curious to know more about either. Thanks in advance. 
~Julie :}

 Creating Your Personal Style
There are a couple of things to consider first off when deciding what clothes to wear . . .

1. Color & Coloring:
-Beauty for All Seasons Theory-
  • Natural Hair, Eye Color & Face Shape
  • Warm VS Cool Colors
  • The Four Seasons
  • Personalized Color Palettes
2. Personality:
-Carol Tuttle Theories-
  • It's Just My Nature
  • The Four Types
  • Dressing Your Truth
  • Type Specific Color Cards

~Combining the best of both ideas~
While both of these theories are really great and could make a vast improvement in anyone's wardrobe, the first focuses on your natural coloring a disregards you true nature and personality, while the second focuses on your nature/personality and disregards your natural coloring. I want to suggest that by taking the time to explore and experiment that you can have the best of both worlds and create a personal style that is truly YOU-nique. (Ha, ha!)

~Styles, Trends and You~
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
I really like this quote because I think it embodies how we can be 'in the world but not of the world'. As Latter-day saint girls, you have the challenge of both enjoying life, beauty and celebrating your own individual loveliness while at the same time standing up for what you believe and not letting the opinions of the world dictate everything you choose to do (or wear.) One thing to remember is that styles change over time and it is best to choose things that are a bit more classic and timeless because these items will last longer for you.
Trends are even more fleeting and often are not worth the investment at all because by the time you have caught on to the trend and finally decided you like it and want to buy it, the trend is most likely over or nearly over, and then you'll feel silly for trying it because everyone else has moved on to the next thing. If you really love something though, especially if you love it the moment you see it, there is no reason not to try and incorporate that into your style. Just remember that sometimes you'll love it on someone else, but find that when you try it, that it doesn't always love you back.
It is also important to note that something that is popular, but not quite up to your standards can usually be combined with something else or altered with sewing which will do two things;
  1. Align it with your ideals of modesty.
  2. Make it your own. (You might even start your own trend!)
No matter what, always remember and honor who you are. A royal daughter of God.

~Using Color~
Creating outfits, like any other art is somewhat subjective and depends on personal taste and the desired effect as well as what current fashion dictates, but here are some ideas and guidelines that might help you feel comfortable when using color in your ensembles.
The 'Pop' of Color: The idea here is to create a neutral base, like an all white dress, a gray suite, a beige coat, etc . . . and then add just one (possibly two) colors to it.1 It can be bright bold or pastle, or even a multicolored item that will sort of be the center piece for the outfit.2 You can even do this without using neutrals by creating a base of a single color and then adding just one complimentary or contrasting color to the mix.3
Different Hues/Matching Values (Color Block Style): Not everything must “match”. You can actually use a lot of different colors together as long as they are the same value/intensity. This helps to ensure that they will looked balanced next to each other and compliment each other well.4
Primary Colors: Using the primary colors, red, yellow and blue together can look really great! Keeping the intensity and value balanced still applies here.5
Complimentary Colors: On the color wheel each color has an opposite. A color which is found directly across the wheel. This is also called the compliment. They really do compliment each other so pairing these together can really look great.6 Just to make it easy I'll list the basic compliments here:
  • Red-Green
  • Blue-Orange
  • Yellow-Purple
Near Compliments: A surprisingly bold choice can be to use near compliments together. For example instead of pairing red and green (which might look a bit Christmas-y) you can pair red with a near green like teal or chartreuse. As long as you follow the rules of hue balance, such a combo can be both striking and lovely.7
Going Analogous: An analogous color scheme is when you use three or more colors together that are all next to each other on the color wheel. For Example: Blue, Teal and Green. Once again, try to keep them at the same intensity, if one is too bright, too muted, or too pale it can throw off the whole effect. 8 You can also use an analogous as a base and use a compliment or near compliment as your 'pop' of color.9
Pulling From Your Prints: When you have a great print it can be a lot of fun to accessorize it with solid colors that are found within the print. This may seem obvious but if you can truly find pieces that match well it can make the whole outfit feel cohesive and well put together. This can apply to any multi-colored print, whether it consists of two colors,10 three colors11 or six.12
Whatever you do, it needs to look like you did it on purpose. It's your style, wear it with confidence!

~How to Shop~
When shopping for/choosing clothing, there are a few other things you need to consider. In the popular TV show What Not To Wear, in one episode they create an acronym to help a lady figure out how to shop. Their acronym was BASE.
Body - How it looks on you: Does it fit? Is it flattering? Is it Comfortable?
Appropriate - Is it age appropriate, and is it modest?
Situation - Where will you wear it and how often?
Expense - How much does it cost compared to how often you think you'll wear it? Cost per wear?
While these are really great things to remember I thought of a few more that are really important as well. To try and keep it simple I created another acronym to go with theirs. Mine is CLUE.
Care/Content - Does it have special washing instructions, will it be worth it? (Dry cleaning, etc.) AND what is the fiber content? Synthetics like rayon, nylon, polyester or spandex might feel soft to touch, but they don't breath well and you might find you get hot and sweaty (depending on when and how you wear the item) which in turn might stain your clothing and make it unwearable. %100 Cotton can breath but it most likely will shrink (unless it says pre-shrunk) and it wrinkles easily. A good, easy choice would be a polyester/cotton blend, no shrinkage, less wrinkly and it still breaths. Silk is lovely but very fragile and usually requires special care.
Love - Do you love it? No matter how well something fits all the requirements, the bottom line should be that you wear it because you love it. Never buy it if you aren't sure. One trick I use is to try it on in the dressing room, and either close my eyes or turn away from the mirror for a moment, clear my mind and then abruptly turn back to the mirror or open my eyes and try to see what other people might see if I walked into a room suddenly, wearing that. Pay attention to your feelings. If you feel excited and have positive good feelings when you see yourself in those clothes then you know you love it.
Unite - You also might want to consider how the item you're looking at is going to work with your other clothes. Sometimes I might buy a shirt that is a bit low cut thinking that I can just layer it with a tank top or something, but when I come home I find that I don't have a tank top that works with the new shirt. Or you might find a printed skirt you love and realize that your have no tops that match it. If you're replacing your whole wardrobe on purpose that might be okay, but a lot of times it makes more sense to try and match things to what you already have. I love the idea of knowing your best colors/styles so well that your whole wardrobe can be mixed and matched. I haven't quite achieved that yet, but I'm a lot closer to that ideal now that ever before.
Express – Going back to what we talked about earlier. Is the item you're considering really true to
you? Does the color look good on you? Does the style and or pattern fit with your personality? It's okay if you love a style that you can't wear. You can appreciate all styles of clothing without having to own and wear them all. Someday it might be fun for you to buy something you love as a gift for someone else who you think really would look good in that item and you can enjoy seeing it on that person and rejoice in knowing that you had a hand in pairing it with the right personality.
Using the guidelines of your BASE CLUE will really help make shopping a lot less confusing and a lot more satisfying and fun.

~Where to Shop~
Second Hand:
Remember that clothing does not have to be brand name or even brand new to be fabulous and fun. You can go shopping in your older sister's closet (with permission of course) you can get hand-me-downs from cousins, you can shop at the D.I., Kid-to-Kid or other second hand stores. You can shop at factory outlet stores or consignment shops.
There are a lot of options out there and though it can take some serious time, finding clothes can be like a treasure hunt and really can be fun and exciting. When buying second hand though, do remember to check the item carefully before purchasing. Be sure to check for:
  • Holes,
  • Ripped seams
  • Stained underarms/collar
  • Missing buttons/broken zippers
  • Lose threads
  • Other stains
The same goes when buying used online I. E. Ebay. Be sure to ask questions if you aren't sure of the qaulity)

You might also want to try shopping online. A good tool to have for this is a measuring tape. Most websites offer sizing charts which will very from store to store, but will list the measurements.
Also, reviews are a great tool. Read any reviews that you can before you buy something, just to be sure that you know as much as possible about what you're going to get. Sometimes sizes might run small, colors vary a lot from the picture, or material might be too thin and low quality. Others who have bought before you are often only to happy to share their experiences. The less chance you have of needing to return an item the less hassle it will be. Taking the time to research could save you the time of posting a return package later.
Another cool fact about some local stores that have online shops is that now you can choose to have an item shipped to the store where you can pick it up within 90 days. When you go in to get it you can check it out and if your are not satisfied you can leave it there and the store will return the item for you.
Be sure to check for clearance items on the website.
Also, You can usually find coupon codes that you can use when checking out, just Google “coupon code for (Stores name)”. If you really love a store you can get e-mail updates about sales and special offers by registering with the website. Most stores are on Facebook now as well.

Physical Stores:
I feel that the main advantage of a physical store is the option of trying something on in the dressing room. Even though it takes more time, it can really help you save time and money later. I can't tell you how many times I've an item I just loved on the hanger, but when I tried it on it suddenly changed and I would see that the color, fit, comfort or some other aspect just wasn't working for me.
It also can be hard to choose between two or three items when you're on a budget and I've found the easiest way to make a decision is to try them on and really be honest with yourself. It can make letting go of that lovely top a lot easier when you realize it doesn't fit you like you wanted it to. Also, sometimes the more expensive choice might turn out to be the least attractive one. Knowing this when you put it back can make you feel really good that you didn't splurge on something you would have never worn.
Transversely, sometimes the choice that you love best might be the one that costs more, but knowing that it really does work and you really will wear it a lot takes away any guilt or uncertainty you might have otherwise felt because you know it is worth the few extra dollars. Remember, quality over quantity. It is better to have a few really great items that you love to wear and feel beautiful and comfortable in than a whole closet full of mediocre ill-fitting clothes that you don't like wearing and despite their bulk make you feel like you have no clothes.

~Some Stores to Check out~
DownEast basics:
  • DownEast Basics (selections found in Seagull Book and Tape)
  • DownEast Home and Clothing Clearance Center
    3505 West 3500 South
    West Valley City, UT 84120
    (801) 968-1872
Family Dollar: (They have great clothing and you can get other items there as well. Coupons in the mail or online.)
  • 273 West 500 South
(801) 397-0010
The Children's Place:
  • The Children's Place Centerville Marketplace
    126 North Frontage Road
    Centerville, UT 84014 US
  • The Children's Place OutletFactory Stores@ Park City
    6699 North Landmark Drive
    Park City, UT 84098 US
VF Factory Outlet:
  • The Outlets @ Draper Towne
    12101 S. Factory Outlet Dr.
    Draper, UT 84020

    (801) 572-6440

It's Just My Nature by Carol Tuttle
Dressing Your Truth by Carol Tuttle

Color Example Endnotes: