Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Two photos which have stuck in my head over the past few weeks:
Léa of Ballad of a Thin Girl via Vanessa Jackman

Via Dead Fleurette via
I think the majority of my sense of style most probably comes from others. It is a strange thing to admit I suppose and reading that sentence back I've decided it warrants more exploration.

I do have a sense of style, and personal style too - I'm sure of that. Yet I take most of my inspiration from people whose style I admire; on blogs, on the street, at work and so on. I know without a doubt the things I like and don't like, the pieces I am drawn to instantly, and likewise, those I'll never want to wear, and yet, and yet... more often that not, the starting point for my style comes from others. 

How I admire those rare creatures who are stylish down to the bone - who take note of, but require no sartorial cues. Theirs is a skill that is innate, not imitated. It is ageless, timeless, seasonless and (though a clumsy word) fashionless. I think they are rarer breed than we all might think. 

With this in mind I think the best way to explain it is that whilst my personal style is at the core of how I dress - it is mailable and open to influence from a sudden inspiration. I may see an image, a cut of trouser, a colourful collar, and these details appeal to a facet of my sense of style - they become something I want to incorporate into my style because it feels me, or perhaps even who I aspire to be? 

It doesn't have to be classed as an imitation then, but perhaps more as an incorporation. This could all be rambling nonsense, a verbose cloak for what is essentially lack of originality and copy-cat style - but I don't think so. It's an openness to timeless striking style that appeals to such a degree that you let it come along with you and become, for however long (a season or a lifetime), a part of you. I am still hugely picky and over the years can be won over less and less by hype and fast fashion (I still have my weaknesses: the PS11 being one, but let's cough conveniently over that).

This is all utterly wonderful, but I suppose in this admission to open minded style, one has to steer clear of that tricky road where upon you lose yourself and dress up as another person altogether.  
I don't think I'll go down that fateful road - I'd be all to aware I was only ever an impostor. :)

On that note, when I have duly explained myself, the two beautiful gals in the photos above have made me long for that elusive IM boucle jacket and those enduringly chic Chanel ballet flats. I am inspired by them, and that, as they say, is that.


What do you think? Does pure personal style exist or are we all ultimately influenced by those around us, whether we choose to be or not? How much do you take your cues from those you admire?


  1. I find that although I enjoy looking at blogs and finding inspiration there, anything I wear has to make sense for my body and lifestyle. So I don't wear certain lengths or cuts, no matter how much I like them on others. Turtlenecks on Audrey Hepburn? Great. On me? Not so much!

  2. I think most of the people(especially the ones who have some interest in clothes) are always inspired by something at some point. It doesn't mean one will just copy the outfit but get ideas of things that look good together and you wouldn't think about it on your own. So ultimately I try to find ideas that will help me to develop a better style and to find the things that suit my body type.


  3. @Ammu: I am with you on turtle necks! I've been resigned to accepting I cannot wear them since about the age of 9! My sister and I are cursed with chins that can't take a turtle neck. :)
    Do you think you've always been so clear with what you know you can't wear, or is it something you continue to learn as you go along? Are you ever lured into buying something you love on a style icon even though it might not work on you?

    @Fashionabroad: Yes I think we (who love clothes and style) all seek to find inspiration from all around us, you're right. It is hard not to allow all that you see come into your personal style. Thanks for popping by my blog!

  4. I love this post but have to diagree with you a bit :) I don't think there are those who are blessed with an innate sense of personal style but rather those who have developed their own style over time. Of course some develop this style at a very young age and some never do. As fashionabroad stated, everyone is inspired by someone, even Audrey probably had at least one style icon. I think the key is to really analyze what we love about that person's style and take from it what we can to add and enhance our own. As we develop personal style I think we will see ourselves inspired by similar looks over and over and see the consistencies (such as stripes or a certain slouchy fit, etc)
    Of course there is always the temptation to flit from style to style never developing a look all our own but I think this is what youth is for and as we age if we take the time, we will develop a style all our own.
    Anyway, I apologize for how long this is! I love the topic!

  5. This is just so interesting, because I've come to realized as well that I am highly influenced by what I see other fashionable people wearing. And it's weird because, even when that exact same item looks great on me and I loved it on another person, sometimes I don't end up feeling great wearing it. I think everyone does have an innate sense of personal style, but sometimes it's difficult to label or to articulate or even to break down into individual components. A lot of people talk about learning to identify what looks good on you, but it goes beyond that. It's what feels good on you that you will continue to reach for again and again. I'm still trying to figure out a way to know this in advance, versus trial and error through actual wearing of the garment.

    Oh, and I want that shirt and the black version of those Chanel flats too (although only if they are comfortable, which is questionable)

  6. @Stacie: No please don't apologise! I'm more than prepared to think you could be quite right. To be honest, my mind goes in so many different directions on this topic I'm not 100% sure what I think about it all, so it's always interesting to hear everyone else's thoughts on it. I think one does indeed develop a style throughout one's life - gradually building upon it and taking inspiration as you go along - filtering out what is you and what isn't. Perhaps when we see incredibly stylish people it is easy to forget that they too have most likely gone through the same process - looking at others, taking ideas on board, working out what works for then. Perhaps it is just that some people are better at doing this than others? Who knows - I could go on all day about this! Thanks for taking the time to comment though - so interesting.

    @S: I know, isn't it? The discussion about the development or beginning of personal style is sooo interesting. I just find myself going in so many different directions with my thoughts about it - contradicting myself along the way usually. I had to edit my post quite a bit because it was just ALL over the place thought-wise at the start. Still is a bit! But you're right, part of the problem is the difficulty in articulating your thoughts on the topic when they are so varied and seemingly contradictory.
    I agree too that it often goes beyond what looks good and often stems from what feels good. I suppose if you feel good that can instill in you an attitude that transcends the clothes. Perhaps that's why two people can look so different in an outfit made up of the same pieces.
    And although I always say this - those out of character purchases can sometimes lead you to finding the most treasured pieces in your wardrobe for years to come. Yes they can also be complete disasters! But thats why I suppose it's important to break out of a formulaic wardrobe sometimes, despite how good and enduring they can be.
    Essay over! :) x

  7. I'm happy to admit that I'm quite influenced by what I see people wearing, but even that is filtered by what appeals to us - I admire the way Taylor Tomasi Hill dresses and I like her pieces but I don't actually want any of them.

    I think seeing real people wear things exposes the "potential" of an item that you otherwise might miss when you see it on an online shop, or in magazine - it makes something come alive, and that may make you want something you previously hadn't considered.

  8. Hi! I just sort of want to let you know that I've written some sort of a comment to this post in another entry on my blog :)

  9. i think we are all influenced by others, but we are also inspired. sometimes it is enough to see a hairstyle, a colour combination, the roll up of a sleeve to make an outfit. I love that this happens - it means that even though people may dress similarly or within the same "style" you can end up with nuances of outfits and subtle differences that are what matter.. that, in the end, is what "personal style" is.



Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!