If You Want to Find Your Style, Do Not Go Shopping.

Maggie Rogers performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October 2023. Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage

At least, not yet.

I’ve failed at so many style evolutions. I’ve tried countless times to overhaul my wardrobe and budget. I’ve tried to buy strategically and curate my Pinterest boards perfectly, all in an effort to define my style and feel confident once and for all. And I’ve failed every single time.

I’ve played the consumption game a hundred times, and it always ended with a depleted wallet and a closet full of pieces that I would either return after purchasing, or wear only a few times before donating them to Goodwill.

I kept buying new pieces, kept researching internet aesthetics, kept decluttering my closet, only to end up back where I started.

Why? Because I was always going about the process backwards, from the outside in, from the surface down.

But here’s the thing: I was doing what every woman is taught to do when it comes to personal appearance. The system we live in indicates that your style is dictated by what you consume, so to get the right style, you just have to consume the right things.

It took so many years of trial and error, and so much wasted money to wake up to how destructive this message is, and I’d like to help you avoid some of that frustration.

First off, what is the ‘right style’? Who dictates that? If you’re judging by what you see on social media and in stores, prevailing trends indicate what is fashionable. But trends, by their nature, change all the time. So you won’t really have a consistent style and you will have to shell out boatloads of cash every season if you’re only following trends. Never mind the fact that trends are highly impersonal: a trendy dress length may look awful on your body type, and a trendy color may wash you out completely.

So, the ‘right’ style can’t be one that’s dictated by what’s trendy. But what does that leave? Well, it leaves yourself.

Everyone who comes to mind when you think of the words ‘style icon’ is set apart as such by the fact that they wear clothing suited to their essence, or at least what they projected to the public eye as their essence. I think of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Maggie Rogers, and Suki Waterhouse. All these women have iconic style, and none of them dress alike. Their wardrobes are personal in a way that transcends adherence to a certain trend, style aesthetic or archetype.

These women understand that your style is a manifestation of your inner desires, priorities, experiences. You can see this clearly in Maggie Rogers’ music and public image: both harmonize with each other.

If Maggie’s song-writing is her first means of making visible what is inside her heart, then her public image is her second. Last year, I saw Maggie in concert, and I can’t forget how perfectly her costumes, her dancing, her set design, all corresponded and amplified the free-spirited joy, curiosity, and sensitivity contained in her songs. There was harmony between her being (which she interpreted through her songwriting) and her image. To me and the rest of the audience, that harmony was electrifying.

The work of harmonizing what is inside of yourself with how you present to the world is what I call style. This is also the aim of Style Coaching: adjusting your appearance so that your outer self better reflects your inner self.

And I never came close to succeeding at this because I thought I could bypass the inner self work. I thought I could have good style by shopping at Banana Republic when I should have gone to Staples and picked up a 99-cent notebook.

Until you start asking questions about who you are, until you discover something real, you won’t have anything lasting to base your style on. It wasn’t until I started digging and learned that I had no idea who I was that I was able to cultivate a real style.

Maggie is asking questions, and showing what she’s learned using her unique voice. She’s doing it in front of the world. That’s what her song-writing is; that’s what all creative acts are. She’s found something authentic within herself, and she’s cultivating it and aligning her wardrobe to her authenticity.

If you want to find your style, put down your credit card. Instead, start by following your creativity. Ask yourself questions, and give yourself time to find the answers. Create until you discover something new. You’ll save yourself a lot of money and frustration, I promise.

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