It’s something we all do every day. We get up, shower, clean our teeth. And we get dressed. The clothes we wrap our bodies in tell our own personal story, they portray to the world how we think and feel. They reflect our mood and suit our actions. You could almost think of the clothes we wear as a connection between body and mind.
Psychologies have long believed style is important, and moreover, that to be confident and authentic, we should dress to look like ourselves, a topic we visit every month in our ‘How to look like yourself’ columns (see Related News & Articles, below) with image adviser Mandy Lehto. But as easy as it sounds, many of us find it surprisingly difficult to find and wear clothes that we truly feel represent our personality.
Last week, we went to the TK Maxx Style by Me debate, part of their Me. By Me campaign, celebrating the brand's belief that people are their happiest and most confident when they are their true selves. At the debate, fashion heroes Hilary Alexander, Zandra Rhodes and Dawn O’Porter (pictured) discussed what it meant to dress for our own individual style, rejecting the trend-following packs and creating a unique style individual to our own personalities.
Combining what we have learnt from these style legends and our own ‘How to dress like yourself’ case studies, here are some tips for dressing authentically for your own personality:
- 'Clothes work when they’re harmonious with the person,’ says Dominique Antiglio, a sophrology therapist and sound practitioner. ‘I aim to match the inside with the outside’, she explains. ‘I’m interested in clothes on the surface. Ultimately, an outfit is a nice wrapping for our inner gifts. There are many other layers, so why not celebrate them all?’
- ‘For young people, following trends is the easy option, but as you get older you realise what does and doesn’t work for you. For me, 29/30 was the point when I found my own style,’ said Dawn O’Porter at the TK Maxx Style By Me debate. ‘It’s brave to step away from trends and embrace your personal style… That’s what fashion is, being inspired by a different time or place.’
- Fashion icon and journalist Hilary Alexander added: ‘You have to have a laugh and enjoy fashion. You don’t have to go out and absorb every single trend in a season, you can pick and choose. Find one thing, be it a textile or colour or shape… something you love, and build your wardrobe around it.’
- ‘Dress bravely,’ says opera singer Carla Huhtanen. ‘Team brave colours with an old favourite. If a colour feels like it’s a bit too much, be braver in quiet ways and match it with a neutral base, or use it in accessories. The outfit shouldn't outshine the wearer.’
- Designer, Zandra Rhodes explained at the TK Maxx Style By Me debate, that ‘pink is always in for me, I once dyed my hair brown and it lasted a week. Individualism really flowers in this country… people come to Fashion Week and you see them making their own statements - it’s exciting.’
- ‘Dress to feel alive in this moment,’ says ex-Buddhist nun, Suzanne Arnold. ‘Clothes tell a story – who do you want to be today?’
Photograph: TKMaxx - Dawn O'Porter attending the debate
Read Red schmed - there ARE other colours for Valentine's Day by Mandy Lehto on LifeLabs