|image found on google searching the term.|
Back in November I began a journey that I shared with you in two separate posts ( found HERE and HERE) , 7 Steps of Style , an online discovery created by Imogen Lamport, a stylist out of Australia and available through her website Inside Out Style Blog. I began it on the heels of doing Imogen's other program ( which is included if you purchase the 7 Steps program) , Evolve Your Style, in which you are challenged each day with a new way to wear your clothing you already have and doing so help you evolve your style. It was great fun, because part of both is the online Facebook communities, and I "met" a lot of like minded ladies and feel I have made friends for life, more valuable to me than even the programs, but without the programs it would not have happened. As I said I decided to do 7 Steps on the heels of the other program, I wanted to confirm many things I thought I knew about myself style wise, in regards to body shape, what colors I should and should not wear, but along the way I also learned quite a bit along with the confirmations I was seeking. This is the wrap up post of what I learned on this journey. Grab a cup of tea or bubbly and settle in, you will be here awhile.
So lesson one , and I will break all the seven steps down for you just in case you have not read the previous two posts, is personality. I took the provided quiz , having printed out all the information and compiling it in a notebook, and after quite a few questions I tallied up the results to figure out my style recipe. A very important step, my first leaping point. Over the years I have changed my style so many times, but each time reflecting the different parts of my personality, but I never really had thought to give it a title as I always dressed more to a theme, but I guess in a way a theme was my style recipe. So what did the quiz reveal? At the core it would seem I am very classic, there is always feminine elements to how I dress , even when I wear button down shirts and boyfriend jeans. There is an element of elegance as well as dramatic touches ( little did I know the last two come into play later on down the line), it was pretty right on no matter what style I was dressing in . Once you learn your traits, Imogen lays out what each one means, through visuals and text you start to see a picture come together as to what makes up your personal style, what is it that appeals to you and what does not under each of the headings. For me, classic broke down to what I want to appear to people in what I am wearing as much as the clothing that is considered classic. The colors, black, white and navy were already a staple in my closet and always have been. Textures, are smooth, crisp and structured.... if you have been following my fashion shares, you will see that is what I tend to wear. The details of classic go on and on and each one hit a nail on the head for me, right down to the pearls I like to wear. Feminine. Soft, warm, nurturing, friendly, all resonate, I will not go over what all the break down is, as I am sure you can guess what they would be, but one thing I liked is that lace and florals do not have to be part of being feminine, though I have been known to wear both. I am guessing you can imagine what nods to elegant fits me and my style and well dramatic... can we just say RED LIPS to mention just one thing. So armed with all this, my style recipe words at this point became Feminine, Timeless, Classic, Polished, and Elegant, not in that order , but in a mix of all or some of them depending on the day. It would later be fine tuned to the key phrases of classic/polished with a retro , feminine Parisian touch .... the last part was with help of my fellow "class mates", Gee I wonder where they got that from??
In lesson two is where major confirmation came for me. It is quite the comprehensive section of the course. Loads of measurements to be made, first off the face shape. After following the steps, sharing it with the online group over on Facebook, and Imogen confirming, it was decided I had a combination face. I had an oval face shape and my features were the combo part as they are both strait/angular/ sharp and curved/soft/ rounded. I knew I had an oval face shape, but the other was always a mystery. This for me was perfect, I would have more choices in things such hair cuts and accessories and even clothing. My body shape is an X, or what I have always called hourglass, my shoulders are the same width as my hips, and when I gain weight I start slipping into an A shape, or classic pear if you relate to that better, but I always keep my waist definition. This again was a confirmation for me. Continuing on, I learned my body proportions as well. I am a bit longer on the top than the bottom, I have a slightly longer torso and shorter legs. The great thing about the program and being armed with the new confirmations, I then could read on and learn how to dress to flatter my body. I also discovered that due to comfort needs as well as personal style tendencies I break some of the rules set for my body and proportions, but having the rules/guidelines in black and white helps me to work around what is suggested and make them work for my needs and desires. For and example, I wear pants lower that I should and also wear them slightly cropped, both no-no's but one is a need for comfort, and one is a style choice to match my style recipe and desires.
|Body shape ...Not the most comfortable photo to post,|
but needed. No one sees it but other group
members, so that made it easier.
Lesson 3. Color. So once I determined what my face and body shape was, and what type of features I had, it was time to determine my colors. The way to do this was to take photos with the color cards that are sent during this section of the course, first large cards to determine your skin tone, your under tone as well as your value and color contrast levels. More photos and more posting to the group. Some were confirmations, such as the fact that I am a cool, deep and soft in 7 Steps terms, I knew down deep I was a cool, cool colors have always been a go to. I have always loved cool, rich and jewel tones, so I was excited to know I was right on the money for , so cool and deep, ok, but soft? Me soft? Maybe somewhere deep down, but I had to remember that this was not about personality, but color, so it would seem as I have aged my colors, or those that I should wear have softened. That took awhile to accept. Having let my hair go back to natural once again, and heading towards the age of 50 I could see it if I was being truthful with myself. So something learned and accepted. What was not accepted was that my darkest color should be charcoal and not black, but again I am a rule breaker, and will most likely wear black for sometime to come... it is just me, it is part of my personality, something I was to learn through all this is that personality trumps rules and suggestions. So colors determined then what? It is not quite that simple, because color is a bit complicated as you also have to make it work with your skin tone, but your undertone, figuring out the intensity levels that goes with both of those, but then there is this thing called contrast levels, both color and value. Without Imogen's help and the course material there is no way that I would understand let alone use the information to help me fine tune my style. Once you do make it through the end of this portion however you then have the option to purchase the color swatch with 50 colors just for you, and these are only colors that are jumping off points, because there is a bout 5000 colors you can actually wear.... but before getting this swatch, you get sent two more cards to hold up to your face, take photos of and help narrow down what swatch is perfect for you. I went through the process and after the dust settled I ended up with the "Elegant" swatch. I fought that I was drawn to the more intense colors of what was known as the dramatic pallet. I guess I was actually right between the two so I can dip into the dramatic.... hello black! My personality and my value contrast means I can get away with wearing black and white which is high contrast, but my color contrast level leans more towards me wearing charcoal or say a slightly more medium gray with white which creates more medium contrast levels, it gets confusing and complicated, but eventually it does become second nature when putting things together. See graph and photo below for a good visual.
|First Steps Color Cards.|
|Second step color cards... Elegant or Dramatic...|
|My color results.|
|My contrasts broken down. Normally you would not wear make up, but red lips are|
a part of me always as is mascara so they factor into my contrast levels. Having blue hair or
not did not change anything.
|My Elegant pallet , the colors that enhance|
my coloring. If I was to pick statement colors,
the blues, would be it for clothing and accents, and
reds and pinks for lips.
|Everything from the white up are my neutrals, the|
browns and grays are best to enhance eyes, but I
will lean towards black, grays and navy as well as the white.
Lessons 4, 5, 6 & 7. In Seven Steps you do not just stop once you learn the above three steps, there is so much more to go!So much I have not even shared. I mean you have to learn what to do with all of those things not to mention you still have to learn about what should be in your wardrobe, not just what shapes and styles and colors, but types. For example, Lifestyle is going to be huge in determining what is in your wardrobe, are you like me? I spend some days lounging around the house. Pjs and lounge wear is important. Other days, I am working in the yard, so those types of clothing need to live in my wardrobe, some days are errand days and other days fall under special occasion. You have to determine how that all breaks down and thus the percentage of what portion of your closet they take up. For me classic is important, but so is casual, smart casual and relaxed and comfort, blending all of these elements as well as keeping my style recipe in mind can be tricky, one way I do that personally is button down shirts that I can dress down and up. Just by changing what I pair them with can move them to one category to the other. Once armed with the knowledge of how your lifestyle dictates what you wear, you can then go through your wardrobe and arrange it to make it work with it. Wardrobe, lesson five. This is when you have to be harsh to a point, you may have to part with things you never though you would because they simply do not work for both your shape, colors, etc and especially your lifestyle. If you have loads of business wear but do not work, then you do not need it. Pick a worthy Thrift Store as you will be taking a few trips as time goes on and you learn more about what works and what does not, what you need and what you don't. I had already done this with another program, but going over it again helped fine tune it even more.
As I mentioned up above, I am one that is always changing my style, but even when I do it always seems to come back to what was revealed in the personality quiz, especially in recent years ( other than when I was so style challenged for whatever reason the last couple of years) , which is a classic yet retro vibe with a French touch. In the Style section, part 6, Imogen also begins to teach you about how to wear patterns and prints to accentuate and flatter not only your body but also your style recipe, scale, contrast, density, and focal points created with them. I discovered that I am not fond of a lot of prints, but do like dots and stripes. Occasionally a floral will slip in, but it is not often and when it does I like it on the bold side and that is my personality mixed with my style recipe coming out... but that being said I only like them on the upper half and not so much on the bottom half. In the beginning, when still going through Evolve Your Style, I bought clothing that is not quite me print wise and at times shape and style wise, I really wish I had gone through 7 Steps before Evolve, I would have known not to buy such things that now just sit in my closet. Eventually the pieces that I just do not feel comfortable in will be taken out and donated. So once you have gone through your wardrobe and determined elements of your style and you already know your colors that flatter, shapes that flatter, etc etc, it is time to form capsules. A grouping of clothing pieces that all work together to create other outfits.
Did you read the French Girl Friday post two weeks ago? I chatted about the 10 piece wardrobe that combined in different ways and combined with accessories to create new looks with very little clothing? That is the basis for capsules as well. My whole closet is like a capsule since the bulk of my clothing is in the same colors that already go well together, I have few prints and my style is classic, so I can mix and match to create a lot of different looks and feels. That being said I did use a smaller version of my closet when I traveled in September, and was able to take very little clothing, but have a new look for all seven days. It really is time and money saving for sure. Imogen walks you through this process with photos and text, she even uses herself as an example using 12 garments to create 21 outfits.
So here we are, finally , lesson seven, Values. This is the dig deep, scary portion, at least for me. It gets to the core of why you shop, and for me I determined that I shop not out of need or even want, it is more so out of boredom and to be less lonely. I am alone a lot. Going to stores, shopping, gets me out of the house, gives me something to do. Sometimes I do not even have to buy anything, just looking is activity for me, and relieves the boredom, but other times I buy just to be buying and so I end up with a lot of clothing I do not need or do not wear. Chatting with the clerk or other shoppers makes it a bit easier to deal with being alone so much of the time. Realizing this, or at least admitting to this is more like it, has helped me as of late to not purchase anything unless I know it is filling a hole, adding to an outfit and will work with my other pieces of clothing. I will not say mistakes will not happen, but hopefully not as often . That basically wraps up my journey through 7 Steps to Style. If you are interested in going through a similar journey be sure to visit Inside Out Style Blog and look for the 7 Steps tab, you can start there. While there also look for where I began this while participating in the Evolve Your Style program HERE. I have come quite the long way! I hope one day Imogen will give me a chance to redo it ... an update of sorts.
|Just a sample of the now....following my style recipe|
|Combining shapes, textures, contrast levels all following my|
See you again next Friday for French Girl Friday.