In 2024, we’re aiming to shed away the “core” or aesthetic based trends and move into discovering our personal style. Going on this journey to find yourself through style might not come easy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When it comes to building out my own personal style, I’ve utilized Pinterest to create a moodboard for how I want to present myself to the world. This year, I’m aiming for a “grown and sexy” style vibe, so I drew inspiration from a few runway looks from Bottega Venetta’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection and Solange. While this process in curating a personal aesthetic works for me, we sat down with fashion stylist Mecca James-Williams to get more tips.
With her own distinct, colorful personal style, wearing warm hues of orange and red, dresses and trousers that are flattering to her figure, and a confidence in her gaze that is enviable. Sometimes trends can be helpful as James-Williams tells ESSENCE.com, but knowing yourself is the best step into finding your personal style. If you’re someone who is feeling lost, going through a shift, or finally felt your frontal lobe completely develop, then developing your style is the most important thing to represent who you are or who you’re becoming. “Knowing yourself is digging deep and really understanding what brings you joy. I think personal style is a really deep dive in self discovery.” James-Williams adds.
If you’re seeking to nail down a style that’s authentic to you, keep scrolling. With these helpful tips you’ll surely be able to present a more polished and refined version of yourself (that’s my plan).
Growing Into Yourself
“It’s not something that you can give a blueprint for, it’s really just encouraging somebody to go deep with who they are, what makes them happy, and how they adorn themselves,” James-Williams said. When trying to find your sense of style, copying someone else isn’t helpful to you in the long run. What you want to do is take elements and apply them to yourself. First, you must go through your own closet and keep or get rid of what still tugs at you. Then you can start to seek out other avenues like social media or celebrities online after. Think of what makes these women them, why you’re drawn to their look, and if you could apply it to yourself. Ask yourself if you’d feel as confident as they look in an outfit.
Trends can be helpful for you to follow, but James-Williams says if you only feel yourself gravitated towards them then you shouldn’t have them as a Bible to follow. “Trends can definitely be a very capitalistic thing pushed in fashion but I don’t think it’s something [everyone] should take with a grain of salt.”
Try getting off the apps, and really go through “exercises of discovery.” Go to an event and put on things that make you happy and help you step outside of your box. These are examples of what James-Williams said she would do if she didn’t know where she could start with her personal style.
Start A Moodboard
“Moodboarding helps you understand what you really like,” James-Williams adds. “Saving images of things that you enjoy is such a beautiful way of going through self-discovery.” Since turning 25, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery. I’ve been looking at women like Solange, Telsha Anderson-Boone, and Tracee Ellis Ross as my starting point. What I’ve noticed is that they all incorporate elements of menswear into their outfits, something I’ve always been a fan of. I’m drawn to boxy blazers, trousers, big jeans and loafers all the time, but want to add a more feminine energy to my style. That’s why it makes sense for me to want to emulate them. They add details like jewelry or a flowy blouse to add that feminine touch.
As mentioned, what’s helping me ideate what I want to wear is using Pinterest instead of Instagram to make my 2024 moodboard.I’m picking out the smaller pieces I like from jewelry to shoes rather than full outfits. This helps me rediscover what I’m actually drawn to and avoid losing myself in comparison.
Shop In Person
People are shopping online more and more, but shopping in person is so helpful to knowing what can work for your body. “I was shopping in New York City for 10 years before moving. So, I couldn’t imagine being a digital shopper forever. I think that takes out the fun and the realness to it,” James-Williams said.
If you’re not sure about a certain trend working on you or what colors compliment your skin, the opportunity to go into different stores and boutiques should be utilized. Then when you shop online it will be easier and save you time on returns because you know what fits and what doesn’t. Since I live in New York, I take the time to try on clothing in person, especially since I’m more on the petite side with fit. By going shopping in person, I’ve been able to study brands that make clothes for petite shoppers IRL, like The Frankie Shop or GAP.
In conclusion, finding your personal style can take some time but if you implement tips like these, you’ll find yourself stepping out of your comfort zone with confidence. Clothing is one of the best ways to communicate the type of person you are as well as the type of person you want to be.