How to Develop Great Personal Style

{This is a guest post from Anuschka Rees containing an excerpt from her new book. You can find more details at the end of this post. Check out her blog at INTO-MIND.com}

Where personal style comes from

Your style is a mix of preferences for different elements—like colors, silhouettes, textures, and patterns—that all together create a single visual narrative. Your style isn’t random and it’s also not something you were born with—it’s a reflection of your experiences and the associations you picked up over the years.

Perhaps at one point you watched a movie, fell in love with its heroine, her confidence and fearlessness, and her go-to look of shift dresses, diamonds, and killer heels. Or perhaps you went through a seventies rock music phase
a while back and now associate sequinned tunic dresses and leather jackets with a cool, free-spirited attitude. Or maybe your favorite aunt gave you a pretty turquoise dress for your fifth birthday, and you’ve loved that color ever since. You have probably forgotten why by now though. Associations like these happen subconsciously for the most part, and that’s why they are tricky to trace back. All you know is that you love all things turquoise.

All great artists have a personal style from filmmakers like Sofia Coppola or Quentin Tarantino to artists like Andy Warhol or Annie Leibovitz to fashion designers like Alexander Wang or Vivienne Westwood. Their styles run as common threads through their entire bodies of work.

Take Sofia Coppola for example. Whether her movies are about an aging movie star, a young queen in the eighteenth century, or celebrity-obsessed teenagers, they all share a sense of melancholy; dreamy, pastel settings; and close-up shots and slow camera pans.

And Annie Leibovitz has photographed hundreds of celebrities since the 1970s. But she always stayed true to her signature style of high contrast, bright lighting, and interesting, often tongue-in-cheek poses.

Sofia Coppola and Annie Leibovitz figured out what they like and they are sticking with it. And you can do the same.

That’s not to say personal style can’t evolve.

As you go through life, you collect new experiences; you read, watch movies, and discover new things. Your values may change, and so may your lifestyle. You continuously build new associations that blend in with your existing associations to create something new and different over time. One winter you may be super into chunky knit sweaters, wide-leg pants, and ankle boots; the next winter you may prefer a more slim-fitting silhouette and skirts. But once you have truly discovered what you like and what you don’t like, that deep underlying preference for a certain aesthetic is likely going to remain stable for a while, and it will be the baseline for all your future style shifts.

How to develop great personal style

Developing a personal style is like creating a sculpture.

Your favorite colors, materials, silhouettes, and other aesthetic preferences are the clay. Before you can do anything else, you first have to gather your clay: dig deep, immerse yourself in inspiration, and experiment with different colors, materials, and silhouettes to find out what you are drawn to. Then start sculpting: figure out how all your different preferences could fit together to create a single visual narrative.

Both of these steps take effort. Artists spend years defining their signature aesthetic. And the same goes for regular people who dress well. They didn’t just wake up one morning with a great sense of style; no, they spent years experimenting with different looks, sampled their fair share of now-cringe-worthy outfits, practiced, and fine-tuned.

If you already have a pretty good idea about how you like to dress, by the end of this section, you’ll have a superclear road map of your unique sense of style that you can then use to upgrade your wardrobe.

If you are a complete fashion newbie, get ready to gather your clay and discover what type of clothes make you feel your best.

My Encircled picks for creating the perfect comfort-wardrobe

The Minimalist Legging in slate grey

Sure, I want all my clothes to look good but they also have to be practical and work with my lifestyle. These leggings are my go-to pick when I know I'll be writing all day and want to be comfortable.

The Chrysalis Cardigan in stone grey

The Chrysalis cardigan is the definition of versatile and essentially eight pieces in one. Perfect for anyone who wants to keep their closet as streamlined as possible, without sacrificing style. 

The Nomadic V-Neck T-shirt in white

My advice for shopping for basics: be picky! Staples like t-shirts, jeans and simple skirts or dresses form the foundation of your outfits so it's important that they fit your style down to the last detail. I like t-shirts with a deep neckline and slightly longer sleeves, for example, so the nomadic is perfect for me.

Anuschka

About the Author, Anuschka

 

INTO MIND was founded in 2012 by Berlin-based writer, Anuschka Rees. INTO MIND is a minimalist style blog for fashion-savvy, eco-conscious young women who want to cultivate a strong personal style and curate a wardrobe that makes them feel confident and inspired every day.

 

  

Want to learn more about creating the perfect wardrobe? We're giving away two copies of Anuscka's book, "The Curated Closet"

If you'd like to purchase a copy (trust me, this is a book you want to invest in!) directly or learn more about Anuschka's book, "The Curated Closet" go here.


The Curated Closet Book Giveaway - 2 copies up for grabs!

Note: Reprinted from THE CURATED CLOSET Copyright (c) 2016 by Anuschka Rees. Photographs copyright (c) 2016 by Anna Rose Hankow. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. 





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Encircled Size Charts
Please scroll down to find the size chart for each design. If you have any questions on sizing, please try out our online size recommender or click here to contact us with questions prior to ordering. Size charts are in alphabetical order based on design name.
If you're on our product page viewing the size chart, click anywhere outside of the pop-up (or on the X in the top right corner) to close the size charts, or click here to surf back to our main collection page.

The Adiona Maxi Dress

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Front Length 45" 45" 45" 45" 45"
Back Length 55" 55" 55" 55" 55"

Fit Advice: The Adiona Maxi Dress fits true to size, but we recommend to size up if you are in between sizes. The length can be hemmed by a tailor, or adjusted by  bringing the waist higher up the body to accommodate many different heights. The elasticized waist will flex to fit different waist sizes within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the basic product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S), is wearing a size Extra Small in The Adiona Maxi Dress. Our model Kristi, shown in the styling shots is approximately 5'9" and a size 6-8 (M), wearing size Medium in the Adiona Maxi Dress.

 

The Chameleon Maxi Skirt

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12(L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Length 39.5" 39.75" 40" 40.25" 40.5"

Fit Advice: The Chameleon Maxi Skirt fits true to size. The wide waistband ensures no ‘muffin top’. However, if you are a bit smaller on the top and wish to wear it as a strapless dress, we recommend sizing down because the drawstring to adjust the length is in the hem. Hemming The Chameleon Maxi Skirt would be difficult. 

Model's Measurements: Marah is shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'11", and a size 6-8 (M), is wearing a size Medium in The Chameleon Maxi Skirt. 

The Chrysalis Cardi

Size
Garment Length (Laid Flat) Garment Width (Laid Flat) Bust 
(inches)
Waist 
(inches)
Hip 
(inches)
Height 

Regular

(xs - xxl)

38" 39.5" 32"-41" 25"-34" 35"-44" 5'2"-6'0"

Petite

(xxs - m)

35" 34.5" 27"-35" 23"-28" 30"-38" >5'4"

Maxi

(xl - xxxl)

43" 41.5" 41"-52" 33"-45" 44"-56" >6'0"

Fit Advice: The Regular Chrysalis Cardi is a one size fits most garment ranging from sizes XS-XXL or 2-14. It can be easily belted in multiple ways, however the Regular is not recommended for petite or shorter woman due to the volume of fabric - See Petite Cardi. The Regular is also not recommended for curvier/taller women due to fabric pulling around the bust or bottom - See Maxi Cardi.

We recommend watching the how-to wear videos to see how much fabric drape and length you would like in your finished garment. If you are in between sizes, it is best to size up and the garment can always be tailored shorter to better suit your look - you cannot add more fabric unfortunately!

The Petite is best suited for women 5'4" and under with a smaller frame, although it will also work on women above this height (depending on preferred length when styled). 

The Maxi is best suited for all women under 6’0” with a curvier shape to eliminate any uncomfortable fabric pulling, although it will also work on women who are a bit less curvy (depending on preferred length when styled). 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the Black Petite Chrysalis Cardi product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S). Mandy shown in the Slate Grey + Navy Petite Chrysalis Cardi product shots is approximately 5'2" tall and a size 0-2 (XS). Anthea shown in the beach shot is 5'4" tall and a size 2-4 (S).

*If you have any questions on sizing, please contact us - Remember it is best to provide us with your height and size range of garments that you already own! 

The Dressy Sweatpant

HIGH RISE FIT

Worn higher up with rise sitting at natural waist. Straight leg tapers from the hip to ankle opening.

Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
23" - 25"
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
Hip (inches)
32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
Inseam (inches) 28.5"
RELAXED FIT
Slight drop-crotch look with rise sitting just above natural hip. Straight leg tapers to ankle opening.
Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
36" - 39"
Hip (inches)
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
46" - 49"
Inseam (inches) 28.5"

Fit Advice: We recommend staying with your usual size if you are in between sizes. The cut on The Dressy Sweatpants is more generous and the fit is meant to be drapey and slightly harem. Therefore, it's better if they don't fit snug. 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size small in Black, Navy, and Smoke Dressy Sweatpant. Daria is 5'4" tall and a size 0-2 (XS) and is wearing an extra small in the Slate Grey Dressy Sweatpant.

 

The Evolve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12 (L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 20-22" 23-25" 26-28" 32-34" 35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Fit Advice: The fit of The Evolve top is drapey but tapers towards the hip. It tends to fit large. We recommend for you to size down from your normal size if you are unsure. The fabric on The Evolve top has a natural stretch that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 
Model's Measurements: 
Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) wearing a size extra small in The Evolve Top.

 

 

The Flipside Legging 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The Modal fabric on The Flipside Leggings is not as 'taut' as synthetic fabrics like polyester, so if you prefer a snugger fit with your leggings, size down. The Flipside Leggings are pre-shrunk.

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) wearing a size XS.

 

 The Minimalist Legging

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The Bamboo fabric on The Minimalist Leggings is tighter than the Flipside Leggings. The Minimalist Leggings are pre-shrunk.

Model's Measurements: Kristi, shown in the product shots is approximately 5'9" and a size 6-8 (M), wearing size Medium in the Minimalist Leggings.

 

The Nomadic Crew Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

 Fit Advice: The Nomadic Crew Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Jamie shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'4" tall and a size 2 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Nomadic Crew Neck.

 

 

The Nomadic V-Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Nomadic V-Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Anissa shown in the product shots is approximately 5'2" tall and a size 0 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Nomadic V-Neck.

 

The Reversible Pencil Skirt

Size
XS (0-2)
S (2-4)
M (6-8)
L (10-12)
XL (14-16)

Waist (inches)

23" - 26"
26" - 29"
29" - 32"
32" - 34"
35" - 37"

Hip (inches)

32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
45" - 47"

Length Total (inches)

20"
21"
22"
23"
24"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Pencil Skirt fits true to size, but it's suggested to size up if you fall between sizes. The pencil skirt offers a smooth silhouette that slightly tapers from waist to hips and down through to the hem, hitting just at knee length. A pencil skirt should smoothly skim your curves, so to get a perfect fit, first identify your largest measurement then choose the size offering that range while still allowing for some stretch. The fabric on The Reversible Pencil skirt has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

Model's Measurements: Monica shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'6" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size extra small.  

 

The Revolve Dress

 
Size
0-2 (XS)
2-4 (S)
6-8 (M) 10-12 (L) 14-16 (XL)
Bust (inches)
27.5 - 29.5 "
30.5 - 32.5 "
33.5 - 35.5 "
36.5 - 38.5 "
39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist (inches)
23-24 "
25-26 "
28-29 "
30-31 "
32-34 "
Hips (inches)
30-32 "
33-35 "
36-38 "
39-41 "
42-44 "
Length (inches)
At longest, 38.5" Adjustable
At longest, 39" Adjustable
At longest, 39.25" Adjustable
At longest, 39.5" Adjustable
At longest, 39.5" Adjustable

Fit Advice: The Revolve Dress is designed to fit drapey that tapers towards the hip. We recommend staying with your typical dress size. If your hip measurements are above the guide, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. The fabric on The Revolve Dress has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size extra small. 

 

The Wanderer Sleeveless T 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Wanderer Sleeveless T fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Jamie shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'4" tall and a size 2 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Wanderer Sleeveless T.