Now we have our staple clothing, colors, and patterns. The next step is to look at your preferences and figure out what style "category" your preferences fall into.
Bohemian style has matured in the last decade. From its late sixties and early seventies roots, bohemian style has evolved to a less-is-more mentality (Unless you are taking cues from Coachella where bohemian cliches are driven into the ground.). Bohemian style thrives in a world of pattern whether it be paisley or tribal prints. If whimsical sundresses with elaborate patterns are your thing, then perhaps bohemian is for you. "Boho" style is the perfect blend of effortless cool meets soft and dreamy. The bohemian style can be dressed up or down, made edgy or fanciful.
Staples: Wide brim hat, crochet, sheer, soft colors, leather woven belts, sun dresses, wide-legged pants, layers of necklaces, motorcycle boots, dusters, floor-length dresses and skirts, and furs
Designer Inspiration: Chanel pre-fall 2014, Yves Saint Laurent ss 2013
Where to Buy: The URBN brands (Free People, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters), thrift stores, Lucky Brand
Icons: Sienna Miller, Mary Kate Olsen, Zoe Kravitz, Stevie Nicks
Your dream closet contains: a little black dress, a pair of all white sneakers, plain t-shirts, neutrals, simple black belts, and stripes. Sound like you? Then you are probably a minimalist. Minimalists are typically seen wearing all black, white, or tans. Stripes feel like branching out and items with graphics on their surface are seen as excessive. Minimalist style is all about simplicity and finding confidence in easy styles. Even though minimalism thrives on keeping outfits clean, there is nothing boring about this style type.
Blue jeans, clean sneakers, box-like silhouettes, the t-shirt, blazers, chelsea boots, trousers, turtlenecks, black leather purses, thin gold chains, khaki trench coat, striped t-shirts, pencil skirts
Designer Inspiration: Jil Sander Spring 2014, Helmut Lang Spring 2014, The Row Pre-Fall 2014
Where to Buy: Zara, Topshop, American Apparel, T by Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein, Gap
Icons: Audrey Hepburn, Francoise Hardy, Kate Moss (also could be considered high fashion)
NEW SCHOOL PREP
[Vampire Weekend's self-titled album plays in the background.] A little bit WASP-y, a little bit tacky if done wrong, preppy style has been a symbol of Americana for years and despite its upper-crust connotations, the prep look is always on-trend in some way, shape, or form. I almost titled this section as "Classic" because the Ralph Lauren polo with a pair of chinos and boat shoes could almost be seen as that -- classic. Taking a look at the "new school prep" icons of today, like Kate Middleton and Jenna Lyons, prep can be done in new ways that evoke a classiness that is so much more than the typical WASP attire.
Staples: Flats, polos, items with icons applied, boat shoes, pearls, boatneck tops, cardigans, ankle-length trousers, a-line skirts, cable knit sweaters, tartan plaid, oxford button-down.
Designer Inspiration: Tommy Hilfiger spring 2014, Ralph Lauren spring 2014
Where to Buy: Lacoste, United Colors of Benetton, Dooney and Bourke, Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, J.Crew.
Icons: Jenna Lyons, Kate Middleton, Katie Holmes Grace Kelly, Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl)
All designer everything, or at least the look of it. High fashion is all about wearing brand names and looking opulent. Although, this can be easier to fake than it seems. Buying one or two higher fashion items that can be incorporated into any look can help to up the outfit into high fashion style. Being high fashion certainly does not mean head-to-toe in Chanel or wearing labels all over. If anything, high fashion is almost about being glam. Extravagance and avoiding anything ripped or frayed (unless on purpose, of course) can be seen as the core principles of high fashion.
Staples: Stilettos, fur coats and vests, large sunglasses, designer skinny jeans, statement necklaces, dramatic dresses (plunging necklines, no back, high slits), large purses, gold details
Designer Inspiration: Burberry fall 2014, Balmain fall 2014, Gucci fall 2013
Where to Buy: Net-A-Porter, high-end vintage clothing stores, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue
Icons: Kate Moss (also minimalist as well), Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Cher, Olsen twins, Kanye West
It can be tough categorizing yourself. Some people feel that there a giant mix of all of the above styles and then some. Much of street fashion falls into this category. One day you will wake up feeling like Jackie O. and the next day you will want to emulate the looks of 2002 Britney Spears. Really, the eclectic style can be seen as one of many costumes.
Staples: Anything one-of-a-kind, offbeat graphic t-shirts, platform shoes, colorful coats, details such as studs and pins -- the list is endless as it can entail just about anything.
Designer Inspiration: Miu Miu Fall 2014
Where to Buy: ASOS, thrift shops, Topshop, your mother's closet, anywhere!
Icons: Chloe Norgaard, Cara Delevingne, Alexa Chung, fashion week street fashion
To note, this does not mean, for example, that those that are considered to fall into the Bohemian category cannot sport a polo one day or a Burberry trench coat the next. These are meant to serve as a guideline and a source of inspiration.
Where do I lie? Well, I once considered myself eclectic. I wore just about anything that suited my personal taste and experimented with all trends for the fun of it. In the end, I found that eclectic was too broad for what was really staying in my closet, which was all things minimalist. I was more comfortable in plain black t-shirts with loose jeans than I was wearing maxi skirts paired with broad rim hats. This discovery is as recent as something that happened in the last few months and I want to encourage you to explore your stylistic interests because, in my personal opinion, true personal style is a personal style that can evolve.