how to define your personal style

As an actress, I’m so often advised to specify my “type”, to brand myself, to come up with a three word description of who I am in order to sell myself.

I get the intention behind that. I get the point of figuring out the impression you leave on people, the niche of programming into which your “look” and personality fit. I get that if you don’t decide some things, you’re merely left with overwhelm and a lack of vision.

But today I’m going to tell you something revolutionary true.

You don’t fit in a box.

We exert so much of our energy trying to define who we are, as if the intricacies of the human mind can be diminished to five commercial words – adorably heartbreaking, girl next door.  As if the sum of our traits can be designated as “quirky” or “bad ass” or “lovable sidekick”. As if our emotions and the blood pumping through our veins don’t define us simply as HUMAN BEINGS.

The same goes to personal style – that desire to pinpoint how it is we dress. For something that is solely an expression of who we are, how can we possibly reduce it to one definition? How can we confine something that is supposed to fuel our creativity, to reflect how we feel on a singular given day – to tell the world who we are – to a circle drawn in the sand?

From vintage enthusiast to minimalist, sweetly demure to edgy, pops of color to all neutrals, I can’t tell you how I define my style. I can’t tell you what it is to be a human being and thus can’t tell you that today I’ll wear a patterned maxi dress and will do so tomorrow…and the next, and the next. If I can’t – and won’t – decide it for myself, I won’t inhibit you either.

The simple truth of the matter? Do you. Wear what makes you feel good. What sparks joy. What makes your legs look killer or what hides everything altogether or what bears all or heck, just what makes you comfortable.

Because one day I feel most confident in floor hitting dresses, while others I feel most me in an oversized jacket. Some days I can’t get enough of kitschy styles, and others I want to dress as monotonously as possible. And still others I’ll want to wear sneakers when the ensemble would look “better” with heels or the very same sweater five days in a row.

We’re constantly evolving. Not year by year but second by second. Let your wardrobe reflect that. Throw out the rules, and tear down those boundaries – because the world is going to try to hold you back enough as it is. Something that is for fun should remain just that.

Or, ignore me completely and wear black every day of your life or stay up to the minute with all the current trends (because you know what? That’s cool too).

Outfit: Anthropologie maxi (old, similar fit here and here), Brixton hat, vintage shawl (passed down from my husband’s grandmother), Warby Parker sunglasses. Lipstick is Dolce Vita by Nars.

Photos taken by my new friend and talented photographer, Laurence Tan.















Also – some spring style and decade inspiration. ❤

P.S. If you’re a fan of Anthropologie, Poshmark is an amazing resource to buy at cheaper price points (often new with tags!).

-wonderland sam 

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actress/texan kickin' it in los angeles. always searching for my next pizza. cia agent in another life.

44 thoughts on “how to define your personal style

  1. I absolutely agree with you. I can never really define my personal style because it’s how I feel at any given moment. One day I may feel more rock’n’roll, another day more feminine, another day I like a pretty dress. It’s all about my mood. My style is what I like and I can’t define it with just simple words. I tent to wear similar patterns hear and there but overall I just don’t know what I will feel on a given day. I love your explanation.

    1. Right?! Sometimes I love when a person has a very “signature” style that’s unique to them – but I just don’t think I’ll ever find that. And you know what? It’s a bit more fun that way. 😉

  2. I LOVE this post! Thank you for sharing this with us! I completely agree with you! We are all different and it’s hard to describe ourselves in such a small mount of words because we are all more than that! I don’t define my style either because some days I like to wear lace dresses and other days, I love to wear soccer sweats! Such a great post! ❤

    – Stevie

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that some/a lot of days I just want to wear my workout leggings, haha! In all honesty, it’s really just fun to switch it up every day. 🙂

  3. I love this! I always wished I could “pinpoint” what exactly my style is, but could never really define it. But I often feel like when I try to rock the latest trend, or “reinvent” my style, I end up looking less put together because I don’t feel comfortable or feel like myself. I look like I’m trying too hard. I love the idea of just rolling with what works on any given day, and as the mom of a 13 month old, that’s really all I can do! 😊

    1. Haha yeah, the older I get the more I DGAF about what other people say. ;p Full disclosure, I live 4 miles from the beach and this was the first time I’d been in longer than I’d care to admit! Definitely have to start getting out there more.

  4. I love love love your outfit and these photos! I agree with what you had to say 100% As humans we love to compartmentalize and classify everything, but things (and people) don’t fit into neat little boxes. Thanks for this post!

    1. Thank you so much Danielle! It’s something I’ve struggled with for so long in all areas of my life – inhibiting myself by trying to define who I am. I/you/we can be whoever we want, and that can change on any given day if we so decide! ❤

  5. Wow I love everything you said. I recently wrote about the similar thing, how style changes over time and not to feel limited. I’m glad I’m not alone!! Wonderful article.

  6. I feel the same way all of the time. I can never narrow myself down to 3 words to market myself for roles, the best I can do is read a breakdown and go with ones that I vibe with, which is still very broad. I experience this in the blog world, too, though! You have to niche down to get the right followers, but I want to write about everything that interests me! I guess this all means my personal style is just general in all aspects, and you can probably tell that in my taste in fashion, too. I think it’s important to firstly feel confident in yourself before trying to define yourself.
    The dress is gorgeous! I don’t know how tall you are irl, but it makes you look very tall!

    1. Oh hi Kelsey! Nice to meet a fellow actor. 🙂 But I feel you girl – it’s disheartening trying to squeeze myself into one very tiny, specific niche when I know that I am so much more than that. Same with blogging. I have numerous interests, and though the blog advice is to be specific, if you just narrow your scope down a BIT, but not completely, you’re still golden. I love reading websites that cover a myriad of topics – that’s what keeps them interesting! And to be honest, I’d be bored if I wrote – or read – about the same thing every day.

      And thank you about the dress! I bought it a couple of years ago from Anthropologie, and it’s still one of my favorites. I’m 5’3″, so definitely not tall – but glad it makes me look taller! 😀

    1. Thank you so much Joy! This dress is one of my favorites. 🙂 And yes, if you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll never be able to enjoy it!

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth! And I agree – our wardrobe should be a reflection of our creativity – no need to set a hard and fast rule to dressing for ourselves. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by! ❤

    1. Thank you! My “style” tends to change daily, but I too am often drawn to more basic pieces that don’t have super loud patterns; this dress is one of the exceptions – but like I said, constantly changing. 🙂

  7. Beautiful dress and beautiful photos!

    and – I TOTALLY AGREE.

    As an artist/illustrator, I have heard this soooo many times. “Find your style”. News flash: I have like, 5. and I don’t want to stop there, to be honest. I’d be bored out of my mind if i pigeon-holed myself into a single style or medium as a creative. Sure it makes my instagram look less curated and consistent, but whatever.

    1. Thank you so much Katia!! I’m with you 100%. I can’t pick a single style to dress in every day nor can I pick one niche to write about – where is the fun in that?!

  8. I Love this post! My style is eclectic. I have to dress business casual for work, but I love color so I don’t hold back. Outside of work, I move from boho, to glam, to casual but always fun and expressive. I hate being out in a box or category. I’m me!

    1. My day job I work as an office manager (of engineers), and sometimes I feel out of place with my wardrobe (suffice it to say, no one takes “risks” with their outfits here, haha). But I don’t let that stop me – I’m dressing for ME! 🙂

  9. Love this post! I absolutely agree that you should not try to put yourself in a box, particularly when it comes to personal style. We as humans are complex, and the way we express ourselves through clothing should reflect that! (Also, that dress is amazing!)

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