Steps to Identifying your Design Aesthetic
First of all, why define? Doesn't that limit your sense of style? My answer to that is not necessarily. Instead, it works to strengthen the strongest points of your style and make them stand out.
I relate this to the stage of the design process called editing. At this stage, you have pooled all of your design inspiration and hashed out all potential ideas. Editing is the process of eliminating what is not as strong and refining what is working to be even better.
As you live life following your design aesthetic- you will develop a sense confidence in your style. Confidence and self-expression are the key indicators that you are in alignment with your aesthetic.
Steps for Defining:
1) Visual Inspiration
Develop a Pinterest board or create a moodboard or vision board. Source a variety of images that inspire and direct what your style is then choose what is the strongest. Choose images that evoke an emotion of how you want to feel as an ideal style version of yourself. Source at least forty images, then filter down to the best images. Once you have your images, do not be afraid to set the ones aside that are not as powerful because that will circumvent a path to what is working.
2) Develop a vocabulary around your personal style. Are you classic, vintage, modern, rustic, minimal, or chic? Or a combination. Once you have brainstormed words, try to edit down to five words or less that are the most significant to your style. Words I use frequently to describe my style: posh, minimal, luxurious, fierce, edgy, and opulent.
3) Meditate. To head a certain direction with your personal style, it helps to understand who this ideal style version of yourself is. Use your imagination to see yourself as your design aesthetic. Explore the details of who this person is not only in what they are wearing, but also, their lifestyle, surroundings, quality of light, feeling or mood, people they are interacting with, events they are attending. I will be sharing a guided imagery for defining your design aesthetic, so please be sure to subscribe so that I can send you a copy.
4.) Consider your values. When developing your design aesthetic, it is beneficial to consider early on what is important to you especially before you shop for new products or clothing. Exercise your vote on a daily basis via the choices you make as a consumer. This can be as intensive as your values line up, but for me, my closet has not suffered from boycotting fast fashion brands. Points of value to consider, especially within fashion, are manufacturing processes of companies, choices in textiles, humanitarian considerations, and environmental considerations. When you have a strong design aesthetic, you will also be able to communicate your values to others, and inspire more people to make a conscious change.
5.) Just start living according to your design aesthetic. As you make decisions throughout your day, ask yourself the question: what would the ideal style version of myself do? This can relate to anything because your entire lifestyle can influence your connection to your personal style. The more you practice this, the more you develop an awareness around what your aesthetic is and start to just live it. This will drive you towards the key words of confidence and self-expression.
Of course, once you have begun practicing these tips, you may find that some of your initial vocabulary or imagery is not as fitting. That is the beauty of having a strong sense of design; you always have the ability to refine your previous work. I encourage you to update your definition of your style. This will also enable you to feel timeless and modern- yes, you can feel both at the same time!
Further notes to consider:
Under my definition, pushing boundaries from your design aesthetic is demonstrated in the difference between a capsule wardrobe and a statement wardrobe. The capsule wardrobe must be a consistent point of view while providing all the components to express your day to day style. You need specific classic items, a defined color palette, exceptional fit, consideration of functionality and lifestyle needs, and cohesive silhouette. These are all subtle components and each one has tremendous power to change the timelessness of your wardrobe.
A statement wardrobe includes fashion forward or risk-taking pieces appropriate for specific events. An effective statement wardrobe would have something like a bossier version of the classics in your capsule wardrobe. For example, a leather jacket with a faux fur collar, a black dress with intricate detailing, an oversized sequined vest, a black and metallic one of a kind jumpsuit. Basically, items that are bold, but still applicable to be worn to a variety of events.
After that, you may come to own items in your wardrobe based on even more specific events liked themed parties or occasions. These items may require special care or if very valued, could be dry cleaned and stored after wearing them.
These concepts outline a portion of my methodology. My goal as a stylist is to make all that I have experienced about design more accessible to others. I believe people are complicated and thoughtful and their wardrobe and interior should reflect their individuality. If these tips inspire, please share or comment below- let me know what you want to hear more of!