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Inspiring women

Conch Style: How to Cultivate your Personal Style

Posted on: January 11th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

What we wear is a reflection of who we are.  It’s the first impression we give the world.  And when it comes to personal style, knowing what you like and what looks good on you are equally important.  It’s the ever evolving art of this-is-who-I-am dressing.  The key to looking fabulous every day is to cultivate your personal style and then find key wardrobe pieces and accessories that help you highlight it.

1. Know Yourself. Your age, job, and locale are the foundation to creating your personal style.  My father once gave me the advice that it’s good to be noticed, not noticeable.  If your wardrobe isn’t age-appropriate, or doesn’t fit your job or location then you are going to stick out in an unflattering way.  If you work in an office setting, dresses, skirts, jackets and professional slacks may be the foundation for your wardrobe.  Living in the Florida Keys allows your style to be more casual in nature so wearing sandals or sundresses may be perfectly acceptable work attire that in more urban locations wouldn’t be appropriate.  Developing your style is also about knowing who you are today.  If you haven’t updated your hairstyle or look in 20 years, then you aren’t displaying to the world the best version of yourself.

2. Know what you feel good in.  Do you have an outfit that you wear and receive a lot of compliments on?  What outfit currently in your closet do you gravitate to when you need to look great for a meeting or a fun event?  Your clothing should make you feel fabulous and understanding what does is the key.  I often refer to the lyrics from West Side Story “I feel pretty, Oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright!”  You should be wearing clothes that you feel good in and that make you sing this song from the rooftops.    Use the looks already in your wardrobe as the starting point and start building off these pieces.  If structured ladylike dresses look great on you, find ways to add accessories to create a look all your own.

3. Know what fits you and what flatters your figure.  Most of us are not shaped like fashion models.  But luckily, looking and feeling good in your clothing doesn’t mean you have to be.  Your clothing should be tailored to comfortably fit you.  If a dress is too short, too tight or too baggy, it will not create a positive image of you.  Go through your closet and remove anything that doesn’t fit.  If you have a pair of skinny jeans you’re still hoping you may fit into once you drop a few pounds, you can hang onto them but remove them from your closet.  Instead put items that aren’t currently wearable in another area where they won’t be a distraction when you’re getting dressed.  Don’t shy away from using a tailor.  We all have different body shapes and sometimes getting something to fit right may mean having a tailor adjust it slightly.

Good style isn’t about what you wear it’s about how you wear it!  Assert an air of I-know-my-style and continue to adapt it.  The best style advice I ever received was to spend money on your bag, watch and haircut because you will wear this every day.  If these three things look good, the rest of your look will too.   Anyone can look fabulous every day when they’ve honed their personal style.

Take a look at a woman who knows herself and has created a style unique to her.  I had a chance to talk with Christi Allen who is a 30-something Florida Keys resident and owner of LivingFit Wellness Center in Key Largo with additional locations in Ocean Reef and Marathon.

Cultivating Your Personal Style

Christi Allen in one of her favorite looks: wedge heels, cotton red dress and Handmade belt from the Cayman Islands.

Her mission is to help and inspire people to achieve health and happiness with a holistic approach to total body wellness.  She believes movement and nutrition are medicine and the more you move, the better you’ll feel and the better life is.  “I teach and practice Pilates, but this is not my only practice.  Pilates is the foundation of everything that I do because it is a lifestyle, but I also practice yoga, meditation, chi gong and I run, bike, swim, paddle and PLAY!  The more I do, the better I eat, the more energy I have, and the younger I look and feel.”

How have the Florida Keys influenced your style?  I have lived all over the world including Hawaii, Texas, Oklahoma, Germany and so many places in between.  Every place I have lived, I developed a new style.  My style was always classically cool, however, I am a wild girl at heart, but hardly ever went wild with my clothing or accessories.  Living in the Keys is so wonderful for me because the Keys are so eclectic in its people and its culture. I really developed my environmental passion in the Keys too.  This has led me to love consignment stores!  I have found so many great treasures!  I mix and match a lot now with new, used and recycled!”

What is your go-to outfit for everyday in the Florida Keys?  “My go to outfit in the Florida Keys when not in Pilates attire is jeans, a cute top and fantastic heels!  Or when it’s hot out, I wear shorts, a cute top and fantastic heels!”