Welcome back to Part II of What’s My Design Style! To quickly recap last week, I talked about why design style quizzes don’t work. I talked a little about trends that you connect with and how making a real emotional connection is what creates a lasting style. This week I’m going to cover why we react to beautiful spaces and how to use that to create your own personal style brand. These are actual techniques I use with my clients.
First and foremost let’s get something out of the way – all trends aren’t bad and just because something is popular does not mean it’s “trendy”. By definition a trend is a general direction in which something is developing AND it also means in fashion or “en vogue”. So, when we say there is a trend toward using subway tile on the backsplash, it does not mean that subway tile is “trendy” and will go out of fashion. Subway tile is sort of like the black pants of the interior design world. Classic with a million ways to dress it up!
However, there may be some things that are in fashion that are not classic. Think of things like distressed and glazed kitchen cabinets. They were super trendy about 10 years ago. They were absolutely gorgeous in many homes, but now in most homes, they look outdated… and worn out! However, for people who love shabby chic and farmhouse looks, they would (and should) never have anything else!
Think of these in terms of distressed and ripped denim. Jeans are ALWAYS in style. They’re a classic. Ripped and distressed denim comes in and out of fashion, but for people who love a bohemian or rocker look, they never look out of fashion. The ripped and distressed look will always look great on them because they know how to wear it.
And we all know people like that… They can have a living room straight out of 1983, but still somehow manage to make it look awesome!
So what’s the common denominator there? The people who can “pull off a look” that is not in fashion or even outdated? They are emotionally connected to the style have cultivated because they love it. They’re not concerned with what is en vogue. They’re concerned with does this feel like me… It’s sort of a non-minimalist version of the KonMari phenomenon. Seriously, I believe that people will be happier and more satisfied with their homes, waste less money, produce less garbage, and have fewer yard sales if they did this work.
So, what is the first step?
Make a list of what you love. Go all the way back to your child hood if you need to. Think about things that have always appealed to you. Your favorite TV homes. Your favorite houses in your hometown. Your favorite buildings. Your favorite vacations. Favorite colors, foods, cars, dresses, shoes… The items that always seem to make their way into your closet. Think across your life and make a list of the things that stand out in your mind as things that give you an emotional reaction. Literally, what brings you joy!
Mmmmmkay… How do I do that???
Let me give you an example from my own personal design style. (Yes, I did this work for myself!)
When I was young I loved the Brady Bunch house. There was a mid-century house in my hometown that had odd angles and high windows. I loved the way it defiantly stood between all the Ante-bellum and Victorian homes that lined street. Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn are the queens of style to me, especially in the 60’s and 70’s. I love Halston and Diane Von Furstenberg dresses. The sleek, clean lines of that era really appeal to me. The fashion was so timeless and Jackie and Audrey’s brand of glamour was effortless and sophisticated.
I grew up in the Deep South. My grandmother had a collection of chinoiserie that I always admired. The preppy tailored look that is associated with Southern style has always grabbed me. We lived among pines and live oaks and only about an hour from the Gulf Coast. I spent many summers on the Gulf beaches with blue-green water and white sand dunes. I scarfed down more seafood and oysters than I care to admit. The ocean and the beach just have a soft casualness to them that is comforting.
In my closet you’ll always find these items: white jeans, brown leather thong sandals, off-white slacks, several pairs of jeans, Chuck Taylors, an LBD, a sailor style striped shirt, red pants, a white oxford, gray cardigan sweater, a black or navy blue blazer, a pair of riding boots, and several wrap dresses.
So, you can get an idea of what I emotionally connect with: Mid-century Modern, Modern design, tailored clothes, preppy clothes, classic wardrobe, chinoiserie, coastal setting, coastal colors.
Sounds like a hot mess, right?? We’ll get to cooling it off next week. For now, take out a piece of paper and make two columns. In the first column, I want you to make a list of all of your “things”. For now, leave the second column empty. We’re getting to the roots of your style!
In the meantime, if you want to work on your personal style brand or have a design project to start, you can book your design style consultation here.