Finding your Style Identity.
That seems simple enough, but defining your style really isn’t as easy as it sounds.
We have all heard about an identity crisis, but what about a style identity crisis? The media and the retail industry are constantly marketing the latest and the greatest. It is the backbone of commerce, the strategy that keeps us pulling out our credit cards. They have to dangle new and exciting fashion and decor choices in front of us so that we will keep spending. Unfortunately, it affects more than our pocket books, it can cause a style identity crisis.
We all want to be hip and on trend. So we desperately try to keep up with the latest. In with the new… out with the old. That can be exhausting, confusing and expensive.
That is where our style identity can be like a permission slip. By staying true to it, it gives us permission to put the neon placemats back and to sell the 80’s entertainment center. It can be liberating.
These questions beg our attention: If you label your style does it keep you from embracing current trends? How do I define my style and find my style identity?
Whenever I am making a decision I like to consult the experts, so let’s do that!
Then stay with me as we find the answers and some tips that are sure to help us find our style identity and confidence.
I have had the opportunity to talk with a few of my blogging mentors and they have been kind enough to share how they have identified their style and stayed true to it despite changing trends. I know that you will enjoy their insight and inspiration just as much as I have.
Julie Blanner has an extremely successful blog and some pretty outstanding features including the March 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. She is someone who knows her style identity and lets it influence her design choices.
When I asked Julie to write a little something about her style this is what she said:
My signature style is warm and timeless, blending old and new to create a space that is truly unique and can be enjoyed for years to come. I take a utilitarian approach to design, with functional decor to integrate organization without effort. A soft, neutral palette allows our family and friends to be the color in our home and transition through seasons with just a few updates like pillow covers and organic elements.
Julie chose her newly remodeled Mudroom to feature because as she states, “It is now my favorite room in our home.”
Julie must love coming home and being welcomed by this beautiful room.
Chelsea of Style Mutt Home
For some of us, like myself, it involves a process of self-examination along with trial and error.
Chelsea of Style Mutt Home is an expert who has experienced this for herself. On her website she features her own home and that of her co-founder Cate, their design work, and also home tours of other design lovers. She has a confident vibe and a style that is all her own. She mixes mid century mod pieces and family heirlooms with ease.
This is what Chelsea had to say:
My style has always been a hot mess as I’ve been influenced by so many different styles throughout my life. Even when I was little, I wanted to do my hair and nails and experiment with makeup, but then wear my Umbro soccer shorts and indoor soccer cleats to school.
It wasn’t until recent years when I realized I’ve always tried to force one style to stand out, when I really just want to mix things up. I stopped trying so hard to define/force a style and started to just let things evolve slowly and naturally. In my experience with decorating our home, the more I’ve tried to make a particular look happen, the less inviting and warm our home would be.
So I just let go a little bit – for me this meant not flipping through magazines or design sites quite as much so I could just find my own flow that made the best sense for my young family.
The formula that seems to work the best for me in achieving a comfortable style mix is: White walls + Warm wood + bold patterns. Now that I’ve figured out what works best for us in this house, decorating comes much more easily! Nothing feels forced anymore and I have a lot more confidence in making decisions, (which is a relief after years of trial and error)!
Chelsea chose her living room to feature as it is has evolved over the years but is still a reflection of her signature style.
I am confident that Chelsea’s family is relaxed in this uncluttered yet warm and welcoming home. Read more about her living room update here.
Dara of Hood Creek Log Cabin
If you feel like you are still in the middle of this process you may be able to relate to the feelings that Dara the creator of Hood Creek Log Cabin has experienced. Dara is in the middle of a DIY renovation. Her and her husband are renovating a 5,000 sq ft log cabin nestled in the woods of the North Carolina coastline. She makes it look easy even with 4 young kids underfoot.
This is what she had to say about her style identity process:
For the past two years I’ve been on a journey of refining my style. Our first house had a bright coastal cottage feel with lots of white and light greys and blues. When we bought our log home, none of that worked any more. Because I didn’t know exactly what to do with a log house at first, I began filling it with rustic cabin decor. I quickly realized that wasn’t what I really wanted, so I just stopped. I took a break from adding anything new until I figured out what I really wanted.
I’ve always loved many styles, especially farmhouse incorporating antique pieces. But I love elements of industrial, rustic lodge, and mid-century modern design as well. When I came to the realization that I don’t have to dedicate the house to one particular style, things got a lot easier. Because our log walls provide a lot of visual interest and warm wood tones already, the other walls are either light grey or white. I like to anchor a space with a darker neutral, like charcoal grey, and then add painted furniture pieces and colorful patterned fabrics and rugs.
I’ve had to give myself the permission to be patient, explore the possibilities, and let the house evolve over time. Now I am slowly creating a home filled with a cozy mixture of elements of farmhouse, lodge, and industrial, with a little glam thrown in here and there.
Dara and her husband poured this concrete counter themselves and it is a perfect example of the rustic yet refined finish they are giving their log cabin.
Alice of Thoughts From Alice
Being influenced by what other people think of your style choices can hold you back from defining your style.
Alice is the creator of Thoughts From Alice and she once felt this same way. She has been blogging for close to 9 years, and as she puts it is finding the beauty in imperfection.
This is what she said about having the confidence to stay true to what you love and what works for you:
My style has evolved for the past couple of years from rustic farmhouse to eclectic bohemian. I found myself gravitating towards more color in my decor, modern and mid century elements and various textures like Kilim pillows. My style actually become even more “me” than it had been previously, because before, I was always worried about what others would think or expect of me (especially being a blogger and putting my decor out there for the world to see). As I allowed myself the freedom to break away from the box I had really put myself in, I become more comfortable decorating simply based on what I loved. I ended up embracing a style that felt authentic to me and worked well for my family.
It’s easy to see why Alice wanted to feature her living room because it is a reflection of how her eclectic bohemian style has taken shape.
I would like to extend a note of gratitude to these talented bloggers for taking the time to share their experiences with us. I have enjoyed it, learned a lot and I hope that you have too.
Now that we have heard from the experts let’s answer that question:
If you label your style does it keep you from embracing current trends?
The short answer is no, it doesn’t. What it does is ground you. It keeps you from being swayed by every new trend that comes along. You have a design anchor that will keep your choices on course but still let you rise and flow with the waves of change.
I have learned one thing from the experts and from my own experience, you can’t do it all.
Each one of us has a style. While there is nothing wrong with embracing change, there is something wrong with not being true to one’s self. If it feels forced then it isn’t right for you or me! It might be all over the shelves of Target and World Market but maybe it doesn’t belong on your shelves. It’s ok to do what speaks to you and to pass on what doesn’t, even if it is all the rage.
Once you have the foundation of your style in place then you can have fun with new things in small doses.
For instance, you have decided that you like a classic style with clean lines and neutral colors but you may currently be taken by the tapestry pillows with a boho flair. Obviously you’re not going to go all out with a bohemian style because it isn’t you, but you could get a Kilim pillow in a muted tone and add in a fur throw. The foundation of your style hasn’t changed but you had some fun with it. When you tire of that or the styles shift you haven’t invested a fortune and you can easily tuck those things away. You’re anchored but still keeping things fresh. So don’t be afraid to define your style.
One last question: How do I define my style and find my style identity?
Here is a summary of the expert tips we just read:
Tips to Finding Your Style Identity:
- It takes time, some trial and error, and patience
- If it feels forced then it’s not for you
- You don’t have to fit into a mold, if it’s right for you then it’s right
- Stay true to your own sense of style and what works in your home
- Don’t worry about what other people like or what is on trend
- Have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously
- Pinterest can be your best friend to find inspiration that speaks to you
Thank you so much for visiting and sharing this style defining moment with us.
To see more inspiration from our featured bloggers follow these links:
Style Mutt Home
Hood Creek Log Cabin
Thoughts From Alice
To read more expert advice on defining your style follow this link to houzz