Developing True Style – a personal reflection

I have wondered for years about who I want to be. I think a lot of us do. There’s always that awesome version of ourselves that we aspire to become. But sometimes, we’re not quite there yet. Most of us here in UNM are at that age, where we’re expected to transition from this naive caterpillar into a confident butterfly, bursting out of our cocoons. It may feel like the entire world is waiting for us, “trendy toddlers” to have that “Glow Up” and we’re waiting, and WAITING. When is my turn? When can I finally look and feel the way I’d like to? And there is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact, it’s a completely normal, inevitable question or thought that sparks up while growing up. Developing true style, isn’t exactly quick nor easy, it takes years of inspo amidst finding yourself.

I think a lot of us have had a list of admirable people. They radiate elegance and sophistication. When they enter a room, everyone feels it. When they speak, everybody listens. Their presence alone demands attention and when they leave, they leave you feeling awed and inspired. There is just something in them that sets them apart from the masses. This very part of them tells the world that they have complete control of themselves. They are what I personally call the people with true style, beyond just the apparel they wear. And in my perspective there are three things we can engage into developing our own true style!

1. A flattering sense of fashion

Source : @swetha_sekhon_ & @izwanimerican_

Ofcourse, the basic step into being stylish is understanding fashion itself and knowing what your fashion is. So on the one hand, it’s knowing what generally looks great or is generally flattering (ie. No horizontal stripes, camel toe, visible panty lines etc.). Followed by, knowing what looks good on you as a unique individual. For example, if you have a shorter and thicker neck, avoid turtlenecks and go for clothes that elongates your neck like a V neckline. In other words, lets try to avoid a The Rock situation.

The Rock’s turtle neck mishap? – Source :

Keep in mind that just because an outfit is extravagant on someone does not mean it will mimic the exact fashion portrayal on another. Hence, it is crucial to focus on you and also take into consideration what your body shape is, your personality, your everyday activities look like etc. We can only take inspiration from the looks of others, but nothing feels better or looks better than an outfit that speaks your own name!

Some practical tips?

Take pictures or videos of yourself over a month to track your outfits and style choices! This allows you to identify your look from a different perspective, what sources of fashion you’re inclined to, what you feel comfortable in and even what you’d like to tweak! Go on mall outings with some fashionista friends to gain more perspectives on style and have some help while shopping. Not only will they be psyched, you will also be trying something fresh and that is always an experience! Sometimes it’s good to have an open mind and not be too attached to the image that we have of ourselves that we’ve held on to for years. It can be good to change it up a little, practically and even emotionally.

2. A stylish etiquette

Source : @sofearose_hq

As mentioned before, true style is beyond appearance. It is also represented by the way you carry yourself. I remembered one of my heart eyed moments, seeing Erra Fazira for the first time. She looked regal in a pastel pink suit, so ever gracious to everyone wanting to meet her and to ask her questions. People gathered around her, seemingly captivated by her mere presence. You might have someone else in mind who can carry themselves in that same powerful way. Sometimes being stylish is also about establishing a unique presence whilst embedding the right etiquette when interacting in various settings. And yes, this covers even the little things like bad posture, fidgeting, burping and yawning, to more serious matters such as being rude, unpunctual and cascading a tantrum in public.

Additionally, in order to bring an ounce of class to your style, KINDNESS matters. Instead of tearing others down, we should instead be uplifting others and focus on chasing our personal goals and dreams. Our presence and actions in this world do have an impact. Hence, we should aim to be a blessing to others and leave a place better than when we first found it. With that being said, avoid acts such as speaking ill of others. It may seem to reflect negatively on another, when in reality? It can make even the most fashionable person lack the right amount of positive charisma to complete his/her look.

3. Confidence is key!

Source : @sharifahrose_ & lizzchloe

Confidence is the key that most everyone in our day and age seem to be lacking. It is something we want, need and crave but never seems to be of essence. It can be heart-wrenching to uncover the fact that our society is lathered with anxiety and self-hatred especially when it comes to how we look. But here’s the thing. I personally sufficed that too many of us are too afraid to be ourselves because we live in fear of the thoughts of others. But as humans, we come with a colourful plethora of flaws. So lets work together to stop putting too much pressure on ourselves to be “perfect”. You don’t have to put on a different persona, crack the best jokes and or even try to be the societal standard of what is “cool”. However, the way YOU choose to show up in the world, is enough. You are being you and you are enough. So place your opinion of yourself higher than anyone else’s opinions. 

It can be a challenge, but believe! In your thoughts, your decisions and your judgements. Someone will always have something to say and you have to protect your mental space. If you like it, wear it. If your hate it? Don’t! We are even guilty of comparing ourselves to others, when we may not even want the same things, or strive for the same objectives.

In the end of the day?

Everyone’s journey of style is different. So all in all, embrace what makes you, YOU. At the end of the day, no one is everyone’s cup of tea. There’s always somebody who may not be your biggest fan and that’s alright because somebody else is going to think you’re pretty amazing. So experiment with elements of clothing, be true and kind and focus on things that make you exude in confidence.

So those were my three humble thoughts as to protruding true style. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but no one was born with style. It’s a learnable skill (a lot of things in life surprisingly are), just like the concept of nurture vs. nature. The only difference is that it will be faster for some of us and it will be slower for the rest but don’t give up.  Nothing worth having comes easy, and every individual will blossom at their own pace!

Written by Anyss Athira, Style Section Writer.

Photos sourced from Instagram.

Fashion failures happen, but with failure comes success.

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