How To Develop Personal Style One Detail At A Time

In partnership with Fashion Editorial Site, Emperifollá

When I was a kid, I wore a gold necklace with a tiny cheerleader charm on it. My mom had bought it for me at the local mall because I’d often tell anyone who would listen that I was a cheerleader. The necklace cut to the chase.

Like many people, I’ve always gravitated towards pieces of jewelry that tell the story of who I am. At the moment, I’m wearing two gold necklaces: one says “Leo” to show off my zodiac sign, the other sports an “F” as proof that my name is indeed Frances. Some of my most cherished pieces are the ones that allow me to carry a little bit of my home with me, like the black leather jacket with the Puerto Rican flag on the back that I scored at East Hearlem’s El Barrio Music Center.

To me, style is in the details.

I’ve often thought of myself as style-less. I tend to not care about trends and have an affinity for wearing all black (no matter the season or the place). My fashion choices are not risky and my wardrobe more closely resembles Fran Lebowitz than Carrie Bradshaw. Let’s just say there is a formula to how I look, but I am okay with that.

If you think about it, some of the most stylish people on the planet are known for their signature uniforms. Take Fran Lebowitz, for example, who is known for sporting blue jeans, white button down shirts, blazers, and cowboy boots. Or Frida Kahlo, who wore one of the most enigmatic fashion uniforms in history, taking her personal pain, heritage, and upbringing to craft her own wardrobe.

Yes, a style uniform can sound boring. After all, you are wearing an iteration of the same thing every single day. The word uniform may even sound anti-fashion, as it completely ignores trends within the outfit, but what if it's not a refusal of fashion? For many, the idea of high-end beauty is wrapped up in money and designer goods cast against a white backdrop. When style is measured in the details, there is room to make your heritage fashion.. There is room for fun. My black leather jacket isn’t the same one sported by all the hip kids in Soho, because it means more to me than aesthetics—it represents me. Dressing with meaningful accessories in mind sets you apart from the sea of 90s baguette bags and Air Force 1’s (which are still a super cute look, always do you). But adding these little additions sprinkles a bit of personality along the way.

In finding your own style uniform, you might just embark on a personal journey. What details define you? What parts of your life do you pick out to wear as your signature style? This sounds a little daunting, but it’s not. Here’s how you can do it.

STEP 1 - Get To Know Yourself

Trends come and go, but true style comes from the inside. In order to know your style, it’s imperative to get to know oneself. Take time to reflect on yourself and then your wardrobe and its infinite possibilities. This will help you be more discerning, making it easier to be picky about what comes in and out of your closet. One trend I knew to draw the line at:skinny jean. Whenever they come back in style, you won’t see me participating in that.

STEP 2 - Tell Your Story

One of the most exciting things about fashion is being able express your story through even the smallest of details. It may be a zodiac sign necklace, or a Spongebob shirt that reminds you of the summers you spent binge-watching the show on Nickelodeon. The small details you add to our style make it unique. It’s exclusively yours. No one can take away your story. No one can take away your style.

STEP 3 - Edit Your Closet

Hoarding is an ecologically harmful and cost-expensive way to live, that actually leads many down a rabbit hole of feeling like they have “nothing to wear.” The more clothes you own, the more difficult it can be to find pieces that adapt with your current lifestyle, mood, and personality. Think: what styles can see yourself wearing long-term? What pieces do you feel good in versus something you feel you wear for others? Revising your closet is kind of like holding a check-in to make sure your wardrobe is feeling like you.

Whether you’re a beauty guru or have a strong hatred for all things shopping, there’s something to be gained by thinking of beauty and its implications of expression in particulars. I hope this inspires you to embrace yours.

Meet the Family

Frances Solá-Santiago is an educator & founder of Emperifollá, a digital content space focused on Latinx style. From fashion and beauty and the cultures that define us, our stories celebrate the diversity and complexity of Latinx identity. We are female-founded and Boricua-made in New York City.

Learn more here.

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