What does your life have to do with your style? An interesting question we get asked about a lot. Our focus here at 16 Style Types is on authentic style, and providing resources and encouragement for you, as an intelligent woman who knows that style is more than skin deep to chart then travel a style pathway that is congruent for you in every way, and especially from the inside out.
And understanding how your life and your style fit together is integral to you being able to do that. We’ve come up with this simple graphic which depicts the overlap between your style essence (which your Style Type Report describes, and we explore in-depth in our 12 Module, 12-month world’s first online program, Your Type of Style), your style expression and your lifestyle.
Each of these 3 elements forms a big piece of your style. Each element contributes something unique and powerful when it comes to defining and expressing a style that feels true to you, that is sustainable and sustaining for you – that nourishes you in a meaningful way.
What is Lifestyle? And How Does it Impact on Your Style?
Lifestyle is about the things you do and the attitude you have toward your life. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the way in which a person lives”. Simplicable define 20 lifestyle elements, one of which (very interestingly) is “Fashion”.
Your style is impacted by your life because what you do, who you do it with and how you approach your regular activities should all be supported by the clothing in your closet. You should love, or at least like very much, your clothing and it should give you all the options you need to do the things you choose to do.
You should never have to say no to an activity because you don’t have the right clothing for it, or feel inadequate in your style when you attend an event because your outfit isn’t making the grade in some important way.
The Importance of Dressing Styles
The connecting piece of Dressing Styles is significant – you’ll see it’s in the middle of the 3 elements above. Dressing Styles are key to a congruent, confident style. The Dressing Styles you choose to use (and you get to interpret them in your own unique way) bridge all these significant parts of your style!
The Circle of Life… and Style
Your clothing and your life form a circle with each impacting the others – your life should be supported by your clothing, your clothing should empower your life… and your clothing should be used in your life, employed in the service of you easily engaging in your daily activities.
Your clothing should be loved, and lived in. Your life should be loved and lived in, too!
Your style and your life should mesh perfectly. There is no ideal formula for this, it differs from woman to intelligent woman.
You have to work out your own way of meshing your life and your style – but we’ll give you a big jump start with the question areas below.
We don’t believe in buying clothing for a life you don’t live, but we do believe in future-proofing your wardrobe.
What this means is having at least part of one eye focused on where you are heading, so that your wardrobe never becomes a time capsule, keeping you stuck in time and not being able to move forward with your life because you don’t have the right, or enough, clothing.
Attachment and Balance
We also encourage women to never become so attached to any element of their style or their clothing that they can’t let go of things which aren’t serving them anymore, because they are part of a life they are no longer living.
Not all Style Types have this problem but for those who do, it’s an issue! It can be so hard to let go of precious items, either because they have intrinsic value or meaning, or because they are attached to a part of your life which has precious memories. It can feel like you’re abandoning an important part of who you are (or at least, used to be), if you let go of these pieces.
Other Style Types can find themselves almost at the other end of the spectrum: having almost zero attachment to their clothing, feeling that nothing is really meaningful, and having something of a expendable attitude toward their closet. This can be just as much out of balance as those who can’t let go of things (or at least without some angst).
This is where every woman must find her balance between:
- honoring the past and how it’s helped shape who she is – including how her style has helped her become the woman she is today
- being present in the moment and enjoying all it has to offer – including having her style support her immersion in today and all it brings, and
- having an eye on the future pathway – and ensuring her style will support her onward journey, and not keep her stuck in the past
How Do You Make Your Life and Style Mesh?
Nobody can give you the perfect formula for this – it is a pathway you need to chart for yourself. But that’s a huge positive — you aren’t following anyone else’s style equation, or blindly following style rules which may or may not work for you.
Let’s give you a jumpstart into meshing your life and your style with a series of questions to get you into exploration mode.
First things first: reflect on where you live and what you do. Either list out your activities, or draw them in a mindmap, or use a calendar to document what you do every day, every month, every year (depending on your activities and their frequency).
If you take regular photos, then looking through your electronic photos can also be a form of capturing your life’s activities.
You can start with the foundations:
- What do you do? How frequently?
- Where do you live?
- Where do you go?
- Who do you do things with?
Then you can start to add layering questions:
- What clothing is required for your activities? For your location?
- What do you already have? What gaps are there?
- How do you want to feel in your clothing, living where you live and doing the things you do?
- How do you NOT want to feel in your clothing?
- What don’t you do anymore that you still have clothing for?
- How much of your wardrobe is for a life (or a body) you used to have, but don’t anymore?
You could go on to ask yourself:
- Are there any activities you would do if you had the right clothing for them?
- Is there anything you say no to now, because you feel you don’t have the right outfits, or you would feel uncomfortable in some way based on your style?
- How much of your wardrobe suits your life (and body) as it is now, rather than an aspirational life (or body)?
You can go deeper, too:
- Is there anything you are doing now because you have the right clothes, but you don’t especially like the activity itself?
- What might you stop doing if you didn’t have the right outfits for it (you gave them away or sold them, for instance)?
- Are there any people-related activities you’re engaged in that, on some level, make you uncomfortable but you do them because you’re expected to, or it would be really difficult to extract yourself from?
- What might you say yes to, if you had clothing that make you feel comfortable to do it (or better – clothing that made you feel fantastic!)?
- What do you wish you had the courage to do, to be, to wear?
- How is your wardrobe empowering my life? What about your wardrobe is hindering it?
These questions can help you get closer to your life, and feel more connected to it – to help you lead an authentic life that you love.
Your style can be a significant part of connecting, or reconnecting, to yourself and to your most loved and joyous life.
Our clothes don’t define us, but they can empower us, they can support us, they can encourage us. Our clothing can help us say no to things we don’t want, and to say yes to things we do want.
Our style can be inform, can guide, can uplift us.
Having the right clothes for your life and style opens many doors. It allows you to take advantage of opportunities that may arise. And you feel at your very best when you are dressed authentically in clothes that suit your current life and your style.