Using the 7 Dressing Styles to Express Your Personality

How do you create an authentic and beautiful style for yourself, based on your style essence?  What are some of the practical tools you can employ to really bring your style alive?  How do you create a strong, confident, beautiful, and perfect-for-you style based on your core self?

There are many elements that you can draw on to express your style.  Some of these include color, line, silhouette and shape, fit, pattern, texture, fabric, accessories- the list is extensive!

But here’s where it gets interesting.

We have discovered that most of these physical elements to creating your style expression are unrelated to your style essence.

Your physicality and your psychology are two separate systems — yes, they both contribute to you being you, but we do not hold that your physicality determines your psychological make-up, or vice versa.

We can’t look at you and tell what Style Type you are – not all ENFPs or ISTJs look the same or have the same physical features.  And neither can we take your Style Type and use that to determine how you should dress — not all INFJs or ESTPs should dress in the same way.  There are simply too many other factors which come into play when it comes to how you should dress – your style essence is one important factor, but there are others.

More Reading on this topic:

What your Style Report Can, and Cannot, Tell You

The Unexpected Way to Develop Authentic Style

The Magic of Your Style Type

So if you can’t tie personal coloring or physical features to your Psychological Type, how do you do it?  How do you create a beautiful style expression, if your Style Type doesn’t dictate it?

In this post and video, we explore some of the ways you can build a bridge between your style expression and your style essence.

Let’s start with what happens when you start to express your style from an ‘inside out’ perspective.

When Style Comes From the Inside Out

When you start expressing your style from the inside out — using your style essence, your core self as your starting point — your style changes.

How you experience your style changes, how you look at style in general and specifically for you changes, and how you choose to express your style changes.

When your style comes from the inside out, everything to do with your style becomes clearer, and you become more confident.

You never look at generic lists of “10 things every woman should have in her closet” in the same way again!

You can let go of the idea of needing a style formula to tell you how to dress successfully.

You can embrace style rules in a way you never have before — or let go of them entirely.

You stop copying others whose style you admire, hoping it will magically work for you.

You become your own best style muse, and your best style guide.

You know what style advice to listen to, and what to ignore.

You let go of second-guessing yourself, and you stand strong knowing what is true and right for you – from the inside out.

The Super Styles – Building Blocks for Style Expression

One of the most useful places to start when looking at how to express your style from the inside out are the two middle letters of your Style Type, which we call the Super Styles.

ST – For Sensing-Thinking, there’s a pragmatic approach to style based on basics creating a utilitarian look. These are the Style Pragmatists.

SF – For Sensing-Feeling, they take an artistic, detailed approach to style creating a welcoming, friendly look. These are the Style Aestheticians.

NT – for iNtuition-Thinking, look for a systems approach to style based on big ideas creating an accomplished look.  These are the Style Strategists.

NF – for iNtuition-Feeling, they take a values approach to style creating a unique look congruent with principles.  These are the Style Dreamers.

Once you have this strong foundation to start creating your unique style on, you can be confident in your style choices — possibly in a way you never have in your life before!

So once we start building the bridge between your style essence and style expression, we need a new ingredient.  And that ingredient is the dressing styles.

You can tell from reading the simple paragraphs above how each of the Super Styles may be attracted to the different dressing styles (described in the next section) – and which ones they may find less appealing.

Your Core Style

We have created the following graphic to illustrate the connection between your style essence (which your Style Type Report details for you) and your Style Essence.

This custom graphic is adapted from the Core Self model our INTP style muse, Linda Berens created.

Your core self is where your confidence in your style emanates from


Contextual Style Type

Our Contextual Style Type is  influenced by many factors impacting us at the current time. These may include fashion trends, our lifestyle and budget requirements, the opinion of friends and significant others, and what is required at work or in our professional setting. Our situation or the occasion influences our style choices.

Our Contextual Style Type is true and relevant for us as it encompasses many practical factors, but it doesn’t go anywhere near describing the essence of our style, what is “home” for us.

If your style journey never goes beyond your Contextual Style Type, your style will always be limited in a significant way and you may never feel truly comfortable in your clothes.

Developed Style Type

The middle circle is Developed Style Type –  what your style has settled into, given the influences of culture and education, and given our style choices.

For many women, this is what they believe their style to be, as the Developed Style Type is about style choices in the context of growth, culture, background, employment, geography, education and many other factors which determine each woman’s approach, attitude, and actions when it comes to style.

And whilst your Developed Style Type is a genuine reflection of your style, it doesn’t fully describe the essence of your style – that is only found in exploring and discovering your Core Style Type.

Core Style Type

Our Core Style Type is what we were born with.  Our perspective is that your approach to style is as innate and inborn as your approach to communication, to information gathering, to decision making, and to life in general.

This is where 16 Style Types comes into the style picture, as it provides a respectful language and legitimacy to unique style approaches that may not have been acknowledged, let alone respected as genuine, before.

Your Core Style Type involves more fully appreciating which style choices and clothes are “you”.  Other core style type elements include:

  • fully grasping the value you place on style in your life
  • making style choices consciously based on your style pillars
  • feeling at home with your shopping behavior and spending choices
  • building on your unique style strengths whilst understanding style challenges
  • creating a closet as a valuable resource and seeing it as an ally and building block on your style journey
  • putting the style advice and feedback of others into its rightful place for you, whatever that is
  • having a deep confidence in who you are and your unique beauty
  • believing your approach to style is valid and that your way is not only okay, it’s perfect for you
  • liking and loving yourself for who you are – right now, without any ‘improvement’ necessary
  • knowing that your value for appropriateness or spontaneity or creativity or connection or whatever it is for you can be met through your style choices

Discovering your Core Style Type is what brings you “home”, to recognize and honor your unique approach to style, and what works and is true for you.

The Dressing Styles are key to expressing your authentic style

The Style Essence – Style Expression Connection:  The Dressing Styles

Now we get down to the bridging piece of how you can create a beautiful style expression based on your style essence, since we now know that your Style Type doesn’t dictate it.

We have found that a key tool to bridging the road between your style essence (who  you are at your core) with your style expression (how you dress yourself) are the dressing styles.

This custom graphic illustrates the relationship between your style essence, your style expression, your lifestyle and the element that brings it all together: the dressing styles.
Dressing Styles are the key to linking your style expression with your style essence and having them work for your lifestyle


There are seven (7) dressing styles:

  1. Classic
  2. Relaxed
  3. Dramatic
  4. Creative
  5. Rebellious
  6. Feminine
  7. Elegant Chic

Each of the 16 Style Types has some natural attractions and affinity with some of the seven dressing styles – but not all.  In your Style Type Report, you receive a comprehensive discussion about the dressing styles, and how you might go about employing them, based on your Style Type.

More Reading

You can read more in our free series on various ways the dressing styles can be put to use in these articles:

Leopard Print for the 16 Style Types

Discover your Shoe Style Based on Your Personality Type

Which Perfumes to Wear for Your Personality and Dressing Style

The Little Black Dressing and 16 Style Types

We also explore the seven dressing styles in-depth in Module 5 of our online program, Your Type of Style — this material is unparalleled.  We created and adapted this material exclusively for participants of our online program so there’s nothing quite like it in any style or self-discovery program you will find anywhere online or in the world.

Using the Dressing Styles

There are so many ways to use the seven dressing styles!  Once you start understanding them, the possible ways you can adapt, employ, and mix them up are endless.  And this is a key aspect to the dressing styles: Adapting them to suit you, as a woman of your Style Type.

Sometimes the adapting we need to do is motivated by external factors — we need to fit in with a particular environment, or group, or situation.  It may be that we are working (temporarily or more permanently) in a conservative environment so the Classic dressing style becomes more appropriate.  Or our social circle includes some very casual events, necessitating the Relaxed dressing style.

Watch The Video For Examples

In the video, Imogen and Jill give you a range of examples of how you can interpret and borrow from each of the seven (7) dressing styles:

Adapting the Dressing Styles

It’s important to take only those elements you especially like from each of the dressing styles you are adapting to suit your purposes.   There are so many elements to each of the dressing styles – there isn’t just one single thing that makes up the dressing styles, each has many dimensions to them!

Classic is not all pinstripes and the color navy.

Relaxed isn’t all loose fit and natural fibres.

Dramatic isn’t all red lipstick and assymetry.

Creative isn’t all about quirkiness and unusual construction.

Rebellious isn’t all skull motifs and the color black.

Feminine is not all about frills and floaty fabrics.

Elegant Chic isn’t all about neutrals and gemstones.

Once you have some understanding of what each of the seven dressing styles encompasses, you are equipped with the most amazing tool to express yourself in a way that feels true and right for you – and is connected to your style essence, the core of who you are.  It’s magic!

16 Style Pathways

To discover core elements of your style pathway, go to our Articles page, and using the magnifying glass icon, search for “style pathway” using your four-letter Style Type — eg: “INFP style pathway”, “ESTJ style pathway”, and so on.  We’ve 16 articles on the style pathways for each of the 16 Style Types – including yours!

©2024 16 Style Types


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