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Rewrite the Rules: How to Find Your Personal Style

Plus, notes on expanding your sartorial comfort zone.

By Madeleine Kim

In our Rewrite the Rules series, we lay out the basics of building—and maintaining—your ideal Power Casual wardrobe. This installment covers the process of finding your personal style, a key step in your wardrobe journey.

“I have nothing to wear.”

The next time you catch yourself saying this phrase, take a pause—because it’s not true. What you really mean is that you have nothing you want to wear. 

If you open your closet and think, “Why on Earth did I buy this?!” it means that at some point along the way, you lost touch with your personal style, and there’s a disconnect between the wardrobe you want and the wardrobe you have. This guide is here to help you bridge that gap.

Revisit the Archives

Let’s take a journey back to yesteryear. Think about some times when you felt great in your outfit (scrolling back through your camera roll or social media profile can help spark your memory), and take note of what you were wearing. And we mean that literally: Break out your notebook and write down some adjectives describing the outfits that come to mind. 

Did your favorite outfits mostly include dresses or pants? Did you feel best on days when you were wearing neutrals or bright colors? Warm tones or cool? Did you feel more like yourself in the V-neck sweater or the button-down silk shirt? 

Write down what you notice, don’t think about it too hard, and don’t worry about repeating the same word multiple times. In fact, if you find that you’ve written “A-line” six times, that’s a good thing, because it’s taught you something about yourself.


Your next step is to take these adjectives and write a sentence—just one—summing up your personal style. It might sound silly, but putting it into words will become useful down the line. Promise. 

This doesn’t need to be beautiful prose. It’s for you and only you, and its purpose is to serve as a reminder when you enter the next stage: Refine.

…and Refine

For many people, this step is the hardest. Once you’ve defined your style, it’s time to look at the pieces in your wardrobe and eliminate what doesn’t fit the definition you wrote. Start with the pieces you haven’t worn in a long time, then work your way up to the things you do wear, but that never make you feel your best.

Stock Up on Essentials

Once you’ve edited your wardrobe, it should only include pieces that you love wearing (aside from things that are functional in other ways, like exercise clothes, specific occasion-wear, etc.). Now, it’s time to fill any gaps where you’re missing essential items (think: a great pair of black pants, a white T-shirt, a versatile blazer).

As you shop, keep your style sentence top-of-mind. You might even want to write it on a post-it and keep it handy. These pieces should be ones you plan to wear often—some even weekly—so take care to ensure they’re comfortable, easy to care for, and have silhouettes that make you feel confident.

Expand Your Comfort Zone

We propose not that you step outside your comfort zone, but that you expand it. Because we always want you to be comfortable—but we also want you to take risks, try new things, and have fun with your style. 

The trick is to identify pieces that will push the boundaries of what you’re used to wearing but won’t end up hanging in your closet unworn. To find the sweet spot, go for styles that check most of your personal-style boxes but introduce something new in one or two areas. For example, if you wear a lot of turtlenecks but tend to stick to neutral colors, try a silhouette you’re familiar with in a bold shade. If you’ve always worn tailored button-downs, try an oversized one instead. If you typically wear above-the-knee skirts, try something longer for a bit more drama.

And Finally, a Note on Trends

This is not an anti-trend guide, and we don’t believe you need to shun trends entirely to have a long-lasting wardrobe that reflects your personal style. But you should be thoughtful about which trends you follow. Because of the rise of fast fashion and social media, trends are moving more quickly than ever, and it’s easy to feel like your wardrobe has to encompass everything (everywhere, all at once) to keep up.

It doesn’t. Having a strong sense of style is as much about eliminating what you don’t like as it is about knowing what you do like.

When you’re considering purchasing a trendy item, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I think this trend will last longer than a year?
  • Does the piece fit seamlessly into my existing wardrobe, or will I need to buy more things to wear with it?
  • When I put it on, do I feel like myself, or like I’m playing dress-up?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, move on. Your future self will thank you.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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