I don’t think she meant it as an insult.
Then again, it could be a fairly cutthroat work environment.
But her comment got me thinking. And it’s something I still remember to this day. Clearly, it had a profound impact on me at the time.
So what did my Saks Fifth Avenue co-worker say to rattle my cage?
She called me a “style chameleon”.
That’s it. Just two little words. An affirmation most people would be delighted to hear. And on one hand, I was. I think she meant I could pull off a variety of looks with ease. She may have even verbally clarified that after spotting the horrified look on my face.
Being in my early 20s at the time, I was still in a very experimental fashion stage. My hair color changed from one salon visit to the next. (I’m not talking more or less highlights. I mean auburn to chestnut to blonde, and everything in between.) Between my rapidly rotating closet and rainbow of hair colors, I looked like a different person when I walked in every single week.
And that’s why, instead of a compliment, I took her harmless words as a wakeup call.
As an aspiring image consultant and personal stylist, it was high time to get my own style persona nailed down.
I attended the London Image Institute not long after and was introduced to the work of the iconic Alyce Parsons. Her book Universal Style transformed the way I thought about my own personal style and the way I’ve worked with my clients over the years. I’ve read dozens of books on the subject and none compare, even now.
The book breaks down 7 universal style types: Natural, Classic, Elegant, Feminine, Alluring, Creative, and Dramatic
The beauty of the author’s approach is one that I’ve found to be true in my nearly 15 years as a personal style coach as well. Most of us aren’t defined by only one style type. We are a unique combination of 2 to 3 (sometimes more!).
While we’re usually drawn to looks we love based on visual preferences alone, it’s also important to align your style with your personality, lifestyle, career, and goals. Your outer presentation communicates — in an instant — so much about who you are and what you stand for.
Let’s take the steps today to make sure you’re narrating your own story and accurately showing the world who you are from the outside in.
In this article, I’ll be giving you a rundown of the 7 personal style types as defined by Alyce Parsons and how to get your hands on my own 4-Step Signature Style Framework (FOR FREE!) so you can stop copying everyone else’s style and start creating your own swoon-worthy signature look.
The 7 Personal Style Types
Natural style preferences reflect a love of low-key comfort.
If this rings true, you likely gravitate towards function over fashion (think sneakers instead of stilettos for chasing after those little munchkins of yours!). The key components of this style are casual, loosely fitted pieces that move well, minimal accessories, simple hair and makeup, and layered looks.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you an effortless, approachable, and down-to-earth vibe. A few Natural style icons to turn to include Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, and Jessica Alba – so you’re in pretty stellar company!
Classic style preferences reflect a love of all things timeless and traditional.
If this sounds familiar, you likely gravitate towards quality staples that you can wear for years to come. The key components of this style are polished, tailored pieces that give you a professional edge, understated accessories, neat and tidy hair and makeup, and lots of neutrals like navy, gray, and camel.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you a trustworthy, authoritative, and responsible presence. A few Classic style icons to reference include Kate Middleton, Megan Markle, and Audrey Hepburn – so you’re basically one step away from Hollywood (or real life) royalty!
Elegant style preferences reflect a deep desire for luxury and sophistication.
If this couldn’t be more true, you likely gravitate towards the most expensive things in the store, including high-end, designer pieces that elevate your wardrobe above the rest. The key components of this style are perfectly tailored fits that give you a sleek, couture feel, tasteful accessories, perfectly polished hair and makeup, and a tendency toward monochromatic ensembles.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you a graceful, refined, and always chic presence. A few Elegant style icons to emulate include Grace Kelly, Amal Clooney, and Victoria Beckham – a bevy of beauties you’re proud to be alongside!
Feminine style preferences have a distinct air of delicacy.
If you have all the feminine feels, you likely gravitate towards dreamy details (think ruffles and ribbons) no matter how eye-catching or subtle. The key components of this style are soft, flowing fabrics, dainty accessories, touchable hair, dewy makeup, and lovely lace, floral prints, and pastels.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you a sensitive, kind, and ladylike charisma. A few Feminine style icons to watch include Lauren Conrad, Nicole Kidman, and Zoe Saldana – sweetness overload!
Alluring style preferences are for the glamorous and eye-catching.
If you love a va-va-voom look, you likely gravitate towards silhouettes that show off your enviable figure – no matter the occasion. The key components of this style are form-fitting fabrics, bold accessories, full hair, smoky makeup (or a prominent red lip), and exciting accents like leopard or leather.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you an attractive, passionate, and powerful quality. A few Alluring style icons to channel include Salma Hayek, Sophia Loren, and Jennifer Lopez – can you say va-va-voom?!
Creative style preferences are for the artistic and unconventional.
If this is totally your vibe, you love to experiment with your look and express yourself through your wardrobe. The key components of this style are unstructured silhouettes, unique color and print combos, edgy hair and makeup, and vintage or one-of-a-kind elements.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you an artistic, original, and free-spirited vibe. A few Creative style icons to explore include Stevie Nicks, Zoë Kravitz, and Chloë Sevigny – you might add an umlaut to your name for good measure. 😉
Dramatic style preferences ooze boldness and confidence.
If you never save the drama for your mama, you likely gravitate towards fashion over function (think oversized statement pieces and architectural details). The key components of this style are structured silhouettes, attention-grabbing accessories, sleek or sculpted hair, contoured makeup, and a vibrant rainbow of color.
Adopting this as your primary style type will give you a fearless, trend setting, and utterly cool reputation. A few Dramatic style icons to turn to include Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Sarah Jessica Parker – yes, I’m talking about the icons of all icons here!
Want more? You can check out ALL the personal style boards and their combos over on my Pinterest profile.
Remember, most of us define our own signature style using 2 to 3 of these style types. These unique combos are what make up other looks you may love, like bohemian (Natural + Creative), pin-up (Feminine + Dramatic), edgy (Alluring + Creative), and the list goes on.
If you want to know what your top 3 personal styles are, head over to my FREE 5-Min Personal Style Quiz to get started now!
When is it the right time to dial-in your signature style?
- Want to effectively communicate who you are to the people and world around you
- Have the desire to step into the next level version of yourself and who you want to become
- Are developing a personal brand
- Feel sick of copying everyone else’s style and never feeling quite like yourself
- Have never checked in with yourself to figure out which styles YOU actually like
- Aren’t sure what really suits your tastes and lifestyle
- Don’t want to waste any more time or money buying clothes you don’t love
STOP guessing! Take my FREE 5-minute Personal Style Quiz.
The magic comes straight to your inbox after you finish. I’ll walk you through each step of my 4-part Signature Style Framework. By the time you’ve done the simple exercises I provide, you’ll feel so much more confident in who you are, what your exact style is, and how to show up fully embodying the woman you want to be!
Now tell me in the comments, have you taken the quiz yet? How would you describe your signature style?
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