How to: Develop Your Personal Style

Growing up with a different body than others and wanting to be a fashion icon has been the great opposition of my life. Imagine me 12 years old with a middle part, crying in department store dressing rooms because I couldn’t find a damn thing that could 1) fit my body & 2) something I wanted to wear. I just couldn’t seem to find anything for my outside that matched the best version of myself in my head. develop

I imagined myself as some fashionable Parisian wearing a chic pairing of neutrals (with a bold red lip of course) carrying a bouquet of fresh flowers in one arm and a precious straw basket with fresh bread in the other.

You must be asking yourself, “Lillie, isn’t that kind of you, like right now??”

And I’d reply, “I’m closer to living that lifestyle than in previous years, yes.”

And you may ask, “How’d you get there?”

And I’d tell you, “Keep reading…”

Like any plus size girl before the #BodyPositivity movement, if you wanted to be a fashion queen (or at the very least, wear clothes) you had to make it work. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that can help you start dressing in the way that’s truest to you:

1. Be Inspired

People ask me what are the hottest trends at the moment & I could rattle off a handful of stuff I saw in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, but trends should be inspiration and not guidelines.

What do you like and what do you want your clothes to say?

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Take some time to write down words that would describe your ideal style, what do you want others to think when they see you. Don’t get bogged down with all the things you think you can’t wear. Challenge that thought and keep asking why not? Know how I became a person who wore bright red lipstick? I started wearing bright red lipstick.

Also draw inspiration from places, other people, art, colors, and eras. Save that inspiration on a Pinterest board or folder in your phone and use it as a reference

2. Be Kind

I blamed myself for years for having a body that was seemingly not made for clothes. I was plus size, but I didn’t even fit the “acceptable” plus size mold. The styles that I liked often didn’t come for my body type.

Do not blame yourself, blame the societal norms that prioritize only certain kinds of bodies and the corporations that enforce those norms and play on our insecurities. Whether you are tall, short, fat, skinny, or somewhere in between: you are not the problem.

So love your body and stay true to what you like. You will find it.

3. Research img_9185.jpeg

Take some time and do some research. Go through style hashtags on instagram and save outfits you like or follow people who have similar body types to you. Use Pinterest and check out brand websites. Look around and see what others are doing and what you like and don’t like.

Having styles you’re looking for and an idea of how you’ll pair them makes buying clothes so much easier.

4. Experiment

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At the end of the day, you just gotta go and try stuff on. I did this through thrift stores because I could try on a lot of different styles, brands, fits, textures, and colors all in one place.

It takes time, but you don’t know what something looks like on you until you try it. Once you get a better knowledge of your preferences, it really narrows down what you’re looking for in stores and where to find them.

Your style should be a true reflection of your best self. The moment I chose not to settle for just what “fit” and wear what made me feel good about myself, my entire personality transformed. Your style is an extension of you and how you move in this world. Let your style choices empower you to be your truest self.

x

Lillie

Thrift Shopping: 101

The first thing you need to know to successfully thrift shop is that price does not equal value.

Recently, I bought 2 new pair of pants at a Goodwill in New Mexico. They were priced $8 each which, tbh, is pricey for me at a Goodwill, but both pairs had never been worn because the store tags were still on them, priced at $49.95 each. Needless to say, I got $100 worth of pants for $16 bucks.

The whole point of shopping at a thrift store is to not look like you shop at a thrift store. But I’ll sure as hell tell you what I paid for an entire outfit because I’m proud and I love leaving the little bbs SHOOK.

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Stunning, iconic layout all thrifted. Can you tell I have a personal style?

I’m constantly asked how I’m able to construct the majority of my wardrobe in such a thrifty way and still look like a bad bitch. I have to say, it is a lifestyle: I was raised to do this (Thanks Mel.)

I grew up having a different understanding of how you place value on consumer goods. Why would I spend more money at a department store when I knew I could fulfill the same need cheaper at a thrift store.

You can say that retail shopping is easier and it is in a lot of ways. If you need to go buy something, you have the assurance that it’s probably there. You have a large selection of similar things, possibly a range of sizes, but you pay for this. You’re paying for an experience of a store, the feeling of buying something completely new. Not that I don’t shop from at a “real store” from time to time: it’s just never my first place I look for clothes.

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Scored this vintage beauty for $3 at Goodwill

Thrifting pieces for your wardrobe is not such an easy process but it’s an incredibly rewarding one. It takes time, patience, and a good eye but it’s how I get an outfit that’s under $20 and leaves everyone gagging.

In some ways, it’s hard for me to explain something that’s as instinctual as breathing; but here are my top 3 tips to start you on the gorgeous journey of being a thrift queen/ king/ royal:

Watch out for quality

I have a hard and fast rule that I do not buy Wal-Mart brand clothes at Goodwill.  You can generally tell off the bat what’s a low quality garment just by feeling because of fabric quality. Thrifting is about getting the most for less. Watch out for holes, tears, piling, and stains on clothes. Sometimes you can fix them, most times you can’t. Stains: No. Piling: depends on how bad it is, generally pass cause it can indicates a lower quality fabric. Holes and tears: case by case, but you can often fix a hole, just depends on how bad it is. You’re smart, use your best judgement.

Manifest what you want to find

This is real as hell. I can’t tell you how many times I went in looking for something specific and I found it. Have an idea of what, your personal style, or different trends you want to emulate. It helps narrow your search and makes a thrift store more manageable. For me, I like a specific color palette so I only need to look at the colors and sizes that apply to me. Or if I’m looking for certain kinds of accessory, I spend extra time in those areas. Knowing what you want helps your eye find it.

Have fun with it

The rules are different when it comes to a thrift shop verse a retail store, it’s a hell of a lot more fun. Don’t be pressured to only shop in one section, check out the men’s wear (they have the best button ups and thick sweaters) and try on a range of sizes. Thrifting forces you to be creative and learn how to put individual pieces together. It’s something you get better at the more you thrift, but it enables you to have a style that’s completely unique to you.

Go forth my fashionable thrifting babes, share your finds, save the environment, and look fabulous doing it.

x,

Lillie