Belfast Telegraph

5 tips for developing your own personal style

Belfast fashion and beauty blogger Carolyn Henderson offers her tips for navigating your own style discovery.

By Carolyn Henderson

After many, many years of trying out different trends, fashion fads and one hit style wonders, I’ve reached a certain stage in my life.

It’s that magical turning point, that lightbulb moment, where you realise that you’re just too old to care anymore. I have come to the realisation that I actually don’t care what people think of what I choose to wear, how I dress and my sense of style.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to look nice or enjoy the latest high street fashion. I still love style, perhaps more than ever, I’m just choosing to not feel so insecure in my own wardrobe choices.

I still love to look at other bloggers for #ootd inspiration and I often buy things based on what I’ve seen on instagram or on youtube. The insecurities of my past and the need to fit in as a child/teenager/young adult have subsided. They aren’t completely gone, but as a woman in my thirties, I’ve grown to know what I want to wear, what I actually feel comfortable in and what suits my shape.

I never had a lot of money to buy the latest fashionable clothing growing up. I hated non-uniform day at school because I didn’t want to be judged. I never felt like I was daring enough in my fashion choices or that I was unique enough. I would watch and re-watch teenage movies that featured a magical makeover, where the lead female had a complete transformation, turning from an ugly duckling into a hot babe. I actually dreamt, wished and prayed of that happening to me someday.


Now that I’m a little bit older, a little bit wiser and a little bit more mature (I think), I’m choosing to just have fun with clothing. To not give a s*** about how others might perceive how I dress and to not fixate on trying to be something I’m not. I’m opting for comfort, for quality and for styles that suit me, with the occasional bit of frivolous fashion. If I want to buy silver moon boots, I will buy the silver moon boots.

These are just a few tips that I’ve discovered on my journey of style discovery. I’m not an authority on this topic, I’m just simply sharing what has helped me along the way.

1. Stick to your body shape

This isn’t new and yet its still one that many girls and guys find difficult. It took me years to figure out what clothes suited my shape, that flattered my figure, didn’t drown me or make me look bigger than I am.

Personally I don’t like outfits that are too figure hugging, as I like to have room to move and breathe. I love swing dresses as they look cute and they feel super comfy. High waisted jeans are perfect for me as I tend to be straight up and down, so they help to cinch me in at the waist. A line skirts are flattering for any shape and size, which is why I literally have about 20 in my wardrobe.

I am not a stylist, so I can’t give you the ultimate rule list for your particular body shape. For me it has been trial and error, but if you prefer an expert opinion then there are plenty of trained stylists working either freelance or with a store retailer, who can advise you.


2. Go for quality over quantity

I’m still a Primark girl and their clothing can be on point, but on occasion when the quality falls short, I find myself asking the question ‘why did I not just pay a bit more for something that will last longer?!’

Investing in good quality clothing is a must as you get older. I have a mortgage, I have bills to pay and as the saying goes ‘buy cheap, buy twice’. For a few quid more, I can get a really nice shirt in Zara, or a comfy jumper from H&M that will go the distance.


3. Don’t be afraid to have a style uniform

Personal style is defined as something that is unique to you and that you wear with confidence. Having a go-to look is just part and parcel of your personal style. For me, it’s jeans, a shirt and ankle boots. I love the look and I love that it’s comfy and suitable for any occasion whether it’s work, shopping, dinner or a lunch date.


4. Be continually inspired

I adore being a part of the blogging community. I love how it’s brought normal people together with a shared set of interests and passions. I frequently flick through my favourite bloggers Instagram accounts and watch an endless stream of YouTube videos to feel inspired. I personally feel that there is no competition and no copying involved, it’s simply celebrating style and sharing your fab shopping finds with others.


5. Be true to yourself

Be authentic to you and wear whatever the hell you want to wear. Confidence comes from within, style just helps to convey it to the world.

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