A few weeks ago, a member of my Facebook Group made a comment that she is still on the search for her personal style and implied that this has been a search that has been going on for some time. While I appreciated what a journey it has been, I also though her journey should not be this long or hard. My guess? She is either looking in the wrong places or taking the wrong approach.

If you are what seems like an endless journey to capture your own personal style, it’s not that you lack style, it’s more likely you are in the same boat as the group member. To put you on the right track, check out these tips to help you find your style.

Stop trying so hard to find your style

If I was to put two flavors of ice cream in front of you an asked you to pick your favorite flavor, or asked you to choose which of two movies you preferred, your favorite color, what you’d eat if it was your last day on earth, where your dream places to travel are or if you prefer dogs or cats, my guess is it would take you no more than two minutes to give me an answer to any of these questions. Rare is it that people can’t tell what they prefer when faced with options. One thing I do with clients is I ask them to share inspirational style photos with me. The caveat is they have to look at images quickly. They can’t hem and haw, it’s all about gut instinct. I explain to them that if they spend more than 5 seconds looking at an image it’s worth saving.

You won’t find your style by extensive research or looking with all head and no heart. Most importantly, it can’t be done with judgment. You are attracted to what you are attracted to, accept it and start there.

Stop looking to label your style

Next, stop trying to give you style a name or a description. Do you know why personal style books create these different categorizations of styles that a reader can slot things into? To sell books. There is no reason your style needs a name. You can give it one if you want. Call it classic-modern, call it romantic with a twist, call it pot roast, it doesn’t matter. Needing to give your style a label isn’t liberating, it’s restrictive.

Do you know what my style is? Whatever the heck I am attracted to, that’s what. I do have leanings towards more classic looks, I don’t love prints, ruffles, lace and I prefer clean design more often than I don’t, but I also LOVE an Etro print, love Akris Punto and the quirky style of vintage Moschino equally. Give yourself a little room to explore by not forcing yourself to fit your style into a neat little box.

Are you looking in all the wrong places?

Next, where are you looking for your style? In magazines? What other people wear? What you see in stores? Are you reading books or relying on an equally lost friend to help? All these resources can be helpful…if used correctly.

Part of my job is to help a client discover their style. Do you know what I look at most strongly? The person. I watch how they carry themselves, what they care about, how they spend their time and their personality. I watch how their body language, confidence and demeanor changes when they try something on. I pay attention to what they are interested in.

For many women, the discovery of personal style is a backward journey. Instead of going within in they go without and look outside themselves. Looking outside is good, but you need to look inside first.

It’s right under your nose and you refuse to see it

This happens when someone feels inspired by something they know they’ll never be, like a 5’10” lanky woman who looks amazing in skinny pants and a cute sweater, or someone who has an outrageous personality and a bold style to match. It can be hard when we realize we just don’t have the ability to carry off what others can do so well. But this doesn’t mean that these inspirational people can’t be influences on our own personal style exploration.

So you can’t pull off the same look like someone who had a different body type and demeanor as you, but how can you take what is inspiring you and make it your own? How do you capture the essence of what you are drawn to? That is what you’re attracted to essentially, anyway, the essence that someone else is giving off. Consider that it’s not necessarily the exact look that you are after but the feeling you get when you look at her. Your next step would be to create outfits that, when you wear, capture that same feeling.

Stop assuming it needs to be hard

What if discovering your style was easy? (It is, by the way.) What if this whole “fashion thing” wasn’t such a painful arduous task? And what if, it’s not that fashion that is hard but how you have been approaching it that is. Think about that for a minute. What if it isn’t necessarily all aspects that fashion that need to change (not that there aren’t many changes that should happen in fashion), but what if part of the reason why you have been struggling has been because your approach has been off? This is the good news because this is something you can control and change. So before you head off on yet another journey to find your style or read another book about your style type, take a look at how you have been approaching your style and change that course. If you need my help, you know I am just a phone call away.