How to define your personal style: Shopper, know thyself

Because most of us can't walk around like this.

Question: Why should you define your personal style?

Answer: Because you have to get dressed every day.

If your closets are full of clothes and somehow you never have anything to wear, if you end up panic shopping before every important trip or social function, if you never know what to buy when you go clothes shopping -- you need to define your personal style. It will make your life easier and save you money in the end.

I understand that the concept of "personal style" sounds like vague and fake fashion-talk, but it really is a practical thing. And I promise you that even if you're not into fashion you have style -- it's just a matter of defining it.

First, what do you like?

You've heard of inspiration boards. I spoke about them at Blogher in the context of blog design, but the same principle applies to your closet. So go ahead and make one.

If you don't know what an inspiration board is (what? you don't watch Oprah?) they're easy and fun to make -- get some paper or poster board, scissors, a glue stick and tons of magazines. Get as wide a variety of magazines as you can, but be sure to have a few of your favorites on hand, even if they're not fashion magazines -- TV Guide or National Geographic work too -- and go to town tearing out pictures and words that you like.

There are no rules, so have fun.

Then you glue your favorite pictures onto whatever surface you have on hand (I use a notebook) and...that's all there is to is! Easy!

Here's my inspiration board. Yours will look nothing like it. That's perfect.

Blogging Your Way Mood Board -- Everyday Treats

(If you're nosy you can click on the picture and inspect it on Flickr. Go on!)

Does this board give you a feel what I like to wear? Yes it does, even if I have things on it that aren't clothes. Yours will tell you what you like too, even if you stick pictures of elephants or waterfalls. Maybe you have a sense of adventure, or maybe you like warm-weather clothes. One picture doesn't tell your story, but put many things you like together and it starts to come together.

I'll be back tomorrow with tips to help you discover what looks good on you. Until then, go and make your inspiration board.

Let me know if you post it somewhere, because I'd love to see it!