How To Style Yourself Authentically

How To Style Yourself Authentically


What used to be relegated to the crunchy, self-help section of the book store is now covered everywhere from Vogue to the New York Times T magazine. BE YOURSELF is what the headlines say making it loud and clear — authenticity is in style! But how do you style yourself authentically?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as the bold faced cover lines coming at us from the newsstand. The message, Be You is in direct contrast to the mixed messages surfacing from the assortment of editing, cropping and filters permeating our socials. The look of authenticity is unclear. Is it Beyonce who woke up like this? (Maybe.) Or Kate Hudson fish gaping on the red carpet? (Unlikely.)

It seems authenticity is on a spectrum. While posting a no make-up selfie veers towards the truly authentic, the multiple attempts at finding the right pose along with capturing the most flattering light swings that pendulum towards the month long prep that goes into getting red carpet ready, the opposite of authenticity.

This delusion of what’s real (no makeup, bedhead hair?) is clouding our perception, and impacting our ability to be ourselves. How much of myself can I actually be may become the question.

The answer depends on what feels comfortable for you. Where on the spectrum does your look of authenticity sit? Are you a let-it-all-hang-out kind of person who thinks TMI stands for Tell Me It-All, and uploading your latest botox experience on Youtube feels fine. Or do you prefer to reserve your beauty secrets for your inner circle, if anyone at all.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s how you roll. Your style. Your individuality. Your version of who you want to be, and how you want to share it.

The thing is, in order to get on the authenticity spectrum, there must be authenticity present. It’s not about baring all to the world, it’s about stemming your style from your true self. When Beyonce woke up like this, had she really just woken up like that? I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter because styling yourself authentically is for you, and only you. Who cares what others think or say? What matters is that you’re okay with how you’re showing up in the world, and that it’s aligned with who you want to be.

And if all those mixed media messages are confusing you on how to style yourself authentically, here are some stylist tips to integrate today.

Man Repeller

Be Inspired By Others, But Don’t Copy

In NYC, I am surrounded by interesting women with head-turning style. Often, I’ll stop to fully check out what someone has got on and see how she’s wearing it. I stash her style in my brain which helps me create my own looks later on. Similar to looking at fashion bloggers or magazines for inspiration — see what they’re doing, and then make it your own by bringing it into your life with your clothing, your preferences and your character traits. The goal is use the inspo to help find something that feels like you.


Accept What You Got, Even If You Think It’s Ugly
This is a toughie. I don’t know many women who like their ugly bits. Myself included. But acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like them. It only means you must make room for them to exist. See them as they are. Acknowledge they’re there. Then let them be. And by the way, we’ve all got them, and most of us are fixated on them. Myself included. As someone who always wanted super straight, fine hair, I was given a frizz-laden puff-centric do. No matter what cut I get, or how I style it – it never lies flat on my head. I tried bleaching it blonde to see if that was more fun, but it left me with a puffy, dried out do. When looking in the mirror, consider your flaws as part of who you are. They’re what make you unique. And unique is interesting.

Own Your Sh!t
You know that phrase when given lemons, make lemonade. It’s like that. Rock your style as only you can. For me, it means switching up my attitude to big hair, don’t care. The best style comes from not just being yourself, but by flaunting it! Get into the flow of who you are, so you can show up with confidence which ultimately is the key to styling yourself authentically.

How do you style yourself authentically?

(Images: Adrian Alston for TheProducer.com, Man Repeller instagram)

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8 Comments

  1. justsylph@gmail.com' Maia says:

    Good morning, Elysha!
    I have long stopped looking at fashion magazines for many moons now. I used to subscribe to probably between 3-5. And while they fill up my junk… we all know how junk is in our lives… they serve no purpose in my life.
    They become your crutch, following and being like what you see, and you lose yourself in the process. After a long while, they are no longer inspirations, as what you suggested they need be. They become a material fixation of trying to be someone else.
    I’m not trendy yet I’m not boring either in my style. I actually dress myself differently. Very differently lol.
    What I wear allows me to feel free, in whatever sense that can mean. And in doing so, authenticity flows unhinged.
    I babbled 😀 xox

  2. girlgatheringwisdom@gmail.com' girlgatheringwisdom says:

    As is typical of your writing, Elysha, – another beautiful topic!!!!
    I suppose the best style for me is………wait for it………CONFIDENCE.
    It fits me always, does not go out of style, gets better with use like a leather jacket.

  3. I was just thinking it’s time to freshen up my wardrobe after reading last night how Audrey Hepburn encouraged people to find their own style, not mimic others’ (hers). I like the opening shot. =)

  4. Maia, thanks for bringing up a good point — when the inspiration no longer serves its purpose, and instead encourages one to go after an unattainable goal — to be someone else. Celebrity culture and fashion magazines definitely contribute to this. A strong sense of self is an absolute which for some, particularly younger people, may not be as firmly set in place. I think you’ve just inspired me to write another post!
    And I love that you feel free with whatever you wear!! That’s a beautiful attribute of authentic style. xoxo Hope you’re staying warm!

  5. YES! Confidence is key for authentic style. Thank you, GGW!!

  6. Thank you, D!

    Audrey Hepburn certainly set the bar high in personal style, that’s for sure.

    I saw this quote somewhere:
    “Evolving your style is a spiritual journey of discovering who you truly are.”

    So in other words…finding your style is a process!

  7. sara_foley@bigpond.com' sara says:

    Hi Elysha, great post! I’ve never been interested in fashion, but I love clothes (does that even make sense?) I just like what I like. I need to feel comfortable, attractive and like my clothes match my mood (which, ahem, can be tricky). i love my hair super short, although I have been blessed with good hair that I can wear long, short or in between. In short, my personal style has to reflect me, or I just am not comfortable!

  8. Ah, lucky you with the good hair! I now refer to my short hair experience as my Q-tip phase because that was what the shape of my head looked like. Or maybe it was more like a mushroom. Regardless — one of the beauties of aging…we figure out what works and what makes us feel comfortable so we can look like ourselves. Thank you, Sara!

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