2 In Style

Stye words to create outfits by

What's in your style recipe?

What’s in your style recipe?

I was poring over the magazines and blog sites for all the commentary on the latest big fashion/celebrity event. As journalists were describing the gowns worn by the likes of Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Charlize Theron, Meryl Streep, etc., I saw a gorgeous list of style words forming.

Every client I work with has style words. In that first appointment I have with her, I give her exercises to do and I ask lots of questions. By the end of it, we have what I call a style recipe. It’s her personal recipe that describes her current style. These words will influence every item we purchase plus every outfit I put together for her.

It’s so creative! Like fingerprints, there is no style recipe that is ever the same. It’s usually not just one word or two. It’s up to five, sometimes more. Sometimes it’s a short phrase. For instance, one of my client’s style recipe is Quietly Powerful. As soon as I started dressing her to match those words, every one around her started treating her differently. It was quite dramatic!

Instead of following the trends or walking into a store and seeing a mannequin and telling the sales associate, “I’ll buy those things,” try on clothes and ask yourself: Does this fit my style recipe? If you’ve been in a rut for awhile, you may end up trying on several things before you can actually answer “YES” to that question. Of course, if you can have an image consultant help you with that interpretation, that’s the most efficient way to do it.

Find style exercises in Fashion Makeover

Find style exercises in Fashion Makeover

A simple way to start thinking about your style is to flip through magazines and pull out pictures of things you love and just stare at them. Ask yourself what you love about them and then listen to the words you’re using. I write about this a lot in my books. Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover has lots of exercises aimed at helping you discover your style words.

In the meantime, check out this list of words I discovered from reading the descriptions of celebrities in their dresses. See if any of them fit for you!

Style Words to Try On

easy glamour

powerful in a soft way


quiet cool


cool, chic, ultra modern

simple, yet elegant

feminine and different




edgy and classic

Does anything resonate? I hope so! Next step is to try something on, look in the mirror and ask yourself if those words and the image you’re seeing reflected back at you could be a match. Tell us all about it!

Chapter Six has lots of style exercises


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  • Reply
    March 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Brenda, I love your book Fashion Makeover, and from using it, I came up with my own style words a couple of years ago, “Classic with a Twist.” For the first time in my life (I’m 53), I feel like I’m actually buying clothes that express who I am, and when I wear them, I feel great. Remembering my style words in the dressing room has saved me from making regretful purchases, from shoes, to jackets, to scarves. Thanks so much for your great advice and enthusiasm for style.

    • Reply
      Brenda Kinsel
      August 29, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Just checking in with you, Andrea. With fall/winter coming up I always use the change of seasons as a checkpoint to see if the style words you used in the spring still fit in the autumn. Are you still Classic with a Twist? Sometimes people change so it’s great to ask the question again at the start of the season. Will you let me know? Thanks!

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