The Only Style Rule

Catherine Sheppard The Life Styled Doen Dress.jpg

One of the topics I get asked the most questions about, is in short, how one defines or discovers their personal style. We've all read the magazine articles with outfit flat lays depicting different personas (edgy, romantic, minimal, flirty, sporty) and tried to figure out which category we fit into. Most of the time, there are 3 or 4 out of the 5 that we identify with in some way. I always wish I could mix the looks together to create my own - the ruffly top from "romantic" with the moto jacket from "edgy," etc. So if we don't fit into the molds, then how do we put quick words to our own style?

Catherine Sheppard The Life Styled Doen Dress.jpg

I've been thinking a lot recently about the rules of fashion. Everyone says "there are no rules" but sometimes it feels like that's not true. We put rules onto ourselves by saying things like "I can't pull that off." I think we sort of feel drawn to certain new styles that feel like a departure for us, but there's a 13-year-old girl inside of us worried that the other kids will talk about us if we wear something that's different from what they usually expect to see us in. It's so silly but I see clients and friends questioning things they love just because they're new and different, and quickly declare that they can't pull something off even when they actually look like a million bucks in it.

Catherine Sheppard The Life Styled Doen Dress.jpg

The other day I was getting caught in some of these very self-judgmental feelings. I had purchased the dress I'm wearing in these photos and was debating whether or not to return it. There's a certain "earth mama" vibe that's very in right now - have you noticed? Linen smocks, un-styled hair... breastfeeding in a field of wildflowers. It's not the first description I would "assign" to myself when describing my own personal style. It's painful for me to admit but often times when I throw on a dress like this, it crosses my mind to ask, "just who do I think I am?" But there's something about it that I love that keeps me coming back to it. I think it's the fact that I'm a mother myself which still feels new and different for me, and I can draw a lot of inspiration from that comfortable, natural, laid back woman. I could take a few pages from that book. And you know what? That's reason enough to wear the earth mama dress. 

Catherine Sheppard The Life Styled Doen Dress.jpg
Catherine Sheppard The Life Styled Doen Dress.jpg

I talk a lot about incorporating intentions into your outfits. Taking inspiration from the life you want to live and the person you want to be, and dressing as that person. Sometimes these intentions last for a day, and sometimes they go on forever. Sometimes they become so much a part of us that they just ARE who we are from now on. This goes for everything from being more daring (fiery) in a mini dress to being more of a homebody (earth) in sweatpants. It doesn't mean you're dressing as someone else, it means you're further developing your own self, thank you very much. You don't owe anyone an explanation, and you can be "into" something new for as long or as short as you please. It sounds obvious, but I just want to remind you - you're the boss of your own style.

Catherine Sheppard The Life Styled Doen Dress

What is all comes down to is this: the only person who gets to define your style is YOU. Pulling something off means wearing it, loving it, and feeling confident in it - no matter how "different" it is from your go-to look. If you believe in yourself, so will the rest of the world. If you're someone who loves color but is lately really into all-black, start shopping for some new deep, dark staples! If you've always dressed conservative but you find yourself wanting to show off a feature you newly love about yourself, rock that revealing dress! If you're a self-declared stud addict but you're suddenly intrigued by soft ruffles, go buy a Rebecca Taylor top stat! The world is waiting to see you confident and happy in your clothes. No one is going to question you, and you'll be feelin' yourself too much to notice anyway.

Dress / Boots (sold out Jenni Kayne but I also have my eye on these) / Sunglasses

Photography by Ashley Burns
Hair and makeup by Melissa Bedi