How I Found My Genuine Style

Your style says so much about you. I’m not saying that to scare you, but rather, to excite you! You guys, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned through this whole “finding myself” journey, it’s that wearing what you want is one of the easiest ways to be a genuine girl. FYI, I’m going to slip in the phrase “a genuine girl” wherever I can on this website… Partly because it’s the name, but also because it can apply to anyone. It can apply to me, but it can also apply to YOU, and you’re the reason I’m writing this!

With that said, today I’m going to talk about my personal journey of finding a genuine style. I love learning from examples and stories because they add a personal touch that I can relate to. So in my writing, I will often use examples and stories from my own life. Let me emphasize: these aren’t intended to make me look perfect. They’ll often make me look silly and imperfect. But either way, I can promise you that they’re genuine. I’m here to keep it real, and through my experiences (like the one I’m about to share,) I hope that I can inspire you to live genuinely. Stick with me, and you might see that being yourself is the most freeing thing you can do. 🙂

So, back to my style. I wish I had always known how important this was to my happiness, confidence, and authenticity. I used to think of words like “fashion” and “style” as something outside of myself. I would use them to describe my clothes, my jewelry, my hair, my makeup–anything on the exterior, that anyone could see. What I didn’t realize for a very long time is that “style” is not just about how you look on the outside, but it’s also about how you feel on the inside.

Even after learning this, I still didn’t realize that there’s a difference between “style” and “genuine style.”  I honestly don’t think the distinction was clear to me until I got to college and realized that I was putting way too much of my self-worth into how other people perceived me through my style. I spent my first semester of college dressing how I thought I was “supposed” to. I based this off of what the majority of girls around me were wearing: t-shirts and workout shorts. This had never been my style before, but regardless, I made it my style now. Initially, I was relieved; I looked the exact same as everyone else! Phew, am I right? If I dared to do anything that would make me look different, I would obviously stand out and everyone would judge me, right?

Ugh. Writing that sentence makes me cringe. But let me clarify… I’m not cringing because I thought other people would judge me. I’m cringing because of how much weight I let their judgements have on me. I know that people will always judge me for something, and I can’t do anything about that. I wish people weren’t so judgmental, but I think that we all are at some point or another. What bothers me is that I attached my self-worth to these judgements, or lack of them. When I conformed my style to what appeared to be “accepted,” I felt better for a little while because I didn’t think people would judge me. Let me say that again: I felt better for a little while…

Sure enough, as the semester went by, I started to feel more and more unhappy with myself. Of course, this could’ve been from any combination of things, but I’m convinced that my style had a lot to do with it. I’ve always loved fashion, though my style has changed a lot over the years. I went through a tomboy phase in elementary school, always rockin’ my Aeropostale graphic tees and converse (to anyone my age: I can’t be the only one who had an Aeropostale obsession, right??) In middle school and early high school, my style was very preppy. I liked wearing pretty dresses or skirts with a flowy shirt tucked in. I think that got uncomfortable pretty quickly (lol,) because I remember many of my later high school outfits consisting of leggings and oversized sweaters instead. Then I got to college, and I went totally casual.

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m calling these styles bad! In fact, I don’t think any style is bad if it’s what works for you. My point here is that I’ve always loved fashion, because it has been one constant in my life that I’ve always used to express who I am… And yet, I totally let that go once I got to college. I was unhappy because I wasn’t allowing myself to find my genuine style, and therefore express myself.

Winter break finally came around, and I could finally reflect on what in the world had happened to me in the past few months. In this time of reflection, I realized that I had spent a semester dressing to please others, not myself. After this, I went into second semester with a totally different mindset. I started wearing whatever I wanted without caring about the fact that it clearly wasn’t what a lot of other girls wore. And it changed everything. I felt like myself again! Like, what? It was seriously mind-blowing to me to think that something as small as what clothes I wore changed my entire reality.

That’s when I finally learned the distinction between “style” and “genuine style.” To me, having a genuine style means wearing what makes you feel good, not what makes other people feel good. You can wear an outfit that the whole world thinks is super cute, but if you don’t feel good in it, then your style isn’t genuine; you’re wearing it for other people, not yourself.

With this definition comes a lot of fluidity. That’s why I want to make it clear that my genuine style is always changing, and yours can, too! Right now, I would classify my style as classy but comfortable, so you can expect lots of outfit ideas on this blog that fit that style. But because my style is always evolving, so is the content I post here! Whether you share my tastes or not, I encourage you to stick around A Genuine Girl. My goal isn’t to necessarily promote my style, but to inspire you to find your own genuine style through personal stories and tangible tips. Start by taking this free, short quiz to learn what style best fits your personality! Who knows, it could be the first step toward finding your genuine style. 🙂

Thanks for sticking with me! Until next time, stay genuine, girl!

~ Meredith

A few outfits that capture my genuine style at the moment! Don’t worry, my future posts will have much more fashion inspiration! 🙂

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