Alfe Azad originally from New York has lived, studied, and worked in Los Angeles for the past 14 years. She is currently a Masters candidate in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt. She received her BA in Theatre and English Literature from California State University Northridge. She has worked as a Drama and Poetry instructor and is currently pursuing her passion for film making as an intern at Storyville Films, an Academy Award Nominated documentary film production house.

I often receive many wonderful compliments from strangers, friends and family alike about my personal style, all of them asking how they can achieve the same for themselves. My response is always the same, “Thanks so much, and you can do the same too!” Too often people see fashion and “dressing up” as something that’s beyond them, reserved only for celebrities, the fashion elite, and those “in-the-know”. But what most people don’t realize is that creating personal style is very simple and very fun!

When you’re thinking about what your personal style could potentially be it’s important to think about two key elements, your body type and someone whose style you admire.

The biggest mistake most people make is that they don’t dress the body they have. Instead they make choices that either cover their shapes entirely or reveal more than they intended. I’ve found that people tend to do one of two things, either dress in over sized and unshapely clothing or attempt to squeeze their bodies into items that are too small or tight. Dressing the body you have right now, in this very moment, instead of the body you hope to have or are trying to hide, you can not only look more put together but also look much trimmer as a result.

When looking for clothes that fit your shape, don’t be turned off by the size on the tag, instead see how they look on your figure since no one but you will be looking at the tags anyway! A lot of clothing companies indulge in vanity sizing and the fashion industry as a whole no longer complies with standard sizing so going up or down in sizes and owning a closet full of varying clothing sizes is completely normal. What matters most is how the items look on you!

Clothes should almost always skim the surface of your figure, not hang off of it excessively or be so tight that you couldn’t grab the fabric without risking pinching yourself. You should also be able to have clean lines in your silhouette. This means that there should be no bunching of fabric in your clothing.

And finally the biggest advice I can give to anyone looking to have clothes that look expensive and fit their bodies to a tee is to INVEST IN A TAILOR! More often than not clothing bought off the rack will rarely be a perfect fit for our bodies, and the fastest way to make an inexpensive item look like a million dollars is to have it tailored to our unique figures. Most people have the misconception that tailors are very expensive, in actuality having a tailor do simple tasks, such as hem jeans, or take in shirts can run you typically around 7 to 10 dollars, if not less. Buying clothes should be an investment in you and tailoring them makes them go from looking decent to red-carpet ready!

The second half to finding your personal style is where the fun comes in. Finding what I like to call a “fashion guru” is as simple as a Google image search, or even quick Pinterest look up. Simply think of a notable figure (or figures) whose style you’ve seen and admired and then look at the kinds of items they wear and what fashion genre they are working in; feminine/girly, preppy, high fashion, bohemian, retro, goth, etc. For example, my fashion gurus are Kate Middleton and Mindy Kaling. I absolutely adore Kate’s clean, conservative, feminine silhouettes and Mindy’s fun, vibrant, and urban appeal. I regularly follow blogs that are dedicated to following these two women’s fashions and reporting on who they are wearing, and there are many similar blogs for hundreds of other celebrities and notable figures. By seeing what someone you admire is wearing you can find inspiration to create similar looks in your closet, and for much cheaper to boot! This also gives you something to focus on when you’re out shopping, so you’re not wasting time meandering around shopping centers, unless you want to of course which can be fun too! So get out there, find your fashion guru(s), and curate your own beautiful sense of style!

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