New Castle News

Fashion: Sarah Stright-Hartley

August 22, 2012

Sarah Stright on Fashion: Want to reinvent yourself? Start with your personal style

NEW CASTLE — I'll admit it, I currently have a huge stack of September issue fashion magazines sitting on my coffee table waiting to be opened.

For me, September is the most wonderful time of the year. We get all new fashions, we get to see what the designers have been working on for spring/summer of the next year, and we get to start anew. It's a new season, and for many of us a new beginning.

Whether you're starting as a freshman in high school or college, or you're beginning your final year at school, it's a time to reinvent yourself, to show the world who you truly are. And the quickest way to do that?

Your clothes.

Style is all about showing the world who you are at first glance. First impressions are incredibly valuable and what is the easiest thing to see?  Your clothing.

And finding your own personal style is what will make you appear confident. When you look good, you feel good. But so many don't know how to determine what their own personal style is. I want to help you with that.

Over my next three posts, we'll determine what works best for YOU. Yes, you can flip through that huge stack of fashion magazines and try to replicate the models and celebrity styles, but unless it is truly you, you aren't going to feel your best.

You need to know that though you may admire another person's style, their style may not work for you. Why? Because they aren't YOU. My personal style varies from classic to bohemian, and lots of things in between. But there is always something that makes an outfit "me." And I've learned over the years just what "me" is. Now it's your turn. So let's get started.

Step One: Take all of those magazines and flip through them. Go online, read about your favorite celebrities, pay attention to commercials while watching your favorite shows, read personal style blogs (mine is: While looking through all of these avenues, determine what it is about each outfit or style that you like or don't like. Take note of these things.

Do you love the skinny jeans trend, or do you prefer a wider leg? Do you love patterns and prints, or do you prefer a solid, classic look? What about colors? Do you like bold, bright colors, or do you prefer neutrals like black, white, gray or brown?

Next, look through your closet. Do you see similarities among your clothes? Does your closet hold a lot of one-color or is there a mix? How about the actual styles? Do you have a lot of flowy pieces, or are they more structured? Take note of these things as well.

Step Two: Go through EVERY SINGLE item that you own. Try them on. Decide if a) they still fit you and b) if you still LIKE them. I have a bad habit of hanging on to things that I think I may wear again some day. I've tried to get over that by determining if I've worn the item within the past six months. If I haven't, I donate it. Once you've gone through all of your clothes, get rid of the ones that just don't make sense in your life anymore.  You don't need to determine if these clothes fit in with your style just yet (we'll do that later), just for now determine if you like them and if they fit.

To the right you'll see a couple of pictures. In one, I've shown you a few styles of celebrity women. What do you think about their styles? Do you identify more with one than another? Do you like one more than the others? I've also shown you a variety of my own personal outfits. You can see that my style varies widely, and that's OK, because I've determined what will work for me, and what I like. Which, I promise, we'll find for you too.

Be sure to come back next week and we'll move on to steps three and four of finding your personal style. Just in time for the start of your new year.

(Have questions NOW? Email me at


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Fashion: Sarah Stright-Hartley
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