Calivintage's Erin Hagstrom Shares 3 Tips On Finding Your Personal Style

Web04Photo: Courtesy of Erin Hagstrom.
As a style blogger, one of the most frequent questions I get from readers is about how I've developed my personal style. It can be tough to answer, since it's a very personal and organic experience that's culminated over so many years of my life.
To begin, I suppose I've always been into clothes. At a very young age, I was adamant about wearing frilly doll dresses — even after I'd grown out of them. As I got older, my mom would take me with her on thrifting adventures, scouring local shops for interesting finds to fuel my interest in unique attire. In high school, I became very serious about reinventing myself over and over (and over) again as a way to try and find an "identity." One year I would decide to channel Audrey Hepburn, another I'd declare "punk's not dead" only to wonder why I ever thought those sartorial choices were a good idea a year later.
Now, as an adult, I look back at all of the times I reinvented my look and realize that I've kept a little bit of each phase. They all helped mold the style, and person, that I present to the world today. When it comes to developing personal style, there really aren't any dos or don'ts — it's a process that happens organically over time. But there are certainly a few pointers I can offer that can hopefully help you along on your way to sartorial discovery.

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Web01Photo: Courtesy of Erin Hagstrom.
Get Inspired
These days, I spend a lot of time browsing the web for what inspires me, whether it's a character in an old film, a musician, or colors from a painting that catches my eye. I collect all of these images (on Pinterest, of course), and go back later to pick out some of the major themes that jump out at me.
I tend to find that a certain color story materializes, or a particular style icon begins to emerge. I have countless photos from fashion blogs and street style sites. And when I wake up in the morning feeling like I've got nothing to wear, a quick browse through my inspiration folders usually does the trick.
Web02Photo: Courtesy of Erin Hagstrom.
This may sound super obvious, but the best way to really discover what makes you feel the best is to be open and try new things. This can obviously become a pretty pricey habit, but that's what vintage and thrift stores are for. You can head to the local charity shop and come away with some bold new statement pieces for only a few bucks. Then you won't feel quite so bad if you later realize a few of those picks might not be for you. Whenever I'm feeling like trying something new, I always try to find a vintage version first. If I end up wearing it a lot, then I know it's the type of piece that I can invest in later.
Web03Photo: Courtesy of Erin Hagstrom.
Forget The Rules
While it's definitely important to understand your body and to dress in a way that makes you feel the best in your skin, I'm kind of sick of those how-to guides for dressing your body. I know I've got some curves and I understand the challenges to dressing my large bust, but I don't need to step out every day in a v-neck wrap dress to feel good about myself. I'm all about breaking the rules and trying silhouettes that people warn against. In my opinion, a striped breton shirt can be very flattering, and I love a good shift dress. When you're out shopping, don't be afraid to try something on if it catches your eye. It might turn out to be your signature style.
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