Beauty & Fashion

The Classic style personality – une femme d’un certain âge

Why do some styles or outfits just seem to work for us, while others (though maybe “good on paper”) feel like wearing Someone Else’s Clothes? It may be that the latter aren’t aligned with our Style Personality. Many of you have requested more information about the various style personalities. So over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing details and tips for each of the Style Personality Profiles. Up today, The Classic.

The missing piece

Finding one’s personal style is like creating a recipe: there may be several ingredients, and each person’s style “taste buds” will be unique. If we only consider our coloring and body shape/proportions, we’re probably missing a key ingredient: our style personality.

But first…

When I write about seasonal color palettes or style personalities, some may balk at what they perceive as just another set of rules. But these tools aren’t intended to be dictates. My goal is to make getting dressed easier. For many of us, a set of style tools can take much of the trial and error out of shopping and creating outfits. And can save time and money.

Most of us will be a mixture of style personalities. And there will always be those “anomaly” pieces that we love. But understanding our Style Personality(ies) can help create a cohesive wardrobe, full of clothes we love and WEAR. Your style profile will be determined both your physical “architecture” and your personality. If you’re interested in booking an in-person style session, please email me at [email protected] for more information.

So let’s dive in…

The Classic style personality

I’ve kicked off this series with the Classic style personality, because I think many of us gravitate toward the timelessness of Classic style. And I think many of us have some Classic in our style mix, in varying degrees. Many of the items shown below will work for some of the other style personality profiles; it’s all in how you style them.

The look

The Classic style personality is classic (of course), groomed, sleek, polished, uncluttered, structured, grown-up, sophisticated, and expensive (or expensive-looking). Think Grace Kelly or Princess Catherine. “Quiet luxury” + structure.

Regarding physical architecture, Classics are often (though not always) more straight than very curvy, though not angular, evenly proportioned and of average height.


Medium scale (structural details & patterns). Well proportioned, fitted, no extremes.


You’ll want to stick to fabrics with a refined or smooth finish: matte or a slight sheen. Natural fibers are best: wool, silk, linen, cotton, fine knits, flannel, gabardine, twill, cashmere. Satin for evenings, or fine lace work. Some Broderie Anglaise OK if not too large in scale.

Clothing styles

  • Trousers should be well-cut, nothing too baggy or tight. Smooth fabrics with some structure. A front crease is good.
  • Skirts should be straight, pleated, or paneled, not too short, tight, or oversized. Avoid lots of flounces, gathers, or tiers.
  • Tops and shirts should be structured. Set in sleeves, neat necklines. Nothing too loose or floppy. Patterns are best when evenly spaced and medium-scale. Tees should not be too loose, soft, or oversized.
  • Coats and jackets: again, go with set-in sleeves and structure. Trench coats are good for Classics. Also fitted coats and swing coats (as long as they’re fitted through shoulders.) Blazers (not too shrunken or oversized) and Lady Jackets work well, including tweeds and bouclé styles, but avoid oversized patterns or chunky textures.

More “lady jackets”

  • Shoes: stick to low and medium-height heels in smooth finishes without any fussy details. Avoid platforms, very high heels, anything too trendy (e.g. mesh shoes, “jellies”). Loafers, sleek sneakers, espadrilles, riding boots, kitten heels, low wedges are all good everyday styles. (Ballet flats can work for some Classic Princess* or Classic Gamines, but may skew too juvenile for most Classics.)
  • Jewelry & accessories: think polish and structure. Bags should be structured, in smooth finishes, nothing distressed or cheap-looking. (Good quality nylon or canvas bags will work too.) Fine and demi-fine jewelry is best, but if your budget calls for costume, look for pieces in classic designs, and avoid anything tarnished. Pearls in classic styles are always good! Simple hoop earrings (in silver or gold) and gemstone studs are great for everyday. Avoid anything too oversized or dramatic.

Where to shop for Classic styles

Ann Taylor | J.Crew | Talbot’s | L.K. Bennett | Boden | Me+Em | MM LaFleur

*I’ll be covering Princess and the other style personality profiles in future posts.

The Classic style personality can often read as more formal or professional. If you’re retired, or have a more casual lifestyle, here are some tips for how to adapt your Classic wardrobe: When your style is Classic, but your lifestyle is casual.

I’ll be covering the rest of the 10 Style Personality Profiles in coming weeks, so look for those. And you can read all of my articles on Style Personalities HERE. If you live near or will be visiting the Los Angeles area and would like a personal style profile analysis, please email me: [email protected]

Do you lean toward Classic looks?

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