September 25, 2021

50signs

The Fashion Spirit

How to Create Your Personal Style, According to TikTok’s Favorite Fashion Expert

6 min read

While I love scrolling through fashion TikTok, it can feel a little bit repetitive with the same kinds of extensive hauls and try-on videos. Anyone can throw on a trendy ‘fit, but it’s the creators who hone in on the importance of personal style that truly grab my attention in the sea of content. One of them is Alexandra Hildreth, who works at Beyond the Mag and is known to the TikTok world as @guyfieri.superfan. She makes videos on all aspects of fashion by analyzing the newest collections or talking about the vast changes of fashion throughout history, for example.

My favorite videos from her have to be the ones about wardrobe identity and personal style, in which she gives viewers tips on creating a wardrobe that fits them rather than adhering to what everyone on the app is wearing. I love a trend just as much as the next person, but I agree that honing in on what you truly love to wear is superior to dressing well.

I watch her posts the second they’re available, so I’ve seen them all, but there’s a lot that gets left out when you’re confined to a 60-second clip. So I reached out to Hildreth to talk about her thoughts on what personal style truly is, some of her fashion staples, and the evolution of her style, which is incredibly cool, by the way. If you haven’t seen Hildreth’s videos, don’t fret, because I’ve linked to some of her must-watches below.

What does personal style mean to you? How would you describe yours?

For me, personal style is the language I use to first present myself to my friends, to colleagues, and to the world around me. I always joke that my personal style is Wednesday Addams all grown up and imagine what she would look like in both more casual and more editorial settings.

Shop her boots:

Vagabond Shoemakers Ally Knee High Boot ($159)

What do you consider before making a purchase that deems it “worth it”?

While some people have issues with the phrase investment purchase, I think it’s extremely applicable to those of us who don’t have unlimited disposable income and therefore need to weigh potential usage versus price. I have two categories of investment purchases: 1) items that I have wanted for a long time and feel would incorporate perfectly into my desired style 2) a spur-of-the-moment, if-you-know-you-know purchase when I feel like I’ve stumbled on a really good deal on a really unique item.

Shop her boots:

Jeffrey Campbell Dagget Western Boot ($260)

You’re always making videos on helping others find their personal style. What are some pieces of advice you often end up giving to those navigating dressing on their terms?

My biggest piece of advice is definitely when building your wardrobe staples, a staple does not mean the most basic and simplified version of the garment. A staple means something that you feel will incorporate easily and frequently in your wardrobe. This can include pieces you may even have considered as statement pieces. That being said, never feel like you have to limit yourself to a single aesthetic. A personal style identity has a lot of facets and iterations. Lastly, while I may not dress in what I consider basic, avant basic, or preppy, at the end of the day, fashion is subjective, and you can tell when someone feels like an item makes them look really good, so I look at it as a difference in opinion rather than putting other people down for different interests.

What are a few of your favorite fashion purchases you’ve ever made?

I went to college in the UK, so on March break my freshman year, I used the money I had saved from working in a bakery and went around Italy with friends. I never used to carry a purse and always shoved things in my pockets, and I ended up buying a super-simple Prada Saffiano camera bag in the original store in the galleria, which, for me, was a really special experience to have at 18. The second favorite item I’ve ever bought is my MadeMe NYC Lenticular Puffer. Without fail, I’ve gotten compliments everywhere I go with it.

MadeMe Lenticular Puffer ($248)

Prada Rectangular Shoulder Bag ($1250)

Are there specific items you think have a huge part in your everyday dressing?

Unless I’m intending to dress super casual and run errands, my main goal when I put together an outfit for myself is that I want to look tailored in a cool Junya-meets–Jil Sander kind of way. I’m definitely hugely drawn to oversize suits and unique, clunky hardware. That being said, my whole wardrobe is not nearly there yet. It’s the goal I’m eventually working toward with these purchases.

Shop oversize suiting:

The Frankie Shop Isla Crepe Blazer ($300)

Zara Flowy Oversized Blazer ($119)

How do you think your style has evolved over your life? Why do you think certain changes were made the way they were?

I have always had a subconscious interest in fashion despite not always wanting to work in fashion. When I was a toddler, I would throw temper tantrums and not leave the house if I felt that my outfit didn’t work. I grew up in Connecticut in a relatively preppy environment and definitely leaned into that pretty hard in high school; it was the school dress code regardless. As embarrassing as I may find dressing in Lilly Pulitzer and J.Crew for myself now, looking back at photos, I feel that personal style is a constant conversation developing between yourself, your surroundings, and your current interests, which is why it makes sense I dressed like that for so long when I was younger.

When I moved to the UK for college I felt like I had a wider breadth of space to explore new interests and find what I really wanted to do career-wise. The more I started to lean towards fashion as a career, the more I remembered why I liked the editorial and architectural aspects of clothing so much and that naturally led me to slowly crafting my current personal style.”

Shop her bag:

Marc Jacobs Nylon Shoulder Bag ($150)

I often get asked how to pick an “aesthetic,” when in reality, I’ve always aligned with many. But I also don’t want to be all over the place in an effort to be “trendy” all the time. How do you think one can find a balance between adhering to your own style/aesthetic while wanting to follow what’s new in fashion?

One of the things I really stress in my TikTok videos is that there’s no way to realistically stick to one fashion aesthetic in your wardrobe unless you devoted an intense amount of your time to it like it was an aesthetic Tumblr in 2014. I think the concept of an aesthetic definitely lends itself more heavily to trends rather than the concept of personal style. It’s by no means realistic to ignore trends since fashion is constantly evolving, and there will be trends that catch your eye, and you may integrate these into your own personal style. If you tend to follow silhouettes, colors, and concepts that you both visually enjoy and that you feel flatter you, your personal style will emerge as a common DNA throughout your wardrobe.

The new trends that you incorporate into your closet will most likely reflect this as well. Some days I’m dressed in much more extravagant going-out outfits, some days it’s the big jeans–big shirt combo, and some days it’s a tailored dress and platform Mary Janes. I can’t put too much pressure on myself to be constantly looking like a different variation of the same person every day, especially when building my wardrobe to where I would like it to be with designer and investment pieces. As a 23-year-old, I know it’s an ongoing process.

Check Out Hildreth’s TikToks

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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