Translating A Personal Style Inspiration Board to Real Life Outfits: Amanda’s Example


Any longtime readers out there? If so, this is a test. Several years ago, when our article on How To Determine Your Personal Style was originally published (here’s the updated version), we received an email from reader Amanda, asking for help. She had gone through our exercise to define her personal style, created a resulting style board, and then…got stuck. So she reached out, and I helped with the style definition, then created a few outfits based on it.

The problem? This was so many years ago — back when TME was just me — and I used a website called Polyvore to make the outfit collages.

Fast forward to now, Polyvore is gone…and all traces of these outfits had completely disappeared from this article.

But here’s the cool thing: A personal style board endures.

Following our method to determine your personal style is something that transcends trends. Which means that — years later — we’re still able to use Amanda’s original style board to come up with four fresh, modern outfits, based on her personal style.

Here’s Amanda’s original question:

“I started this today but got a little stuck. The pictures speak, but they say so many different things. Sometimes “that’s beautiful,” “she’s beautiful,” or “wow, that look would really work for next week’s baby shower / wedding / playgroup / family function.” I think I should be focusing on the whole look, pictures where I can truly say “that’s ME,” or “that could be me.” Worried this might land me in the same rut I’ve been in for years though … help!”

Once you’ve chosen your favorite pictures, translating them can be tricky. Amanda was kind enough to send over her quick-n-dirty style board, and it’s gorgeous. It’s also a good example of what complicated creatures we are. Unlike the old Sesame Street, “one of these things is not like the other…” we are not trying to eliminate the outliers. Our personal styles are often made up of seemingly disparate ideas. Putting it all together is what makes personal style, well…personal.

Sooo…using Amanda’s style board as an example, I’ve created three possible mom-uniforms. Here’s her style board: 

Boho/'70s-inspired + a sporty + a French sophisticate. How does that translate into personal style? We're turning 1 inspiration board into everyday outfits.

(photo credits shopbop, the sartorialist)

Sporty + Boho-Chic + French Girl Vibes: From Personal Style Board To Real Life Outfits

So the first thing that jumps out is the boho/hippie vibe. It’s obvious from the flares, the lace/crochet, and the flowy tops and prints.  However…she also leans sporty. Besides the obvious pic of the track jacket and cute sneaks (it’s me, LOL)…even the one-shouldered dress and the ponytail (navy jacket girl) has an overall sporty feel. And when I asked Amanda about the navy jacket girl and girl-with-bike picture, the elements she liked best were the military-ish details, the serious shoes (sigh, don’t we all?) and the overall effortlessness of the style. 

So…if I were to sum up Amanda, based on this styleboard, I’d say her personal style is quite a bit boho/’70s inspired, a bit sporty, and bit French sophisticate. (Not as weird as it sounds, folks….you’ll see….)

So how does that translate into an everyday uniform? Here are some possibilities:

Boho/'70s-inspired + a sporty + a French sophisticate. How does that translate into personal style? We're turning 1 inspiration board into everyday outfits.

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1. One Part Boho, One Part Parisian

Featured products: Cupcakes And Cashmere Double Breasted Cardigan | PAIGE High Waist Straight Leg Jeans | Anthropologie Hair Scarf | Everlane The Editor Boot

For a modern take on boho….try a pair of mom jeans with a tucked-in (yet deliciously drapey) sweater. Keep the serious shoes walkable with a small kitten heel, and add a silk scarf. The scarf is both a nod to Amanda’s boho tendencies…as well as her French-girl ones.

2. All Out French Girl Vibes

Featured products: Stripe Puff Sleeve Tee | ASOS Cropped Pea Coat | Everlane Authentic Stretch High-Rise Skinny Button Fly | Everlane The Editor Boot

With all of the badass vibes going on…Amanda needs some black skinny jeans. And since she’s also a French girl at heart, we’re just going to break all the rules and wear black jeans with those killer brown stiletto boots and a navy peacoat. But the sporty striped tee will have a bit of a ruffled sleeve for a nod to those boho roots.

3. French Girl, But Make It Sporty

Featured products: Madewell Sash-Tie Wrap Top in Painted Spots | Everlane Authentic Stretch High-Rise Skinny Button Fly | Gola Daytona Safari Sneakers

Amanda definitely has an eye for pattern, and if there’s one pattern that can effortlessly go from French-girl to sporty to boho…it’s a leopard print. Pair with those black skinnies and add some seriously chic sneakers.

4. All Out Boho

Featured Products: Free People Le Femme Ruffled Crochet Top | High Waisted Light Wash Flare Jeans | Slip-On Clog Bootie

Why not indulge all of the best boho tendencies with flares and clogs? WHY NOT INDEED. Especially when you can pull in some French-girl vibes in with a pretty white cotton top and some sporty vibes with a crossbody bag. (Funny how all of these seemingly disparate styles can totally hang together, right?)

Soooo…whadda ya think? Is the style translation making sense? Since we have so many other things to worry about (like chasing kiddos)…our style translations are rarely literal. Instead, we’re going for the spirit of the look in order to balance everyday life. Do you think I was able to capture the spirit of Amanda’s style board?