What my clothing says about me

What my clothing says about me

Happy Sunday!  Let’s discuss what my clothing says about me!

Recently, one reader asked for more clarification of what I am looking at when I use adjectives to shape personal style. 

Hopefully, everyone is familiar with my Foundational Five: Personal Style Building Blocks for developing your own personal style.

I think the last time I fully explained the concept was here:  READER QUESTION: WHAT IS THE FOUNDATIONAL FIVE STYLE GUIDE?

What my clothing says about me


But, reader Janet, wanted me to attempt to explain more about what I see in the adjectives.

The thing about adjectives is that they often have different meanings to different people.  Best example is the word ELEGANT.  

When I write about elegance, it is evident that many women see the word translated into clothing differently.

Personal style is exactly that…personal…but I do contend that you can develop and sharpen it by selecting the five adjectives and remaining true to them.

When a reader sends me their five adjectives, I am looking for garments that I believe communicate ALL FIVE ADJECTIVES.

It helps to have four more adjectives the woman wants to say if she also wants to look elegant…then I know what type of elegance she is going for when I see the other four. 


What my clothing says about me

Now, when I dress…I am looking at my total style.  I want to see that my whole outfit (together) communicates all five of my adjectives and I have done this for years.

Since I came home from professional office life last year, I have been styling my looks to say that I am CREATIVE, STRONG, INTELLIGENT, JOYFUL, and CURRENT.

I like this casual style a lot with my new Foxcroft Pamela Essential Stretch Non-iron Tunic in Blue Whisper….I would love to tell you that it is named after me…but, alas, it is not. 

When I put this outfit on to go out, I thought it needed something to speak to my creativity…so I added my floral handbag and my  BZEES SUZY WEDGE SANDAL. 

I believe that it says I am strong and intelligent because it goes together well and works as a total look. It says current because it is a classic style that withstands time. 

What my clothing says about me

With all of that said, I am still refining what I want to say about me in this new phase of life.  I recently styled a slideshow for a reader whose adjectives were earthy, classic, sporty, artistic and feminine.

Everything I found for her really spoke to me and I was very excited about her adjective choices.

So, I am contemplating revising mine with her choices weaved in….we will see.  But, I certainly identified with her style messaging. 


What my clothing says about me

Mary Ellen wants to communicate that she is CASUAL, DIGNIFIED, UNIQUE, COLORFUL, AND VERSATILE.  

That is all I know about her…except that I am so happy she is here…so I am looking for garments which combined in a total look would speak her foundational five.

For example, I selected a few items which are reversible giving more versatility.  These pieces also say the other adjectives.

A great way to be unique when also wanting to say “I am dignified” is with accessories…so I threw in a few fun accessories to for color and uniqueness. 

I also tossed in lovely tank tops to go under a linen blazer for all of the adjectives.

Mary Ellen, this slideshow is for you and women like you…I hope you like it!



By Pamela Lutrell

Disclaimer:  I was provided the tunic from Foxcroft, and the words are my own.


  1. You do such a great job interpreting these adjectives for others, and including your own. You do have a personal style that isn’t all over the place and confusing. What is helpful in using the Foundational Five is that it reins in impulse purchases. It sets a focus, so that you aren’t one person one day and someone completely different the next and the next. It communicates who you are. Personally speaking, I need a pared down, focused wardrobe in order to have a grounded style. Chaos has no place in my closet, or in my life for that matter. I’m as tempted as the next woman when I see different displays in the stores, but if I step back and think about my life in the present, how I really live, it pulls me back from bringing home some fantasy lifestyle that isn’t my reality. I think you can still have fun with fashion and mix it up, as long as the pieces work with your real lifestyle. When you, Pam, show your various looks, it honestly conveys the messages you want to send, yet it never says “rut” or comes across as boring. This concept has helped me a great deal in helping me feel authentic and directed, not chaotic and confused. The great thing about these adjectives is that they are fluid when we have lifestyle changes or find ourselves wanting to change our messaging. It really works!

  2. I agree with Karen, sometimes it can be so tempting when looking at display or even blogs, to forget that the items are not for my lifestyle. There are times that I will think ” that would be great for vacation or cruising”, when in reality, how many of those items do I need. These days when staying at home and doing a lot of work outside, my reality is pretty boring with jeans and a very casual top. The only concession I make it to putting on a bit of makeup and perfume, nails done and hair washed. The skirts are waiting for each time I go out now.
    P.s. I was so enthralled by so many of the soft surroundings gauze items that I wanted to scream at the fact they do not ship to Canada. Now that is a group of items that I would make an exception for….. oh those gauze pants……

  3. A friend once remarked that she needed to stop buying things for her fantasy self. She was referring to items for crafting & her home, but the same could be said for my clothing. I often bought things for a life I wasn’t really living. To get my adjectives, I had to take an honest look at what my life was in the here & now. Not what it once was, or what I wished it was. It gave me a clear picture of what I needed & wanted to communicate.

  4. Great advice, Becky! I think we all do that! I really appreciate your comment.

  5. I agree with you Karen that this has helped me to have less and not more. Before I started using the adjectives, I would often bring home pieces…never wear them… then wonder What was I thinking!!

  6. I know the shipping issue with many of these companies must be very frustrating! I wish I could fix it for you!

  7. Pam, using the Foundation Five has been so helpful to me. It makes me focus on what I need for my wardrobe (as opposed to what I might want at that fleeting moment).

    I’m still working so I need office appropriate clothing (although we are very relaxed) but I do enjoy ‘dressing up’ every day and like that I have many choices. Using the 5 adjectives helps me decided what to purchase/what not to purchase!!!

    Thanks, Pam!

  8. Dear Pam: I very much appreciated your slideshow of my five adjectives. They are really what I was searching for in a wardrobe style. As a farm wife in work type jeans and old shirts I have had a difficult time expressing myself as I have had the opportunity to finally travel and even just being able to get out more!!! Thank you Pam,
    Sincerely, Mary Ellen

  9. I do hope it gave you inspiration and ideas, Mary Ellen, thank you for the comment!

  10. I use boards on Pinterest to help guide my style. Words can be confusing for me. I pin ideas and then look for common themes. I do this for our home as well. My style is quiet and classic. The pins I have the most of are: Diane Keaton in Somethings Gotta Give and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Not particularly creative but sometimes boring can be revolutionary.

  11. Well, believe it or not.,, it is from a hardware store! They stock so many fun items besides nails!

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