The best tip I’ve come across when it comes to defining your personal style is to follow the “three-word method”—an approach made popular by TikTok creator, Allison Bornstein. Strategists and creatives have used this approach when presenting client work for decades. It works for businesses, people, and experiences, but the idea of turning this lens on myself has taken on a whole new meaning for me recently.
After you use the three-word method to define your personal style, those words then act as a filter that makes it easier to decide which design elements you’ll bring into your home and which clothing items you’ll add to your wardrobe. It’s all about finding the unique core elements that drive you. Once you get to know your personal sense of style, I find it’s easier to move through life as yourself—with more confidence and less of a pull to compare yourself to others.
When I look at the things I saved on Tumblr so many years ago, I find that I still like many of them. There’s something about classic, timeless elements and simplicity that has always been really appealing to me, and this comes through in both my home design and clothing choices. Classic isn’t always “in” as far as what’s most trendy at any given time, but it certainly never goes out of style.
This is where the sense of modernity comes in. There’s always an element about what I put together that doesn’t quite “match.” I like to include a bit of a twist in the process of designing both rooms in my home and outfits.
My classic style sensibility has always leaned into preppy territory. My interpretation of preppy elements has changed over the years, but they have been at the forefront of my mind for a long time. They’re what my lizard brain wants and what I’m instinctually drawn to.
If you’re struggling to define your own three personal style words, I’d encourage you to do some reflection. As a starting point, I’ve put together a list of prompts below to help you get curious and become more acquainted with your own style preferences. Allison Bornstein is also a great resource on this topic, particularly when it comes to fashion!
Here’s to exploring and celebrating our personal sense of style in our own way every single day.
Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - January 11, 2023
Did you know W&D now has a resource library of Printable Art, Templates, Freebies, and more?
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
I would have said feminine, sculptural, playful for you!
I love to hear what others would say my words are! Those three definitely resonate.
I love this! My 3 words are something along lines of sophisticated + fun + natural (tones, materials) – I think this applies fairly equally to decor and clothing for me.
I love that! Thank you for sharing!
I will have to think about this but possibly natural would be one of them. I haven’t yet found a way to mark my style fully yet so this will be fun to figure out!
I’m excited for you to experiment with your personal style! It’s a journey, but definitely a fun one.
I absolutely LOVE Allison’s 3 word method. Im OBSESSED with it. Its really helped me so much in staying super intentional with my personal style. It also very much translates to interiors as well. Loved this post Kate.
Me too! It’s a great way to think more critically about personal style. Thank you for reading this post — I’m glad you loved it!
I love the 3…I think along those lines….JMO