What is your wardrobe personality?

posted in: Style advice | 14

Everyone has a wardrobe personality – the sort of clothes you like to wear, and are drawn to. Here are the five key categoriess that work for men as well as women:

  • Classic
  • Dramatic
  • Romantic (or Expressive for men)
  • Natural
  • Gamine


Classic clothes would tend to be tailored, fitted outfits. Those of us who have a classic wardrobe personality are likely to be well organised, and controlled. We like to have a tidy wardrobe where we can see what we have got. Our favourite outfits look effortless but elegant, and it matters to us that we have got the look right for the occasion.  The pieces we choose are simple and uncluttered yet they are chic and have a timeless quality to them. Classics often find dressing down difficult as they prefer tailored and coordinated items over casual styles. Jackie Kennedy would be my example of a classic dresser.

Jackie Kennedy - Classic dresser
Jackie Kennedy – Classic dresser

How do you know if you have a Classic wardrobe personality?

  • you prefer quality over quantity
  • you like simple styles that don’t date
  • you choose neutrals or softer shades over patterns or brighter colours
  • you are always well-groomed
  • you need your clothes to always be situation appropriate or else you feel uncomfortable
  • you look elegant in simple styles that would make others look boring

Another classic dresser would be Prince Charles.

Prince Charles in three suits
Prince Charles – Classic dresser


Dramatic clothes are be showy, loud, standout outfits. Those of us who are dramatic dressers have lots of self-confidence and don’t mind being looked at. Typically we enjoy wearing a lot of black, perhaps with bright accessories, and are adventurous with our choices of clothing, hairstyle and make up. We love dressing up occasions to make an impact with both our casual and our formal style. Those of us who are dramatic dressers like fashion trends, but also breaking the rules and putting looks together that may be unexpected. Many dramatic dressers like bold patterns too. The Duke of Windsor illustrated this look superbly.

Duke of Windsor - Dramatic dresser
Duke of Windsor – Dramatic dresser
 How do you know if you have a Dramatic wardrobe personality?
  • you prefer bright colours and  striking combinations
  • you usually avoid a coordinated look and opt for something more individual
  • you pay attention to fashion
  • you usually choose plain fabric over patterned
  • but when hen you do choose pattern it tends to be bold, abstract design
  • you tend to be adventurous with your choices
  • you may be seen as a trendsetter
  • appearance is high on your list of priorities
  • you choose style over comfort.

Coco Chanel was a wonderfully dramatic dresser.

Coco Chanel - Dramatic dresser
Coco Chanel – Dramatic dresser


Romantic clothes would include long dresses, interesting sleeves, floral prints, soft flowing fabrics – feminine clothes if you are female. In men this would be  expressive clothing – showy textiles, velvet suits, frills, long hair, stylish beards. Those of us who have a romantic or expressive wardrobe personality are interested in how we and others feel, and are intuitive, friendly people.  We may like vintage or ethnic clothing  and put time and energy into making our homes into beautiful spaces. We enjoy expressing ourselves through our clothes.  Marilyn Monroe would be a good example.

Marilyn Monroe - Romantic dresser
Marilyn Monroe – Romantic dresser

Are you a Romantic or Expressive dresser?

  • you like clothing that has details like flowers, bows or ruffles
  • you enjoy fabrics that are soft like jersey, cashmere, soft cottons and silky fabrics
  • you enjoy dressing up for evenings out
  • you use colour creatively
  • you like surface decoration – lace, embroidery and beading
  • you like Liberty prints and ethnic clothing with ethnic or feminine prints and patterns appeal to you
  • clothes that drape or are fluid feel better than more restrictive fabrics
  • you love accessories and use them whenever you can
  • you enjoy styles that highlight your femininity/creativity

An expressive dresser would be the Romantic poet Lord Byron.

Lord Byron - Expressive dresser
Lord Byron – Expressive dresser


If  our dominant wardrobe personality is ‘natural’, we will probably have a relaxed, easy-going approach to life. We are warm and friendly, love the outdoors and physical activity and don’t pay too much attention to fashion. Being comfortable is more important that looking stylish.  We dislike dressy occasions and wearing make up and prefer casual clothing. In general natural dressers consider dressing up to be rather ridiculous and we resent spending much time or money on our appearance – we find other things in life to be more important. A good example of a natural dresser would be Germaine Greer.

Germaine Greer sitting in her garden
Germaine Greer – Natural dresser

How do you know if you have a Natural style personality?

  • you only wear formal clothes if you have to
  • when dressing up you choose a low-key, unadorned classic look
  • you dislike shopping for clothes and the fashion pages
  • colours are not very important but you prefer natural and practical shades
  • you have little interest in matching colours
  • you don’t like spending time or money on your hair or clothes
  • you don’t think appearance is very important
  • you don’t care very much about anything other than comfort

Many men fit into this category, but a good one would be Michael Foot.

Michael Foot - natural dresser
Michael Foot – Natural dresser


Gamine Style is a boyish, childlike look.  It appeals to women and men who are petite, with a boyish look. The classic gamine hair style is short and soft. Those of us with a gamine style personality don’t like fussy clothes, preferring slim fitting styles.  Gamine individuals express their friendly, sweet personalities through choosing clothes and accessories with a bit of fun. The person who nailed the gamine look was Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn - Gamine style
Audrey Hepburn – Gamine dresser

How do you know if you are gamine?

  • you like to use colour
  • you enjoy styles that have a sporty feel
  • you prefer crisp medium weight fabrics
  • you prefer a natural approach to make-up and hair, but you are always look smart
  • you like accessories and choose unusual items to make a simple outfit more fun
  • your style is quite casual but also smart
  • you suit small patterns

The 1960s mod look encapsulated the gamine look, here modeled by the Small Faces.

Small faces - gamine dressing
Small faces – Gamine dressers

Many of us combine more than one personality – I like to think I can wear all of these looks. But personality implies the look you are happiest with and revert to given a choice. For me that would probably be classic, but with a bit of gamine. How about you?

14 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Love this, Kate. I was getting confused as I was going through as I have a lot of classic and gamine (especially for casual wear), but also sometimes romantic/expressive or dramatic. I think most of all I don’t like to be messy. Living in a very casual society I’ve always been marked as someone who dresses up “too much,” but I have always felt uncomfortable in what I think of as sloppy clothes, or clothes inappropriate for an occasion. Expressing myself through what I wear is an important part of how I connect to myself on a daily basis. PS I love the photo of Jackie, wearing what I know now are Dior darts in the front panel of her dress (a new favourite of mine!).

  2. Joyce

    I have answered a survey , lately…and due to lifestyle I came out scoring high in the Natural, but that is not true!! although I am all about comfort, I am more a classic.. I Know I am not romantic., and I also don’t like to drawn attention to myself with the Look at Me overly textured and bold colours …….no no no…And …no flowers or ruffles for me…………I feel totally uncomfortable with that. I am best suited to the Classics. and yet…I can’t be wearing blazers……… my life style is too relaxed……what to do what to do? I can not wear a jean jacket constantly………Im too bored with that? help???

    • fabrickated

      Good question J. First thoughts – wear jeans with a more dressy shirt, a cashmere twin set, or a “cardigan” style jacket in a boucle or colourful print. A knee length skirt in a nice colour with knee boots and a textured jumper. A comfortable but structured dress with colourful tights and interesting shoes and jewellry. A smart coat with a casual outfit.

    • GentlemenPreferGoodSpellers

      Maybe your style is too broad to be classified. I’m guessing that this blog post is more of a general guideline than a strict set of rules. I think what you’re saying, is that you prefer a Classic style: one which you pull together with a few choice pieces, yet keep simple, fresh and comfortable in the way that a Natural style usually categorizes.
      Just as we have multiple emotions, and good or bad days, our personal style can take on numerous personalities: each with their own quirks.
      Choose styles that make you feel comfortable and confident to be yourself! Taking inspiration from others is helpful, but you should be comparing your outfit to other looks that you’ve worn in the past, or to recent photos of yourself. Compare the clothing, but not the way it fits, to your inspirational figures. For example, as I’m sure you know, most celebrities have hair and makeup- even photoshop- teams nearby during photoshoots. If we compared ourselves to them exactly, it would be unrealistic and we would never feel content with our choices.
      In my experience, I find that a pair of straight-legged dark jeans can be comfortable and versatile: they can be matched with just about anything to create a different style.
      Try starting with a staple piece of clothing- in this example, dark jeans- and adding different combinations to your outfit.
      That way, you aren’t starting from scratch every time you try a new style. For fun, try wearing something new once a month, that in the past you’ve been too timid to wear. As long as you feel confident, the people you meet will sense your confidence and admire your look. Plus you’ll have a lot of fun wearing it! Maybe it’s a bright coloured blazer, corduroy pants, or an abstract shirt that shows your back. As long as it’s matched with something simple and classic (black works well for this), the look will be Classic… with a twist! 🙂

      • fabrickated

        I am another twisted Classic, although I do experiment and am on a bit of gamine look at the moment (short hair, flat shoes, shorts or trousers). I think your advice is sound – thank you for taking the time to share it. What sort of things do you illustrate Nat?

      • GentlemenPreferGoodSpellers

        No, but I’d like to! My father was a journalist and author. Recently I’ve been trying to become a contracted illustrator, but it would be lovely to also be in a field related to journalism or even spell check (one must always start at the bottom, I suppose). Thanks for the speedy reply!

  3. VancouverIslandForestsofWhimsy

    Wow, thanks for calling my advice sound! I really love to read your blog and to see your sewing projects transform. The 50’s jacket fits you beautifully.

    Sometimes I do contract graphic design, which recently entailed a semitruck logo, a birthday card flip-book, and the logo for a novel. Working for a client is lovely (as long as we can communicate our ideas well). But I do love to doodle.
    My reoccuring subjects are probably human anatomy in pencil or charcoal, cartoon figures in pen, and wild fantasy landscapes.
    Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been spending my free time writing and illustrating a picture book for my 2yr old nieces! It’s an ABC animal book starring one of the girls’ baby brother, and I’ve split the story between two books so they can both rip some paper in a few days.
    The writing half got a little tedious. I had never written for an audience before: just for school projects and myself. But the illustrations have been a blast! I just finished the visual storyboard, so tomorrow morning or tonight perhaps (though it is already 1:30) I will sketch the outline onto the bound good copy, fill it in with watercolours, and give it a quick outline. It’s very relaxing.

    But I sometimes have a problem with not being concise. Particularly on blog posts, it seems!

    Hey I’d love to hear about yourself too, fabrickated!
    You obviously have a passion- and a knack- for fashion. Did you ever go to school for textiles or design?

  4. Jamie

    Exactly what I’ve been hunting for! I own SMARTgirls Resale Fashion in Az…I took this training back in the 90’s … super helpful. This type of teaching/instruction has long gone by the way side, but I see it on the come back with all the interest in capsule wardrobe.

    Well done!

  5. MK

    Great post! I see by the dates that I’m late to the party, but having found you today under a Google search for “natural fashion personality”, I felt the need to commend you.
    Having done a lot of research about style personalities, I’ve seen that many systems out there don’t believe you can be a mix of types, or want to pigeonhole you into only one type (that may or may not actually work for you) based only on a few dominant physical characteristics . This gets very confusing when you know that a mix is exactly what you are! I definitely have a natural sensibility, with a little classic refinement, but with a dash of gamine (I’m petite and look best in short hair). Simple, timeless, natural, girl-next-door, uncluttered, fresh, free, yet refined, yet fun, would be the phrases that comprise my personal “style statement”. Natural/classic/gamine. Thanks for putting it all together in such a concise manner!

Leave a Reply