“How can I find my own aesthetic?” “How did you find your aesthetic?” are some of the most common questions I am asked. At first, I was a little confused what this question really meant , so let’s start with the most simple question - what does the word “aesthetic” mean?
What is an ‘aesthetic’?
The word aesthetic can be used as both a noun and an adjective. It is a philosophy dealing with the notions of beautiful. However in the Instagram world, the word ‘aesthetic’ is often used interchangeably with ‘personal style’, ‘visual style’, ‘theme’, ‘cohesive feel’ etc.
For me, ‘my aesthetic’ means my visual personal style. It is a cohesive collection of me and my loves.
Step one / DEFINE YOURSELF
First discover or re-discover who YOU are. Here’s some questions for thought. Reflect or write down your answers.
What do you like?
What do you dislike?
Describe your personality.
What do you love about yourself?
What does your ideal day look like?
List five unique things about yourself.
How do you want people feel around you?
List some words / quotes you love.
Step TWO / INSPIRATIONS
My aesthetic and who I am is largely influenced by a collection of inspiring materials and persons. Who are your inspirations? Consider:
Step THREE / MOOD BOARD
Curating a mood board is my favourite way to see what I like and want clearly. I like to use pinterest and make a private board for re-evaluating my ‘aesthetic’. Some ideas of what to pin:
Go through your ‘things you like’ list and pin accordingly.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle - how you want to spend your mornings, trips you want to take, hobbies you want to try etc
How does your ideal home / bedroom look?
What clothes and outfits are you drawn to?
Pin scenes from films and tv shows that inspire
Art & quotes that make you feel how you always want to feel
Images with colours that speak to your soul
& voila, you are looking at a visual representation of you!
Step Four / CURATE
Now, you are in touch with what you like & why and how you want to live your life! The key to a cohesive and strong aesthetic is being able to curate. To curate means to select, organise and present. We have selected our visual inspiration and now we organise.
Start unpinning things that don’t belong. Maybe you pinned a lot of images of outfits you like but there is that one outfit that doesn’t belong. Maybe your pinterest board is very consistent with colours, but there’s that one pin that doesn’t fit in your colour scheme. This doesn’t mean your aesthetic limits you, but simply you are learning how to present your interests and loves in a way that is organised and cohesive. Try finding the same idea in a different image that does belong.
This process will help you truly understand your aesthetic. Soon you’ll see consistent colours, consistent patterns, consistent content that you like.
Step FIVE / Present
In real life: Now let this curation phase spill into all aspects of your life. Let it inspire you to achieve the bedroom you want, to donate the uninspiring clothes you own. You’ve just outlined what makes you happy and what makes you feel like your best self - so let that take over. Its ok to want to reinvent yourself to the person you want to be - but don’t forget our first step ‘the definition of you’! Be your biggest inspiration.
Digitally: I thought I also better talk about your aesthetic on Instagram, as this is something I asked about a lot.
Take a read of my blog post ‘5 Tips for a Cohesive Instagram Feed’. This has some great tips for how to present your aesthetic on Instagram.
Be yourself online. Remember your personality, what makes you unique. Also consider how you want people to feel when they look at your images & read your words. I know this sounds ultra cheesy, but when I really discovered the importance of this and started to show more of my inner self online - that’s when I was happiest, my instagram was growing and I felt so much more confidence.
Copying: Copying is bad - we know this, you know this. But still we have all fallen victim to confusing inspiration with imitation. Take a read of Jasmine Dowling’s article ‘Inspiration vs Imitation’. Listen to your gut feeling with what’s wrong and what’s right. A simple way to avoid this, is to let your inspiration sources be vast from movies to art to instagram bookmarks - don’t look to just one person.
Don’t limit yourself: Here’s a myth I want to bust. Having an aesthetic does not mean you can ONLY like certain things or only act a certain way. You are the director in your own visual life. Take a look at my instagram for example - I post things from books, movies, tv, travel, fashion, journalling, photography, drawings, home style - you name it!! But what brings it all together is the visual choices I make to curate all the aspects of my life in a cohesive way - thus creating an aesthetic!
Don’t worry about what is cool: Can you believe there was a time where I never shared my love for tv shows like gilmore girls or my obsession with harry potter because I thought my fashion blogger network would deem it uncool? Fast forward to now - where I am lucky enough to have a whole community of people online who love all the things I love without judgement. Yeah, forget what is cool and uncool - you decide that.
Hope this post has been helpful!