Personal Style in 3 Easy Steps

With summer quickly coming to an end and the kids are already shopping for back-to-school clothing and supplies, what better time than now to nail down some of your own style.  Personal stylist, Jess Burke, shares her insights by providing The Volk with a guide to help nail down your personal style. Continue reading to answer "what is my personal style?" in three easy steps.

“I’d love to get coffee sometime!”

We’ve all heard it, and most of us have said it.  You’re at a networking event and you meet someone new.  Your conversation starts with talking about weather and the quality of the appetizers and you ultimately need an exit.  You hand over your business card and the words slip out: “we should totally grab coffee next week.”

Let’s get real…you don’t really want to get coffee.

Well, maybe sometimes you do.  I personally love a good one-on-one coffee date and have a half-dozen on my calendar at any given time, but everyone occasionally has a moment of weakness when an empty promise for an invite slips out.

Why do we do this?!

Well, for starters, sometimes we don’t have the right words to express what we really want to say.  Other times it might be awkward to say what we are really thinking, so we default to one of the programmed responses in our social reserve.

It’s a lot more comfortable and less vulnerable to say “let’s get coffee sometime” compared to “hey, I really want to be friends because I’m new in town and don’t know anyone, how does Thursday work for you?” The point is that we often convey things in the wrong way.

As someone who talks a lot about clothes and the impact that they have on your life and the way you are addressed, I frequently get a certain set of questions or statements that I compare in my mind to this coffee date scenario. The questions and comments I receive typically sound something like this:

"I have no style…help me!”


"I hate shopping…help me!”


"Does this even look good on me?”


"I hate everything in my closet…what should I do?”

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The funny thing is that when women ask these questions, they are really asking me something completely different (I’ll get to what that is in a minute).  The great thing about asking any of these questions is that it opens the door for a more meaningful conversation about personal style and what it means for each woman individually.  If you are even thinking any of these things, please know that you are awesome because you are already taking the first steps to making yourself a priority—way to go sister!

So, what is it that these women are ACTUALLY trying to get at?  What are they really trying to say instead of, “let’s get coffee sometime”?

What goes in the blank, you ask?  Well, it could be any number of things.  Most of the time though, that blank is filled with some sort of body-related negativity.

The actual question that women are asking is, why I do what I do?  It is why I started Well Layered and why I want to continually provide resources for my amazing audience.  Feeling beautiful and confident every day isn’t always easy, but having the right tools in your arsenal (aka, the right clothes in your closet) can be a MAJOR game changer.

So, how do I answer this question for women who are asking?  It’s simple, with these three steps:

Illustration by: Maria Ahrens

Illustration by: Maria Ahrens

1. Know your body type:

If you aren’t sure what it is, I have a super fun quiz to tell you about!  The results of the short and entertaining quiz (which you should definitely take even if you know your body type because it is THAT much fun) will provide you with a free downloadable resource with my best dressing tips for your uniquely beautiful body type!  You can access by simply clicking the image --->


Photography by: Brooke Aho

Photography by: Brooke Aho

2. Clean out your closet:

What’s worse than not knowing your body type?  Knowing your body type but having a closet full of clothes that you HATE wearing because they don’t make you feel great and are not ideal for your body.  Doing a closet clean out is a necessary part of the process.


3. Know your uniform:

Once the first two steps are taken care of, it’s still a matter of finding the right pieces, right?  Yeah, I know, I hear you grumbling over there.  Sounds like a lot of work finding all those pieces, trying them on, and sending them back when they inevitably don’t work out.  I never said this process was going to be completely easy and effortless, did I?  I do promise, though, that it will be worthwhile.

To ease your pain a bit, I recommend coming up with a uniform.  Pants and a blouse?  A dress with heels?  Jeans and a blazer?  Whatever it is, once you nail down what you feel best in, you will automatically weed out many shopping options and can save yourself some real time and heartache.

To all of you hard-working, driven women out there reading this and feeling vulnerable about your body and wardrobe, please know this one little tidbit:

The issue is not you, it’s totally the clothes!


If you enjoyed these tips, make sure to sign up for the Well Layered newsletter at  Jess's mission is to help elevate the lives of women through personal style—let’s chat about how we can work together!