Alison's 10x10: What Does Personal Style Mean, Anyway?

Starting this new job at Cladwell in August, I told myself that I didn’t know how to talk to "designers". My internal struggle ended when I reached out to our Product Designer Alison about a shade of lipstick—a desperate call for counsel! And she happily helped. Turns out that you talk to designers just like everybody else…only they have better answers when you ask them style questions.

But Alison isn’t just a design whiz and lipstick guru—a Cincinnati local, she knows the ins and outs of the city and always has the best suggestions for the best eats, coffee, and concerts in the city.

As you know by now, Caroline from UnFancy first got us on the 10x10 train. And since then you’ve heard from Robin, our resident footwear expert, and Erin, our caffeinated style icon. And now, here’s Alison’s story…


Alison’s 10 Items:

1. Black Sneakers

2. Brown Loafers

3. High Waisted Jeans

4. Faded Front Jeans

5. Bomber Jacket

6. Patterned Cover Up

7. Striped Button Down

8. Backless top

9. Racerback Tank

10. Mock Neck dress


Alison's 10 Outfits:

"I felt like I was constantly wearing the same outfit through this challenge - but as I look back through all the photos I'm a bit surprised by how different all the days look."

"I think I underestimated how limited ten items of clothing are. In a selection this limited, it's helpful to put some pre-planning into the process. Try to pick out items that you can easily style lots of different ways."


I’ll have to admit, the whole concept of “personal style” is a loose one for me. Does that just mean I like what I wear? Does that mean I have to fit into one category of Prep, Eclectic Grunge, Athlete, or Modern Minimalist?

Alison’s 10x10 helped me with my personal style queries. Everything in Alison’s wardrobe is something she loves; items that fit both her body and her personality beautifully. Clothing articles that I couldn’t dream of “pulling off” blend effortlessly into her eclectic closet. Alison knows her style. And she’s comfortable there.

Within this context of personal style, fashion risks turn into wardrobe staples. Here, you can buy items because they represent you, not simply because they are daring. If I bought one of Alison’s colorful cover-ups—as much as I love it—it would probably sit in my closet. But for me, something like a pair of striped flats or a patterned blazer would become a go-to in my closet—suited for me, interchangeable within my wardrobe, and perfect for my style.

I think I've found that the best way to learn about personal style is to watch and learn—not specifically what a person is wearing but how they have collected a wardrobe that reflects them. And I think Alison does just that.