I think if I ever wished to get to know a person without approaching the person and talking to them, one could just sit and observe. Apart from how people interact with others in their surrounding, their sense of style will say a lot about their personality, who they are or possibly want to be. When this is not intentionally the purpose, the message comes through anyway, just as language is a reflection of your thoughts. This we can also observe through photographs.

I’m posting two sets of pictures. The first set taken in Sweden and the second in Singapore, all by Kevin Cordeiro.

A picture of three teenage girls, Sweden.


Photo: Kevin Cordeiro, 2006.

I love the composition in this picture because of the contrasting colours of outfits used by the three girls. All seeming in good company with each other by their relaxed poses, each with a different hair cut and different outfit to indicate their personality and individuality. Hardly disguised is their youthful energy indicated in the colours of the clothes and their relaxed postures.

This is one of our neighbours in Sweden, Minna.


Photo: Kevin Cordeiro, 2006.

What I like about this composition is how the sun reflects upon her face forming soft shadows and creating highlights in her golden hair. It was a pinnacle summer party and I loved how she dressed according to the occasion, where I think her personal style is always developing (see picture below). In the foreground, lilacs that are one of the first flowers of Spring in Sweden. To my mind, this is a picture of serenity in the early summer.

One year later, Minna chooses to show a different style to her friends, in her personal presentation pages.


Her style is constantly developing and however young I have learnt quite some from her in terms of fashion and personal styling. From where I stand, I think she will do superb on any runway show in the fashion capitals of the world should she choose to go that way.

From Sweden, to Singapore

Five girls on their university graduation day. Black and white outfits seem the norm or coordinated for this event.


Photo: Kevin Cordeiro.

The sunlight is different in this composition where I see more yellows than blues. The differences in environment is also reflected in the greenery in the background. Lush tropical rainforests that soak up the warm rainstorms when they hit the coasts of Singapore, comes to mind.



Photo: Kevin Cordeiro.

To me, pictures can never be viewed with a neutral eye. What comes across to me are the differences of spirit with these individuals and how they interact with each other in the pictures. And consequently, how the picture evokes responses in the viewer as they are given a chance to ‘get to know’ the subjects in the pictures.

In Broad Sweeps: Fashion and Personality

When thinking about personality, I always remember Shrek’s line, “I’m like an onion” and “Onions have layers” (Dreamworks movie with Mike Myers as the voice of, Shrek, 2001).

All of us are multi-faceted in personality, some of us complete contradictions to ourselves, which is what makes learning about oneself, a life long process. And our personalities come across in our appearance, mannerisms and characteristics.

Our fashion sense as reflected in our appearance, will also change as we grow as a person, whether it’s due to current interests or gained insight from life experiences. Below are pictures from The Sartorialist in the August or September 2007 archive. The post is entitled After One Year in New York.

After One Year In New York – Kara

Kara in February 2007.


Kara in August 2007.


I bet if you ask most people what keeps them from being who they really want to be (at least stylistically or maybe even more), the answer would not be money but the fear of peer pressure – fear of embarrassing themselves in front of a group of people that they might not actually even like anyway.

If you were really honest with yourself and really wanted to change your style what is keeping you from doing that? Is it really the cost? Is it really your psychical shape? availability of goods? Or is it not fitting in at your office, or PTA, or skateboard park?
– by Scott Schuman

When it comes to myself and changing personal styles, I’ve learnt over the past five years for example, how to dress warm for the Swedish climate. And this learning process has opened up new possibilities at the way I’ve looked at my wardrobe and how I manage my wardrobe today. “Wardrobe management” was a non-issue to me a few years back, but it is apparently the norm in Sweden where people shuffle summer clothes to attic cupboards and bring down winter wear to their rooms. And they do vice versa when the winter is over and spring is on its way, so many people have a “spring cleaning” of their wardrobes in Sweden.

Personality can be (very broadly) be divided into six groups, as listed below. And each of us will have these characteristics, to a greater or lesser degree. What is most likely is that certain characteristics tend to dominate.

So scroll down and have a fun read to see where your style comes in and if you wish to accent a certain characteristic or personality trait, perhaps you could use the information below as guidelines?


The Delicate Personality

This personality type is gentle and very feminine.

Fabrics for this personality are light, flowy, soft and sheer such as silks, cottons, laces.

Colours for this personality are pastel and light shades of colours.

Prints for this personality are small and dainty, that do not take up much space on the material.

Garments for this personality are those with soft folds, gathers, laces, princess darts, baby-doll and peter pan collars.

Handbags and shoes are delicate, dolly styled and simple.

The hair would be cut complement the shape of your face and could be simple in outlines.

The Robust / Vigorous Personality

This personality type is athletic, strong and tom-boyish

Fabrics for this personality are tougher fabrics such as denim, corduroy, cotton and linen.

Colours for this personality are bold and striking such as reds and oranges.

Prints for this personality are also bold, individual in design that tend towards the abstract.

Garments for this personality are mostly tailored with sharp collars or simple dresses with lean lines without frills or soft folds.

Handbags and shoes are sleek, lean and without delicate details such as bows, folds etc.

The hair would be short hair, spunky in spirit and cut to complement the face.

The Dramatic Personality

To distinguish from the robust personality above, this personality type borders on the eccentric, who are striking, bold and ready to do anything common or uncommon.

Fabrics for this personality are eclectic – anything unusual.

Colours for this personality are bold, contrasting with a distinct color palette.

Prints for this personality go according to mood and should also be individual / unique.

Garments for this personality are pioneering, risk taking and trend setting. See a picture of the surrealistic shoe by Marc Jacobs, Spring 2008, RTW.


Photo: Don Ashby and Olivier Claisse

Handbags and shoes are also trend setting

The hair will be their own creations, possibly, which are new and different.

The Demure / Modest Personality

To distinguish from the delicate personality above, this personality type is shy and timid, who do not wish to be too prominent in the public or even at parties.

Fabrics that suit this personality type are soft and lightweight such as cotton and silk or light satin.

Colours for this personality are soft palettes and light colours.

Prints for this personality are simple, common and not too bold so that they will stand out in a crowd.

Garment styles for this personality are also simple and common cuts. They tend to shy away from new fashion trends. Nothing groundbreaking, please.

Handbags and shoes are simple, traditional style courts that complement their dress.

The hair is simple and non-radical in cut.

The Dignified / Mature Personality

This personality type is conservative, reserve, sober and serious looking. It usually comes with age and experience.

Fabrics for this personality are light to medium weight fabrics such as brocades and tweed.

Colours for this personality are habitually tempered, grave and sober.

Prints for this personality are checks, plaid and large florals that are without sharp boundaries / edges in print.

Garment style for this personality are simple and becoming.

An example of this style could be Queen Elisabeth.


Queen Elisabeth’s style is so iconic that it has turned up in various forms in the movies, such as Mrs Doubtfire, played by Robbie Williams.


Handbags and shoes are sober and comfortable.

The hair is simple but elegant.

The Vivacious / Care Free Personality

To distinguish from the robust / strong personality, this personality is generally full of life, sparkling, happy and carefree.

Fabrics for this personality are comfortable, functional and don’t need too much management or care.

Colours for this personality are according to their mood, they are not bound to any specific colour.

Prints for this personality are lively and colourful on light to medium weight textures.

Garments are casual, functional and most of all, comfortable.

Handbags and shoes are also comfortable, functional and need not be at the forefront of fashion.

The hair is simple and tends towards the casual.


  • Maroukian, Francine and Woodruff, Sarah, 2006. The Handbook of Style: Expert Fashion and Beauty Advice Every Woman Should Know
  • Andre, Mary Lou, 2004. Ready To Wear: An Expert’s Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe
  • Bell, Alison and Mireault, Jerome, 2004. Fearless Fashion (What’s Your Style?)
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