Fashion Genres – part 1

Much like there are music and movie genres, there are fashion genres. 

Knowing and understanding your genre can be a valuable tool in cultivating your personal brand.  There is a slight debate over how many genres there are and what they should be called.  I have found in my styling experience there are eight primary classifications. 

I am going to break down four in this article and the other four in my next article that will post later this month.


Classic is the most popular genre amongst professionals.  It is defined by clean, tailored pieces such as sheath dresses, suits, straight leg slacks, pencil skirts, and pump heels.  These are garments most associated with “office-wear”. 

If you steer towards the Classic genre you love to play with traditional silhouettes.  Classic also tends to incorporate layering.  Jewelry and accessories play a big role in this genre as the fabrics tend to stay solid not patterned.  This creates a great canvas for individual expression through accessories.

When is comes to building your brand, Classic lovers have it easy.  Since it is most associated with professionalism, this genre garners trust with almost every audience. 


Also known as Athletic, this genre is all about the comfortable fitness look.  Lovers of this genre gravitate to items like t-shirts, athletic shorts, jogger pants, yoga pants, tank tops, and sweatshirts.  Accessories are not that important to the Sporty fashionista (unless it is their favorite delicate chain or Fitbit).

On paper it would seem this genre is not for the traditional “professional” world.  This is proving not to be true in our modern times.  For one with the fitness and life coaching industries on the rise this genre is a large part of the work forces’ “professional attire”.  However, even non-fitness career paths are embracing this genre due to the rise in sporty-inspired garments from many upscale fashion brands. 

Now it is possible to get sequin joggers, suit pants that are cut like yoga pants, and silk t-shirts.  All these versions, with clever styling, can infiltrate a “traditional professional” wardrobe with little consequence.

If this is your preferred style but you are not in the fitness field do not panic.  There are still many ways to be yourself and still attract the audience of your dreams.  Pay close attention to fabric choices.  Staying too “on the nose” with fabrics like spandex, cotton blend, or nylon will make your audience think you rolled out of the gym not the board room.  Peruse stores that sell more traditional garments and look for sporty-inspired pieces.  Then accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.  When jewelry, belts, or scarves are thoughtfully added it hides the true genre even more.


You do not need to front a cover band or ride a motorcycle to embrace the rocker style.  Many professional weekend warriors love their suits on a Friday but leather and ripped jeans on a Saturday.

If concert t-shirts, biker boots, and studded jewelry fills your closet never fear, there is a way to weave your rebel style into an appropriate brand for your industry.  The key is to keep most of the outfit Classic and add Rocker “nods” through fabric and accessories. 

Pair an office appropriate sheath dress with leather leggings.  Class up distressed jeans with demure pumps and a boyfriend blazer.  If your audience is more casual add your favorite concert tee to a full suit for a playful mash-up.   

The biggest caution with this genre is know your audience.  Rocker can be a real turn off to more conservative clients.  Always make sure the look remains approachable and trustworthy.


This genre used to be called “hippie” but with the rise in popularity due to festivals like Coachella the term boho or bohemian has stuck.

This genre is all about flowy.  Flowy tanks, tunics, kimonos, wide leg pants, and dusters fill the closet of the boho enthusiast.  Bohemian’s also love prints and patterns, particularly flowers.  Fringe and beading are the go to accents.  Fabrics tend to be all natural and light-weight; although there are many thicker sweater styles that can fall into the boho genre.

Like Sporty, this genre can read too casual when worn in its traditional sense but also like Sporty there are great “camouflaged” genre pieces on the market.  Lovers of the boho life can peruse Classic genre stores for pieces they will appreciate. 

Try pairing flowy maxi dresses with a blazer for an unexpected mash-up.  Silky, flowy tunics pair beautifully over Classic cigarette pants.  A fringe covered jacket in black reads professional better than traditional suede brown. 

When in doubt, accessories are your friend.  Well placed classic-style necklaces or earrings can go a long way to elevate a bohemian look.

I hope this has given you a new way to think about your personal style.  It is also a great tool for simplifying the shopping process.  As always follow Alexander Personal Image Styling on Instagram @alexanderpersonalimagestyling for more tips and tricks on your personal brand journey.  If you would like more subjective help I would love to connect.  Schedule a free one on one consultation with me.