A person’s style is his or her unique way of doing something. Many different things can affect style: the use of words, sounds, and logic; sentence structures; or even the appearance of the work itself. Style is an important aspect of any piece of writing and can have a significant impact on its readership. Creating a personal style involves identifying and understanding what that style is, as well as utilizing its elements to create a cohesive piece of writing.
In addition to the above, a person’s style can also be determined by the culture in which he or she was raised, or by the habits and traditions he or she has adopted over time. For example, a person may have a more formal style in the workplace, a more casual style at home, or a more eclectic style in his or her dress. Some cultures also have specific styles for certain types of art, such as the gypsy style of music or French style of cooking.
Defining one’s style type is a difficult task. There are no easy answers, but there are some basic questions that can help:
What does your current style say about you? How does it need to change in order to say what you want it to say? Think back on past experiences and events when your style said exactly what you wanted it to. What was it about that particular style that made it so effective?
The concept of style has been a focus of intense study for centuries. The Greek and Roman teachers of rhetoric laid the foundation for a sophisticated analysis of style. Cicero argued that a speaker must always choose the right style for the occasion: grand rhetoric is unsuitable for trivial subjects and colloquialisms are out of place for solemn occasions.
In the modern era, style has been a subject of study for philosophers and sociologists as well as literary critics. There is a growing body of literature that deals with the concept of style as it applies to literature, painting, architecture, and other forms of art.
While the concepts of style can be applied to all art forms, the most significant developments in the discussion of this topic have occurred in the field of visual art. The term “style” first entered into the vocabulary of art criticism in the eighteenth century, largely through Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s History of Ancient Art (1764).
Since that time, the study of style has become increasingly sophisticated. A number of different schools have developed theories of style, and there are now numerous books on the subject. These range from practical manuals for improving the writer’s style to discussions of the nature and significance of artistic style. The most successful of these studies have been those that treat the concept of style as a complex phenomenon that involves many different aspects of the arts, including composition, execution, and interpretation. They also stress the essentially dynamic character of style, and they point out that there are societies (such as ours) in which prestige attaches to solid craftsmanship and the refinements of skill, and others in which prestige is attached to the new and the unexpected.