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Style Roots: How to Find Your Signature Style

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

In a world where trends come and go as quickly as the tides, it can be hard to figure out what you actually like and what you like just because it’s popular. Aesthetics also dominate style conversations, but it’s hard to find out what you want to wear if you’re into something like the old-money aesthetic, within which there are many different ways to present yourself. You may feel like you’re floundering in a sea of trends, aesthetics, and brands, not sure of what you actually want to wear and what you just like the look of.

Ellie-Jean Royden’s Style Roots system may be just what you need. Ellie-Jean is a content creator and blogger from the U.K. who focuses on personal style. While most of her videos center around systems such as Kibbe Image IDs, Kitchener essences, and color seasons, one of her other primary focuses is a system that she calls Style Roots.

The idea behind Style Roots is that there are eight different sources of inspiration for style and every person has three. The roots are:

1. Mushroom: minimal, neutral, and simple

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2. Mountain: formal, professional, and powerful

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3. Flower: delicate, intricate, and soft



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4. Fire: sensual, glamorous, and luxurious

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5. Sun: playful, sunny, and experimental

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6. Moon: dark, moody, and celestial


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7. Stone: casual, sporty, and urban

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8. Earth: natural, rugged, and grounded

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All the images above come from Ellie-Jean’s Pinterest boards about individual roots.

Your first root is the most important to your style. It’s the thing that you see first and what your style is based on the most. Ellie-Jean’s is Mushroom. If you look at her outfits, you can see how they are very minimalist and simple, with the details being more secondary. My first root is Flower. I am very drawn to the delicate, intricate aspects of traditionally feminine clothing. If you give me a princess dress, I will cherish you forever.

Your second root is the second most important aspect of your clothing. The way I think of it, the second root is what really shapes how your first root is shown. For example, Ellie-Jean’s second root is Flower. The simplicity of Mushroom is greatly informed by the delicate, feminine Flower. My second root is Mountain. While I love the delicate, intricate Flower, it is important that my outfit also has elements of structure, which modify how the intricacy of Flower is presented. Blazers are a staple in my wardrobe, but especially ones that are pink, intricate, and/or ruffly. Blazers are usually a statement piece and that is the statement that I want to make.

Your third root is what makes your style truly unique. It is the third-most important element of your style, and I think of it as the component that makes you pop. The first two roots belong to many other people—how are you making your specific style stand out? Why is it individual? Ellie-Jean’s third root is Earth. It adds a very grounded, rural feel to those simple and delicate outfits. My third root is Sun. While my outfits are delicate and structured, I want them to be playful and exciting.

You can choose your roots, but there is also a quiz on her website, as well as a more time-consuming but accurate exercise. Ellie-Jean also has Pinterest boards of both the individual roots and different combinations, the latter of which she is still working on. She also has boards dedicated to style roots in men’s fashion, which are significantly less extensive because she specializes in women’s fashion. Others have created unofficial boards for root combinations and their style roots if Ellie-Jean either does not have your combination or you want more inspiration. She also has a whole section on her website dedicated to Style Roots, as well as a playlist on her YouTube channel.

Once you know your style roots, it’s time for you to figure out how you actually want to dress using them. When I go to the store, I vow that I will not buy any pieces of clothing that do not represent at least two of my style roots. This is because I want all of my clothing to have the potential to go with any other pieces in my closet unless color or silhouette prohibits it. Also, I still want to seem fully me even when I take my overlayer off. If I wear a pure Flower frilly dress under a blazer and then remove my outer layer, this outfit no longer represents all of me. This is also helped by the fact that I swear by my own version of the Wrong Shoe Theory: the second shoe system. I almost never wear the first pair of shoes I imagine for an outfit when I have time to think about it—I always go for what I think will work, but not what I immediately assume will go with the outfit. The Style Roots system combined with the second shoe system will make your entire outfit scream “you” without feeling either too same-y or too disjointed. In fact, when implemented, the Style Roots system will make your whole wardrobe more cohesive.

Ellie-Jean recommends trying to make an outfit based on two of your roots and adding your third root with accessories. This works as well, especially when you haven’t been shopping according to your roots before and have instead chosen individual pieces that you like. I sometimes do this since I only discovered Style Roots about a year ago, so I have a lot of pieces that I bought without the system in mind.

If you’re like me and you’re terrified of spending money, Style Roots is helpful in that respect, too. Like I said: I don’t buy an item of clothing unless it fits at least two of my style elements. Sometimes it may fit both Flower and Mountain, but also has Moon—that’s okay because it has Flower and Mountain at the forefront. I am drawn to Moon styles, but I only ever actually wear the article of clothing if it has other roots, so I have stopped buying pure Moon clothing. I did not know that I was doing this until I learned the language for it, but it is what I was doing. Liking how something looks is not the same as it fitting in with your personal style. Knowing that will save you both money and space for things that you will wear.

Of course, there may be pieces that you absolutely adore that don’t fit your roots. You don’t have to get rid of them. You can even buy new ones if you truly believe that you will get use out of them. You should also probably have basics like plain shirts and jeans that may not fit your roots. The system isn’t the law. It’s a guideline that will help you streamline your style so that every outfit you wear screams “you.”

Emma Platt

Mt Holyoke '26

Hi! My name is Emma and I'm a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College majoring in Film, Media, Theater and English. I love writing about style, the performing arts, film, and literature. You can usually find me in the theatre or taking a walk while listening to music or an audiobook. When at home in Rhode Island, you can add watching TV or playing board games to that list, often accompanied by a cat or two.