The fashion tribe were out in full force last weekend as thousands stomped and strutted their way to the Southbank for this year's Vogue Festival. Having miraculously bagged front row seats for the first scheduled talk, I was beyond excited. The topic of conversation, personal style... what it means, how to develop it and the eternal question can it be bought?

The main reason for my manic excitement was because on the prestigious list of speakers was Alexa Chung. Probably the least qualified in actual fashion experience terms, the other members of the panel including Vogue's fashion director Lucinda Chambers and writer and Chanel muse, Amanda Harlech. Nonetheless, I have appreciated Alexa's tomboy-chic since she hosted T4. In person she was as cool and collected as I had expected, and although I despise the term 'style crush', I guess she's been mine for some time now.

The one thing that the women all agreed on was that style is individual. It is a journey for many and for some like Amanda Harlech it starts as early as age five, "I graduated from dolls to me and my friends. I would dress up my brothers in everything in the dressing-up box and make them hold poses to put them in my 'fashion magazine'," she confessed.

Money was not thought to have an impact on our ability to be stylish. Lucinda Chambers, a keen vintage wearer, championed Britain's vintage and charity shops for giving anyone the ability to create their own look. "We are so lucky, in Britain to have an incredible high-street, incredible flea markets, to have wonderful Oxfam shops. I think we've got more choice now than we've ever had." Those with boatloads of cash don't always get it right either. Lucinda thinks that, "Women spending a lot of money, implies that they're not really sure what their style is and so they have to keep on buying. I think once you evolve a style then I think it's relatively easy to pick and mix, to have something expensive, something cheap..."

Next, the women discussed the importance of making mistakes and evolving their personal style, particularly as teenagers. I breathed an enormous sigh of relief, thinking back to my early Avril Lavigne 'skater' look. Amanda described her personal style as something of an armour. She liked to transform herself with different looks, almost as if embodying a character or story with the clothes she had on. "For me it changes really radically from one day to the next."

"When you're a teenager you make a lot of mistakes and you want very quickly to find something that expresses you." Lucinda Chambers

Our clothes often reflect our mood and Alexa's reasoning behind what she'll wear was something that really resonated with me. Not just as someone who cares about fashion, but as someone who uses clothes to make them feel more secure in themselves. "For me, clothes have always been about manipulation." She said. "About how I feel, so those are my three key things its first of all. How I feel about myself on any given day, how I would like to feel, and what I would like others to feel about me."

The panel agreed that, "It's how you fit the fashion into your wardrobe", and dismissed slavishly following trends. Lucinda describes Vogue as 'serving suggestions', offering readers ideas on how to wear particular trends, and demonstrating popular pieces from designer's collections that they may want to buy and mix in with their own style. Alexa said, "I don't think of clothes in terms of trends and never have. I often get interviewed and asked what I'll buy next season, what's going to be the big thing? But when I watch a show, it's a very selfish endeavour and I'm just thinking 'Oh I'd like to wear this'."

Comfort, despite the incredibly high heels worn by all on-stage, was said to be of paramount influence. It was also considered a key factor in looking unstylish. "If the skirt's too tight, you're hitching it down. You're never going to look stylish if you're not comfortable," advised Lucinda. Being comfortable in your clothes gives you more grace and elegance, which is the essence of style.

The frank nature of the talk reinforced the fact that everyone has a personal style. It may not be what is considered by those at Vogue or on the runways as 'fashionable' but is a style none-the-less. So, embrace your look, and enjoy it.

Style Rules:

1) Be comfortable in what you are wearing. Just because you found a pair of Marc Jacobs' heels on Portobello Road does not mean that you will look stylish if you can't walk in them...

2) Take what works for you from the trends. You know that tartan will never look good with your skin tone/hair colour/thighs...then don't wear it! Incorporate aspects of the season's trends in manageable ways.

3) You do not need a Swiss bank account to have great style. If you root through enough vintage, outlet or charity shops you're bound to find something chic, or even a cheaper second-hand version of a classic.

4) Don't get pigeon-holed into one look. Try different things and be inspired by multiple influences until you find something that you're happy with.