So, as I’ve mentioned a few times now, lately I’ve been going through a bit of a style change.
Oh, it’s not a radical one: I haven’t gone from retro girl to biker chick, or anything like that – in fact, if you know me in real life, you probably won’t even have noticed. But for a long time now, I’ve been finding myself feeling pretty uninspired with my closet. It’s not really something I can easily put my finger on, but, well, have you ever looked inside your closet, and realised that everything in it just feels wrong, somehow? I’ve been feeling like that a lot. Objectively, I still like all of the clothes – I just don’t feel excited to wear them, and when I do, I feel uncomfortable and… just not myself, really. All of a sudden, styles I used to love feel frumpy and awkward, and I find myself longing to come home and change into jeans and a t-shirt again.
I’m exaggerating slightly here: I do still have some clothes I love to wear, and as I said, I’m not really looking to make a radical change. I do feel ready for a bit of a style refresh, though: the question is, where to start? How do you go about changing your style – or finding it in the first place? Here’s what I’ve been doing…
// GO BACK TO BASICS
I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but when I’m feeling a little bit lost, style-wise, I find the best thing to do is to go back to basics, and keep things super-simple. For me, this has meant going through my closet, and being ruthless about what I want to keep, and what to go. I’ve also created a small capsule wardrobe of basics – I don’t stick to it religiously, and I’ve no intention of editing my wardrobe down to just 33 items, or whatever the magic number is that makes a capsule, but I do find it helpful to have a handful of go-to items which I know I can throw on without too much thought. These are the kind of clothes that most people would class as the absence of style, more than anything else – I’m talking about things like jeans, t-shirts, Breton tops – they may seem boring, but if you’re stuck in a style rut, and you’re not really sure how you want to get out of it, going back to basics is a pretty good place to start.
// WORK ON INSTINCT
When it came to clearing out my closet and creating my capsule of basics, I worked mostly on instinct. For instance, in my introduction to this post, I mentioned wanting to come and change into my jeans – so I listened to that instinct, realised that jeans are one of those go-to items I always feel good in, and used them as the basis of the capsule. I know many of you will have read about the KonMari method, which involves picking up each item and asking yourself if it brings you joy: I don’t use that method exactly, because not every item of clothing is necessarily going to bring me “joy”, exactly, but I do find I have an instinctive reaction to most things – for instance, I had quite a few items in my closet which I really liked in theory, but which I didn’t ever find myself wanting to wear, for whatever reason. On the other hand, there are some items I put on, and just instantly feel “myself” in – so those were the items I kept.
What if you don’t really have much of an instinct when it comes to style, though? Well…
// ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO WEAR
Part of my style change has involved a move towards a more casual way of dressing, and that started off with the realisation that I didn’t really want to get “dressed up” any more. I’d plan to wear a dress and heels, say, and I’d even lay them out, ready to put on. When it was time to actually get dressed, though, I’d frequently find myself thinking that I’d rather be wearing something warmer/more comfortable/less dressy – and eventually I started to listen to that voice, and wear what I actually WANTED to wear, rather than what I felt I SHOULD want to wear.
Not sure what you really want to wear? My best advice here is to start a Pinboard – or a scrapbook, or whatever works for you – and start pinning outfits you like. Don’t think too hard about this, just go with your instinct, and pin away. After a while, you should hopefully start to notice some common themes amongst the outfits you’re pinning – and these will form the basis of your new style. Before you go shopping, though…
// CONSIDER YOUR LIFESTYLE
This is something else I talk about a lot, but it’s something I didn’t do for YEARS. I’ve always had a habit of buying things purely because I like the look of them, and not really stopping to think about whether I’d ever wear them, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve always been dissatisfied with my wardrobe, even although I knew it was filled to bursting with beautiful clothes. When you spend your money on clothes that don’t really work for your lifestyle, then it doesn’t matter how much you love them, you’re always going to feel uncomfortable and out of place. So go back to that Pinboard you just created and delete all of the pins featuring outfits you couldn’t actually wear in your day-to-day life. NOW you have a much clearer idea of what your new style will be.
Finally it’s time to go shopping – the fun part! Now that you have a clearer idea of the style you’re aiming for, it should be relatively easy to go through your closet and make a list of the things you need to fill any gaps. When you’re out shopping for those items, though, don’t just stick strictly to the list – try on anything that catches your eye, too: you never know, you might just be surprised by how much you like it![Image]