Browsing Pinterest, and reading all these posts about trends, purging your closet, street style and capsule collections it’s all fun and inspiring (maybe sometimes a bit frustrating, but let’s not go there today). But in order to actually use all those awesome inspiring things as actual inspiration for your very own life you need to start with the basics. Like for instance, figuring out what your personal style is and having a really clear picture of what that is before you shop or browse the internet. Once you know your very own personal style, shopping is pretty easy, browsing is less frustrating and honestly you start to feel more content with what you have and don’t have.
So let’s chat a bit, do you know what your signature/personal style is? Here are a guidelines/steps to get you there, it’s a bit different from most might suggest (I’m more about looking at yourself, rather than others — but really it’s whatever works best for you) plus there is a downloadable worksheet to help you find YOUR style
THE BASICS – and when I say basics I mean just the basics. Usually when you are looking for the answer to something you need to start at the very beginning. Start by sticking to jeans, tee shirts, dress pants, blouses, sweaters, boots and shoes that are basic and wearable for more than just a couple of seasons — like the basics from FRANC. These should be the standard for your closet, so make sure you get them right for you and your lifestyle needs. Make sure your basics are the type of items you want to wear everyday, the things you turn to for basically everything. Sticking to just the basics, lets you see what you actually need/want to wear every single day. And then once you know the sort of basics that work for you and your lifestyle, you will also realize what you were missing with each outfit (maybe it’s colour, pattern or trendy items) it’s easier to see what you like/love when you start at the very beginning.
HOMEWORK: Try wearing only basics (probably from your own closet, you don’t need to go shopping for this) for a week and see how you feel. What did you miss most? Were you able to be creative with those basics?
Disclaimer: the women’s basics brand FRANC is mine — I design and make all the items based on the versatile, wearable (for many seasons) philosophy I preach about above.
STAY NEUTRAL – Stick to neutral colors, and give yourself a really good base. It’s always good to start with a color palette that is versatile for mixing and matching (most neutrals go with other neutrals) and the perfect base for more color and pattern (that suits YOU) later. Like sticking to the basics, only wearing neutrals is an exercise is realizing what you miss, absence makes the heart grow fonder and sometimes you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone….same goes for clothes. Once you know what you missed the most, listen to that and follow those colours and patterns!
HOMEWORK: Try only wearing neutrals for a week. Which neutral colors did you gravitate towards and what colors, patterns did you miss most?
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY – Stop buying fast fashion, or at least for the most part. I’m not your mom so I’m not going to tell you how to run your life. But sticking to quality items that stand the test of time and are a bit more hefty on the wallet help ensure you go through the proper “do I really need this!?” steps before hitting ‘purchase’.
HOMEWORK: Try staying away from the fast fashion stores for a month, and start scooping out shops that carry the good quality basics you love (don’t know which basics you love? well I guess now is a good time to go window shopping and try on brands and figure that one out!).
CLOTHES THAT FIT, WELL – And then never ever buy clothes that don’t fit well again. Following the quality over quantity rule also helps make buying clothes that fit a much easier rule to follow. Because you sure aren’t going to spend $150+ on a pair of jeans if they don’t fit like freaking a glove, but you would be super forgiving of a weird fit issue if you were paying under $50 for a pair of jeans. Am I right? Buying only clothes that fit is a pretty easy way to make sure you are buying clothes for you, if clothes don’t fit your body, style becomes sorta a moot point.
HOMEWORK: Try going through your closet and getting rid of all the clothes that don’t fit you.
TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU HAVE – It’s a really easy rule and probably nothing to do with finding your style. But if you take really good care of the clothes you have (you know the ones that fit well and are quality items) they will last so much longer. You (hopefully) won’t feel like you need to buy something new all the time if your stuff looks as good as new still.
HOMEWORK: Try hanging most everything to dry, in my humble opinion the dryer is for towels, pjs, blankets, sheets and undies.
FOCUS ON STYLES THAT FLATTER – Your body is different from mine and hers — and that’s a f*cking fantastic thing. Screw trying to look like anyone else but you, let’s keep things interesting and be individual. Enough girl power for the day? Okay, okay. Simply put, buy clothes that flatter your body, do not buy clothes because they looked good on someone else. The quickest way to be uncomfortable and probably never wear that item of clothing again is to buy something that doesn’t flatter YOUR body. Your body is different, so your flattering points will be different, which means your style will be different….yay for different!
HOMEWORK: Try looking in the mirror, maybe even while you are in your undies. Instead of poking at the things you hate and beating yourself up for the things you hate, ONLY look at the parts you love. What are your favorite aspects of your own body? Now play those up with the clothes you wear and in the process those clothes will probably down play the areas you really aren’t a fan of (we ALL have those areas).
ADD ACCESSORIES – At first just go for minimal items. I’m not talking minimal in style, but in quantity. Like maybe one item per outfit, till you get a good feel for what you really like. It’s really easy to over do it with accessories, or under do it for that matter. But starting small, allows you to realize what you’re missing. Like maybe you just wore earrings, but as you passed yourself in the mirror you thought “this top would have looked cute with a long necklace”, well then now you know for next time. Once you know what you like and what you were missing, go to town and feel confident in your choices.
HOMEWORK: Try just wearing one accessory with each outfit, and if you are used to wearing none..up it to one. See how you feel, and notice what you were missing!
LOVE IT AND NEED IT – This is my favorite shopping and dressing rule, and I spout about it all the time. If you follow all the rules/steps above, PLUS make sure everything that goes in your shopping cart or the items that already exist in your closet are things you NEED (not a want disguised as a need, they do that sometimes) and totally LOVE (like want to wear it all the time, and if you don’t own it you will dream about it) then you are 100 steps ahead of the game. These two rules are your sure-fire way to make sure you stick to your style, by following what you truly LOVE (some things you might like, but maybe they just look better on someone else, it’s okay to like something from afar) and only purchasing if you NEED it (already have two pairs of high-rise skinny blue jeans? I bet you don’t NEED another).
HOMEWORK: Try going through your closet and get rid of items that don’t fit these two rules. And next time you are browsing blogs and or Pinterest, keep these two rules in mind — be content with liking something from a far sometimes.
BE YOURSELF – Because there is only one of you and we are talking about YOUR personal style. Trust your instinct and follow that, just because something is in style it doesn’t mean it has to be for you. Sometimes it’s okay to like something a heck of a lot, but maybe you only like it from a far because it’s just not YOU. When you develop that clear picture in your head of what you LOVE, you start to feel confident and content in your choices and sometimes that means not shopping at all.
GET INSPIRED – Now after all that, you should have a more clear idea of what you need, what looks great on you and what you absolutely love (and probably what you hate). Go and create a new private Pinterest board and use that to ‘window shop’. Browse around your favorite stores and pin the things that meet your new guidelines. What does your board look like? Does it look like your dream wardrobe? Now use this as inspiration, when you are purging your closet, out shopping in the future or getting dressed in the morning.
HOMEWORK: Create a private Pinterest board, you can to create a virtual dream closet. Don’t go buying everything, just use it as inspiration and a basis for next time you second guess your style.
And to make this even easier, here is a handy-dandy worksheet.
So how do these things help you find your own personal style? I know I’m not out right telling you and this isn’t a multiple choice questionnaire that gives you a profile at the end. But see, the thing is you need to find out that profile on your own because I bet 100 doll hairs that you wouldn’t fit into a specific style profile if one was laid out for you anyways. So guidelines to help guide you to get there all on your own is the way to go. And in the end your closet will be:
Filled with quality items you absolutely love, basics that fit well, a good amount of neutral base colors that make pairing items easy, the perfect accessories that add to your outfit. A closet of items that will make you feel good because they flatter YOUR body, and totally fit your personal style. (sounds magical, right?)