Deeply Closet Series: Defining Your Personal Style
Now that you've gotten your closet all cleaned out, its time to start the fun process of defining your personal style! Really, this step can be done before or after your big closet clean out, but regardless of when you decide to nail down what you love and what you want your "uniform" to be, you should absolutely do it BEFORE adding anything else to your closet.
In the post on how to clean out your closet, I brought up the idea of creating a Pinterest board to help you identify what looks you're drawn to as a guide when cleaning. While this method is a great place to start, if you are really wanting to get to the bottom of what constitutes a wardrobe that is fully "you," you'll want to ask yourself a few more defining questions. Pull out some paper and lets make some lists!
- How does your current life situation affect your style?
Are you in your 20s, working in a corporate environment, needing a wardrobe rich in business casual/ professional attire? Are you a stay-at-home mom that wants to feel put together while running the kids around? Do you work in a creative field where style is more an expression than a dress code? Where you spend the majority of your time should in large part dictate what you put into your closet, because those clothes need to be the workhorses day in and day out. The key will be in finding pieces that can go the distance- a silk blouse that can go with a pencil skirt by day and a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans and heels for date night, or ponte leggings that work for errand running and PTA meetings alike. Invest in what you wear the MOST, and you'll find yourself asking "what to wear" much less often.
- How do you want to feel in your outfit?
What words would you use to describe your aesthetic? Do you want to feel confident, authoritative, and professional? Comfortable, stylish, and current? Unique and creative? Feminine and polished? Whatever words best describe how you want to feel when you walk out the door each morning, write those down alongside your current life roles.
- What colors are you most drawn to?
One of the best ways to keep a closet streamlined and purposeful is to create a color palette for yourself that you can easily mix and match. This isn't to say that ALL of the items in your wardrobe have to fall within this defined matrix, but it does help when you are shopping to go for the colors that catch your eye most often- they are always what you reach for in a pinch! I've seen a lot of blogs suggest that when you pack for a trip, to stick to a color scheme so that you have endless outfit options as your plans change day to day. I think this method works wonders for your pared down closet as well! Start with a primary color scheme (for me, that's black, white and gray) and decide what secondary colors play well with that basis (maroon, pale pink, olive green, navy and camel). This is where Pinterest might come in really handy if you need help in seeing what looks good together!
- What silhouettes work best with your body?
One of the best pieces of advice I've received on style in recent years is to make sure that above all else, your clothes fit the way they are supposed to fit. Be honest with yourself about what most flatters your body type, what silhouettes make you feel most confident, and that what you buy, regardless of size, actually fits! For me personally, I know that flares really help to balance out my hip proportions and elongate my already long legs. And anything tucked in or pinched at the waist highlights my torso in a flattering way. What does that look like for you? Put together some of your favorite outfits and put them on and take a few pictures- what stands out to you about the proportions and dimensions of this look that you can take and apply to other items?
Quick note that I feel is important: ladies, the number does NOT matter! Seriously, if you're like me, you probably have a range of 4-6 different sizes in your closet, and that is ok! There is no industry standard for sizing, and because of that, you should always shop by FIT and not NUMBER. No one is going to go checking the tags in your clothing! You will be most flattered by clothes that fit you no matter what, so be confident in that and don't be defined by an arbitrary number on a tag!
Finally, after you've given your style some thought, compose a list of what you think are some staples you really need to complete your wardrobe and make it more versatile. This may take some time to compose, and there's no need to rush it. As you're getting dressed in the mornings, take note of what you think most often- "I keep needing a third piece to complete this outfit, I should really consider some jackets and cardigans for my next piece." or "I'm loving my clothes, but some quality accessories like shoes or a handbag would really complete this look and work with a lot of other outfits I've put together."
Have fun with trends that resonate with you, but don't buy into the urge to invest in all of them. They are trends for a reason- they come and go! You'll be so much happier when you invest in the pieces you need that fit your defined style. For example, if your style is sporty, and you're loving the sneaker trend and it incorporates well into your defined style, invest in a pair that works to elevate your current wardrobe instead of buying the pale pink blazer that is also in, but doesn't fit your lifestyle. It's all about choices and investing wisely when it comes to seasonal trends- fashion and personal style is supposed to be fun!
How would you describe your personal style?