Intentional Wardrobe Series
Define Your Style
Welcome back for Step 2 of the Intentional Wardrobe series! In the last post we talked about Clearing Your Wardrobe, today I’ll help you define your style. You’re going to read through this post and then take a weekend out to follow the steps. You’ll be SO glad you did. Take this time for yourself because you’re worth it and because it will save you time and energy in the long run.
DEFINE YOUR STYLE
You want the clothes in your wardrobe to speak your style language so you’re communicating who you are through what you wear — and do it well. Let’s define your style as your unique and individual taste in clothes. A defined sense of style says that you know yourself and helps to exude your self confidence. Interestingly enough, this is one of the points many people get stuck at… including myself when I first started. I was wearing some of every style and color, wondering why some of my outfits didn’t make me feel confident… because it wasn’t me! It took me sitting and giving some time and thought to developing my sense of style and I’m hoping to help you do the same.
Collecting images of aesthetics you like from magazines or blogs can help you define your style. Create a Pinterest board to help you collect ideas for styles, shapes and colors… if you like it, PIN IT! Don’t worry about changing your mind, you can always go back and delete it 😉 When doing your research, don’t get hung up on fashion and trends, focus more on the clothes themselves: silhouettes, fabrics, patterns, colors and textures. Be realistic about looking for outfits that you would actually wear… just because you like it doesn’t mean you’ll wear it. Once you have lots of pictures, look through them and see if there is a pattern in the colors you chose, or the outfits that you gravitate toward. Are the styles casual, sporty, classic, etc.? More than likely, there is a mix of “styles” and that’s ok.
UNDERSTAND YOUR BODY
Knowing your body shape and what looks good on you is (somewhat) useful, but don’t let it define your style. Take a look at my simple body type guide below. Understanding your body shape isn’t about boxing you into a certain formula of dressing but, by getting a good idea of what flatters you most, gives you the freedom and confidence to experiment. Click the image below and download the pdf for yourself ;-).
The clothes you kept from your wardrobe cleanse say a lot about your style since they are the clothes you feel most confident and comfortable wearing. Now let’s get to “why” these clothes make you feel that way…
- What are their characteristics?
- What do you like about them?
- What do they say about your future shopping purchases?
Try to be specific about the fabrics, cuts and shapes. Use this pile as a foundation to grow and develop your style.
Your lifestyle should be considered when figuring out your wardrobe. Day-to-day activities plays a big part in what you’ll be comfortable wearing all day. For me, that’s not too hard —home/church/errands/weekend — it’s pretty much all the same, my job requires scrubs so not much thought to give there. On the other hand, if you have two very different lifestyles (the corporate fashionista or the athletic secretary), it means you need a wider variety of versatile clothes or you may need to create capsule wardrobes for those parts of your life. It’s important to have your own personal style influence those capsules too, so you always feel like you. If you would like a post dedicated to building a small capsule wardrobe, let me know :-).
Experimentation is the best way to define your style and narrow down your style choices. Sometimes what you’re used to doesn’t equate to what you like or what makes you feel good. Also, sometimes the styles we like, don’t necessarily like us back… and that’s ok! It is perfectly fine to admire a style from a distance or on someone else. Personally, I LOVE the bohemian look (I think I equate it to freedom), but it doesn’t look great on me and it doesn’t make me feel confident. Probably because deep down I know it’s not “me”. Try these little experiments below and see how they make you feel:
Go into 2-3 stores and try on about thirty different items. Make a pile of things that worked and those that didn’t. Is there a pattern? (You don’t have to purchase anything! Remember you’re still figuring it out and you can walk away from a store without buying a single item… it’s ok!)
Make outfits out of colors you would never usually wear. How do you feel?
Have a friend dress you up in a outfit they would typically wear. How do you feel?
Create an outfit with a silhouette that us the opposite of what you would usually wear. What are your thoughts about the outfit?
Remember this is experimentation and it should be FUN! If it’s not fun, then you’re not doing it right :-).
Now it’s time to put all the information you gathered into guidelines that will help you shape your closet decisions and personal style choices in an intentional way.
I’m a visual person, so I created a mood board to summarize and establish the overall look and feel I wanted from my wardrobe.
Your mood board should help you identify certain patterns in the outfits that appeal to you or the types of fabrics and colors you are drawn to (your Pinterest board can act as your mood board too). Along with the knowledge of what suits your body type, this will begin to solidify what your personal style is and help you direct your wardrobe down the right aesthetic path. For me, I gravitate to a minimal palette and pops of color – a casual classic chic with an edge look. Your style only has to make sense to you :-). At the end of the day, the clothes you wear should be able to represent who you are.
Once you’ve got a better idea of your style, do another review of your wardrobe. This time analyze your clothes based on what you’ve learned about your style. Chances are you’ll find pieces you don’t need, in which case I suggest selling them on any of the platforms we mentioned before. The money you earn can go towards the purchase missing items;-).