For years, I struggled with the feeling of never having the right outfit. Every shopping trip left me hopeful, thinking, “This is it! This piece will perfectly complete my wardrobe and showcase my personal style mastery.”
But the truth was, no single garment possessed the magical ability to solve my problems. My wardrobe was chaotic, ranging from a lime green sweater to a flowy lace maxi skirt to bedazzled denim shorts. While I enjoyed the variety, there was too much of it. Discovering my personal style required numerous trials and errors, with years spent figuring out my true preferences. However, now that I’ve crossed that journey, I can confidently declare that my closet is filled with matching clothes I genuinely adore.
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How to Find Your Own Style:
1. Spend a day looking at clothes—but don’t buy anything yet
Listen up: Shopping can be a blast, but it only sometimes leads to discovering your style efficiently. Dealing with crowds and long lines for dressing rooms can be a hassle, and the chaos might tempt you to grab items you don’t truly adore.
Here’s a better approach:
- Dedicate a day to browsing clothes rather than buying them.
- Reserve a day where you commit to not swiping your credit card but instead use it to gain a clearer understanding of your preferences without any pressure.
- Take note of the outfits that make you feel amazing, then head back home to reflect on your choices and strategize which pieces you genuinely want to add to your wardrobe.
2. Use Pinterest as a mood board
Don’t overlook the power of Pinterest boards when it comes to uncovering your personal style. When I started using the app as a source of style inspiration, I promised myself that I would only pin looks that truly resonated with me. Initially, my pinned looks were all over the map.
However, upon closer examination, I was able to step back and realize, “Ah, I appreciate this look because of its neutral tones,” or “Hmm, maybe I don’t actually like this look; I’m simply drawn to Gigi Hadid wearing it.” Gathering various outfit images that spoke to me in one place allowed me to gain a broader perspective and identify commonalities among them.
Another handy technique is to create a saved folder on Instagram, where you can add any outfit of the day (OOTD) that catches your eye in your feed. So, when you’re stuck on what to wear, you can turn to one of the saved outfits and give it a try to see how it makes you feel.
3. Step outside of your comfort zone
Always remember that clothes and fashion should be enjoyable in the quest for your personal style. Embrace the freedom to experiment and venture into new territories. If you try something that doesn’t resonate with you, don’t sweat it; you’re narrowing down your preferences and getting closer to discovering what truly suits you.
To kickstart this process, start with small steps. For instance, if you typically gravitate towards neutral colors, consider incorporating a pair of black-and-white printed pants into your wardrobe. Alternatively, if you prefer oversized and baggy lounge sets, try tight biker shorts and experiment with different styling options. Embrace the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and see what unexpected combinations might pleasantly surprise you.
4. Start slow and evaluate the clothes you wear on a daily basis
Once I finally honed in on the aesthetic I aimed to achieve, I felt a strong impulse to overhaul my wardrobe and swiftly donate anything that didn’t align with that vision. However, it’s crucial to remember that the race to find your style is won through a slow and steady approach. Take a few months to make strategic purchases, focusing on high-quality pieces that you can envision yourself wearing for years to come, irrespective of passing trends.
As your style evolves, it’s also important to reevaluate the items currently in your arsenal. For instance, are you no longer sporting those hot pink pants because they no longer fit or because your taste has shifted away from hot pink altogether? In either scenario, you’ve gathered valuable insights to guide your style journey.
5. Mimic the looks of people whose fashion you adore
When reassessing your style, look to individuals whose fashion sense you undeniably adore. Set aside some time to leisurely scroll through their Instagram profiles and ponder which of their outfits you can recreate using pieces you already possess. This exercise provides fresh outfit inspiration that may not have crossed your mind previously and allows you to uncover hidden gems in your own wardrobe.
You might realize that you already own items you genuinely love; you just need to be styling them in ways that align with your desired aesthetic. So, dive into the visual world of your style icons and let their creativity ignite your own styling possibilities.
6. Clean out your closet regularly
Feeling like you have nothing to wear? It’s likely because your closet is overflowing with ill-fitting, out-of-season, or disliked items. When you come across a piece that you don’t end up wearing due to dislike or stains, there’s no point in putting it back into your closet. Instead of allowing your closet to spiral out of control and waiting for occasional purges a couple of times a year, make it a habit to regularly clean it out.
A clutter-free closet will make it easier to see and access the items you love and enjoy wearing. By regularly decluttering, you maintain a more manageable and curated collection that aligns with your style and preferences. So, bid farewell to the unnecessary and create space for the pieces that truly deserve a spot in your wardrobe.
7. Keep a clothing rack of pieces you want to style
A clothing rack can become your ultimate ally in the pursuit of finding your personal style, especially if you have the space for it. Fill it with new additions or items from your existing collection that you want to prioritize wearing in the near future. By doing so, these pieces will stay top of mind, and you can effortlessly plan how to style each one by hanging complementary elements of the outfit around them.
This way, when the perfect occasion arises, you’ll have a pre-assembled ensemble ready to be worn without any last-minute styling stress. A clothing rack empowers you to curate and visualize your outfits, ensuring you make the most of your wardrobe and confidently embrace your style.
8. Use a tailor when needed
In an ideal world, every item we purchase would effortlessly hug our bodies, but in reality, often falls short. If you have a beloved piece that doesn’t quite fit right, don’t fret. Take it to a skilled tailor who can make the necessary adjustments to address the fit issues.
More often than not, you’ll find yourself loving it even more once it’s been tailored to perfection. This principle also applies to new purchases. Recently, I stumbled upon a skirt that captured my heart, but the small size was slightly tight, while the medium size was a touch too big. Instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole, I opted for the larger size and had it tailored to fit me just right.
Now, it has become a custom-made treasure that I wear multiple times a week—a decision that has proven to be entirely worthwhile. Don’t underestimate the transformative power of tailoring; it can turn a good piece into a truly exceptional one.
9. Utilize the three-word method
Allison Bornstein, a New York-based fashion stylist, caused a social media frenzy last year with her revolutionary three-word method. This approach is as straightforward as it sounds: pinpointing your personal style using just three descriptive adjectives. Your style can be summed up as cool, elevated, and comfortable, or it leans towards being colorful, classic, and bold. The beauty of the three-word method lies in its ability to serve two purposes:
- Understanding the style you currently possess.
- Defining the style you aspire to have.
Once you have established your three words, it’s time to evaluate whether the new pieces you consider purchasing align with them. Of course, they don’t always have to match precisely (if one of your words is “colorful,” it doesn’t mean you can never buy a neutral item again), but they act as a guiding compass directing you toward the pieces you enjoy wearing. Embrace the power of these three words to refine and curate your wardrobe according to your unique style identity.
10. Curate a wishlist to curb impulse purchases
We totally understand the allure: when an incredible sale pops up, or you come across a piece that captivates you, resisting the urge to immediately click “add to cart” can be challenging. However, to curate the wardrobe of your dreams, it’s far more advantageous to work off a wishlist rather than succumbing to impulsive spending.
Take a moment to evaluate your closet and identify gaps or missing pieces. Whenever you spot an item that you genuinely believe would be a great addition to your wardrobe, add it to a dedicated wishlist on your phone. Give yourself time to mull it over and contemplate how to style it with the pieces you already own. Then, when the time comes to make a purchase, opt for something from your well-thought-out wishlist that you’ve been longing for rather than giving in to impulsive temptations.
By following this approach, you’ll be building a wardrobe that truly reflects your style goals and ensures that each new addition is intentional and desired. So, exercise patience, maintain a wishlist, and make your purchases with purpose and fulfillment in mind.
The journey to finding your own style is a deeply personal and transformative process. It requires self-exploration, experimentation, and embracing your unique qualities. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can embark on a path toward authentic self-expression and confidence. Remember, style is not merely about following trends or conforming to societal expectations. It is about embracing who you are, celebrating your individuality, and showcasing your inner essence through your outward appearance. Embrace the power of self-discovery, trust your instincts, and allow your personal style to become a reflection of your truest self. Dedication and self-belief can unlock the joy and liberation that comes with embracing and owning your own unique style.
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