Finding personal style is a universal problem. Our style changes through different stages in our lives. Be it age, marital, or parental status; our lives and how we live them have a direct effect on our fashion choices.
Generally speaking, in our 20s we dress for our careers and for the purpose of dating and/or finding a mate. In our 30s many of us were “dressing like mom’s”, wearing the same jeans for 3 days in a row. Or wearing our maternity pants for far longer than is culturally acceptable and you only gave them up when your sister staged an intervention…but I’m not speaking from personal experience or anything….
Anyone taking stock can see their evolution. And that’s what fashion is… an evolution.
Suddenly you find that you can wear heels again because you are not worried about trips and falls with a baby in your arms. Your handbag can be an actual handbag, not the “nice” diaper bag from Target that you threw your wallet into and called it a handbag. You realize that you can have some style again. Yay!!
Not so fast…
What is your style? Is it the low cut tops from your 20s? Do we break out the maternity pants again? I’ll just pretend you didn’t say that and proceed.
Finding your style could be a fun little exercise. It should be something that you put some thought into. Ideally, you do not want to go to “Whatever is Quick and Dirty ‘R’ Us” and just grab anything.
Take some time and have fun with it. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Create a style board
A great resource for this is Pinterest. With Pinterest you can create digital style boards. You can search for what you want and more than likely get some great new ideas in the process. Eventually, you will see a pattern emerge with the styles that you choose or even with the person /people wearing them. Once you have accumulated enough pins and pictures, you can then “shop” your boards. Either by actually shopping them and clicking links or by going to your favorite stores and looking for the items in person.
Personally, I loved doing this. It didn’t leave room for a lot of impulse purchases. My purchases were made with purpose. In doing this I found that I added a lot of classic, versatile pieces to my wardrobe. Things that won’t be out of style next season and are more of an investment. It’s kinda like sticking to the grocery list.
Purge and take stock
A good closet clean out will really help you to identify what you have and what you need. Try on EVERYTHING! Things that may have looked great 10 years ago may not look so great now. Going into your clean up you may think that you have a great LBD; trying it on can be an eye opener.
When you are trying to define your style, don’t set unrealistic expectations. Olivia Pope has an amazing wardrobe but it doesn’t translate to a stay at home soccer mom. You’re not Olivia Pope. Make choices and purchases that really fit with your lifestyle.
Shop Smarter, Not Harder
A good wardrobe does not have to cost as much as a college tuition. Some store is having a sale somewhere. Know where to splurge and where to save. Use discounts and discount retailers for trendier at the moment items and consider staples in your wardrobe to be investments. A tailored pair of black slacks or a crisp white shirt never go out of style, a higher price tag can be justified.
Shoes are one of those investment pieces I’m talking about. The fit of your shoes does not change much with 5 pounds either way. These are one of the items I would tend to splurge on. When making the decision to splurge, consider the comfort factor as well. There’s no sense in dropping $300 on a shoe that just sits in your closet because they’re ridiculously painful.
All size tags are not created equal
Disregard the size tags. A size 2 in Banana Republic is not the same as a size 2 in Ralph Lauren. Sizes can vary widely from designer to designer. Sizes can even vary from season to season. I know this from personal experience. A size 4 pant from a particular retailer this year fit me like last year’s size 2. The bottom line is to wear what fits. Don’t buy or squeeze into a 4 because “that’s your size”. Moreover, squeezing into the wrong size visually adds pounds.
Accessories can quickly and inexpensively elevate any look. A red pump adds instant style to a plain black dress. A pearl necklace classes up jeans and a white shirt in a flash. Remember that accessories are not only jewelry. Shoes, scarves, and handbags can go a long way in making a plain outfit look dynamite.
Flaunt your assets
Spent all winter doing arm workouts? Go sleeveless. Always complimented on your great legs? Wear shorter skirts. Show off what you’re lucky enough to be blessed with.
Confidence looks good on everyone
Everyone has their own sense of style and it doesn’t matter if you’re a 2 or a 20. Wear what makes you feel amazing and the rest will just fall into place.