What’s your signature style? What item won’t you leave the house without putting on? What, if you don’t wear it, makes you feel naked?
Several years ago I went on a shopping fast for an entire year. That’s right, I did. April one to April one. It was kind of extreme but it was also insanely awesome and exactly what I needed. Shortly before my fast, I had been working in my career and earning a good salary, a ton of which was spent having fun building my wardrobe. I confess.
BUT, I started finding that I was using shopping as an unhealthy outlet. I’ll spare you the details, but after choosing some big girl life changes, it forced me to get creative with items I already had and find new and exciting ways to change up my style. It also helped me recognize a few key elements to building my personal style. Here’s what I learned on style building…
1. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it’s out.
Remember Emily Gilmore’s cray cray purge in the new Gilmore Girls: A year in the life? She got that from the Japanese KonMari method which encourages decluttering life and reducing down to items that only bring joy. While, I don’t recommend you go this extreme, I do believe that a well organized and curated closet brings joy. It does this, because it allows you to get rid of that top you only wore once because it shrunk, and those jeans you’ve had for 8 years but no longer wear because they have that rip in the thigh area (guilty), or that sweater that takes up so much space and you never wear because it got so stretched out when you wrapped it around your waist that time.
Here’s the thing, you won’t wear these. In the words of Elsa queen of Arendale, let it go. You push the hanger with that article aside everyday, never putting it on. Because, my friend, it doesn’t bring you joy and so I say, let it go. These items will only confuse you when developing your personal style. Next time, yank them out and give yourself a high five for making more space in your closet for items that are on point with your style.
2. Keep with a basic color story, and deviate only for exceptional items.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received on fashion is to know which colors looks great on me, and to keep the vast majority of my wardrobe in that color pallet, only deviating for something that is super special. The reason: pretty much everything goes with everything. This means that I can literally pull out a top, pull out some jeans, and it will go. Hooray for versatility! This also means I have endless looks I can create with a few great pieces. Which leads me to say, stop buying cheap Forever 21 stuff, and start investing in pieces that will last.
Go slow, and shop sales then celebrate your shopping victories!
Add a few fabulous accessories, changing those up, and you are good as gold hunny. People will think you never repeat an outfit, moohahaha, they just dunno your awesome style secrets.
3. Do not embrace trends that don’t fit well on your body type.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, high waisted denim is just not for me. I’m curvy and waisty and they do absolutely nothing for my figure. I look absolutely ridiculous in them. Guys, it’s difficult because it looks so cute on some of you, but for me, I recognize that I look my best in clothes that fit my specific body type. So, instead of trying to make my body conform into a trend, I choose a trend I like, such as the whole army coat thing, and I rock that. You don’t have to be on point for every single trend out there (you might look ridiculous if you did), but my best advice in finding your personal style is to know your figure and what looks good on you and what doesn’t, then to dress for your body. You are beautiful, own your figure!
4. Choose a signature item(s).
I have always loved loved loved jewelry. Always. But I honestly didn’t get really into accessorizing and jewelry, specifically for style, until college. I remember this one friend of mine, Molly, who had the coolest vintage anthropologie style and she became the girl I looked to for fashion inspiration. She was so comfortable in her own skin and with her own style, that all sorts of our friends wished we too could be as stylish and original as she. Molly is the one who told me that an outfit is complete when its been accessorized. And that is a jewel of knowledge that I have taken with me and embraced ever since. My signature items are primarily accessories. I love a simple basic wardrobe enhanced with fantastic shoes and killer accessories. I feel most stylish and myself when I’m wearing a few gigantic rings, my Michael Kors or Nixon watches (oh my I have about 8, all the colors and metals), and a pair of fantastic gold hoops. I wear earrings every day, even in “active wear”. I own about 38 Anthro necklaces and have three jewelry “areas” in my bedroom/bathroom. Jewelry is my thing. Bonus: my husband clearly recognized this about me while we were dating and my wedding ring, girls, lets just say, the man took notes on my signature gigantic rings… well played Fabio Spinella, well played.
What’s your signature item? What won’t you leave the house without? What, if you don’t wear it, makes you feel incomplete in your look? THAT is your thing. Find it and embrace it. Maybe it’s a lip color, a specific clothing color (I had a girlfriend who swore red was her signature color, even though she rarely wore it, lol). Maybe it’s pairing super girls stuff with super edgy stuff. Think about it, then jump in!
5. No matter what, if it doesn’t feel good, eliminate it.
I really really love the off the shoulder trend. I loved it in the 80’s when I was a little girl, I loved it again when it came back when I was in high school, and I love it today (and am so happy its back!). BUT, I’m always SO uncomfortable when I wear off the shoulder. I try, a lot, but for whatever reason (I have man shoulders? Strapless bars are from Satan?), the look doesn’t feel good on me and I’m constantly tugging on my sweater to keep it in place in a cute way instead of allowing it to fall off of me altogether and end up in a pool around my waist, or worse, ankles.
I tell you this because ladies, if it doesn’t feel good, get rid of it. It’s not going to become something that is part of your signature style and ultimately it’s going to be a waste of money (and energy). Instead, curate your style around whatever actually feels good on your body. Dismiss anything that could bring with it an experience you could add to your list of most embarrassing moments.
Thats it, thats what I’ve got for you. Style is unique, style is personal and it should be celebrated. Celebrate yours as you refine and define it.
Happy style hunting!