do you wear that ugly top that is so unflattering you might as well have been wearing a paper bag? Was it because it was a gift? You got it on clearance? Was it a family member's that was passed down? Bottom line, if it doesn't fit your style, your body, or your personality - DON'T WEAR IT!
How do you define your style?
There are many terms out there in the fashion world, bohemian, classic, professional, eccentric, preppy, the list goes on and on. What's important is that you define a label for yourself, maybe it doesn't exist in the list above? Maybe that's because it totally depends on where you are in your life, where you live, and what your life consists of. Do you work an office job five days a week, stay at home mom, work as a barista, or manage a restaurant? You won't fit into any typical style because you are unique. Your day-to-day routine is exclusive to you, and your style should reflect that.
Ask yourself the two to three most common places you are in a given week. Work, home, the gym? Coffee shops, the outdoors, behind a desk? Organize these by where you spend your time from greatest to least. This is where you start to give yourself your personal style label. For example, I describe my style as laid-back luxe because I live in Alaska, spend my time working from home, exploring the outdoors with my toddler, and I enjoy luxurious textures like silks, cashmeres, or ultra-soft cottons. I also like to pair my clothing with my best jewelry. I have a mixture of minimalistic and bohemian type apparel that is both practical and beautiful.
Presenting your Style
Take a look at your current wardrobe. Is it busting out of the closet with items from college? Hangers crammed together with things you once wore, or haven't worn in years? It's time you claimed your style for who you are TODAY, and where you want your style to take you over the next few years. It's important to re-evaluate your wardrobe and style needs at least every five to ten years because your life changes. You move on from school, careers, motherhood, you move states, things just change and so should your style! That's the beautiful thing about fashion, it is an art, and you should treat as such. Dress in a way that says who you are without having to say anything.
Quick tip: Turn all your hangers around, for the next 30 days, when you wear an item keep that hanger turned the right way. At the end of your 30 days, what items are still turned around? Definitely consider ditching those!
What colors work?
There are some colors that look amazing on you, and some that are so terrible, if only you could see yourself haha. It can be really difficult to know which colors accent your hair color, skin, or eyes. Which colors bring out your beauty? If you aren't sure, start paying attention to when people compliment you. Are you a lipstick red? Or a forest green? For me, with a little sun I have a light olive tone and light colored hair, blues, maroons, dark greens, blacks, and whites are my favorites. I recently just dressed a woman with a beautiful rich Mexican glow (although it's a little lighter since she lives in Alaska), has beautiful dark brown hair and features, she looks fantastic in dark greens and charcoals. Bottom line, go with colors that accentuate your good looks, not with colors that distract.
The 13 Piece Wardrobe
What if you downsized your wardrobe to just the essentials? Scary?! If it is, you might be holding onto clothes for all the wrong reasons. As we get older, our closet should become more refined, meaning less is more. Your items should hold a little more value and should be versatile to your lifestyle. A 13 piece wardrobe does not mean you only have 13 pieces of clothing, it just means you have a select wardrobe of quality items that can be worn for multiple occasions on your average day. These items do NOT include special event pieces, outerwear, or items for the outdoors and athletic activities. Each season warrants a different look and wardrobe as well. It would be very difficult to have the same 13 pieces transition from summer to winter, or the other way around!
What does a 13 piece wardrobe look like?
Here's an example of a laid-back luxe year round wardrobe:
- 3-4 sweaters
- 2-3 cardigans/flannels
- 2-3 tops to layer under cardigans or sweaters
- 3-4 pants
Fall/Spring - I find living in the Pacific Northwest that these seasons can be interchangeable. Meaning I find myself wearing a lot of light sweaters, jeans, boots, and outerwear throughout the year. So I can mix both my Winter wardrobe and Summer wardrobe because all of my pieces tend to work well together since I shop with versatility in mind.
- 3-4 fun tops
- 1 black tee
- 1 white tee
- 2-3 dresses/rompers
- 2-3 pants
- 1-2 shorts
Of course I love to shop, so I typically do one big shop in Spring, then again in Fall to revamp any seasonal styles. This comes across on the boutique side as well when I attend the major Spring and Fall Trade Shows in February and August. I also take care to weed out any styles I no longer wear. And, I usually do this around major seasons, or around the new year when I turn my hangers around to find out what I actually wear!
When you have less to choose from, you tend to make better choices! If you only posses clothing you truly love because of fit, color, texture, you'll wear it. If you have 15 tops to choose from, it can often feel like you have nothing to wear! Which is crazy, but true! Think of this scenario like your would when you go to a restaurant. Typically, the better the restaurant the less pages on the menu, when you're overwhelmed with choices it can take forever to choose! It is the same when you're getting dressed in the morning. If you closet is only filled with beautiful clothing, you're forced to wear it, and feel great in it!
In summary, care about what you wear. It not only shows who you are but has long lasting effects. If you buy in overabundance from discount stores, your closet will be stuffed to the max, but will these items fit and flatter you? Instead, pool your money for that one cashmere sweater that you'll want to wear a couple of times a week, or a great fitting pair of jeans that you'll get tons of mileage out of. Often times, the higher the quality, the more care will likely be taken to stop exploitation of 3rd world countries who manufacture and sew these inexpensive items. When you take care in your shopping methods, it not only reflects on your beautiful style, but has a cascading effect all the way down to where the fabric is made and how the dye to create such pieces is disposed of. An entirely different blog but an important one and an important consideration!
Are you brave enough to work towards a 13 piece wardrobe? Comment below!
All the best,
Scott, Jennifer L. Lessons from Madame Chic : 20 stylish secrets I learned while living in Paris. Simon & Schuster, 2016.
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