There’s a saying about New York City from “Sex and the City” that’s always stuck with me: “In New York, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.” As time goes on, everything changes in your life: your work, home, personality and yes, wardrobe.
That last one is a killer. I’m going through it now, and it’s not the first time!
During college, I built my wardrobe with what I thought were timeless pieces: solids, striped tops and tons of ballet flats. But, this was too “boring” to be the forever wardrobe I hoped for; I had to learn about my true style the hard way. I went through a few phases where I would look in my closet and think “This isn’t me.” Or, I would walk into my favorite stores and leave with nothing. There wasn’t one piece that looked like it fit my style anymore.
It was so frustrating!
Going through the same thing? You’re not alone. In fact, it’s a good thing. It actually means you’re doing something right. The more your style changes, the more you’ve grown as a person. Your personality is meant to evolve as you figure out who in the world you are meant to become.
But, here’s the thing; How do you figure out your style when you barely have time to make cereal in the morning? That’s what I’m going to help you with.
Take an Audit of Your Style
The first place to start is with your foundation. You picked the pieces in your closet for a reason. Are they casual? Trendy? Classic? Is there a specific tone or color scheme you tend to go for?
I have this random obsession with all things navy, black, gray, pink and blue. I swear, every time I go shopping, I end up getting a neutral or a bold color, nothing in between. The pieces that make it into my closet are simply classic with some fun little flair. They just feel right when I look in the mirror.
That last part is especially important.
No matter what you think your style is or what it may become, you’ll know it for sure when you look in the mirror and feel like “you.”
Go to a Department Store Or Your Favorite Street to Shop
Now that you kinda understand your taste, it’s time for some inspiration.
When I need a new “muse” for my wardrobe, or just a good deal on shoes, I head to Macy’s Herald Square on my lunch break. Yes, not 5th Avenue, but Macy’s. Let me explain why.
When I was interning for an agency on 35th street, Herald Square was one of the only places I knew how to get to without getting lost. It was nearby, filled with every brand I wanted at the time, and my mom would get a discount with her Macy’s card. I’d go in and spend an hour sifting through every new display, top, dress and boot. It was like a mini shopping heaven. (I still get that feeling sometimes.) The fact that it’s huge (8+ floors!) and most prices were affordable, only made it better.
Here’s the thing, I was there the other day and headed straight for my go-to sections. I thought I would be in the dressing room for an hour, trying on a bunch of different looks. This time, that didn’t happen. I liked NOTHING in the store. Ahh!
When you’re style changes, it forces you to try something new and own it. Whether this be pairing a plaid shirt dress with star-detailed leather boots or re-doing your entire wardrobe, it’s time to go outside of your comfort zone. This is why when I didn’t find anything I liked, I headed for some new departments as well as 5th Avenue, the following day.
This brings me to my next point.
Find One Store / Brand that Speaks to You
It can be daunting to think of reinventing your style, especially when your free time consists of the 5 hours you’re sleeping and maybe 20 other minutes during the day. So, after you understand your taste and go for that dose of inspiration, the next step is to identify one brand that feels most like the new you. Not 50, just one.
What stood out to you most when you were sifting through racks and walking past different stores? (No worries if you can’t think of any or want a faster option. Open up a magazine and see what grabs your attention.) These are the things that will make up your new style. Find one brand at a time and soon enough you’ll have a new list of go-to labels.
Don’t Let the Price Tag Hold You Back
Yes, I’m telling you to look at Forever 21 as much as Hermés. What you want to identify is the cut, design, color and patterns you like best. What is it about the brands or stores you’ve been looking at that makes you love them? The price is not important for this. Once you have an idea of what you like, you’ll be better set to move forward.
Most importantly, you know you can always find that luxe piece for less, somewhere else.
When in Doubt, Try-On or Rent
I was reminded of this after listening to one of my favorite podcasts, POP Fashion. (Love you Lisa & Kaarin!) Rent the Runway recently launched new membership options. These make it easier for you to borrow multiple pieces a month and test out your style. When you do so, or just try on new things in the store dressing room, there’s little risk. You can test out those designer pieces you love and still stay on budget. I for one have not needed to rent a dress or anything else for an event, but I see the value in it and encourage you to find the best option for you.
Now, that you’ve completed all these steps….
It’s time your ID your New Style.
Still confused? I was too, so I went through my closet and put together a few looks with different pieces that seemed closet to the “new me.” Feel free to do the same and then ask yourself: am I sophisticated, casual, athletic or totally whimsical? Use every adjective you can think of if that works for you, and see what fits. Still not sure? Here are a few ideas to help you out because not everyone fits into just one category or another:
Got it? Yay! You should be more than proud of understanding this new you and conquering your style. If you liked this post, please share the style that fits you best with #stylisticreaction.
Have a great week everyone! Head back here soon for more designer details and fashion news to love.