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Life is an ever-evolving journey, and so is our personal style. At every stage of our lives, our choices reflect our individuality, aspirations, and self-expression. I’ve been through the holey socks low-self-worth drab stages. There’s been the shapeless new-mum era where just getting dressed was a feat. And yes, there was the stage where I now somewhat reluctantly agree with my mum and dad that my skirts probably were a little on the too-short side all those moons ago.
As I was approaching my forties, it occurred to me that I wasn’t really inspired by what greeted me as I opened my wardrobe doors. Nothing felt as though it ‘fit’ who I was at that stage in my life. I’d lost my style mojo. The good news? I got it back and I’m going to share how I did it.
TOOL 1: JOURNALLING TO UNEARTH STYLE ANCHORS
Armed with a notepad and pen, I journalled on this question “What am I wearing when I feel my me-est me?”.
This helped me identify my ‘anchor pieces’.
Long hair: I’ve got thick, coarse, wavy hair which I like to wear long because I like to be able to claw-clip it up. A style that’s stayed with me right from my teens through to now. Too long and it annoys me. Too short and it goes haywire. One of the me-est things is when I like my hair.
Pretty earrings: a lifelong fan of earrings which tend to be sterling silver hoops of differing sizes and styles. I really enjoy choosing which pair to wear to match my outfit and feel a bit naked without them.
Painted toenails: the brighter the better and even in winter! I love seeing a pop of colour on my feet. My favourite tones are warm ones in coral, pink or orange. I’m feeling most myself if my fingernails are also painted.
Sunglasses: I have quite a collection of sunglasses and I love mixing and matching them to my outfits in the summer. A lot of my sets are from Vans because they’re affordable and the designs are lovely.
Tip: you mightn’t get such a long list when you journal on that same question. If you’re struggling, consider someone whose style you admire and journal on ‘why’ you admire it. You’re trying to pull at threads to find a few anchors to build the rest of it around.
TOOL 2: Alllll the pinning on Pinterest
Armed with my anchor pieces, I headed to Pinterest and created a whole host of boards built around those. You can see my boards here – note the jewellery, nail polish, and summer footwear!
What’s so great about Pinterest is that once you’ve added a few pins to a board, it starts to suggest pins it thinks you might like. In my experience, they’ve been pretty spot on and helped me to build a better idea of my sense of style.
I find it helps to come back to my boards with fresh eyes and to remove any pins which don’t feel quite the right fit. The more you do this, the easier it gets to trust your gut feelings on an outfit or item. This constant revision will help you to get a clearer picture of the style that meets you where you are right now.
TOOL 3: Get decluttering (and make money)
The next step is to address what’s physically in your wardrobe and drawers right now, including shoes and accessories, using your Pinterest boards as a reference. You’ll know from your Pinterest boards the types of outfits you want to be working towards and building.
Take out everything and lay it on your bed or floor. Then reflect on each item:
- do you still love it? If no, put it on the ‘no’ pile. If yes, put it back in your wardrobe.
- does it fit (size-wise and new-style-wise)? If no, put it on the ‘no’ pile. If yes, and you love it, put it back in the wardrobe.
I ended up sorting my ‘no’ pile into a few piles:
- a pile to donate to a charity shop
- a pile to sell
- a couple of items that were in awful condition that I threw away
Tool 4: Use Google Lens to shop your new style
Now that you’ve got some cash at your disposal, you can gradually re-stock your wardrobe. Pinterest is ace at giving us inspiration but one bug-bear is how often you’ll go to click on a link and the item will no longer be available.
Fear not, there’s a workaround. Take a screenshot of the outfit/item. Go to Google Lens and upload the screenshot. Google Lens will then search the internet for similar items and provide you with the images and links to them.
I saved this image of a dusky pink coat from one of my Pinterest boards:
Google Lens found me, these similar options (and tons more) within differing budgets:
You could also upload images of outfits you’ve seen in a magazine, or on Instagram. It works with shoes and accessories – I even follow a similar process when I’m redecorating a room!
You can, of course, search pre-owned clothing sites for items too.
Rinse and Repeat
As you grow and evolve, if your wardrobe no longer feels as though it’s a representation of who you are, simply repeat the steps above to find your refreshed sense of style. You’ve not ever lost your sense of style, it’s more likely that you’ve outgrown an older version of it. Whilst this process works brilliantly for me, I also highly recommend Erica Davies’ book ‘Leopard is a Neutral’.
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