After years of keeping things just because they were nice, because they might fit “one day”, or because I might want to wear them “some time”, I’ve given up on the over-inflated wardrobe of clothes I never wear. Don’t get me wrong, even with whittling down my extensive collection, I’ve still got tons of clothes – it kind of comes with the territory, as someone who really likes bright colours and unique pieces – but I now know that every piece is something that I both enjoy wearing and that I should wear. How did I get to this point, you ask? Well, I would love to share my process.
Welcome to the second post in our new Fangirl Fashion Files series. If you missed the first one, check out “Being YOU” for some background behind what will be covered here. All of us here at My Fangirl Life are looking forward to sharing our style ideas and inspirations with you through this series!
Now on to today’s post about defining your style! I wrote a version of this post awhile ago for my personal blog, but I will be reproducing, revamping, and rewriting it below. This updated version will include new and helpful information for identifying and defining the version of you that you want the world to see.
STEP ONE: Get some style inspiration
It is up to you to figure out how you want to dress. There are lots of ways to do this. You can browse fashion magazines, check out stores, browse the internet, or take inspiration from television. The possibilities are endless. My method of choice has been to find some celebrity style icons to influence how I dress. I collect photos on a Pinterest board, which you can check out here (it is constantly evolving).
Above are just three examples of people you may choose to emanate, but your inspiration could be literally anyone, from celebrities to designers to just normal people. It is important to actually think through why you like each photo, outfit, celebrity, etc. This will help you to identify the things that speak to you in fashion, and really understanding your own style will make the following steps go much more smoothly.
STEP TWO: See how your current clothes fit in
This would be a great time to get a group of friends together to help you out. Go through everything in your closet! Try things on! Get honest opinions! Your goal is to only keep things that truly fit in with your desired style. With every item, ask the following questions:
- Does this fit in with my style vision?
- Is it in good shape?
- Do I wear this piece now? If not, why?
- Does the item fit well?
- Do I like it?
- Does it look good on me? (This is where your friends can really help out)
If you answer “No” to any of those questions, you should probably be considering getting rid of the item. There are obviously some exceptions, where clothes may not fit you well or fit in with your style vision, but they are your camping, sport, or around the house clothes. The key is to not wear clothes like that in public! Sometimes it is hard to get rid of something you really like, even if it doesn’t look good on you at all. When I got together with my fellow My Fangirl Life team members to go through each of our closets, we ended up swapping a lot of clothes between the three of us. They were usually things that either fit in with someone else’s style vision better, or just fit someone else better. For anything nice that you can’t hand over to a friend in need, you can look for a local consignment store or check out Trend Trunk or other online selling options – this way, you can make a little bit of money back.
During our closet deconstructions, we each did have some items that we couldn’t get rid of, for whatever reason. We created tags for the hangers of these items. When any of us wears one of those pieces, we get to remove the tag. Anything that still has the tag after a few months is on the chopping block.
STEP THREE: Reimagine your current clothing
While you are trying on all your clothes, make sure to rethink how you wear them. Do you have a dress that you always wear with a cardigan? How about substituting a blazer? Or wearing some chunky boots instead of flats? How about throwing on a button-up shirt over top and tying it around the waist? How about layering a sweater over the dress? Or wearing coloured tights instead of black? There are so many possibilities to re-imagine clothes that you already own! While cleaning out Justine’s closet, we actually talked her into keeping a few things she was thinking about getting rid of, just because we presented ways to wear them that actually fit in with her style vision.
One thing we did to help ourselves to remember all the ideas that were thrown at us was to create different tags for some of the items we were keeping. On these tags, we listed some different ways to wear the piece. Here is an example:
STEP THREE: Pick out a few rules to help you be inspired
This step is very important because it is hard to be inspired every day. You’ll want these rules to be brief points reminding you to keep your style vision in mind while getting dressed. Write these rules out nicely and post them somewhere that is visible when you are looking through your closet. This list could include things as simple as “wear a blazer” or “don’t forget about your footwear”, or “add some colour!”. A good set of rules will help to keep you on track with keeping your style vision in mind every day.
STEP FOUR: Identify future purchases
Now that you’ve got your wardrobe pared down to only the things that truly fit in with what you want your image to be, you need to make sure everything that you add to your closet helps you to move closer to your style goals. While going through each of our closets, we made a list of what our next purchases should be – things that would fit in and add value to the items we already owned! When you shop for these new items, take your time to find the right one; don’t just buy the first thing that comes along that kind of works.
Sometimes you may find items while out shopping that aren’t on your list but are must-buys. Just make sure that every time that this happens, you are asking a few of the questions that are similar to those listed above before purchasing. Namely, the following:
- Does this fit in with my style vision?
- Does the item fit well?
- Do I like it?
- Does it look good on me?
- Will I actually wear it?
Every piece you add to your closet should fit in to your end goals! Think of your wardrobe as a collection you are trying to curate. Every addition needs to be special.
STEP FIVE: Always reassess
Always look at your closet with a critical eye. Go through it every season to make sure that everything you are keeping is actually being worn, not just sitting there unloved, and make sure, above all, that everything contributes towards your style vision. I know that my own closet is ever-evolving. I focus on acquiring new, quality items that add to the look I want to portray, while slowly getting rid of the things that don’t fit in.
STEP SIX: Name your style
I mean, I suppose this could happen at any point throughout the process. It took me some time to realize that my style was “Hipster Folk Princess”, but the moment I put that title together I knew it was right. Get creative and choose something that works for you.
There you have it! Six steps to define your style. Once you have done each of these steps, you will have a much clearer idea of what you are hoping to show the world, but that is only the beginning. Your style will probably always be evolving in certain ways, and by knowing what you want to portray, you will be better able to make sure you are doing so.
Keep your eyes on My Fangirl Life in the near future as we are all looking forward to sharing more about each of our individual styles through this series. We’ll be deconstructing ideas and inspiration for such styles as “Hipster Folk Princess“, “Hipster Mermaid Grunge” and “Elegant School Girl Classic“. You can use this inspiration to define a brand new style that is exactly what YOU want it to be.