So here’s something we haven’t talked about in a thousand years: how to reassess your personal style and, if necessary, get your style groove back. Some fun things we’ve discussed in the past include where to start when you need style inspiration, the weekend you vs. the weekday you, how to cultivate style (vs. following trends), “next step” brands (as in, I’ve graduated from Express — what’s next?) and, many moons ago, how to revamp your entire wardrobe.
I’m going through a bit of this right now myself. This is how I’m trying to get out of my style rut, but I’d love to hear your tips as well!
1) Assess what’s working. For example, you may have a great uniform right now that works — like black tops and gray pants — and you’re just looking to mix it up a little without throwing out your entire wardrobe.
2) Assess where you want to go — and what’s stopping you now. For example, if you’re not a fan of ironing, the starched-blouse-Carolina Herrera/Arianna Huffington look is not for you. But you could add an academic look by wearing collared dickeys beneath sweaters, or replace the idea of a collar with a prominent necklace, worn with an opaque white tee.
3) Retrain your brain, if necessary. For example, maybe you don’t like the look of flats with skirts and dresses, but you ALSO don’t like to wear heels. This doesn’t necessarily mean that skirts and dresses are out for you, just that you have to educate yourself on how people are wearing them. On a related note, this may also be necessary if you’re thinking to yourself, “I wore _[trend]_ when it came around the first time and I won’t be caught DEAD in it again!” If we’re talking about Hammer pants, OK. But bootcuts — or leggings — or duster coats — or plaid — there are a lot of things that feel “trendy” but are just cyclical and come back in style again and again. The people who make the clothes are savvy enough to make the styles different by just a bit — the cuts are just sliiiightly different and the ways they can be worn tend to be different.
4) Get Pinning. I know, if you were in it to win it in 2013 or so with Pinterest, it may seem to be waning in its current iteration, but I really do think that this is where Pinterest excels. (Have you stopped by our Pinterest boards lately for some inspiration?) I’m pinning:
- outfits I like
- body twins where I like THEIR outfit (As I’ve noted before, my hourglass shape has turned more apple over the years, and it’s so difficult to find celebrity or blogger inspiration where they don’t look winched into Spanx.)
- outfits that challenge me — sometimes I look at an outfit and think NOPE, not for me, next — and other times it’s a bit more puzzling whether it is or isn’t for me. I find that if I pin the look after four or five visits, I can put my finger more precisely on what I do or don’t like (the shoes, the lines, the pattern) and how I might want to try the look for myself.
5) Start trying things on! Shopping, thrifting, clothes swaps… they’re all good. If you have similar-sized friends, try to do a closet declutter event at the same time. Services like Stitch Fix can also be great because they can force you to try new things that are a little bit outside your comfort zone. (I would also say that our four-week work outfit challenge might be great here — lots of workwear inspiration and ideas!)
Ladies, what are your thoughts on style ruts? Have you been in one recently? What did you do to get your style groove back? How often do you reassess your personal style?
Stock photo via Deposit Photos / nejron.
Right now I am purging my closet and re-organizing what I have and like to see what I really wear and what I really need.
I would also add – dress the body you have, not the body you want!!
On that last note, I would also add – don’t throw out your favorite size up clothes when you lose weight or vise versa. We are women and our weight fluctuates naturally. It is so helpful having two pairs of fav garments in different sizes to automate getting dressed.
This blog has helped me with style reassessment. The candid and helpful thoughts from professional women are invaluable. I ended up finding a version of the cropped pant that is right for me after years of disliking the look. It will never be a core wardrobe item, but now I know how to wear a cute suit if it happens to be ankle-length, etc.
I decided to do my style reassessment after a few very awkward conversations at the office. My style has always been very traditional. I basically wear the same style my mother and grandmother wore – khakis, polos, OCBD, skirts, and sweater sets, pearls, etc. People started to make assumptions about my political opinions based on my clothing preferences. I am a progressive democrat. I needed to figure out how to keep the comfortable classic style that I love without projecting any kind of intellectual conservatism. I went shopping with some younger friends (we volunteer together) and they helped me select some more modern accessories to wear with my khakis and sweater sets.
Boot cut or wide leg
This is a timely topic for me as I’m home today, and refining, re- organizing and small purging my clothes. I am 47, and many of my clothes from ten years ago, as well as two years ago still fit. The question I’m asking today is does it still look current, and suit me. I’ve been told by many friends and family, as well as have an awareness that I can “pull off” many types of looks. Nothing out there, but generally I love print, and colour, and I can tell it suits me, and works with my girlier style and hourglass body.
At the same time, like a previous poster mentioned her, I want to look current, and not dated, or overly prim. So,while I can still wear older things, I want to branch out. I usually wear dresses, but I always liked bootcut and wider leg pants, and though I’m wearing mostly narrow straight leg styles, want to re visit this look again. Very few women in my workplace or my west coast city wear this anymore, so I’m wondering will this look current and edgy, or if I should branch out somewhere else? I would buy new iterations of this pant, though I admit to having kept one tucked away in my “maybe will wear one day box…
You are lucky your clotheing still fits! I am younger, but do have trouble keeping to my size. Now I wear size 2 and 4 as oposed to size 2 and 0. Dad says it is all in my tuchus and he is right. I think I need to maintain my style, which is fashionable clotheing and bright colors. As I get older, I realize that my tuchus will be an issue (it was for mom), so I must keep it in check. Good luck to you!
I’m not sure, as I haven’t been following trends closely in the last 2 years. But I’d say, try to go through some fashion blogs and fashion magazines and see if you see that look? If not, then wait a couple years, it will come back someday.
I think “wider leg” is more likely to look “current and edgy” than bootcut. Most of my pants are bootcut and I can tell you I do not feel current wearing them.
– A fellow bootcut fan
I am a fan of bootcut and will always wear it because I want to.independently of others wearing them or not as it is my most flaterring. I know how to style it to look good and because I like yo go against the grain most of the time. That is my style signature.
I challenge myself every few years to change it up but I always go back to my classic outfit of knit pencil skirt, sleeveless top, structures cardigan, low heeled shoes. I do change up the colors more often. I’ve been following the advice in the Vivianne files about how to build capsules around color.
One thing I’ve been doing differently over the last couple of years is matching dress and cardigan or soft jacket. Some manufacturers will offer the same color in several styles and I tend to snap those up at the same time. It’s an easy look to wear and looks very put together for something like a conference or a presentation.
I take items that I never wear but can’t seem to part with and hang them in my guest room closet. If I don’t go get something in a year, my plan is to give it away or consign it. But sometimes I still can’t do it!
Late to the party here, love the site. I lost 40 pounds in 2017 and had to start over. I am ashamed to say I donated over 300 items of clothes. Some were hard to give away, my classic Brooks Brothers wool suit. At 57 it was hard to reinvent, age appropriate what is that any more? I didn’t want to look ridiculous. It has taken me basically a year to rebuild wardrobe. Pieces were purchased thoughtfully and I’ve inventoried clothes on Stylebook ap, which is a time investment. I now log what I wear and in a year there will be another closet purge of items not worn. Also helped that in that time frame I splurged on a custom closet. Suits have been the last item to purchase and I used to live in my suits, had over 50 from years of collecting! In house and less structured setting, suits are almost too much for my office. The men usually do not wear ties, sport coats rule if they have a coat on, suits for outside meetings only.