Which 3 Little Words Will Kill Your Style?

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the 3 words that will kill your style - it'll do

The Three Little Words That Will Kill Your Style

How often have you been shopping for clothes and choose to spend your hard earned money on clothes, not that you LOVE, but ones that you think to yourself “It’ll do” ?   Is this attitude to purchasing clothes making you happy?  Do you look in your wardrobe and feel inspired by the choices you’ve made, or does it all feel lackluster, dull and boring?   Do you feel frumpy or dowdy or mumsy and dull?

It’ll Do … You Say to Yourself

 Chances are, if you’re buying the it’ll do clothes, then you are not feeling great about your choices.   So how do you get out of this style rut?
Go to your wardrobe and pick out 3 or 4 favourite pieces, then look at them and describe what you love about them – is it:
  • the cut
  • the way the fabric feels against your skin
  • the comfort level
  • the colour
  • the versatility – can you dress it up or down
  • the pattern
Then, put on the garment, look in the mirror – how would you describe the way you look and feel when wearing the garment – does it:
  • make you feel smart
  • make you look slimmer
  • make you feel a little different, out of the boring and ordinary
  • make you feel feminine
  • make you feel elegant
  • make you feel stylish
  • make you look approachable
  • make you look professional
  • make you look successful
  • make you look …..
After you’ve done this process with a few garments, notice if the same words keep creeping in.
If you are all about comfort – then don’t ever buy something that is not immediately comfortable.
If you love clothes that make you feel feminine, then get rid of the boxy and boyish or boring, look for clothes that have some feminine detail.
If you love clothes that make you feel bold or dynamic, then look for clothes that also speak to you in this way.
Just because it’s what your friends wear and you think you don’t want to stand out from the crowd, don’t go there, don’t let those 3 little words kill your personal style.
No more It’ll do – don’t waste your money on clothes that don’t speak your language.  Get rid of the clothes in your wardrobe that aren’t making you look and feel great.  From now on, if you ever find ‘it’ll do’ sneaking into your mind when choosing a piece of clothing, stop immediately, put it back where you found it, and keep looking.  It’s better to leave empty handed than clutter up your life with clothes that aren’t fabulous for you.
Want more tips on upping your style?  Then grab some of my free guides and ebooks here.
7 steps to colour and style

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I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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29 Comments

  • Sometimes "it'll do" is better than another couple of hours of shopping …

    I like the exercise of choosing the adjectives a lot. I'd say:

    comfortable, approachable, quirky

    I think these adjectives apply to any level of formality, it's just that what counts as them differs.

    E.g. casual: flat shoes, jeans, knit top, funky necklace;

    party: flat shoes, jeans, bright weird pattern top, statement necklace;

    formal: a-line skirt (easy to walk in), high-cut top (no worries about bending), unusual jewellery or fabric.

  • Being totally honest, I admit that when I had to buy a dress suit to a funeral of a friend, I went straight to MaxMara and bought the first suit I saw. Since, I have been surprised, that the choice was such a good one! This suit has been worn numerous times, even by my daughter. Usually I never buy anything that will just do..

  • Great reminder, thank you! I plan on buying fewer items this year, but making every piece successful.
    And it's also important, I think, not to wait until you're "desperate" for something (e.g. new jeans, interview jacket, shorts for vacation) before buying the item, or you can bet you'll make a mistake that way!

  • Great reminder! It's so easy to lose steam while shopping and just go with the next "it'll do" item you come across. It just won't be worth it in the end.

  • Couldn't agree more! And although I know this isn't for everyone (or maybe even most people) I would strongly encourage people to learn to sew. That was my turning point for leaving "it'll do" clothes behind. Now I make most of my clothes, and as a petite, yet athletic woman, I've never had better fitting clothes.

  • I love this post, Imogen. My closet has plenty of room for improvement, but at this point I rarely need something (like metscan's funeral suit), so I have little excuse to buy "it'll do" items. I still have to remind myself of that in the dressing room, especially when it comes to the things I'd like more of but have a hard time fitting, like jackets. I'm getting better and better at it every time I shop!

  • Ah, yes, if you don't NEED anything, then it's cool to shop 'til you find something you LOVE. But if you NEED an item, in a given day/week/month, an "it'll do" is often better than more shopping.

    I've and use a few "it'll do" items and I enjoy them tons, cuz they weren't a pain to buy, and they do the job.

  • Great post, Imogen… For me it was always cut and comfort in that order. (I don't feel comfortable in my head if the cut isn't right.)

  • My problem is that I can't seem to find clothing to replace the "it'll do" clothing. My grandmother made my clothing as a child, so I'm really picky about fit, comfort and construction. I'm frustrated that I have to choose between poorly constructed, interesting garments, and nice fabric with boxy cuts. I've found ONE company so far with clothing that I like, and can afford two or three items a year. So the "it'll do" items are holding the fort while I slowly add better clothing.

  • I'm back to say, today shopping, 50% off last discount so we are talking over 75%, I remembered these words and walked way! Thanks you!!!

  • I have actually become more of an it will do type of late. Previously I was such a perfectionist that I would frequently come home empty handed.
    But since posting possible purchases(at YLF)I have discovered I was rejecting a lot of things that were actually fine to other people.
    Now, recognizing my constraints – small budget, little shopping time, not actually enjoying shopping that much and living in a smallish town with not that many shops, and also in a Aus size 8 which tends to go off the shelves fast, I am a bit more inclined to buy something that I am not 100% in favour or, and ask for input before deciding to keep or return.

  • I totally agree! I think that my biggest 'it'll do' years have been in my twenties. Ever since I turned 30, I've changed my tune about clothes to an extent. Sometimes I'll just buy something with the 'it'll do' attitude, and that's mostly for jeans. I bought a pair of jeans that was too big for me because of that, and I can't even take them back.

    But now, I'll unabashedly go into a store and look at colors of tops against my face wherever there's a mirror. If the color doesn't work for me I won't buy it even if I love the style.

  • Good advice, mostly. It's good if you are able to find clothes in stores to try on and put back on the rack. But what about those of us who are in areas where stores *might* have a few pairs of dress pants, no jackets or tops to go with them (like is normally the case for tall women). Even in catalogs, it's becoming way too common to see the pants (and skirts) offered in tall sizes BUT NOT THE JACKETS. And it's usually the plain tops offered in tall, not the patterns, and I won't even start on quality vs price. So, now we not only have to order, but then we have to send it back if it's not suitable. Even if the return shipping is paid for by the company, it still takes time to repack, and get it to the post office/shipper. I'm sure it's not just us tall women that have the issue, although (at least where I live) there are many more options if you are petite or large sizes. Here, if you're petite or large, the stores have entire departments dedicated to you, if not the entire store.

    I apologize for the snippy tone, as you might guess, I've been shopping, or trying to. I wish I *had* the option of something other than "it'll do". I've only recently found your blog, so if these issues have been addressed, I've not found them yet. Oh well – back to the sewing machine and learning to adjust patterns.

  • What should I do if my choices and my bank account do not match? I would prefer trench from Burberry but have to settle for trench from Banana Republic. I often say to myself it'll do… for now…
    Thank you

  • Oh, can I ever relate to this, except my 3 little words are "not too bad" and I just spent hours and hours sorting a lot of those not-too-bads out of my closet. I'm not done yet but I'm on my way. Thank you!

  • I am a petite, wide ribcage, H shape, soft summer with major shopping frustrations.

    I love your blog and I agree with so much of your advice but I am finding that have to do ‘it’ll do’ because there often isn’t anything else. The seasons colours hardly ever are my colours, the shapes are often wrong and actually being able to get something I love very rarely happens. Add to this I have have a budget of very little continues to complicate matters. In order for something to be ‘right’ I’m trying to make sure the colour, shape, proportions, fabric, style, appropriateness for season, cut, price and my taste is taken into consideration. To be honest where I am this takes a miracle! I often go for price, good shape and hopefully colour as my priorities then the rest will have to do. I would love a wardrobe of clothes I love but if I only bought clothes I loved and totally worked for me I probably would have to wear my birthday suit more often than not. Which would not be very appropriate….LOl

    • Have you thought about sewing your own clothes or having them made? If you don’t like what is out there or it just doesn’t fit right – then this is a great option to consider. You may find looking externally to the stores your regularly go to also worthwhile as you may have got stuck in a rut of only going places that you feel safe for you and not considering other stores (or online) as options to finding what you are after.

    • To anonymous – I have the exact same set of problems to start with and clothes buying does end up with ” good enough” usually being the best you can do. I am however going through what I have with a view to doing alterations as i cannot see how else to get a good fit. I haven’t sewn for many years now but I’ve decided getting a new sewing machine would be more useful than more clothes!!

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