If you want to make your getting dressed process faster and easier each morning, you could create your own personal fashion formula, one that works with your style guidelines and personality, and that takes away some of the mental load.
Let’s take a moment to talk about mental load… I see references to it everywhere – particularly on social media and in the news – all about how women share the burden of it in most households. It’s all that mental management of the household. From what to eat for dinner (deciding what to eat, then procuring the right ingredients, then taking the time to make the food), to organising the kids and their activities and making sure they have everything they need …
So if you can reduce an aspect of your mental load, this frees up your brain to do something else, something more creative, more inspiring, more interesting … you might even solve world peace or cure cancer!
Is getting dressed one aspect of your life you’d like to simplify?
If it is, why not think about creating your own fabulous fashion formula. This is not an externally enforced set of rules to dress by or a strict uniform. Instead, it comes from you, so that you get to express who you are, in a way that suits you and what you like to wear.
It’s your cheat sheet to stylish without having to spend too much time thinking about exactly what you’re putting together.
I’m sure that the reason Steve Jobs wore his self-imposed uniform every day was to reduce his mental load. I’ve read lots of articles by about how it can reduce “decision fatigue”, which is why it could be particularly useful if you’re in a stage of image burn out (as I wrote about here). Now I know it’s not right for everyone, and it may just be at certain stages of your life that you want to do this. But it could also be a useful technique to help you get up and out the door faster and more mentally refreshed.
7 Steps to Create Your Fabulous Fashion Formula
- Recognise what looks good on you! This is where having an album of outfit photos is really useful as it allows you to see more objectively the shapes and styles of clothes that flattery you physically (if you’re not sure about your shape you can do my free body shape calculator quiz here, or if you’d like my professional opinion on your shape, you can get this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program). You can go through your outfit photos and pick out your favourites. Then it’s much easier to identify what works for your unique body and colouring and from that you can make a plan to rinse and repeat this aspect of your dressing. Consider body shape, proportions and scale with regards to the physical elements of an outfit. What is your best silhouette? Which garments will help you create this silhouette?
- Get to know your signature style elements. What do you wear over and over? Is there something about your favourite outfits that they all have in common? Is there a way you style your outfits that is key? You like to tie your shirttails, or do a half-tuck, or roll your jeans? Is there something you are known for (and I’ve written about this before here). This may be your signature style element. Knowing what it is means you can ensure it’s part of your Fabulous Fashion Formula!
- What do you enjoy wearing? Check out your laundry basket. What are the clothes that you wear and wear and wear. Is your laundry basked telling you something about your style? That you love jeans or pants, that you prefer dresses? That your favourite clothes are knits, or maybe they are wovens. Again look at your outfit photos – those favourites – garments or types of garments are in most of your favourites? Maybe it’s a jacket or some other sort of third piece.
- Are there particular prints or patterns you love? You may be like Jill Chivers who loves leopard print and includes it in every outfit (even if it’s just a ring or bracelet). You may love stripes, spots, florals, abstracts, tartan …. the list goes on. Or it could be a variety of patterns, but you want to include a patterned element into every outfit (or maybe pattern is not important to your formula – this is totally up to you as it’s your fashion formula, the one that’s right for you!).
- How do you accessorise? Again, look at your favourite outfits. What kinds of accessories do you include? Do you prefer scarves or necklaces? Statement earrings or a feature belt? Whatever it is, which accessories do you want to include in your Fabulous Fashion Formula?
- What colours or combination of colours do you love to wear? Maybe this is part of your formula. Figuring out your ideal value and contrasts can be really useful in developing your formula and creating outfits that are flattering for you. Have the colouring of Snow White? Then a high contrast black and white outfit may be your go-to. If your colouring is more like Cinderella’s then you may like to combine a feature colour with an accent colour in a lower value contrast, never just wearing head to toe neutrals. Is Ariel more your look? You may always want to include multiple colours into every outfit and eschew most neutrals except as a background element to your outfits. Figuring out your best colours and how to combine them is an important aspect of your fashion formula!
- What’s your lifestyle? What do you spend your time doing? What kinds of clothes work for your life and environment? What’s the season and what kinds of clothes work in your environment? These lifestyle aspects needs to be factored into your Fabulous Fashion Formula so that what you wear works for your life and style.
Once you’ve figured out these elements, think about the best way to put them together. Look at your favourite outfits and see if you can figure out in simple terms a formula that works for you.
Here are some examples of Fashion Formulas
Fashion Formula by Garment Type
- Draped print top + slim jeans or trousers + blazer + oxford
- Full skirt + fitted top + cropped cardigan + wedge
- Knit top + Patterned Kimono + Cropped pant + nude sandal
Fashion Formula Including Accessory
- Dress +cropped jacket + ballet flat + statement necklace
- Jeans + ankle boot + soft print blouse + statement earrings
- Denim bottom + patterned shoe + knit top + scarf
- Dress pant + draped print top + statement necklace + ankle boot
- Straight skirt + fitted top + long-line cardigan + print scarf
- Something print + statement accessory + jeans + topper
Fashion Formula by Colour
- Light Top + Dark Topper + Dark bottom + Statment Shoe + Statement Accessory
- Coloured top + alternate coloured accessory + neutral slim bottom + hair-coloured shoes
- Inner column of colour + alternate colour topper + print scarf + nude shoes
- Column of colour + patterned 3rd piece + coloured necklace + coloured shoe
These lists could go on and on and on!
The beauty of creating your own Fabulous Fashion Formula is that you get to decide what’s in it! It works around your loves, your life and your body, colouring and personality! It may change from summer to winter too. You might decide you want two or three formulas. Such as one for pants and one for skirts. Or one for casual and one for smart/work. There are no rights or wrongs about this!
You might find that downloading my free Weekly Outfit Planner helps you define the things you love – instead of using it to plan ahead, why not use it as a record of what you wear and start to see what it is that you love, what are the signature elements or pieces you go to over and over.
Your Fabulous Fashion Formula is not about being restrictive, it’s about creating an easy, no-think way of putting outfits together that will look great on you and make you feel both comfortable and confident each day! It can help you to remember to add that all-important accessory or 3rd piece or whatever it is you’ve defined that makes your outfits shine.