Reader Question – Biggest challenge with style is when I make a personal breakthrough and feel more aligned with who I am and want to be, my wardrobe is behind. It speaks to the older, less bold, less daring me. Most of my casual clothes and tops, in particular, speak of playing it safe and wanting to be unseen.
How Do You Align Your Wardrobe with the Person You Are Today?
Our wardrobe is all historical, based on past experiences and past purchases. Items bought in the past may represent a time when you were feeling different about yourself or bought from a different aspect of your lifestyle or a different location.
As we develop and mature through personal growth, we really want our wardrobe to be working with us but is it holding us back. It is stuck in the past and we feel limited as most of us don’t have over-sized budgets where we can just go out and replace our entire wardrobe all at once. I have some suggestions on how to align your wardrobe with the person you are today.
Having spent years working with clients in their wardrobes and helping them find their individual style, what I’ve noticed is that too frequently what’s in our wardrobe is related to the past, and not to the future.
There are personalities who feel safe and grounded when wearing clothes based on past experience. They tend to look more to the past as a prediction for the future and so tend to be very happy with clothes that they’ve had for a long time. It’s hard to let go of the thing that holds a memory as we think that if get rid of the thing, we will lose the memory. Fortunately, this is not true.
People who live more into the future, those who are always thinking ahead, consider what will work in the future, processing all past information and use that as guidance. Creating a future focused wardrobe considers what you might need in the future. Where you are going and how you want to be perceived?
People who live in kind of the present moment are neither really past focused nor future focused. Being stuck in between these two means you might realize that what you know you have now isn’t who you are but you also don’t necessarily have as much as that future focus to consider who you are as a person and how to replace your wardrobe so it better reflects you.
Previously, I had a chat with Jill Chivers of 16 Style Types about a different way of thinking about how to improve your style based on the Jungian model of psychological types. The two main versions of these learning styles called Sensing and iNtuition influence how you curate your wardrobe and create outfits.
Style Types who have an N (for iNtuition) in their type code – will often have more of a vision of their future self and be looking for possibilities of the direction they want to head in. Those with S (for Sensing) are great at the current experience and also looking back to what has worked in the past. For a Sensor – you may find it easier to look back at and review your style over recent time which will then guide you with the words that go into making your style recipe, of what’s working for you right now.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll have come across the idea of a Style Statement or Style Recipe. These are words that help you define who you are on the inside and how you want to be perceived by the outside world. If you’re not sure how to create a style recipe I’ve got masses of posts about this essential wardrobe tool here.
A style recipe is something to help you make good decisions regarding your style and to help you create your most authentic style.
Create a new style recipe for the you who are you are today – the newer better brighter shinier version. This will allow you to use this recipe as a touch stone to see what you have in your wardrobe that you could use to represent that style recipe. When you create a style recipe, it should also be present and future focused, expressing who you are and where you’re going, the very best version of you that will help you achieve your aims in life. A style recipe should be something that is exciting for you, something that makes you feel that it’s a slight stretch, but a stretch you want to make as it has a very desirable outcome. I think they are an essential element of becoming truly stylish in an authentic way.
I always think that style is a journey not a destination. We change as people, fashions change, and so our style will change and morph over time. Some people will stick more closely to a particular style over their lifetime, others will change way more radically. Remember that your wardrobe is like a kitchen, and should be purged of the out-of-date and no longer desired ingredients.
Once you’ve figured out your style recipe, you can begin to create outfits that represent who you are out of the clothes you already have.
Play in your wardrobe
People tend to get into the habit of wearing “this with that” or have misconceptions of things that shouldn’t go together – dresses with sneakers; leather with lace; red and pink. I remember one of my clients she’d read in a Trinny and Susannah (What Not to Wear) book that you couldn’t wear a pastel with black, probably because it didn’t suit them but for my client, it worked really well. Garments can be worn in very different ways by different people because they’re styled differently, have different colouring and they’re put together with different items. Examine the ideas and rules that you’ve created for yourself and questioning if those rules are still working for your body, your lifestyle and your personality.
This top is actually a bathing suit coverup – but I’ve chosen to wear it in a different way. Just because the designer put a label on a tag about how they envisioned it to be worn, doesn’t mean it must be worn that way!
There are some amazing ideas of how you can potentially change boring items into something that might be more interesting for you.
- Alter – They often think I’m going to throw a garment out, when in fact all it needs is just needs a small alteration to make it totally wearable and a great working item in their wardrobe
- Dye – Another way to revamp your clothes is to dye them. Quite often people have white shirts that are no longer that white, or white doesn’t really suit them, so rather then throw them out, I suggest they go and get a pot of dye and give that a whirl. They are often surprised how well this works and how they can turn something they never wore into something great. Get tips on how to overdyeand the results you can expect here plus everything you need to know about dying here.
- Revamp – If you have some unworn accessories, try your hand at refashioning. A pair of earrings could be shortened or transformed into a pair of hairclips. A vintage brooch could find new life as a necklace. You could restring several broken or older necklaces into a multi-strand masterpiece. Refashion isn’t just limited to accessories. Pinterest is full of ideas on how to upcycle clothing that you no longer wear.
- Mend – Sometimes there are items we don’t wear because they need mending so sew on any missing buttons, fix any hems that may be coming down, depill and defuzz your sweaters. Make some time to complete all those little niggly sewing jobs and you’ll return some garments back to useful service, extending the life of your wardrobe and stretching your dollar further.