Reader Question – How do I get to be more adventurous with my styling?
Being different, standing out, taking risks—these are things that sound scary and uncomfortable, but are actually really awesome. Since you change your outfit every day, you have a near-infinite number of chances to take risks, both big and small. And if you don’t like how something looks or how it makes you feel, on to the next one! It’s also important to remember that style isn’t static.
Not only will your style change over time with age, lifestyle, body shape changes etc. fashions morph and change too and so as you move with the times your style is naturally going to change anyway, so why not embrace some change and take a few small style risks?
One of the easiest and most significant ways we express ourselves on a daily basis is through style. If you want to be more adventurous, that’s great. If you’re thinking you should be more adventurous because other people are more adventurous with their style, then maybe this is not for you.
I think it’s really important to know if this desire to be more adventurous reflects your personality or it reflects your desire to fit in with those around you.
But if you’re ready to make a few small tweaks, you can be more adventurous in a small or larger way. Here are my 5 ways.
5 Easy Ways to Become More Adventurous With Your Style
1. Incorporate Patterns
One way to add interest is to incorporate patterns that you really love. Patterns automatically make an outfit a bit more interesting by adding dimension and interest.
You can add prints and patterns in a top, scarf, tights or even as a jacquard fabric (a textured fabric that has complex patterns woven into it). In the image above, my tee has a burn out pattern, plus I’m adding a pattern with the kimono to add interest.
Make sure you love the pattern to ensure it doesn’t become one of those garments that really you don’t wear much in your wardrobe because you do not love it. Patterns are massively personal so if stripes are not your thing, don’t go for them. Find a floral, plaid or animal print that you love.
Ready for the next level? Pair your plaid with some floral or your animal prints with some stripes, and see what happens. Go wild with clashing colours, or stick to a colour palette for a polished look when layering them up. While you probably grew up being told never to mix patterns, I think that’s a boring rule! And you know how I feel about style rules?
2. Add an Accessory or Two
The most painless way to step out of your comfort zone is to try out a memorable accessory. Scarves, belts, hats, glasses, jewellery, shoes, belt buckles… Accessories can make a big difference.
Larger accessories are much better at creating more interest and style to your outfit when you’re wearing plain garments. If you really quite like wearing patterns then you can choose smaller accessories as you don’t need as much to make that outfit interesting.
When choosing accessories – consider both your physical and personality scale. You want to be in harmony with your outfit so wear jewellery that matches the size of your frame. In other words, wear small-scale jewellery when you’re small-boned, and large-scale jewellery when you’re big-boned. People with bold personalities and bold dressing styles don’t seem to be so overwhelmed by large-scale jewellery either. If you are feeling apprehensive about wearing an accessory, try a large scale accessory in a softer colour or neutral or a small-scaled, bold coloured accessory so it doesn’t feel so obvious and overwhelming.
Similar to patterns, you want to love your accessories. They should be something that excites you that makes you happy and appeals to your own aesthetic.
3. Add an Unexpected Layer
When you style your clothes the same way each time you wear them, after a while that chic outfit that once made you beam at yourself in the mirror, will start to feel tired and worn out. It can be hard to see the potential in your closet when you approach your clothes the same way each time. You need to look at your wardrobe from a different perspective and mix up your wardrobe
Look at proportion of the impact of layering different lengths. Subtle touches, like rolling up a jumper’s sleeves to reveal an undershirt with a cropped jacket, combine together to create a detailed look. Yet, you’ve not bought anything new – it’s all your usual clothes in a different format. A dress over trousers or a classic shirt in an unusual way – tied into a crop top, under a slip dress or paired with an off-the-shoulder sweater? Many items once layered and accessorized strategically, can take you in-between seasons and accommodate changes in weather.
If you’ve gotten comfortable with quirky accessories, give adventurous apparel a spin. Try fancy pants with subtle accents that make it unique and not boring – a pair of embellished trousers, in a fabric other than basic blue or black denim or a pair of vintage-inspired plaid straight-leg trousers. Find an unusual twist for a classic shirt – a unique fabric, print, or unusual button material.
4. Find Inspiration
My own personal style is something that has matured and evolved over many, many years. Eventually, I got to the point where I didn’t want to dress in clothing that I wasn’t drawn to wear naturally, or that I felt uncomfortable in.
Inspiration can be found in so many places – start with people you know: family and friends. Who do you admire at home? Who do you admire at work? What are they wearing that makes you think they look nice? Start to use those outfit ideas as a reference point
Big fashion magazines think Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, Grazia, still have their place. Remember you don’t have to buy them, many libraries also stock magazines for borrowing and some can even be read online! Work out ways to integrate some of the styles into your current wardrobe and look for dupes online.
Instagram is such a brilliant portal for inspiration. There are many fashion bloggers in the space right now, so finding a few that really represent your own style and fashion loves, might take some searching.
Use a search engine to find the kind of look you’re going for. If you know you’re interested in boho or preppy style, search for those terms. Many online retailers also have look books to showcase their products online such as StitchFix and BirdsNest
If you’d prefer physical inspiration, go window shopping. Check out boutiques and designer stores. Pay attention to how the mannequins are styled, and find items that you like.
When looking for inspiration, remember that it doesn’t necessarily have to come from fashion. You might be inspired by botanicals, art, film, or animals. If you see a flower with amazing colours, try to incorporate those colours into your look.
5. Reach For The Back Of Your Closet
If you’ve saved clothes for years, reach into the dark, deep corners of your closet to round-up outfits you used to love and have hung onto. Try them on again, and incorporate pieces that fit well into your wardrobe again. You might be surprised at how easy it is to mix and match, creating a brand new look.
This top is a great example of repurposing something that is in my wardrobe and is actually supposed to be worn as a bathing suit cover-up! It’s beachwear, but I love the pattern so I layer it over a cami and under a shrug to make it wearable off the beach and away from the pool.
Pick One Thing
Not everybody is has a personality for truly adventurous so you can just pick one little thing so rather than overwhelming yourself.
My Evolve Your Style challenge involves just adding one small thing each day. It’s not about doing multiple style challenges at once because it helps you focus on that aspect what you like or dislike about it. I like my Evolvers to take their time and compete one challenge a day so that they can be more aware for the elements in the outfit that they didn’t love at the end of each day. Over 30 days, you’ll start to have really experimented and found out more about yourself and become more stylishly adventurous!
Something I’ve found very helpful is to remember that my comfort zone is also a “habit zone”. Once I’ve worn something a few times, my comfort zone expands to include it. The first few times I wore my bright white cowboy boots I thought everyone looked at them, but now I don’t think about it at all – except perhaps feel a bit more cool 😎