Are you in a style rut? They have been pretty common after the pandemic lockdowns as there wasn’t a need to get dressed up. Then we can get out of the habit of getting dressed up or just feeling conspicuous as everyone else is still dressing down in their activewear.
The lack of being able to shop anyway but online as well has meant that many have found their wardrobe a bit lacking recently and things wear out and you haven’t been able to find a replacement. Plus last fashion season was honestly the most boring fashion season I’ve ever seen, totally uninspiring and so even if you wanted to shop unless you were after a basic, there was little else in stores.
Fortunately, things are changing and there is a newer trend that has been called “dopamine dressing” with brighter colours dominating, giving you a hit of happiness (as colours really do make us happier than black and all neutrals according to research).
Jill Chivers of 16 Style Types and I discuss style ruts in this video – watch it now
How Do You Know if You’re In a Style Rut?
What is a style rut for you anyway? How do you define what a style rut is for you and your style?
I believe that if you would define your style as being in a rut, then it will feel negative to you. It can make you feel dissatisfied, bored, bland or something else that isn’t giving you the lift you’d like and the feeling of being the stylish version of you.
A style rut is different from a self-defined uniform if that way of uniform dressing makes you feel stylish.
But if you’re wearing the same 2 pairs of jeans and 3 tops week in, week out and you’re not happy, then this is likely to be a style rut for you.
If you’ve lost your sense of style, then this would also be defined as a style rut.
Habits can be great when we apply them to things we need to do to keep us healthy – daily exercise, brushing your teeth, eating a healthy meal or two every day – all great habits.
A slapdash approach to your style, or being on autopilot, reaching for the same things over and over with no thought is likely to end up as a bad habit rather than a good one, and you’ll discover yourself in rut-town pretty quickly if you approach your style in this way.
Variety and Stability
Over the past few pandemic years, little in our lives has been stable. We have been living in a very uncertain world, which means we may have been reaching for the tried-and-trusted, or the same outfits day after day as we have had a low need for variety, we yearn for stability.
The swing from activewear and basics to dopamine dressing, to wearing something more different is an indicator that the overly stable way of getting dressed has gone from certain, to boring, and so our human need for difference and variety is piqued.
Any period of instability in our worlds, divorce, illness, changing locations, changing careers or jobs, we tend to reach for something that makes us feel more stable – something less changeable.
It can be common when going through a relationship break up to make a radical change to your style, most commonly seen in radical haircuts or hair transformations as if we are shedding an old skin into a new and improved version.
Transforming Your Style
When we have a big transformation in our lives, or have come through to the other side of an uncertain time, this is a great invitation to reinvent your style for the you that you are today, rather than who you were before. Reassessing your style to see if it’s who you are now and that it will aid you in moving your life forwards to where you want to go is an important aspect to your style. Getting stuck in a rut makes others believe that you are not current, or forward-thinking, and that you don’t move with the times.
One of my Personal Styling students wrote in an assignment where she had to assess her own wardrobe and asked about what it was communicating to her (if she pretended that it wasn’t her own wardrobe):
“I’d say the owner of the wardrobe is young, casual, low-key, can be fun, but mostly doesn’t like attention, likes to be comfortable. This was an interesting exercise because that’s not at all how I’d like to be presenting myself! I’d like to feel more sophisticated and tailored on an everyday basis.”
Just noticing what your wardrobe is saying – imagine it’s not yours, and see what it says to you, can be so revealing – and like my student, you may decide to transform your style to where you want to go, rather than where you’ve been.
How Long Has it Been Since Your Style Has Changed?
You may not even be aware that your style has stagnated, as you’ve not been thinking about your style and have just kept on wearing the same sorts of clothes year in, year out.
Style Rules (or what you think of as style rules) may be keeping you in a rut, if you haven’t reassessed what these rules really mean to you and if they are still relevant. And this is just a small part of our Your Type of Style program (which only opens once a year) that gives you the opportunity to figure out what puts you in a style rut, where style rules fit in your life and style, and how you can approach your style in a way that makes you feel authentically stylish every day.
What’s your internal motivation with regards to style ruts and how you know if you’re in one or not? I’d love to know – tell me in the comments.