I think one of the reasons we have the thought “I have nothing to wear” as we gaze into an abyss of clothes is because we haven’t defined our style. When you don’t know how to accurately express who you are through your style, it makes getting dressed and shopping harder to do. Often leading to impulse purchases of items you think looks “cute” and then never end up wearing.
I have this belief because my journey to my own personal style has been long and introverted. And I am still not fully there.
So about six years ago, I was holding this dusty pink, floral rayon camisole that had some frilly detailing on the bust. It was really cute. I believe it was a Lauren Conrad piece I had bought in a Marshall’s on a trip to Minneapolis two years prior. But I wondered, why have I never wore such a pretty, delicate top.
And then I realised something: I hate floral on me.
I hate floral on me.
My perspective suddenly changed. I realized I kept buying pieces I thought were cute, that I often saw on other women (whose personalities they suited) and wanted to mimic them. But when it came to getting dressed those pieces just didn’t feel right for that moment. Just because I like something doesn’t mean it defines my style. I can appreciate it without buying it.
Okay, great, what else doesn’t feel like me? Colour.
I rarely wear colour. I am slowly to introducing it into my wardrobe now because I am only beginning to understand my style and how I can incorporate colours.
So I donated all those pink, yellow, blue, and red pieces. And, aesthetically, my wardrobe began to come together.
Since then, I began to pay close attention to the silhouette of my outfits and what makes me feel most like me.
I never felt comfortable in a very tight silhouette. Not out of discomfort with my body, but purely because I didn’t feel like myself.
I noticed how I felt when I tossed on a pair of culottes with a white tee and flat mules. K, not to be totally lame, but I honestly felt like I could conquer the world.
I realized that I felt prettier, sexier, more confident when I wore wider silhouettes. I love wearing loose fits and, my god, am I please midi-dresses are a thing. I’m 5’6.75″ and I always wished I was short like my mama, and midi-dresses make me look shorter. It’s like how Audrey Hepburn used to wear only kitten heals to appear short. We share that vibe. If I toss on a fitted midi-dress and a loose fitting, long cardigan over top, I feel like I’m killing it.
When I started tuning into that feeling, I would get overwhelmed with this feeling of “THIS IS ME.” And it’s addicting.
I can go shopping now and see a piece I like that doesn’t fit my style, or see a woman looking elegant in a a-line skirt and take a moment to appreciate it while letting go the want to have that look.
We live in a world of such excess and stimulation, it’s so easy to feel like we want everything. At least it is for me. But when your style is defined, people notice because it automatically heightens your confidence.
A few other ways to let go of those not-you pieces:
- Give it directly to a shelter – knowing that cardigan you wore once, and maybe might wear one more time could warm someone or excite someone who will actually use it all the time is a much better feeling that keeping it just to have another option.
- Swap or give it to a friend – this one always works great for me when I am having a lot of separation anxiety (it’s a very real feeling I get when I give away my mothers vintage items that are waaaaay to small on me). Giving it to a friend leaves the option to wear that piece again, though I can almost guarantee you never will.
- Toss it in a box and leave it in your closet for a few months – if you never reach for it, it’s time to go.
- It you spot that item in a shop – first think of all the outfits you can wear it with and if those outfits are realistic. If you can wear it with a lot of what you already own, is it because you already own pieces similar? You may not need it. If that doesn’t work for me, I look at how its made (I mean I usually do this anyways now). If it’s a poly-blend with cheap stitching or looks like it could disfigure in the wash, I’m walking away. No sense wasting money on a temporary pleasure.
- You find a stunning piece online or in a shop and it doesn’t go with everything and isn’t completely you but kind-of is this alter-ego version of you (I’m picturing a hand-beaded vintage Oscar de la Renta bomber jacket I saw in a consignment store on Madison ave. once) – oh man just buy the damn thing because you know you’ll be thinking about it and once in a while we just need that piece. Also, you’re future kid will probably than you (thanks mom for buying that lined, red-leather ’80s pencil skirt). Spend smart but still live a little.
My style is a long journey and I continue to alter and change things and probably always will. But every day I leave my apartment feeling like I can conquer the world. And I’m kinda killing it when it comes to my own world, so it’s working.
Good luck to you, dear friend.
Album listened to while writing this: Future Nostalgic – The Sheepdogs