Fashion 101: Bringing Style Into Your Life

woman shopping for personal style clothes

Every facet of a woman’s life is impacted by the nuances of fashion and personal style. Fashion influences us daily in sometimes subtle, yet significant ways. But it has played a more passive role in the lives of so many of us women. 

Our involvement or emotional investment in fashion, whether large or small, always has the power to influence us, even on a more subconscious level. How we feel about ourselves, or how we perceive ourselves. Maybe even how we carry ourselves throughout any given day. The vicious cycle is that our clothing choices reflect how we feel, but just as important, they actively influence how we feel. So, when choosing new clothes and curating an outfit, the goal is to focus on what positively influences how we feel about ourselves. 

Finding Your Personal Style

As the late Oscar de la Renta said, "Fashion is a trend. Style lives within a person". This means that we all develop our unique personal sense of style. Your style can be fluid and evolve with your changing interests, but can also remain as consistent as you choose. While your style can be influenced by other factors within trends, it's always important to remain true to yourself. 

Some women have felt a little out-of-touch with their personal fashion sense after the era of working from home. We all became accustomed to more relaxed clothing such as loungewear, athleisure, or other non-committal outfit styles. There is no better time than now to get in touch with what style and fashion really mean to you. To feel emboldened by your outfits, rather than bogged down or depressed about them. 

Personal Style Tips

  • Consider what is no longer your style and acknowledge what just doesn't belong anymore. Maybe you liked a particular blouse 7 or 8 years ago, but is anyone still wearing that? Visit the closet and look for those old items that are definitely no longer your style. Put those in the donation pile. 
  • Look for inspiration. You may not even notice it, but you're likely absorbing your sense of style passively. Since fashion is around us every day, we generally have thoughts when someone we see is wearing an outfit we love. Maybe you saw someone on Instagram, Pinterest, or your favorite show that was wearing something you thought was super cute. 
  • Recognize that not all styles look the same on everyone. After finding your fashion inspiration we have to face the music and ask ourselves the hard questions. Will that outfit look good on me? It's totally fine if the style doesn't translate, you can still use that general fashion sense to inspire you. Your style may be a mix of numerous different styles combined into one. Don't be afraid to throw in a twist to a look you love to make it work for your personal style. 
  • The ultimate goal in finding your style is to dress in a way that makes you feel great about yourself. Outfits are empowering and inspiring. But also recognize that what you wear does influence how people perceive you (whether we like to admit it or not). So consider what your outfits and style might be saying to others. Your spouse, your boss, or even your friends. Different types of clothes and how you piece them together to make a statement because of a style description. Words are assigned to styles that form a message to anyone that sees you. 
  • Dare to be adventurous with new styles. You really have to break free from your old habits. It's easy to just buy the same clothes with slight variations over the years. But easy doesn't mean it's right. You have the opportunity to find a new style that makes you feel even better than before. Try out a new boutique fashion trend that you're seeing on Pinterest or elsewhere. Maybe you don't normally wear dresses. Well now is your chance to try! You may be pleasantly surprised. 
  • Make sure your clothes fit you properly. When it comes to looking good and being confident, properly sized clothes will definitely help. Far too often women are wearing clothes too small or too big. Unless you're going for an oversized slouchy vibe, you should make sure it fits correctly.

Time For a Closet Audit

woman holding fashionable and stylish clothes on hanger

To find out our personal style, we need to also consider what we already have that no longer fits our desired aesthetic. It's also important to see our existing wardrobe from a different perspective. Out with the old and in with the new.

When we mentioned that you need to do a quick check in your closet for things that are definitely not your style, that was just the first stage. While checking for those items, we are talking about the low-hanging fruit. Most women have clothes they have been holding onto without truly knowing why. You look at those clothes and feel uninspired; you don't feel anything at all. Let's look at these as quick wins. Beyond that, we need to do a deeper dive into the closet to see what clothes we should clean out.

There are a few different approaches to this, but we won't go so far as to recommend a capsule wardrobe. While a capsule wardrobe works wonderfully for some, it can be very intimidating. Let's face it, a woman's time is precious, so we can't all commit to projects like this. We salute those women that can put in the hard work and dedication required to stick through a capsule wardrobe. But we don't want this process to be intimidating. 

Closet Cleaning Tips

  • Depending on the overall size of your wardrobe, removing all of your clothes from the closet may sound like a daunting task. This doesn't work for everyone, but it's a very strong start if you have the time. Getting your hands on every article of clothing you have makes them "real". This means you are face-to-face with it and it's not just shoved back into the depths of deniability. The most important thing to remember is that this is a positive thing, don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed. 
  • After removing all of your clothes, just admire the beauty of all the available space for clothes you absolutely love. But now it's time to start grading your clothes. Each item gets a "Pass" or "Fail", there is no in-between. This is when it's important for you to be honest with yourself and consider if these clothes still suit your personal style and fashion aspirations of today, not yesterday. 
  • Begin with the easy items. The "I absolutely love it and I can't live without it" clothes. Once again, these are the easy wins. Go ahead and put those back into your closet.
  • You will likely put off the harder choices until last, and that's okay. If you are struggling with the decision, just try it on and ask yourself these two questions. When is the last time I actually wore this? And how does it make me feel? If you struggle to remember the last time you wore it and/or it doesn't spark positive emotions, it's time to get rid of it.
  • Time to admit to yourself that you aren't going to repair damaged clothes. If something is damaged, it's time to let it go.
  • If you're holding onto clothes that are too large or too small, you need to consider why you are still allowing them to take up room in your closet. It can be difficult when we are faced with the discomfort of clothes that don't fit, but you need to make room for things that make you happy now. Don't chase joy like a rainbow that keeps moving farther and farther away. There is no shame in wanting to look cute at your current size. Remember, we are trying to develop your personal style and evolve your fashion sense now, not in the future. 
  • If you're on the fence about some clothes in your wardrobe, maybe you're not sure of their place in your fashion aspirations or you have some emotional attachment, use the reverse hanger trick. Put it back in your closet with the hanger turned around. If you haven't worn it within a year, there is no reason to keep it. A year gives you a chance to have many different opportunities to wear those clothes, including all seasons and holidays. Bonus points if you decide to ditch it even earlier. 
  • Remember, this is about figuring out what clothes you want to keep. If you approach this with the mindset that you're trying to "get rid" of clothes, it makes you feel like you're losing something. This is about treasuring and appreciating your clothes, not having negative feelings about losing the clothes you are removing from your wardrobe.