“You have such a quirky style.” “I will remember you for your colorful clothes.” “How did you think of putting that belt with that dress?” “I’d never thought of putting red and grey together.” Just a few quotes from friends, family, colleagues and students regarding my clothing style. I don’t tend to have one style of clothing. I can go from prep to girly and from tomboy tough to classic minimalist in the time span of one week. And it costs me no effort. I simply like switching things up but it took me some time to figure out what I like wearing. Finding your style or a basic way of putting outfits together is not rocket science. There is reason to the madness. And here’s how I create mine.
1.) Try out new things: get out of your comfort zone.
You will never find out what looks truly nice on you if you don’t give things a shot. When shopping I tend to simply try on everything that remotely catches my eye. Sometimes that will lead to “oh wow this looks really good on me” moments but mostly it goes into “oh yuck no”. As an 18-year-old I had sworn off all dresses and vowed never to wear them again. Only to find out that dresses actually fit me very nicely and now I wear them all the time.
2.) Don’t be afraid to get it wrong.
Even the most fashionable fashionistas get it wrong sometimes so if there is one thing you should not be afraid of is getting it wrong. Try on outfits before you wear them out, if you want to avoid this, but sometimes your preference for certain items may be a phase. I mean, I went through a dungarees + combat boots phase throughout my late teens. Even though right now it makes me cringe, I thought it was super duper cool at the time. It made me happy then and so I wore it. If you want to wear something, then just go for it!
3.) Make sure you own these basics items:
- one or two pairs of jeans that suit your body type (one black/ one indigo blue, one denim blue)
- white, grey & black plain t-shirt
- white t-shirt with statement print
- one striped t-shirt
- a shirt in your favorite color
- nude and black tank top
- black and statement blazer
- casual & formal dress
- button down shirt
- black skirt
- neat pants
- black/ dressy shoes, neutral colored shoes, one pair of comfy shoes/ sneakers
When shopping for these items just make sure the cuts and designs suit your body type and make you feel comfortable. With these you can build a basic wardrobe which will give you tons of options for endless combinations.
4. Build up a wardrobe around your basics with prints, colors and accessories.
Once you have the basics down you can start shopping for the fun things: those items that spice up your wardrobe. And here it’s time to get daring. You like that striped jacket with the bold colors? Go on, try it on and wear it! Because basic is just that: basic. By adding necklaces, belts, a good pair of shoes or a nicely cut blazer or cardigan you can take any outfit from meh to wow.
5.) Only try those trends that appeal to you.
Every year new fashion trends dominate what’s in stores. Not all trends will suit your body type or comfort level. My rule to trends is to only wear them if I feel comfortable in them. I love sneakers, but I passed on that whole running shoe trend until I found the pair that had me run around in circles from excitement. And although I am not a skinny girl by any means I still like my crop tops. I wear the baggy ones as is. Is it tight fitting? I only wear them with a blazer and NEVER to work.
6.) If you find something you like: stock up, or don’t!
Finding something you like can be a feat, so when you find something you like make sure you get a few especially if they’re good basics. I did that with my Topshop Jamie and Joni jeans as well as the v-neck shirts from Forever 21. However, when it comes to more trendy items you can simply think: new season = new trend so you may want to refrain from that if you want.
7.) Hang on to items you love, even if they’re out of style.
One reason why I have a massive wardrobe is because I’m not so good at throwing things away. I tend to hang on to items (some I’ve had for as long as 10 years) that I love and only wear occasionally. The good thing about fashion is that it goes in cycles so that jacket you loved 5 years ago will surely come back in style. With the added bonus that by the time it will, your item will be vintage which only adds to the cool factor. The only condition of course is that the items you keep still fit you and aren’t damaged.
8.) Believe in modification and customization.
You don’t really feel that shirt any more? Or maybe you lost a few pounds and that perfect pair of jeans is no longer so perfect? Hold up, don’t just chuck them! With basic sowing skills and cheap items from places such as Ebay or your local department store you can easily modify your clothes. Your oversized jeans only need an extra button to make them wearable again. That dress that may be too baggy around your waist may do fine when you add a belt. And that standard denim shirt becomes more you with a few studs, badges, rhinestones, etc.
9.) Read magazines, blogs and watch fashion videos on youtube for inspiration.
When it comes to inspiration I tend to turn to magazines, blogs and vlogs. I read fashion magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire for a good amount of trend spotting. On blogs I usually find items that I would like to buy myself and I watch vlogs of people who’s style I like. All those things together add to my own personal style and wardrobe. I simply take away what I like and make it my own.
10.) Know your body type!
Finally you should always dress for your body type as much as possible. Ever since I discovered highwaisted jeans and became obsessed with dresses I find my style has improved greatly. Those items simply work for me. And that’s the first thing any item should do for you. It should work for you, not against you.
What is your style?