You’ve got to crawl before you can walk. Having a personal style is all about finding elements that make you stand out. But before you can do that, you need to know what you’re standing out from.
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Learn the basics
Don’t get ahead of yourself; emulate classic looks to see what works and what doesn’t. Once you have a solid bedrock to build on, then you can start reaching for the stars.
Look for inspiration
Think about people whose styles you like. They can be people you know or people you don’t. You don’t want to try to copy their looks, though. Indeed, there may be looks you like but that you can’t ever see yourself sporting. Once you know what you like, though, you can start asking yourself what you like about it. From there, it becomes easier to zero in on the successes and failures of your own outfits.
Reorganize the closet
Take time out to go through your entire wardrobe. Yes, all of it. Keep what you like and get rid of what you don’t. See what needs replacing and rediscover items you forgot you even had. Finally, organize your clothes in a way that makes them easy to sift through when you’re assembling outfits later. Along the way, you might get some good ideas. If nothing else, at least when you’re done you’ll have a good excuse to go shopping. Speaking of which…
Shop with purpose
Going into a store without a game plan is a good way of getting overwhelmed. Know what you’re looking for and where you want to look for it. Try not to get distracted; when you inevitably do, try to be discerning in choosing what is and isn’t actually worth purchasing. Also, remember that looking good doesn’t have to cost a lot. Stick to your budget and take advantage of discounts. Even a quick online search for Kohl’s promo codes can yield great results.
Add some accessories
If an outfit feels too plain and uninteresting, chances are you’re missing a key ingredient: accessories. The right jewelry, hat, scarf, or sunglasses can elevate even the drabbest look to something flashy and fun. Having a deep well of accessories to dip into allows you to customize all kinds of outfits to accommodate different moods and settings.
Mix and remix
A good way to ensure you always look good is to plan your outfits well in advance. Sit down at the beginning of each week, figure out your calendar, and then start assembling various pairings. Take time to try things on and experiment; swap out this top for that one and see how well they go with these pants or those ones. Better to find out you don’t like a particular combination now than after you’ve already left the house wearing it.
Find your favorites
The more outfits you try, the more you’ll find yourself returning to certain articles or accessories again and again. This means your fashion identity is really starting to blossom. Pay attention to what items you keep returning to, then start thinking about how best to make those elements, and yourself, shine even more.
Try new things
Don’t play it too safe. Relying on the same handful of outfits time and time again is a surefire recipe for stagnancy. By now, you should not only have a handle on the basic fundamentals of style but also a real sense of your own unique personality. Be confident in that. Take risks. Push boundaries. Step outside your comfort zone. You have the skills and you have the smarts; take things to the next level by continually challenging both.
Images by Aleksandra Buca for Design SCENE