Are you clear on the style that you want to develop, and you’re on a path to getting there? Or do you want to revamp your style, but you don’t know where to begin? Is shopping for a new personal style overwhelming? If it’s the latter more than the former, you’re not alone! Many of my clients want to update their look, but in-person shopping is usually unsuccessful and online shopping results in a box of returns.
I have news for you: Revamping your style doesn’t start with shopping. Revamping your style doesn’t even start by going through your closet. The best way to begin to revamp your style is to have a clear idea of what you’re going for – a solid notion of how you want to look, how you want to feel, and the image you want to project with your clothes. And it all starts with finding some inspiration.
START WITH PINTEREST
As part of my initial consultation with clients, I’ll ask some very specific questions about their style: Whose style do you admire? How would you describe your personal style? When do you feel most confident in your clothes? Many clients have distinct answers to these questions, which I use to create guidelines for updating their wardrobe. But some clients aren’t as clear about what they’re looking for, and can’t definitively articulate how they want to look and feel in clothes. And that’s when it’s time to seek inspiration - so I’ll ask them to create a ‘style board’ on Pinterest (the modern-day version of cutting photos out of magazines).
For many people, it’s easier to see what you like than to describe what you like. So, looking for outfits and styles that you like on Pinterest (or Instagram or fashion blogs or anywhere you can find visual inspiration) is a straightforward way to discover and catalog photos that reflect the style you want to achieve. Here are a few guidelines I give my clients:
Don’t think too hard about WHY you like an outfit, just pin it. We can worry about the ‘why’s’ later.
Start your searches with general, broad categories – like ‘business casual outfits’ or ‘mom style’. Then, after you’ve made some selections, feel free to narrow down to more specific likes, such as ‘monochromatic outfits’ or ‘floral top outfits’. (When a client has no idea where to start, I’ll guide them to my Pinterest page, and specifically to my men’s and women’s style boards as simple points of departure.)
Pin 30-50 photos of outfits that you like to a new ‘style board’.
LOOK FOR SIMILARITIES & PATTERNS
After you’ve pinned a generous number of images to your Pinterest ‘style board’, it’s time to look for similarities and patterns in the photos you’ve selected. (Even when clients tell me that their style is ‘all over the place’, there will usually be some clear consistencies that I discover when I go through their Pinterest board.) Here are some things to think about as you check out your own photos:
Are there consistent colors? Do you find yourself attracted mostly to neutrals? Or do you like a small range of colors among many different looks?
Do certain prints pop up again and again? Are you a lover of plaid, or a bold stripe aficionado? Or are your selections mostly solids?
Have you chosen some shapes or fits consistently? Are skinny jeans all over your Pinterest board, or have you focused on looser styles? Do you like fitted, waist-defining tops – or are more flowy styles predominant?
Is there a certain ‘attitude’ in many of your photos? Do you like when specific things are paired together? Would you describe the majority of your looks as edgy, or bohemian, or classic?
Note the common themes that you find among your photos. Then ask yourself, “does this describe the style I want to achieve?” Most often, the answer will be, “yes!” And if not – it’s time to pin some more photos.
I worked with a client recently who was simply tired of spending so much effort getting dressed. She already had a Pinterest board, but mentioned that it contained a bunch of different styles. I took a quick look and discovered that her favorite colors were black, white and earth tones, with hits of mustard, burgundy and blush. She liked tailored and structured silhouettes, with the occasional relaxed top and long cardigan. And her preference was mostly solids – but when she chose prints, they were fun and unique. And when we reviewed this, she said that I had nailed her style exactly.
USE THESE AS FILTERS
Now that you have some key likes, dislikes and buzzwords that describe your style, use these as filters not only when you shop, but with what’s already in your wardrobe. Take some time to go through what’s sitting in your closet and see if it aligns with your personal style. For example, if your preference is neutral, solid and minimal, maybe that’s why the multi-color abstract print dress never makes its way out of the closet. And if you love body-conscious styles but your tops are mostly loose and flowy, it’s a good indication of why your outfits never feel right.
You can also shop your own closet, to create outfits that reflect your newfound personal style. You might have never thought of pairing a pink top with a red shoe – but that’s exactly what’s on your Pinterest board. Or wearing a military jacket over a plaid shirt might have previously seemed too ‘lumberjack’ but now, after perusing street style photos, it suddenly feels ‘utilitarian cool’.
Once you’ve gone through your closet and noted what’s working and what’s not, create a concise list of what you need to fill in the gaps, so you can create looks that you love (that’s precisely what I do with clients). A list of holes in your wardrobe gives you direction when you’re shopping, so you’re no longer wandering stores with minimal intent. Now you’re shopping strategically, with notes on what you need and specific filters that describe what you like. And I guarantee you – your shopping experience will be more productive, and you’ll waste less time, energy and money than you would have if you didn’t look for style inspiration before you left the house (or opened your laptop).
Do you have other questions on how to develop your style? Or are you looking for additional style inspiration? Follow me on Instagram for daily style inspiration, sign up for my newsletter here for a monthly dose of style delivered directly to your inbox, or email me to chat about how we can work together to create a style that you love.