Define Your Style. Fashion is designed to be overwhelming, here’s how to outsmart it!

     

Fashion is designed to be overwhelming.  We are set up to fail. 

     It’s a business!  The fashion industry is built on a model of perpetuation, so styles are constantly changing to keep selling clothes. Fast fashion (which is what they call high volume trend stores like H&M, Forever 21, Zara,) has changed the landscape of the market.  Twenty years ago, stores only offered 4 different ‘floor sets’ a year, where all the current clothes were switched out for new things.  Some retail stores now offer 52 sets of change per year, every week offering new things for purchase!  Zara, specifically, has design factories that can churn out the design and manufacture of huge quantities of an item of clothing in just one day!  

Having so much choice makes it really hard to shop.  It’s impossible to focus your energy on finding something you truly need when you are so overwhelmed with choice. 

I’m a minimalist consumer.  I don’t want to buy a ton of things that I don’t use.  I want to wear the clothes I buy.  I don’t want to feel constantly driven to need to shop, but I want to feel beautiful in my clothes!

Defining my personal style has been my secret to cracking the fashion code.

Now that I’ve defined my personal style, I can see pieces that I like but don’t reflect my core style and think “oh that is really beautiful, but it’s just not me.”  I can now walk into a store with 10,000 things that are “cute” and not feel a need to buy anything based on just that.  It took me half a lifetime to articulate this!  I’m now actually wearing everything I buy.  

Maybe youve never considered that you have a core personal style, but we all inherently do.    Your personal style is your preference when it comes to the clothes you like.  Your personal style is what your fashionable self is drawn to.  Everyone has things in their closet that they feel especially connected to but very few have actual defined personal style. Once you go about the work of defining what it is you like, you can create a dream wardrobe for yourself.  

Here’s the work you need to do.

It’s time to define your core personal style. 


Your goal: find just THREE words to define your core style!

 

  • Head to your closet and look for something you love to wear.  Why do you feel great in it?  What words describe how you feel when you wear it?  Do you see any patterns in your closet, multiple items of the same thing?  (Same shapes of skirt, stripes, scarves, cowboy boots?) If you have anything you’ve bought more than once it may be part of your signature style.  Do you see many items of a specific style category? (Rocker, Bohemian, Sporty, Preppy, etc?)  Is your closet cohesive to one style with just a few ‘outliers’ that don’t fit the rest of the look? What are your favorite colors to wear?  What colors do you have the most of?

 My closet has lots of bold patterns and glam statement pieces like sequins and faux fur.  I have lots of black/grey/white v neck tees, skinny jeans, pencil skirts, and fit and flare dresses.  My preferred shoes are always pointy toed heels or flats, ankle boots, black nikes, black flip flops, and strappy sandals.  I prefer silver jewelry and like bold pieces of jewelry over delicate things.  Before I defined what it is I really prefer I spent a lot of time searching in stores for ‘cute’ without a specific style vision.  I had a lot of pieces hanging in the closet with tags and shoes I didn’t love.

 
 
 
  • Head to Pinterest and search “style icons.”  Look for pictures of outfits that connect with you.  Most people won’t just have one person with style that speaks to them, so find your Style Spirit Combination.  

My Style Spirit Combination is a NYC socialite, a Californian blogger and a French Vogue editor.  I like the colors, styles and combinations they wear.  I love Shea Marie’s down to earth accessible style but I love Olivia Palermo’s mix and match outfits.  I like how Carine Roitfeld dresses very simply and monochromatically, often in pencil skirts and dark colors.   I’m also really drawn to Emmanuelle Alt’s skinny pants and button ups, I’m also inspired by Brigitte Bardot  and her big blonde hair and Rosie Huntington Whiteley and her soft makeup and style.  

Always look upwards for your style inspo- to the very elite of the fashion and style world. They have had the most style education and exposure and you can learn style best from them.  You can find them by searching for Style Influencers, Most Stylish Women in Fashion, or Style Icons.  

 

  • How do you want to feel in your clothes?  What words describe how you want others to think of your style?
On an everyday basis, I want to be comfortable.  I want to be effortlessly chic, wearing simple basics in very current interpretations.  I want to be chic, glamorous, minimalist and comfortable.  I like dress really simply around the house and throw on statement jackets or sunglasses as I leave the house.

 
  • What are your best assets?  What do people compliment you about?  Do you know your body type? What kinds of clothes are flattering on you?  Can you put a name on the style of clothes you are drawn to?

I’m tall and look best in slim bottoms.  I always need an open neck top like a v neck or scoop because of my chest.  I get compliments on my legs and I prefer to wear short dresses and skirts over long ones.  I know I should dress in styles with fitted waists but I still am really comfortable in my jeans and tees and try to work my style into what works best on my body type. 


  • Look at your home.  You’re likely drawn to the same types of styles of home decor that you prefer in your clothes.  Are you drawn to textures and earth tones, chic and sleek kinds of decor, soft and comfortable kinds of things?  
Yes! My home is the same style as my closet.  I like bold statement pieces, furs and animal prints, bold clear colors, and lots of black.  My husband prefers earthy colors and a really comfortable vibe so I’ve made sure some of our decor reflects his style too.  

 

  • What clothing stores really speak to you?  Even if you’re not shopping, is there a store where you love everything they sell?  Most stores have a defined style, here are a few examples of my opinions of the styles of these stores:                                        

Anthropologie- Bohemian/Romantic; 

Gap- Minimalist/Classic/Preppy;  
J Crew- Glam/Modern/Preppy/Classic; 
Banana Republic: Glam/Modern/Chic/Classic/Preppy; 
Urban Outfitters: Rocker/Bohemian/Trendy/Earthy, 
Ann Taylor/Loft- Chic/Classic/Glam; 
French Connection: Edgy/Modern/Chic; 
Old Navy: Modern/Preppy/Fun; 
Abercrombie: Bohemian/Casual/Fresh; 
Everlane- Modern/Chic/Minimal…

We all have our favorite stores and maybe this is why!  
 
  • Can you name any styles of dressing that you appreciate as being beautiful on others but don’t feel like your style?  Are there any styles that you strongly dislike?
My little sister is so fashionable in her bohemian glam style of dressing.  She looks great in earthy colors with tons of jewelry, and I love those styles on her!  Boho glam is just not me.  I don’t feel like myself, I don’t like it at all.  I can hardly find a piece in Anthropologie to fit my style!  I’m drawn to more urban and chic simple shapes.  I see adorable girls with Rockabilly style, women dressing with Kate Middleton elegance, classic Audrey Hepburn glam, and girls killing it wearing rocker chic-  there are so many looks I love but don’t like for me.  I have found that defining what I don’t like helps me find things that I love when I’m in a huge store that has all kinds of style profiles- like Nordstrom or Forever 21. 
 
Do you know yourself well enough to be yourself?
 
Can you think of just three words that define how you want to feel and look and project-  defining your core personal style?  If you can’t, please keep working until you get there!  
 
xo,
Rachelle
 
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Aspirational vs Actual Wardrobes! How I figured out my “Style Uniform” as a Stay at Home Mom and you can too—

Aspirational vs Actual

Whether you’ve realized it or not, you probably have a style uniform.

Most people end up choosing the same type of outfit to wear every day. That is a good thing! Wearing what makes you feel comfortable makes you feel confident.

The key to having style in your everyday outfits is updating your uniform. But first you need to find and acknowledge it. Have you noticed patterns in how you dress and what you choose to wear day after day? Do you reach for jeans and tees, or leggings and tunics, the same style dress pants, comfy dresses or athletic wear for daytime? Start thinking about what clothes you feel the most comfortable and confident in as you go about your daily life. If you are feeling uncomfortable in your choices in your current wardrobe, try to imagine what an ideal outfit for you looks like for what you are doing most days. Think about what you would choose to wear today. It doesn’t matter if it’s a T-shirt and jeans or a chic pantsuit, as long as it fits your lifestyle.

So what is the aspirational vs actual? I think most people also are drawn to certain styles of clothes, usually pieces that aren’t compatible with their lifestyle. The dressy and fun pieces are the showpieces in the shops and we are drawn to buying them. This is aspirational. We end up shopping for the wrong areas of our life for too much of the time- we shop aspirationally instead of realistically. You may fill your closets with pieces that are beautiful and spark joy- but don’t necessarily get worn. You likely do not have enough items you use everyday that you feel stylish and comfortable in. At least this is what happened to me.

Another problem is avoidance. Some people under-shop all together, leaving themselves with nothing to choose from that makes them feel good. I’ve done this too. Just ignored fashion all together and hoped it would go away or that I would just figure it out later.

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I’m a stay at home mom (SAHM.) I spend my days moving. I’m cooking, cleaning, chasing, driving, picking things up, I’m up and down all day. But most of my shopping and style energy was poured into my ‘aspirational’ wardrobe. I was buying gorgeous things that I would ideally like to wear all the time but DON’T- jewelry and tops and skirts for dressing up, when in reality I choose to wear skinny jeans and tee shirts almost every single day. I realized I only had opportunities to wear these aspirational looks maybe a couple of times a month. I had all these beautiful dressy things to wear but had spent my shopping time and money on only them. I had ignored my tee shirts and jeans situation and my everyday outfits started looking more and more worn out and less and less stylish, even though I had spent tons of time shopping and researching trends! Then I realized what I was doing. And I stopped it.

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I walk my kids to school, I need shoes I can walk in. I don’t find heavy jewelry comfortable and I don’t like to wear it around the house. I love dresses and pencil skirts but things that are tight around my body don’t let me move around like I need to. I love hats but I don’t like to wear them in the house. Since I started thinking about this I’ve even realized that I don’t even like wearing hard soled flats in my house, with my tile floor. I like a rubber sole to wear in the house. So I now know my style uniform needs to be comfortable, based around jeans and tees, with fun accessories that don’t add much weight or discomfort. I’m also working out 6 days a week so I spend a lot of time in my activewear, about half of every day and some days all day. So for my lifestyle, this is where I need to focus 90% of my style attention. Who cares if I have an amazing aspirational wardrobe that I only wear once a month? If I want to feel current and stylish I need to have things I can wear every day that make me feel like that. I’ve saved so much time and money since I started focusing my shopping on things I call the workhorses- the clothes I want to wear every day.

I want a simple wardrobe that is easy to use. I want my style to be effortless and comfortable. I don’t want to buy things I don’t need and I don’t want an overstuffed closet. I’ve figured out how to make a stylish and usable wardrobe with my uniform and outfits, and it’s given me so much more confidence and TIME.

So what does your uniform look like? Have you found that you wear the same types of clothes often? Do you need to refine your uniform altogether, do you not have anything you’re comfortable in?

After you think about your lifestyle and what kinds of outfits you like to wear, you are ready to update your look. I’ve figured out how to make my wardrobe stylish and current by rotating in a few new things every season. I can help you elevate your everyday look with the tricks and tips that have helped me have a wardrobe I love. I can teach you what to buy to elevate your everyday for going out.

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I’m not an expert or an aspirational stylist. I only invest in designer pieces when it makes sense for my life, and the pieces are timeless and will have a high cost per wear.  I save much more than I spend, and I use everything I buy.  I cringe to even waste a single hanger on a piece of clothing I don’t love.  I’ve learned stores that work for my style, I’ve refined my look and am in a place where I can share what I know. I’m a real mom who loves to be comfortably stylish and feel confident in my look so I can worry about the rest of life and not my clothes.

I hope you want to follow along and we can figure this out together!

xo,
Rachelle