Would it surprise you if I told you that one comment that we have heard a lot since the day we opened our business is women telling us, “I’m not really great at this. I’m not sure what goes with what.” And as a fellow tall girl who spent much (okay, most) of her college years opting to exist in only my oversized athletic sweats, I get it. For me it was probably two-fold: A.) I was pretty exhausted everyday so I didn’t have the energy to make an effort. But also B.) I didn’t really have a closet of cute clothes that fit. And what I did have in my closet didn’t necessarily work together. So athletic sweats for the win! Lemme tell you, had leggings for tall women been more available and also socially acceptable back then, that would have been my signature look.
I’m going to take this a step further. Sometimes we talk in the office about how our lifetime of tall girl challenges shopping has impacted us from even knowing when something does fit or look good together. Maybe that sounds wild to you. But I believe that is the case for many of us. And I suspect that element can make shopping even more difficult AGAIN (like we haven’t had our fair share of struggles, right?!) because we learn to just buy whatever we find that fits and not to build a cohesive wardrobe that works together. That’s something I have become much more intentional about. And if this isn’t something that you put a lot of thought in when you are shopping, let me recommend it to you! Instead of being reactionary and just responding to what your favorite color of an item is, for example, think about all the different ways you could wear it! You should also think about what it may pair with that you own already. It’s so simple and some of you might be rolling your eyes at me, but I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t really have this as a mindset until just a few years ago.
Okay, but here’s the deal. A huge part of being able to build a cohesive (and what some may even consider a “capsule”) wardrobe is understanding what your personal style is. This is maybe a topic you haven’t ever thought too much about, but if you become a little more in tune with it, getting dressed in the morning will become easier. Think about this for a second: the reason that capsule wardrobes have become so popular is because it’s a collection of clothing that all works together. That’s literally it. It sounds fancy and whatever, but it’s not at all. It’s a mindset and a way to buy more practically. But as a result, everything can be restyled in multiple ways. Anyone can build a capsule wardrobe, AKA a closet that all flows together. All it takes is a little understanding of your personal preferences. Let me play devil’s advocate. Do you have any styles that you own but hardly or even never wear? Why is that? It very well could be a fit issue, but just as likely it could be an issue of not having anything to wear with it. We want to help eliminate those instances. And the best way to go about it is to better define your personal style.
So where does one begin? It’s actually not hard to do, it just requires a little bit of thought and assessment. We have four suggestions that can help you get started!
1. Determine Your Personal Style Crush
Is there a celebrity or an influencer who you think always looks awesome? Is there someone who always looks effortlessly put together and you love their vibe? Make note of them or even jot their name(s) down. Then let’s take it a step further. I want you to go to Pinterest, Instagram, Google or whatever your search preference is and do some browsing. Stop and assess their outfits that resonate that most with you. Maybe the person you are researching is Meghan Markle, for example. As you are skimming through these photos, what are some words that you would use to describe what you see? Maybe the person is into neutrals, maybe they are into wild prints. Maybe their style is more preppy. Or perhaps you would say it’s a little quirky or edgy. There’s no right answer – and it doesn’t have to be 1000% gospel. You might like someone who overall has a fairly classic style but has a look or two that is a little trendier too. But the point is to make note of some overall themes and be aware of what they are. Even if you don’t know the “perfect” fashion word to define it, it doesn’t matter. Just write down the words that make sense to you.
2. Reflect On Your Own Preferences
Let’s take a moment to hone-in on what your inner voice is telling you about your own preferences. What are your favorite colors to wear? We know many of you strongly prefer good neutrals, while others tell us they like bright or jewel-tone colors. Or maybe it’s a little of both. Crazy as this may sound, but do your preferences match what is sitting in your closet currently? I want you to really think about the colors that you like, the patterns that vibe with you and even preferences like skirts versus pants. Do you prefer v-necks to crew necks? When you look at the styles that you liked from Step #1 above, what did elements did they have? Now compare that to the list you just developed from your own inner voice. Are they largely the same? If not, we may need to reevaluate something somewhere!
Maybe you have bought things in a wild pattern before because it sparked your interest at the time, but have never worn it since. I can think of instances where that has happened to me. I had a tank top once that was in a wild tropical-esque print and I remember buying it because I thought it had really fun colors and it was so different from anything else that I owned. But guess what? I literally hated wearing it! I would put it on and try to talk myself into wearing it, but always ended up changing out of it. Be mindful of things like this because it all starts to work together. Sometimes breaking your comfort zone is okay, but sometimes your comfort zone is telling you that it’s outside of your personal preferences and isn’t a good move. The key is knowing the difference. I personally think it’s better to stay within your lane when it comes to comfort zone than trying to force yourself into new things because it’s about making your life easier.
3. Determine Your Signature Pieces
I know there are certain outfits that make me feel my best the moment I put them on. To be honest, one of those pieces is our Knit Moto Jacket. And I’m sorry to bring it up because it sold out SO FAST, but it’s just a good example for me of something I would consider to be a power outfit. The second I wear that jacket, I just feel cool and ready to go. I also feel that way when I wear our Blakely Skinny Jeans in the Dark Distressed Wash. A high waisted long jean with some knee distressing? I’m all in! But if I was sitting across from you right now and I asked you what your power outfits were, what you say? And why? Some other things to consider here are also what your lifestyle looks like. I have the luxury of not having to be office formal every day, so styles like the distressed jeans and even my moto leggings work for me on a daily basis. But obviously that isn’t the case for everyone.
Signature pieces are your statement pieces. The reason that I mentioned the power outfit above is because a lot of times a power outfit will involve your favorite signature pieces. They aren’t your day to to day tees, but they are a great jacket or blazer. Or a well-cut dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. I can honestly say that a blazer really isn’t my jam – I just never feel all that comfortable wearing a blazer. It’s too formal feeling and makes me think about working in a stiff office environment, but for a lot of people (Alli included!) a great blazer is a big signature piece in their closet. But now that you have started to devote some time thinking through the elements in step 1 & 2, you can think about not only the signature pieces that you already own but also better identify styles to bring into your mix! Maybe you saw something in a style inspiration photo in step #1 that you don’t own, but maybe should be on the lookout to buy. Those are great identifiers for not only types of clothing, but the specifics now like colors, finishing details, etc. It’s also okay for some of these to be special items, as long as you know you can get enough use out of them. Which brings me to my fourth point….
4. Follow the Rule of Three
If you can’t figure out three different ways you would wear something OR if you wouldn’t wear to three different places, do like Elsa and LET IT GO. And when I say three different ways, it doesn’t have to be like MONUMENTALLY different. I consider two pairs of jeans and a skirt three different ways to wear a sweater, for example. Or if I could easily wear something just day to day without much thought, plus out to dinner and to church…boom. That’s the rule of three. You might be thinking this is less about finding your personal style and more about ROI, but I think it’s both actually! Honestly, I can make an argument to say that unless it’s for a black-tie event, your style should incorporate elements that you would wear to all of your life’s events (refer to the lifestyle discussion in step #2). Ultimately if you are dying for something that you can’t ever wear, it probably means it’s out of bounds from your personal style. It doesn’t mean you can’t have splurges or fun statement pieces that you don’t wear every week, but maybe only for special moments like a wedding, a holiday party and a fun night out on vacation. Then again, you’ve achieved the rule of three.
At the end of the day, nobody knows what your personal style is but you! So as long as it checks all the boxes that you are looking to check and it makes you feel happy, that’s all that matters. Style is subjective, and as much as Alli and I have similar styles, we also have our own individual preferences too! But it just makes life SO MUCH easier when dressing starts to feel effortless and that only really happens when you have a closet of cohesive things that all work together. Identifying your personal style and then staying true to it is the ticket.