Do you find you’re wearing the same colour over and over again (usually black)? Do you have a “uniform” that you can’t stand the sight of any more? When you shop, are you trying on pieces that are exactly the same as ones you already have hanging forlornly in your wardrobe at home? Do you find yourself despairing that you have nothing to wear?
You, my friend, are in a style rut. And you’re not alone. So many of my personal styling clients come to me because they are in this exact situation. At the base of it is the inability to connect with your clothes any more. I’ve been there many a time too, and I’m not the most inspiring version of myself when I’m there. So here are eight ways you can pull yourself out of that rut, and go back to being awesome every day.
1. decide what direction you want your style to go in
You’re in a style rut for a reason. And it’s most likely because you are bored with your current style or the pieces you have. Before you go on an ill-advised spending spree, think about what direction you want to go in, sartorially speaking. The best way to do this is to hit Pinterest and Instagram and start to put together some mood boards or “saves” based on outfits you like.
My favourite fashion girls who always provide me with outfit inspo are the Danish stylists and bloggers such as @emilisindlev, @darjabarannik and @pernilleteisbaek. They manage to put outfits together in unexpected but incredibly simple and stylish ways. Discover your own fashion muses and base your mood board on your favourites.
Once you’ve created your mood board or saved folder of inspiration, identify the patterns in the images you’ve saved. What are the key pieces in each outfit? How have the outfits been put together? What styling tricks have been used? What colour combinations look best? What are the fabrics and textures in each outfit? How would you describe each look (vintage? rock? urban sophisticated? bohemian? minimalist? preppy?). Use this to define the style you want to capture and the specific pieces you need to do that.
2. workshop your wardrobe
Once you have any idea of what style you want to go for, and before you go shopping, have a look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes. Keeping your mood board of style in mind, you know what pieces form the building blocks of each outfit. And its most likely that you already have most of those building blocks in your wardrobe already. Blazer over a midi dress over jeans with ankle boots? You might already have all four pieces, but never thought to put them together before.
If you still can’t see the forest for the trees, then ask a friend to go through your wardrobe with you. Its amazing the difference it makes when someone looks at your wardrobe with a whole new perspective. You can create completely new outfits from the pieces you already own if you put them together in new combinations.
At the end of this exercise, you will probably have identified the gaps in your wardrobe – the pieces you need to complete some of those new looks you have in mind. Base your shopping list on those items.
3. learn new styling tricks
Go back to your Pinterest board or Instagram saves and try to identify the little style tricks that have been used. Is it as simple as rolling up the sleeves of a blazer? Wearing a scarf as a belt? Or just a different way to style a scarf? Tucking in a shirt in a different way? Rolling up the cuffs on long trousers? Wearing an item in a whole new way (a dress as a floaty robe for example)?
Pay attention to the details, and you’ll find you have entirely new ways of wearing the pieces you already have.
4. look at old photos
Have a look back at photos of yourself when you looked AMAZING. What were you wearing? What colours, silhouettes and individual pieces? Identify why you looked so good in them. It might be that the silhouette was perfect for your body shape. Or the colour made you look all levels of Cindy Crawford.
If you no longer have those pieces or they are a little dated, search for updated versions of them and add to basket. Don’t just buy repeat versions of what you already have. Make sure they bring something new to the party and will work with a minimum of five other things in your wardrobe.
5. update your accessories
If you don’t have the budget for an entire wardrobe overhaul, start with accessories. Go back to those styling tricks and identify how you can transform an outfit with a simple belt, scarf, hat, headband or (best of all) statement jewellery or statement shoes.
Don’t underestimate the power of a few carefully curated accessories.
6. shop at different stores
Ask around and see where your stylish friends are shopping. Go on an Instagram walkabout and see what brands jump out at you. If anything is going to pull you out of a style rut, then fresh designs are needed.
I recently discovered, and have become obsessed with, Toteme. Their designs are unique and timeless and have brought new dimensions to my daily repertoire.
7. set yourself challenges
So to get yourself out of a style rut, get creative. Challenge yourself to not wear black for an entire week. Or challenge yourself to create entire outfits consisting of just one shade (tonal blocking). Challenge yourself to go into your wardrobe and create three new looks that you’ve never worn before (think about layering pieces in new ways).
8. Plan your outfits in advance
I have found that when I’m in a style rut, it’s usually at times when life is hectic, I sleep in as late as possible and rush my morning routine. I don’t have time to think about what to wear, throw things on at the last minute and find that I don’t feel confident in my outfits.
When I plan my outfit the night before – thinking about what the weather will be, what I’ll be doing, who I’ll be seeing etc – my outfits are far more inspired. Spending a few minutes on wardrobe planning each night will make a huge difference.
If you still feel you need professional help to overhaul your style and wardrobe, find out more about my personal styling services here.