How to Define Your Style & Take Control of Your Life

how to define your style

Jacket: Lulus (wearing size S), Similar, Similar. Dress: Lulus, Similar, Similar, Nails: OPI Gel "Suzi & the Arctic Fox

This title may sound a little dramatic, but doesn't it hit close to home? Have you ever looked at your outfit, your closet, or even your Pinterest board and thought, "What is my style anyway?"

You're not alone. So many women have trouble finding a signature style that represents who they are as a person and who they want to portray to the world. 

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak
— Rachel Zoe

I hope that quote resonates with you. It definitely does with me, and it inspires me to be more intentional with my dressing instead of just "throwing something on" as I'm rushing out the door. I know a lot of people have the preconceived notion that fashion bloggers "have it all together" or at least look like they do at all times.  Well, I'm here to dispel that.

I only have like four pairs of shoes I like; my socks rarely match; and more often than not, I end up wearing clothes that make literally no sense together when I'm running late to work/lunch/errands. 

I received a huge response from my fashion resolutions post, and I think that's because it is so relatable. Not everyone needs three ways to style white booties, but everyone wants to improve their style game. 

You’re better than this. Clothing should make you feel good. If it doesn’t, it’s time to swap it for pieces that actually do.

That may be my favorite fashion resolution of mine because it is something I think we are all guilty of. I don't have many clothing items I "hate," but I still have quite a few that I am very "meh" about, and that sucks. 

I want fashion to make me feel excited. I want fashion to make you feel excited. So here are six ways we can ALL make our wardrobes a little more FUN and way less overwhelming. 

  1. Make an effing Pinterest account. You don't have to add your friends or connect it to Facebook or even pin anything publicly. Just make an account and pin pictures that you want to recreate with items you already have or items that would fit practically into your existing wardrobe. Or, hell, if you just want to start over with your wardrobe entirely, choose a style persona you want to emulate, and make. it. happen. If you're a more tangible person, feel free to old school it with some recent Vogue and InStyle issues. Cut out style pictures you like and vision board that ish into reality. 
  2. Go through your closet. And your guest bedroom closet. And your trunk. I'm serious! Anywhere you have clothes stashed, go. through. them. Physical clutter really does clutter the mind, so once you are able to let go of clothing that does not serve you anymore, you will be able to clear your head and open yourself up to connecting with a personal style that makes you look great and feel great. 
    1. To avoid overwhelm, I would suggest doing this room by room or area by area. Start with your bedroom closet. Or your hall closet. Or the laundry room. Whatever. Just start small, and make really intentional choices about what you decide to keep and what you decide to toss. 
    2. General rule: unless it's an "event" piece, aka something you purposefully bought only to wear to certain formal events every few years, etc., then you can probably safely toss anything you haven't worn in the past 365 days. 
    3. If you're torn on a piece—"should I keep this or toss it?," then ask yourself: "Can I think of three different ways to style this item right now?" If not, throw it in the toss pile.
  3. Create an eBay store or a Poshmark account for your designer items, and donate the rest to charity. Get rid of the clutter, ladies! If it's not something you need anymore, get rid of it! I would allow myself 2-3 items MAX that only hold sentimental value; everything else needs to GO. If you think you're going to miss more pieces, take. pictures. Digital clutter is a thing, but it's less oppressive than physical clutter, so I'll allow it. And remember: people are cheap. You're more than likely not going to get back what you paid for that designer purse you're selling (unless it's Chanel or Hermès) because most brands depreciate, and people like to lowball. BUT any money is better than no money and no use, which is what you're getting out of that old Coach bag sitting in your closet. Think about it. Everything that doesn't sell or that is off-brand or older, donate it. Make someone else's life a little better. Give items to people who need them and will use them. 
  4. Try on everything you have left. Hate trying things on? Well, that may be one of the obstacles in your relationship with clothes. You must first recognize why you hate trying things on. Do you feel uncomfortable with your body? Do you hate the clothes you have left? Do you genuinely not care about clothes or what you look like in them? I don't pretend to be a psychology expert, but I do know that the way you view yourself definitely affects the relationship you have with getting dressed in the morning. It's important to make time for yourself and take pride in your appearance. It feels good to do those things, and you have my permission to make time to do them. Try on what's left of your wardrobe, and take pictures of your items. You can then make a digital photo album of your clothes so that when you're out shopping, you'll know if the top you're about to buy will work with those pants you already have. 
  5. Take inventory. Once you are able to define your relationship with your existing wardrobe, you can then decide what's missing. Did you get rid of all your boots? Are you missing cardigans or jackets? No longer have any "fun" pieces? This is when you get down to the nitty gritty and decide what you have left and how you feel about it. Fashion inventory doesn't just apply to what types of clothes you have, though; it also applies to colors. Is everything left in your wardrobe black? Is your color palette all over the place? I would suggest choosing three MAIN colors (neutrals) you want to have in your wardrobe and two supplementary colors (another neutral and a non-neutral or two non-neutrals) to vary it a bit. Mine change from season to season, but for winter, my three main colors are: black, nude, and gray. (I'm sure you can tell this by looking at my Instagram feed.) My two supplementary colors are red and army green. This doesn't mean I don't wear other colors ever; this just means that I try to buy a lot of the same color palette so it makes my wardrobe more streamlined. This makes getting ready in the morning SO much easier because all my clothes can work with each other instead of having items that I can only wear with certain things. Define which three colors you want to wear the most for the rest of the season, and choose two more colors that you want to work with the ones you've already chosen. If you only wear black and white, I challenge you to at least add one pop of color to your wardrobe. It could be an orange cardigan, or a pair of pink earrings, or even a red purse—whatever it is, make sure it speaks to you and that you will actually USE it!
  6. Fill in the gaps. Once you know what you have, then you can decide what else will complement those pieces. Don't buy clothes just to buy clothes. Each item you buy should be intentional. Don't let the practicality fool you, though, fashion should always be fun. If it's not, you need to reevaluate your style situation. Make sure you make a list of items you're missing, so when you shop online or in store, you're not just randomly buying things. And make sure you refer back to the pictures you took of clothing items you already have. What you buy should complement what you already have in your closet. Hold yourself accountable.

These six tips should help you live a more intentional life. Dress with intention, always. I know that's hard to imagine when the kids are running late, or you're running late, or the day is off to a rough start. But I promise, taking the necessary steps to define your style and streamline your wardrobe will positively affect other areas of your life and make you feel less overwhelmed. 

I would love to know what you think about this post! This is one of my favorite posts on Fork & Frill, and I would love to hear your feedback! You can find more posts like this one in my Style 101 section