When it comes to capsule wardrobes, the reason the thought of having so little stirs up those feelings of fear that come out in the form of questions like – ‘but what if I don’t have enough? and what if I change my mind?’ What if, what if, what if… is because we’re lacking confidence in our own personal style. We all have a personal style but like all hidden treasures, we have to find it. Let’s add this to the list of lessons I wish we were taught in school.
Pre capsule wardrobe I was stuck with a split personality wardrobe full of items that in no way went together. It was a great representation of how it made me feel – messy and confused. It was jam packed with anything and everything I thought I should own. I was in the habit of buying anything and everything that caught me eye. There was no cohesion or flow and the whole thing made me so stressed out when it came to getting dressed and piecing things together. Sound familiar? If you’re reading this post I’m guessing the answer’s yes.
If you are feeling that way, the answer is to find that hidden treasure that is your personal style. Once you develop that it becomes your secret weapon because of the confidence and focus it gives you and wardrobe curation becomes a whole lot easier.
You already have a personal style
We wear on average only 20% of our wardrobes. 20%!!! That’s not much but it’s worth figuring out what that 20% is because that’s your current personal style. Note the word current because that doesn’t mean it won’t and can’t be changed. These are the things you’re most drawn to and feel most comfortable in. Get curious and figure out what it is you love about them and why. This might not be your ‘dream style’ but it gives you something to work with and you’ll start to see how all that stuff you never wear is a waste of valuable wardrobe and mind space. It’s clutter and it’s suffocating the real you. If you struggle to let go of the stuff you never wear, just pack it away in a box for now so you know you can come back to it (you won’t).
Your dream style in three words
This is a trick I learned from Sara Tasker’s Insta Retreat. In a bid to define our ‘Dream Instagram Style’ we were encouraged to choose just three keywords. Mine were minimalist, lifestyle and realistic. This works in much the same way for your wardrobe style and keeps everything cohesive.
Sticking to these three words acts as a sieve if you like, they’re a way of disregarding the stuff we still might still like (e.g. those oversized slouchy boyfriend jeans) but what isn’t really us so that we’re able to focus on what is. Sticking to these words will result in you buying less because you’ll know, say that embellished evening dress – just isn’t you. You’ll opt for the dress that fits your three words instead.
Don’t overthink it or worse go with what you think they should be, go with what you’re most drawn to or what comes into your head first. This is by no means an extensive list but if you’re struggling try these on for size;
If you’re anything like me you’re the visual type. What would we do without Pinterest? Seriously! If you haven’t already, I strongly advise you to start a Pinterest board, keep it secret if you’d prefer, and start pinning outfit and style inspiration. You can see my minimalist style board here. Use yours to build a collection of outfits you’d love to wear or just try out. Again don’t over think it just go with what you’re naturally drawn to. Try searching one of your keywords followed by the word style to cut out the generic stuff. You can keep coming back to this board for focus and inspiration when you’re shopping for something new or decluttering what you already have. If it fits with your three keywords and inspiration board, it’s a keeper and if not it goes.
This is your friendly reminder that 99% of us do not look like the images on Pinterest nor are we designed to – see the perfection section for more on this. Be kind to yourself and remember this is just for inspiration.
Know your body shape
Oh how I wish my legs were longer. I could go on about what else I wish was different, but for now let’s just focus on the legs. I’ve held onto a fantasy for many years now that one day a machine will be invented that will painlessly stretch them for me and deliver those extra two inches I’m desperate for. Never. going. to. happen. My legs are my legs and the brutal truth is that the only option I have is to live with them.
So much in our society tells us there’s something inherently wrong with our bodies so it’s no wonder we feel like we want longer legs. We might not like them but our bodies are our bodies and they’re beautiful just as they are. Easier said than believed I know, but try.
I’ll never make my legs longer just like you can’t change the things you don’t like about yourself but what we can do is make the best of what we have and there are plenty of tricks available to help with this. Treat yourself to a trip down the Google rabbit hole and you’ll find a whole host of tips and tricks for your body shape. Petite style tips, tall girl style tips, pear shape style tips, you name it; there’s nothing you cant Google how to. Play around and try different things to see what works for you.
This two easy steps to figure out your body shape illustration is great if you don’t already know what it is.
Dress for your real life
Shopping and dressing for your real life is so important. Getting rid of all those clothes that didn’t suit my real life or genuinely make me feel good was so liberating. It was like giving myself permission to be myself. Think about how you actually spend your days, what makes you happy and what kind of clothes you need for this.
Be careful not to demote yourself here. You might need clothes to work from home in but that doesn’t mean your old stained dressing gown will do. What you wear can have a deep impact on your mood and confidence. When I’m feeling crap about myself and life in general, one of my favourite things to do to make myself feel better is put on an outfit that makes me feel at my best. It works every time. That old stained dressing gown will make you feel exactly how it looks. We’re all worth so much more than that. Please don’t be that stained dressing gown.
Perfect is one of those words we put on a pedestal and all aspire to but it’s also a fantasy word. In reality perfect doesn’t exist and even if it did, it wouldn’t be sustainable. Engaging with the pursuit of perfection is a landslide into disappointment and a complete waste of time. You will never be perfect, nobody is. Even the women you think are perfect, I can assure you are not. Whatever glossy exterior they present to the world, they still feel the same ‘I wish I were better’ feelings we all do behind closed doors.
The whole point of tuning into your personal style is to make life easier for yourself and that can only come from being the real you and feeling comfortable with that. There’s no room for perfect when we’re talking real life. Whilst we’re not looking for perfection, we want our clothes to feel as good as possible. I’m a fan of the 90% rule – I have to be at least 90% sure about something else I won’t buy it.
Listen to your intuition when you’re choosing items for your wardrobe – nobody knows what’s best for you better than you. Never wear things that make you feel uncomfortable because it’s on trend or you think you should, it shows and will lead to negative self image.
Things change and that’s ok
You can opt for timeless style but nothing stays the same forever and we’re no exception. Your style will change and it’s important to be open to that. Dressing ourselves is much more creative than we think and like all artists, our styles, tastes and lives change. Learning to change with them is all part of the journey. Put your fantasies to one side, accept who you are now and dress that person. You can and will change along the way. It’s all a process.
I really hope you find value in this post but more than anything I hope it inspires you to start being and dressing like yourself. You’ll feel so much more confident when you do.
I’m dying to know what your keywords are! (mine were timeless, minimalist and Parisian) Let me know in the comments.
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