You’ve made the resolution to look better, be more stylish, more pulled together, to revamp your wardrobe or just feel better in your clothes this year. Good for you! You’ve stared at your overstuffed closet long enough, have felt blah in the outfits you’ve cobbled together, are sick and tired of the same look, and have repinned enough dreamy outfits on Pinterest to know what you want to look like.
Yet, you have no idea how to change it and become more stylish. So, now what? Declaring a desire for change is just a desire until you actually do something about it (regardless of how loud you declare it or how many times you’ve repinned a cool outfit on Pinterest). So, you want to change but don’t know how. Here are a few tips to help you start your journey.
#1- To be More Stylish: Know You’re the Majority, Not the Minority
In my ten years of styling clients who have looked to me to become more stylish, not celebrity clients with a ridiculous amount of disposable income, but real women with real lives, real bodies, real budgets and real responsibilities and who live everyday lives (not red carpet, paparazzi lives), this is the moment I get the call for help and these calls often go exactly the same. I have carried more women over the threshold of bored and frustrated in their clothing to feeling and looking great and more stylish than you can imagine. While every woman I’ve worked with has been unique, the commonalities shared by these clients have been quite similar. A call from a new client usually goes like this: I pick up the phone and a woman tells me her story as if she is the only person on the planet who feels she missed something, the only one frustrated by shopping, who feels blah and lifeless in her clothing, who struggles with how to put an outfit together or has a bloated closet but nothing to wear. As she goes on and on about her story, I can literally finish her sentences. It is at this point that I say to her, “I am not trying to minimize your problem, but to assure you that you are not alone in your struggle. Trust me when I tell you, you’re the majority, not the minority.”
At that point, a prospective client usually calms a bit with the realization that she has been sold a bill of goods by believing that every woman loves shopping and knows how to get dressed. Yes, while some women do have “looking stylish” as part of their DNA, these women are the exception, not the rule.
If you’ve been feeling alone in your struggle, I hope that bit of news calms you down a bit before we move on.
#2-To be More Stylish: Trust Yourself
Now, just because a woman feels heard by me, when she becomes a client, it doesn’t mean that she trusts me completely. I still need to prove to her that she can change and become more stylish and that I can be the one to do it. While my track record is solid, most clients in the beginning believe that they are the only one who are a lost cause or that their problems are incredibly unique to anyone else’s.
We usually start in the closet and this is where a woman begins to learn to trust her instincts. For some clients, a closet edit can be incredibly emotional and draining. Clients are not only forced to face their mistakes but also face themselves psychologically. It may sound crazy, but your closet is a microcosm of your life. It not only contains a huge amount of history and memories but it also represents how you’ve related to yourself over the years. Regardless of the fact that you may be feeling ready to let go and embrace new things, as I like to say, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” Letting go is hard, especially when there are price tags attached to things that never got worn, expensive mistakes and blah clothes that may not be exciting, but have helped you get by. Add the emotional attachments to things that are time to bid farewell to and you’ve got a hotbed of feelings that you’re forced to finally face. If you want to read one of the most emotional stories of letting go, read this blog post about my client’s farewell to a piece she held on to for years. There are also different closet personalities that I’ve coined. The steps towards closet clarification for each personality can be quite different. To find out your closet personality, click here.
Yet, for others, letting go can be an incredibly cathartic experience. While the process can be draining (an average closet edit takes three hours), most clients feel lighter, more energized and freer after clothing has been removed. The most common thing I hear after I’ve helped a client clarify their closet is, “I feel like you gave me permission to get rid of things I knew weren’t right.” What I’ve learned is most women don’t trust themselves and what I give them is the ability to do that. I want to assure you if something has been hanging in your closet that doesn’t feel right then it doesn’t belong there. I’ve never had a situation where a woman’s instinct hasn’t been spot on. Yet, because most women never learned what was right and what was wrong for them to wear, they don’t trust themselves enough to get rid of it on their own. For more information on developing inner-trust and more closet editing tips, click here. So, if you’ve been staring at items in your closet that you feel unsure about, trust yourself and let them go. If you need extra encouragement, here is another fail-proof tip.
#3- To Be More Stylish: Stop Punishing Yourself
There is a strange punishment I’ve seen many women inflict on themselves. We have all made wardrobe mistakes, myself included. There are things you may have bought that were a mistake, that you thought you’d wear but didn’t. You may have gained weight and now have a closet full of clothes that stare at you everyday to remind you of this. As a form of punishment for these mistakes, many women keep them in the closet as a daily reminder of these failures. Why?
The funniest arguments that I’ve gotten into with clients is when they bargain with me to keep an item that doesn’t fit, doesn’t look good, doesn’t serve them. Yet, because they paid a lot or never wore it, they beg me to let them keep it. Ultimately, a client decides what stays or goes, but not without a lot of reasoning from me first. At some point, you have to forgive yourself and just because an item has a hefty price tag, it remains of zero value to you. If it makes you feel better to part with it by donating to a place where it will live on then do that, but don’t keep it in your closet, disempowering you every morning.
#4- To Be More Stylish: You Have to Be Willing to Change
This may sound fairly obvious, but if you keep doing the same things over and over again you’re going to get the same result. I understand that change is hard, but a lot of women seem to want to go through the same wardrobe motions yet look different in what they wear. While there is no logic to this, it’s an argument I’ve heard many times. If you don’t want to feel dull, stop wearing the same thing and expecting to feel different. Stop thinking that you’re finally going to feel great in the same black pair of pants and a boring top that you’ve been wearing endlessly and, for the love of God, stop buying the same things expecting them to be any different. In the beginning, the changes you make don’t have to be grand. In fact, most clients learn from me that they’re just missing that added polish at the end. If I can encourage you to make one immediate change it is to stop getting dressed 75% of the way. By far, this is the biggest wardrobe blunder I’ve seen over and over (and over and over) again. Clients show me what they wear everyday to work and it’s the same classically tailored pair of pants, same pencil skirt, same little dress with no pop or flair. Without a doubt, classic, workhorse pieces are important, but if you just throw on a boring top, a bland pair of shoes or an over-worn cardigan, you’re going to feel boring. These base classic pieces are the foundation, not the outfit.
When I revamped my own style (many years before I started my business), the first thing I thought about were accessories. That simple addition to my wardrobe was the catalyst to huge change in how I looked. My wardrobe no longer just consisted of pants, tops, dresses and skirts, but fun things to make these staple pieces look good. If you want more information about how to take this first step, you can read about it here. This blog also talks a lot about accessorizing your looks. Just scan through the blog for all my tips on how to put a look together. For the basics, learn about my Base, Accent, Pop method here.
As the month goes on, I will share more tips on how to take successful steps in creating a better look for yourself. But, as I leave you for today, if you really feel like you’re struggling, be accepting of the fact that this may not be your thing. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Just like you may use a calculator because math in your head is too challenging, use a cookbook because you’re not a natural whiz in the kitchen or see a therapist because you can’t get over a stumbling block in your life, you may need to seek outside help, either through books or hiring someone or getting expert advice, and that’s okay. The first step towards any change is knowing where you struggle and learning what you have to do to overcome.