Rewrite the Rules: How to Find Your Personal Style
Plus, notes on expanding your sartorial comfort zone.
“I have nothing to wear.”
The next time you catch yourself saying this phrase, take a pause—because it’s not true. What you really mean is that you have nothing you want to wear.
If you open your closet and think, “Why on Earth did I buy this?!” it means that at some point along the way, you lost touch with your personal style, and there’s a disconnect between the wardrobe you want and the wardrobe you have. This guide is here to help you bridge that gap.
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Your next step is to take these adjectives and write a sentence—just one—summing up your personal style. It might sound silly, but putting it into words will become useful down the line. Promise.
This doesn’t need to be beautiful prose. It’s for you and only you, and its purpose is to serve as a reminder when you enter the next stage: Refine.
Stock Up on Essentials
Once you’ve edited your wardrobe, it should only include pieces that you love wearing (aside from things that are functional in other ways, like exercise clothes, specific occasion-wear, etc.). Now, it’s time to fill any gaps where you’re missing essential items (think: a great pair of black pants, a white T-shirt, a versatile blazer).
As you shop, keep your style sentence top-of-mind. You might even want to write it on a post-it and keep it handy. These pieces should be ones you plan to wear often—some even weekly—so take care to ensure they’re comfortable, easy to care for, and have silhouettes that make you feel confident.
And Finally, a Note on Trends
This is not an anti-trend guide, and we don’t believe you need to shun trends entirely to have a long-lasting wardrobe that reflects your personal style. But you should be thoughtful about which trends you follow. Because of the rise of fast fashion and social media, trends are moving more quickly than ever, and it’s easy to feel like your wardrobe has to encompass everything (everywhere, all at once) to keep up.
It doesn’t. Having a strong sense of style is as much about eliminating what you don’t like as it is about knowing what you do like.
When you’re considering purchasing a trendy item, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I think this trend will last longer than a year?
- Does the piece fit seamlessly into my existing wardrobe, or will I need to buy more things to wear with it?
- When I put it on, do I feel like myself, or like I’m playing dress-up?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, move on. Your future self will thank you.