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Define Your Style ❤ Part Four ❤

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Do You Have?

Parts two and three should have left you with a rough mental picture, and possibly a more specific list, of the kind of style you would like to have and how to make that style practical for you. That’s useless, of course, without a wardrobe of clothing to make it a reality.

Before you go anywhere near a shop you need to find out what you already own. Many women have closets and drawers full of clothes they never wear because they don’t suit them or they have nothing to wear them with.

Don’t be scared to get rid of things if it doesn’t fit into your style blueprint. Even if it’s something you wear at the moment.



There are basics that it’s useful to have in your wardrobe. I’ve written about some general basics, and specific summer basics before. If you have these, but they don’t fit into your style then I suggest not getting rid of them until you’ve replaced them, but everything else should be fair game.

I’ve also got some great general advice on cleaning out your wardrobe.

Once you’ve finished clearing out you should have a small core of clothes that you feel really suit you and your style.

The next step is to spend some time trying things on in different combinations. Get out all your accessories, belts and scarves and spend a good hour or so playing around.

Try and put together 2 or 3 outfits from your existing wardrobe that you really like. Go back to Part 3 and think about what your outfits are for. If you have a couple of work outfits and 1 or 2 outfits for your out of work activities then you have the basis of a good wardrobe. Try putting the outfits with different accessories to create a slightly different look and get more wear out of it.

Sticking with my “girly frills” example here the same suit (and an extra pair of trousers) makes 3 outfits with different accessories for work and a skirt, top and cardigan is accessorised for day.

If you get to the end of this process and find you have absolutely nothing that you like then you have 2 options.

One is to go back to the drawing board. If you have never in your life bought a single piece of clothing that fits into your new clearer idea of your style then it’s possible that you don’t actually like it in reality and it’s just the pictures you are drawn to. Make sure you’ve looked properly at your own old photos as well as your lookbook and that you’ve really been realistic.

The other option is to acknowledge that your style up to now just hasn’t been you and that a major shopping trip is necessary. Building a wardrobe that’s really you is going to take time, you can’t walk to the shops and immediately come home with a whole new look. You could try, but it will look forced and unnatural.

If you find you have no outfits that you like try putting together a look you DO using Looklet or Polyvore and keeping that in mind on your next shopping trip. Buying one outfit that you really love and then slowly adding other pieces to it is a great way to start a new wardrobe from scratch.

The next step, in PART FIVE, will be to look at what you now need….

Photo by gail m tang

11 Responses
  • IdStyle
    January 13, 2010

    The hardest part is getting rid of stuff. I LOVE clothes so much, that it seems so hard to get rid of items i like but that don’t work for me.
    I found it easiest to have a swap party, then i could still love those pieces and see them from time to time enjoying the sun in my friends outfits. (and get a little something ‘new’ for myself too!)
    .-= IdStyle´s last blog ..Design Board: No Two Snowflakes… =-.

    • Retro Chick
      January 13, 2010

      Doh! I’m such an idiot for not suggesting that in this post!

      I’m mentioning it in the “what do you need” post, but I really should have suggested it now before you give everything you don’t want away!

  • Ashe Mischief
    January 13, 2010

    This series has been really fantastic doll. It’s great to see it so soon in the new year (and it’s been inspiring me to take apart my wardrobe as I’m moving in to my new place).
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..How to Custom Order Goods from Your Indie Friends =-.

    • Retro Chick
      January 14, 2010

      Good, I’m glad you like it!

  • savvy gal
    January 14, 2010

    i get rid of things if i don’t wear them in more than 2 seasons.
    .-= savvy gal´s last blog ..La Mer Mask =-.

    • Retro Chick
      January 14, 2010

      Really! Crikey, I don’t do that! You are organised.

      I’d only regret it in another couple of months, but then I tend not to buy things that are so up to the minute that they would date that quickly. My style is much more classic.

  • Alice
    January 14, 2010

    I really like the series! I’ve recently decluttered my wardrobe and got rid of everything I haven’t worn for a long time and it was a fantastic experience. And, although I do like to experiment, by now I have a clear picture of my style and won’t buy pieces that intrigue me but I end up wearing them once or twice. Took me years to get here!

  • Maddy
    January 14, 2010

    I have no problem getting rid of stuff! Makes more room for some new stuff :)
    .-= Maddy´s last blog ..Date Night with My DVR =-.

  • Eyeliah
    January 19, 2010

    oh, great work mixing up that suit and then accessorizing the same three pieces.
    .-= Eyeliah´s last blog ..Back from the Weekend =-.

  • Becky
    February 11, 2010

    Just wanted to say again just how insanely helpful this series is! Of course, I think this is going to be the hardest point for me…since I sew a lot of my own clothes, that makes it hard to get rid of things! Sentimental value and all.
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..The Personal Style Project, phase 1 cont.: Who are you? =-.