Written by Olivia Bannock
Feeling stuck for inspiration by your own wardrobe is incredibly frustrating. It’s like feeling the pressure of a waiter over your shoulder when the rest of the table has ordered and you can’t decide between the basic branzino or the enticing special.
Do I branch out? Be adventurous? Explore the possibilities of new flavors??? I’ll take the branzino.
We’re not all blessed with blogger budgets or the financial pleasure of buying a new ‘look’ every Friday night. What you really need is inspiration and a new approach to your closet. I’ve compiled a list of ten ways – enough for all your problems – to help you out of your style rut.
1) Get inspired
Like any creative rut or block, it tends to reflect our lack of inspiration. I always refer to my Pinterest and try to updated it as much as possible with fresh content. I pin a mixture of avant- garde looks and street-style that reference pieces similar to what I own. That way I can try to re- create something when I don’t know what to wear. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
2) Re-organize your closet (Keep it clean)
I keep my closet super organized; color coordinated, shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, etc. It may seem OCD but it really helps when getting dressed on the fly and takes the stress out of pulling together a look. A clean closet = a clear head. The only challenge you’ll face is keeping it that way.
3) Shop your own closet (create ‘new’ looks, take photos to remind yourself)
‘I have nothing to wear’ is a sentence I think most females can relate to, as we stare at our closet full of clothes. Whether you’re uninspired or simply can’t afford to buy anything knew (we’ve also all been there), shopping your own closet is the best solution. I pull out pieces from my closet that have had the least amount of wear, then I try to make several different looks and document them all. When you find yourself having a breakdown in front of your wardrobe, it’s easy to refer back to the images like your own personal catalogue.
4) Go impulse shopping (be prepared to return!)
*PSA*: This strategy is not for everyone!!! We’ve been told to fear impulse shopping as it’s generally economically wasteful and the things you buy are more likely to end up in the back of your closet, never to be worn. However, I have had some great success impulse shopping, finding pieces in my wardrobe I probably couldn’t live without. The best time to go impulse shopping is during sale season. I tend to look for jackets or dresses that are out of my financial reach at full price. If it’s not sale season, make sure you leave the tags on and keep the receipts. If you don’t wear it within the first week, bring it back to the store. Most importantly, set yourself a calendar reminder so you don’t forget! You don’t want to be stuck with that trendy floral crop top you swore was the holy grail to your wardrobe woes.
5) Tailor old clothes to make them new
At the start of each season, I go through my closet and pull out a few pieces to bring to the tailor.There are two reasons I do this: The first being that I look for clothes that don’t fit properly. Fit goes hand in hand with confidence – the better the clothes fit on your body, the better you’ll feel. The second is giving new life to old clothes. For example, shortening long dresses or adding a slit to a pencil skirt makes it feel new again. It’s super important that you trust your tailor, as you want the outcome to be worth the investment!
6) Accessorize (A t-shirt doesn’t have to be ‘lazy’ with the right earrings)
So what, you’ve worn a t-shirt every day this week! We can’t be street-style stars at all times. A really quick way to jazz up your look is with accessories. Fun earrings or a statement necklace can add some depth to your outfit. My go to accessories are my $58 L Erickson, tortoise shell hoops I found at Nordstroms.com, that I wear on a daily basis. At night, I really love Annie Costello Brown’s blue patina brass, pom pom earrings. The color really brightens any outfit.
7) Find a uniform (Too many prints? Not enough basics!)
I have yet to successfully tackle the idea of a uniform, however I do have some friends who successfully have. Sporting a uniform doesn’t mean wearing the same thing every day, but it does mean curating what you purchase into a more streamlined wardrobe. I find myself overwhelmed by the excessive amount of prints I own, or find some things to be too seasonal. Focus on pieces that work for your lifestyle and serve a year long purpose as those are always worth investing in.
8) Vintage shop (Etsy is a great resource)
Vintage shopping is a great way to add flare to your wardrobe. The task itself can be daunting but going with friends always helps clarify any doubts you may have. The key to vintage shopping is knowing what you’re looking for; a bohemian, summer dress, a trench coat for the fall, or unusual accessories. When I’m not in the mood to dig through racks of clothes, I turn to Etsy. Much like Pinterest you can create boards and save your finds. Before you purchase, make sure you read all the details about the garment (fit, quality, stains, does it come from a smoke free home?). I communicate with the seller to clarify any questions and often bargain to get the best price. A Current Affair Vintage Fair occurs a few times a year in NYC, San Francisco and LA. This is the besttime to shop as it brings together stores from across America and they tend to bring out their best stuff.
9) Re-work your clothes (A day dress as a beach cover-up)
I am going on vacation in a couple of weeks and although I am longing for a new beach cover-up, I think my cash will be better spent on tapas and street market finds. I decided to take a look at what I have and see what I can transform into an ideal, beach side cover-up. A gingham, Reformation dress has done wonders for me in the past. Oversized button down shirts or sheer dresses (sans-slips) are great resources for vacation based wardrobe issues.
10) Assess what it is your missing from your wardrobe (A good ‘summer’ jacket, not-so-basic jeans)
If you’re really stuck in a style rut, perhaps you need to asses what’s missing from your wardrobe. This can be super challenging when you don’t know what it is that you want (again,comparable to deciding what you want for dinner, it’s just too hard to choose). Try to make a list of things you wish you had when you’re running out the door. Perhaps it’s a jacket that adds anextra layer of interest to your summer dresses, or maybe a standout pair of jeans that is a bit edgier than your standard skinny. A great source of inspiration is obviously your friends. What is it about their style that you admire? What elements make their looks complete or put together? Ask them for help! That’s what friends are for.
Be sure to follow Olivia on Instagram for your wardrobe inspiration @OliviaIvey