Before I went about decluttering my closet for the first time, I did a fair amount of reading not only on that specific process, but also on things like creating a capsule wardrobe, increasing versatility, and more.
It didn’t take long for one thing to become abundantly clear—in order to be truly effective in simplifying your wardrobe, you have to be clear on what your personal style is, whether you consider yourself a “fashion person” or not.
After all, the first step in decluttering your closet is identifying what you love, and if you don’t know what you love, well, you’re kind of stuck.
If you’ve been looking into simplifying your style, you’ve likely done an initial sweep of your closet. You’ve pulled everything out and identified what you love, what you’re not so sure about, and what needs to go pronto.
But if you’re anything like me, you’re looking at what’s left, noticing the gaps and thinking to yourself, “How on earth do I create a cohesive wardrobe from this?”
That is where simplifying your style comes in.
The distinction between your style and your wardrobe is similar to the distinction between minimalism and decluttering. Your style is the expression of your personality through the way you dress. Your wardrobe is the physical manifestation of that style.
You will always have a wardrobe, but chances are, if you aren’t clear on what your style is, it’ll end up just as messy and cluttered again a few years from now.
It won’t be an overnight process, because defining your style is something that takes time and, as with many things in life, your style preferences will evolve with your life.
While it might seem like an impossibility to bridge the gap between your current wardrobe and the one in your dreams while also figuring out your style in the process, there are a few techniques that can help get you there.
Even before I began curating my wardrobe, I had a Pinterest board dedicated to what I consider great style. Any time I saw a particular piece or a well-styled outfit I loved, it went on that board.
When I started curating my wardrobe a bit more seriously, that board is the first place I went because it gave me a visual snapshot of the things I loved and caught my eye. If you don’t already have a board like this, create something similar. Whether it’s an actual Pinterest board or a folder on your computer, gather a good collection of outfits you love.
Identify the Patterns
Once you’ve gone through and created that vision board for your ideal wardrobe, look through it and identify the patterns.
Are there particular colors or fabrics you’re drawn to? What about styling techniques, outfit formulas, or silhouettes?
Take note of everything from the obvious to the detailed like accessories, the way particular items drape, or what fabric they appear to be made of. Once you’ve made this list, it’ll give you a good starting point for the things you’re naturally drawn to that you can compare your current wardrobe to.
Once you’ve identified some of those patterns and similarities between what you’re drawn to, start experimenting to see what you love in theory and what you love in reality.
For example, if you looked at my vision board, you would probably see a fair number of outfits with high heels and pencil skirts because I love how classy and elegant they look. I love the silhouette of a pencil skirt and how heels can instantly dress up almost any outfit.
In reality? I can’t stand either of them.
Every single time I wear heels, I regret it and within hours switch to a pair of flats I’ve inevitably thrown in my bag “just in case.” A pencil skirt silhouette may look fabulous, but every time I put one on, I feel like I’m constantly having to adjust it throughout the day, which is frustrating, distracting, and violates one of the biggest rules I have for my wardrobe.
Wardrobe rules, you ask? Next week we’ll continue the discussion with three additional techniques to help you define your style!
In the meantime, get started with those experiments and that vision board.