I know this topic will resonate with a lot of you. Most of us have found ourselves in a style rut at some point…I know I have. I’m someone who finds inspiration in the everyday things around me. I love to travel, explore, and experience different cultures (moving from England to India and then to America has been incredible for me). And while it makes for rich pickings it has it’s drawbacks – all these ideas and inspiration can sometimes get a little jumbled in my brain and this leads me to jump from one thing to the next in most areas of my life, including me personal style. There was a time when I felt lost and struggled to fuse all the things that inspired me into a personal style that felt authentic to me. I didn’t feel like I or belonged or fit in with a particular style type…but I didn’t particularly want to either. It was pretty confusing and it effected my confidence!
These days I feel differently. I don’t worry about trying to fit into one style type, I understand my style and my shape, and I wear what feels most like me. I know what my ‘core’ style is, my style signature, if you like, and I focus on the outfits that feel most like ‘me’. And I’m stronger, more confident and happier as a result.
Your style rut might be the result of something as simple as not bothering to stay on top of the latest trends, not having much of an interest in fashion, or being too busy to spend time on yourself. Or it might a little more complicated – maybe you’re a new Mum struggling to adapt to your new identity, You’ve had had health issues, have lost lost weight, or put weight on, you’ve suddenly found yourself at an age where you feel lost between shops you perceive to be for women younger than you or older than you.. Or it’s similar to my reason – struggling to adapt to changing environments, and feeling pulled in multiple directions. Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to get out of your rut, and I’m going to help you do it. Scroll on down to uncover 10 things you can do to gently ease yourself out of your rut, and subsequently become happier and more confident.
But before I talk about how to get yourself out of your rut, I want to deal with some of the issues you might be feeling with regards to spending time on yourself. I want you to know that it IS OK to spend time on yourself. It is NOT selfish, It is NOT self-indulgent, and it is NOT shallow. And anyone who makes you feel that it is, is projecting their own issues on to you.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to give yourself the love and recognition you deserve. If you think back to those moments when you felt good about yourself, I bet many of them were moments when you’d spent time on your appearance or wore an outfit that made you feel like you could take on the world. I know it’s clichéd to say this, but what you wear has such a powerful effect on your confidence and you are entitled to feel that every single day. And the simple truth is that if you continue to neglect yourself and your appearance you will only feel worse.
It’s a slippery slope my friends. So stop beating yourself up about your appearance and stop feeling guilty about caring about it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and make some small changes to pull you out of that rut.
OK. Enough of that. Hopefully you’re on board and ready to move forward.
Now that we’ve established that it’s totally AOK to take some time out to spend on YOU, let’s tackle the issue of getting out of that rut.
THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING OUT OF A STYLE RUT IS PREPARATION
- First I think it’s probably wise to try and identify why it is you’re in this rut in the first place. Acknowledging you’re in it and understanding how you got there will go a long way towards helping you break the habitual cycle.
- Now go through your wardrobe and pull out all the items that you love that make you feel bloody brilliant. Think about why these items make you feel good – try to identify the similarities in these pieces and uncover a theme. This is your ‘core’ style or style signature and this is what you want to keep in mind when you’re shopping and building outfits.
- While you’re in your closet, immediately remove any items that you don’t like or that you feel don’t represent who you want to be. There is absolutely no point in keeping things that make you feel crap, they’re taking up space and have a derogatory effect on how you perceive the other items hanging in there.
- If you have the time and the inclination to do a full detox, then this is the time to do so. But if not, don’t worry, just doing the above will be enough to make a positive change.
HOW TO FIND INSPIRATION TO PULL YOURSELF OUT OF A STYLE RUT
Next you need to find some inspiration for your outfits, give yourself some time and space to explore different styles and outfits, it’s incredibly easy to find it and record it these days:
- Pinterest is a great tool for this, and so is Instagram. Follow the people whose style you admire and your feeds will be rich with inspiration! If you’re not sure how to find these people, try to put the look you like into words and type them into the search box in Pinterest and Instagram to see who comes up. Another good tip for Pinterest is if you find a look you like, click on the image and scroll down – Pinterest will show you a heap of looks that are of a similar ilk.
- Think about what you do day to day. Write down what sort of occasions and events you need your clothes for. Now type that into the search engine of a large department store and see what it throws up. For example, if you’re looking for a dress for your upcoming holiday – type in holiday dress. This will likely throw up options you’d have scrolled right past had you just searched for dresses.
A Word of warning – While social media is a fantastic way to find inspiration for your style, the excessive consumerism and sheep like following of certain trends and ‘it’ items can have a negative effect, so try to keep things in perspective. The last thing you want to do is get sucked into a trend that’s not you. That probably won’t help you get out of your rut and might make you feel more lost.
- Go old school and rip out looks you like from your favorite magazines to stick in a look book or pin to a board. You could even create a vision board and fill it with inspiration and positive affirmations to remind you to change.
- Figure out a way to record and archive your inspiration so that it’s readily available wherever you are. I use Evernote which is cross platform app that enables me to take notes, clip web pages, and capture and store images and documents from my desktop, tablet and mobile, in virtual notebooks. I have a style notebook that’s jam paced with inspiration!
TOP TIP: Make a wish list and clip any items you like but can’t afford and revisit them once the sales start – you might bag yourself a bargain!
IMPLEMENT SOME SUBTLE CHANGES
The most important thing to recognize is that some of us are more adaptable to change than others, so go at your own pace! If baby steps is what you need to take, then take the baby steps. If you need to make a big bolg change in order to move forward then go for it! Just make sure you are comfortable with the changes your making, otherwise you’ll hit too much resistance and will end up back at square one.
Here are a few simple ways to introduce subtle changes to your personal style:
- If you wear a predominantly neutral color palette try introducing a pop of color. Swap your neutral trousers out for a pair in a bright color, or add a colorful jacket to your collection. If that seems to bold, then try adding a pair of bright shoes or a scarf.
- If you’re a little unsure where to start then I recommend starting small. Add a new accessory to your collection. Introduce a different pair of shoes into your collection, or try wearing some different jewelry. It’s amazing how much these small things can change your look and once you’ve seen how easy it is to make a change it’s often the catalyst to moving forward with bigger steps.
- If you never wear prints maybe now is the time to give them a go. Again accessories are going to be the gentlest way to introduce prints into your wardrobe, but if you want a more dramatic change then try a blouse in a print or maybe even some printed pants. Pair them with something neutral and familiar to ease yourself gently.
- If you’re not ready to invest in something new then fear not, there are plenty of ways you can make a change without spending a penny. Pull out an item you rarely wear and build an outfit around it. Combine two pieces that have never been worn together, play around with layering, or even ask a friend to create a couple of different outfits for you from your collection. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes to see something new. For some more ideas, check out this post for some simple, inexpensive, styling tips.
- If you wear print consider doubling, or even tripling up on it. I shared some tips to help you mix prints like a pro, in this post. If you wear prints then I’m guessing you’re not afraid of color – build on that and introduce some blocks of colour.
- Go to a thrift store and by something random that catches your eye. It’s low risk and a great way to find something unique!
- Stop thinking of retailers as being suitable for specific age ranges. Sure they market themselves to particular age groups, but don’t let that put you off. When I pick stock for my clients I like to pick as much of it as possible from a department store that carries a wide range of brands. I source it all ahead of time and I showcase it on one room. I often pick clothes from retailers they probably wouldn’t normally step foot inside if not pushed by me, but you see, once the clothes are removed from the environment in which they’re sold the brand associated with it partly removed allowing my client to see the item for what it is rather than the image the brand portrays.
- Plan an event out with a few friends and make a pact to all make an effort to dress differently to normal. The pressure not wanting to let your friends down will force you to try something new, but because you know you’re not the only one doing it, hopefully you’ll feel less nervous!
- Have someone help you out of your rut – maybe a friend who’s style you admire, or an assistant in your favorite clothing store. Just bear in mind that they may put you in what they like not what works for you, or they might be working on commission.
- Invest in some professional help – Personal Stylists aren’t just for the rich and famous! Spend some time looking for someone you think has a personality that you feel comfortable with and won’t feel intimidated by, and make sure they’re knowledgeable. It’s a personal (and sometimes emotional) process to go through so choosing the right person is paramount. I pride myself on providing friendly, honest, impartial advice and take great care over guiding clients at a pace that works for them, if you think I’m the right fit for you then let’s chat, I’d love to help you!
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a style rut? Are you in one now? Maybe you have some advice to share ? Let’s talk it over in the comments below!