Getting dressed should be about having fun and finding things that make you feel amazing. It’s that simple. But it can take some time and effort to build up a closet that truly lets you express yourself, so here are some tips on how to find your personal style and curate your perfect closet.
- Describe your ideal style in 3 words.
Consider what you love about yourself and want to highlight, what image you want to present to the world, how you want to feel wearing the clothes and whether you prioritize comfort, trendiness, uniqueness or all of the above.
- Find 10 pieces from your current closet that best define your ideal style.
This includes shoes, so it’s a short list! But it forces you to really think about what your favorite pieces are and why. Does it fit really well and accentuate your body in a way you love? Does it make you feel confident? Is it easy to match with other things? I recommend limiting this list to pieces you currently own, rather than pulling ideas from online, because it’s hard to see how a piece will actually fit, feel and wear long-term until you try it.
- Create a vision board for the perfect closet.
Use your list of 10 pieces as a starting point. If you have never tried using Pinterest before, now is the time. (If you have used it, then you probably already have a style board.) Find a few items or outfits you love, and Pinterest’s recommendations will help you develop it from there.
You can also create real collages out of magazines – I have one taped to my closet door, and it’s great for giving inspiration. Most fashion shoots don’t translate perfectly to casual wear, but they provide really interesting combinations and silhouettes that you can draw ideas from.
- Sort through your closet before you go shopping.
It’s important to be aware of what you already have before you start buying new things. Whether your closet is overflowing with things you’ve accumulated over the years, or it consists of a pile of T-shirts and jeans shoved into a drawer, take the time to look at what you have and what you need. I love this video from minimalist Sorelle Amore that really emphasizes how important it is to have items that make you feel amazing. You will be much more likely to get use out of those items, and you will feel fantastic wearing them.
- Try style challenges like Project 333.
If you’re struggling to cut down your closet, try Project 333: Limit yourself to wearing just 33 items for 3 months, shoes and accessories included. It helps you realize how few items you actually need. I highly recommend listening to this podcast episode about the challenge while sorting through your clothes; it’s quite relaxing as well as informative and encouraging.
- Be intentional about how you shop. Remember, thrift stores are your best friend.
Now that you know exactly what you want, and took account of what you have, you are ready to go shopping! Avoid fast fashion and choose thrift stores instead; it’s more environmentally friendly, ethical and allows you to stay at a similar price point. It can also help you curate a more creative style rather than depending on the trends of the moment. The right kind of store for you depends on how vintage or trendy you want to be, how much time and money you have to spend and how much you enjoy doing DIYs. Personally, I love upcycling, so thrifting for me is more about fabrics and patterns than about finding the perfect fit. You just need to figure out which stores work best for what you need.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, experiment and be weird when you’re figuring out your personal style. My top piece of advice: have fun with it!