Recently I conquered the needlessly daunting task of backing up photos from my phone to an external hard drive. Moving files from one device to another really shouldn't be that big of a deal, but for whatever reason it just is and therefore I tend to avoid it.
As the shockingly large number of photos started showing up my computer screen – hundreds (thousands?) from the past two years that I had been afraid to take off my phone for fear of losing them – I noticed how much my style had changed in that period alone. Like with most things, we never really realize how much they've changed until one day they're just different. Suddenly, you see a photo and have that woah moment about how much has happened while you were living and not looking. It's startling, humbling, sometimes scary.
When it comes to style, this shock of change is bound to happen – our personal style warps and molds with trends, locations, preferences, and the rest. In flipping through those photos, I noticed how much I had begun to simplify the way I dress over the past few years – colored tights disappeared, as did "fun" belts and basically anything with embroidery, excess, or superfluous details. Thanks to my process of minimalizing that came with our move to the States, paired with life in my late 20s, I'd finally (finally) began to figure out my taste.
My personal style blueprint, if you will, had finally shown up at my doorstep. That relative constant that would serve as the starting point for the trends and fleeting preferences that would no doubt come and go. I know now that my personal style is solids over prints with the exception of stripes, and fit and comfort over all else. I like odd bits here and there, and my taste for late 60s/early 70s New York shows up time and time again.
For those of you who are still looking to find your elusive personal style, there are a few things that guided me on my path to simplification and holy style salvation. These thoughts and tips, listed below, helped me simplify the way I dress and find my now-and-hopefully-forever style:
Think about what you reach for in the mornings
You know that piece of career advice, where people tell you to think about what you would do if you weren't being paid and then do that for a living? ("Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.") While that may or may not be the best advice, I have thoughts both ways, I do think this mindset is a good one to use while searching for your personal style. Think about what you love and feel good in, and what you reach for when you go to your closet in the mornings. Jeans and a button down? T-shirt dress? The style and fit of the outfit you automatically reach for in the mornings should be your focus. Use this 'go to' outfit as a foundation for that personal style blueprint and chances are you'll be happy with the result.
Not talking fleece and yoga pants, though I do wear my Dear Kate's far more than I should. When it comes to clothing, you should wear what fits and what makes you feel comfortable. You shouldn't have to tug on your shirt every three minutes, wear shoes that require half a box of Band Aids, or pants that don't allow you to eat. It makes no sense and ridding your wardrobe of these items will make you a heck of a lot happier. You want clothing that doesn't need an explanation – I can only wear these shoes if... or I just have to use a safety pin on this shirt. It's unnecessary and unneeded. No picking, no pulling, no questions.
Accept trends, cautiously
I love a good trend. They're fun and should be embraced, with caution. Rather than buying a new wardrobe of trendy items every season, focus on one color or shape and buy a piece or two in that direction. That's all you really need anyway, and buying fewer items means that you're more likely to keep and wear them later.
Buy what you want to buy
This can be a hard one to put in practice, because it often means purchasing items that are slightly out of budget. But hear me out. I often equate fashion to food, and this is perhaps the best example of why I make the connection between the two. Think about how you feel when you have a sugar craving – if you want something sweet, you should have the sweet thing that you want rather than eating 20 other things in hopes of fulfilling your craving. And if you see an item of clothing that you really want, you should think long and hard about it, look at the financial repercussions and then, if possible, buy it. You'll most likely feel glad you bought the item you wanted rather than the 20 Urban Outfitters knockoff filler items you don't really love and didn't want in the first place.
That's what I've done and so far, it's worked wonders. I'm happier, my wardrobe is smaller, and I love every single thing that I buy. Do you have a shopping strategy, an all-important "uniform", or anything you wear on a day-to-day basis? I'd love to hear!