The internet is insisting that I take everything I learned in 2016 and roll it all up into a New Fabulous Me for 2017. While I think this is just a way to ensure a seasonal uptick in soon-to-be-forgotten gym memberships and a fleeting increase in smoothie sales, I do think that we’re blessed in the southern hemisphere to start a new year in the summer. When better to think about what fabulousness you want to project into the world via your personal style?
I am a big believer in identifying simple things you can do that have a big impact on your life, like the time I decided to just pay a damn gardener so I could stop trying to mow our horrible lawn with a weed-whacker, or (in a less extreme example) the time I decided to stop wasting my time folding my socks.
You might well be rocking into 2017 without a single care to give about your personal style, in which case, I salute you, but if you’re ready to amp yourself up, let’s figure out three simple things you can do to feel more super in 2017.
You may be reading this and mentally adding air quotes around the world “style”, but style doesn’t mean stylish. The style of your clothes is the summary of their common element(s). Your style of doing something, including dressing yourself, just means your way.
I’d describe the style of things I choose to wear as comfortable, eclectic and colourful. I’d describe my “way” – that is, how I get dressed, as unplanned, in the spirit of fun and very much dependent on my mood and the day ahead – you know I believe in the power of a good outfit to transform how you think and act on a particular day.
Now have a think about your style this year and ask yourself:
- are you happy with the style of the things you are choosing to wear, or are you a bit bored of the same old combos (or, conversely, a bit frustrated that you never seem to have things that match – been there!)
- what’s your mentality when you get dressed in the morning? Are you chucking something on just to get out the door? Are you trying to hide your body or are you flaunting what you got? Do you think about your outfits the night before or do you just try on 7 tops until you find the right one (I won’t lie - quite often that's me).
There are no wrong answers here – we’re just discovering what worked for you and what didn’t.
While mine is pretty mundane, this is the dream sequence, so don’t be held back by reality here. You want to let yourself go and try to reveal to yourself what you are doing or thinking that is holding you back from feeling superb in your clothes each day. You might:
- do a massive clear out of all those clothes you’re keeping for sentimental reasons, or, conversely, decide you need to double your options;
- want to have a stylist or personal shopper come and work with you, to help you figure out what you need and what suits you;
- decide you aren’t going to wear jeans, or sneakers, or ball gowns (you do you) for an entire year;
- promise you won’t engage in negative self talk when you get dressed – no more “I’m too fat/short/tall/hip-py for this outfit”. YOU CAN DO IT.
I would focus more on buying good quality classics. I bought a great trench coat in November after accepting my previous one was finally worn out after 5+ years of loyal service (and it was second hand at the start of that so, y'know, it's lived a life). It’s awesome, and the beautiful black leather jacket I bought in the Boxing Day sales has really entrenched this for me.
I would never buy fast fashion. I would focus my efforts (and budget) on buying a very few super beautiful things from NZ designers each season (i.e. twice a year) – but I’d continue to buy totally insane, experimental stuff and good quality second hand NZ designer things from second hand and vintage shops like Thrift, Recycle Boutique and Hunters and Collectors.
I’d be better about planning outfits. Although I have my spreadsheet of outfit ideas, I would be organised at the start of the week with at least three options.
My body confidence and belief in the “don’t like it, don’t look” philosophy would become unbreakable. My swagger would be real, rather than (sometimes) very fake. Fake swagger can get you through a lot of stuff, but I’d be fiercely confident and a boss lady as a result.
Finally – thinking about what you’ve just revealed unto yourself, what three things can you realistically do, within your budget and resources, to make yourself more confidently stylish in 2017?
- At the most basic level, if I don’t buy a good white button down shirt by the start of 2017 I will be super mad at myself. I’ve been thinking about it for a year, and I just need to accept that you can’t find everything at SaveMart.
- I solemnly swear that I will delete the ASOS app from my phone and re-jig my annual/monthly fashion budgets to redirect my spending patterns (more on this in an imminent post!)
- Each weekend, I’ll plan one “directional” (read: a bit crazy) outfit for the week ahead. The hope is that putting myself out of my comfort zone will be good for my confidence, and planning one outfit a week feels like a very achievable start.
Think about what underlies your assessment. So, if you identified that you just use clothes to cover your nakedness, and you would like to have a stylist come and work with you to give you a rark up, but you have a limited budget, don’t despair! You could:
- Start a Pinterest board and commit to updating it every week, to get your eye in.
- Ask friends and family what their favourite outfit is on you, to get a sense of what you look good in.
- Do some online research on what colours and shapes suit you.
- Ask a trusted friend to come shopping with you and give you feedback (remember though – all feedback should be about the clothes, not about the person, so you’d say “that dress isn’t cut correctly for you” instead of “your hips are too big for that dress”).
- If you already own plenty of stuff but you just wear the same things again and again, take your most worn items over to a friend’s house and leave them there in “lock up”, to force you to dig deeper.
- Make a monthly date to go second hand shopping – with a strict budget and shopping list.
The important thing is that your three steps are achievable and immediate - no "when I have more money/time/confidence then I will...". It doesn't matter if it's a small step, verging on so small you can't even see it - just figure out what you can do right now and give it a go. And when you're done - give yourself a pat on the back for doing something for you.