“I’m not a total fashion disaster! I just can’t seem to figure out…”
These words, or some variation of this sentiment, comes up quite a bit with clients. And it makes perfect sense. My clients are high performing women who genuinely excel at pretty much everything. So, when getting dressed starts to feel hard, they naturally search for a solution to their problem.
This month I'm sharing the top three obstacles my clients face when it comes to refining their personal style and how to can fix them. Even if you don't struggle with all of these every day, just one of these obstacles a few times a week is enough to make getting dressed a lot less fun and not nearly as confidence building as it should be. So, let's fix that.
I have some great pieces in my wardrobe for work.
I just don't have complete outfits I love.
What it looks like:
If this sentiment sounds familiar, you probably aren’t afraid to invest in pieces for work that you consider staples like a blazer, a coat, a suit or a few silk blouses. You’re savvy enough to have a few go-to brands for work clothes. You might have a few outfits you can count on to look good and get the job done when you want to feel confident for a big meeting or some other important work events. It’s getting dressed for the day-to-day that has you feeling frustrated and not as pulled together as you'd like.
The solution here is to stop shopping piece by piece. The only way to get complete looks is to shop with your current wardrobe in mind and give yourself plenty of time. This can be tricky to do on your own but if you shop with a list of things that are missing from your current wardrobe it can be done. You'll need to try on a lot more than you’re used to if you typically shop one piece at a time. With a plan and a list, creating whole outfits that you love becomes a lot more doable.
I don’t have casual/weekend looks I like.
What it looks like:
Most of my clients take their careers very seriously. The result is that they don’t prioritize their casual clothes as much as their work clothes when they shop. Admittedly, casual clothes can get a little tricky as we get older and we’re assessing who we are within new social landscapes (I wrote about why this in another blog post here). Shopping for casual clothes can start to feel overwhelming. You know that you want to look and feel great on the weekends but you might feel paralyzed about where to start.
The best way to start building a casual wardrobe you feel great about is to prioritize buying high-quality basics. Denim, t-shirts, easy dresses you can wear several ways, layering pieces and a few pairs of comfortable but stylish (non-work!) shoes is a great place to start. After that, you can focus on accessories which require a little more hunting but tend to take a back seat when you’re struggling to find even a basic t-shirt you feel ok in.
If you work a lot and your career is very important to your identity, take some time to look at magazines or Pinterest to get some inspiration and explore what you like when it comes to casual clothes.
I’m not sure how to accessorize.
What it looks like:
If you aren’t super confident about how to wear accessories you probably really notice when friends or other women are well accessorized. Maybe when you attempt to accessorize, something feels off. Perhaps you have jewelry that you like but doesn’t quite feel right when you wear it. Often clients are holding onto your old stuff and shying away from buying anything new because you’re not wearing what you have.
The first step to getting a handle on your accessory overwhelm is editing the jewelry and accessories you have. Be ruthless about what doesn't feel right to you today. If something feels outdated or just not your style anymore, put it in one pile. If you like it but you’re not sure how to wear it, start another pile. Since jewelry can be sentimental, make a third pile of things that you want to keep but may not wear. Donate anything that doesn’t feel like you anymore.
With the accessories that you like but aren’t sure how to wear, begin incorporating them into your wardrobe one at a time. Just add one to your outfit before you leave the house. One accessory is not going to ruin your whole outfit so don’t overthink it. Your goal is to get yourself into the practice of accessorizing and begin noticing what you like. Once you start to get a sense of what feels good to you now, you can shop for some new options with more confidence.
Bonus: A very stylish friend recently shared that she’s noticed that when she wears red lipstick she doesn’t feel the need to accessorize as much or at all. If you’re still trying to figure out your accessorizing sweet spot, don’t overlook the power of a bold lip color.