closet

10 Steps to Discover Your Personal Style

Do you have a person in your life that just has it so together when it comes to style? Where you see them and you’re like – how do you look so polished, like you just went shopping yesterday – but EVERY DAY?

I have a couple of people. Girls at work who I wish were celebrities so I could pin their outfits and have them as style icons… and my bff who is just as obsessive as me about clothes, but has cracked some code lately that I haven’t.

She did the whole Kon Mari thing and purged her closet when the book first came out, and discovered that minimalism is her JAM. Not only when it comes to her house, but her style too. She now has this chic-ass closet with all neutral colors, soft knits, flawless dresses – so grown up, so sexy – and so her. She throws whatever on and it’s always amazing. And she feels amazing about her closet and loves everything in it.

So, I did the whole purging and reorganizing thing, and got pretty good at it. I can get pretty scrappy when it comes to being minimal and getting rid of things I don’t need. But I still feel a little…at sea. I look at other people’s wardrobes and it’s so clear and identifiable – that’s they’re style. You could go shopping for them and know what they would like in an instant. And they seem so comfortable in what they’re in all the time.

So I did some research, brainstormed, and came up with some tips and tricks that I hope will help you as much as they helped me if you’re looking to narrow down your personal style. After completing all these steps, I’m starting to see more and more clearly what my style is and what makes me feel the best, plus discover some realizations I never thought about before.

 

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1. Start brainstorming with style icons, Pinterest boards, and your closet MVPs

Start by simply looking for what you like. Make a Pinterest board of outfits you like, or update one you already have. What is catching your eye? What is making you say ooh and aah?

Who are your style icons? Search for pins of musicians, models, and bloggers that you would pretty much date – and add your favorite outfits of theirs to your board. You can also think of style icons who aren’t celebrities – coworkers, friends, imaginary personas in your head… what would they wear? Pin that stuff.

Tip: I found it helpful to look for style icons outside of the typical cast of white and very thin celebrities that usually come to mind. Even if you completely relate to their body type, branch out – I found that it makes me feel so much more confident about being different and dressing however I want, despite the status quo.

Use your own closet for inspiration as well. Put everything you absolutely love without question at one end of your closet, all together. Now browse through those pieces and see what they all might have in common, or the story they’re telling. Use that to influence your Pinterest board, too.

Tip: I have a thousand Pinterest boards, which might not be your thing – but consider using multiple boards for style inspiration if you’re trying to narrow down what you like (you can always make them secret if you don’t want the world seeing it). I have a winter style board, a summer style board, and a My Style board. Super original, I know. But I find it really helpful to just throw whatever speaks to me on the summer/winter boards, and be much more picky with the My Style board. My problem in the past was getting distracted by things I thought were cool, but then losing sight of what I wanted to wear in real life. So maybe going into this exercise, create a new board where you can start fresh, if you’ve been a style pinner in the past.

 

2. Kon Mari the shit out of that board

This was Em’s idea (the bff). Like I mentioned, my boards can get distracting sometimes – I’ll put a pic of a runway model on there because the color combination inspired me, but I would never wear the outfit. Use this board, your “This Is My Style and I Figured It Out and It’s Awesome” board, to only pin things that you would LOVE to wear.

To help with this, ask yourself these questions as you pin or scroll through and clean up the board:

  • Do I love this? Like, really love this?
  • Would I put this outfit on and feel good in it?
  • Would I buy this?

Come back to this board as you go through the rest of the steps and keep tweaking it based on the answers and realizations you might come to.

 

3. Find your wardrobe color palette

I found this step super helpful. It might sound kind of random at first, but it really helps! Look at your current closet, including shoes, bags, and accessories. What colors keep popping up? What colors are rare? If you took my advice and put everything you love at one end of your closet, which colors are there? Which colors are at the other end – with things that you might really like, but maybe you hardly wear them?

Here’s an example of what I came up with for my wardrobe:

  • Main colors: navy, pink (peach, blush, salmon), cognac, grey, black
  • Neutral colors: black, cognac, grey
  • Accent colors: jewel tones – purple, red, green

This is helpful for future shopping trips for anything – makeup, clothes, jewelry, bags – because you can look at your palette and say, “Will this piece go with my main colors?” If the answer is yes, THAT SHIT WILL MATCH EVERYTHING. We are on our way to giving you a closet where everything works together, and putting together outfits is easy.

 

4. Define your key pieces

What do you wear all the time? Are there some weeks where you feel like you have a uniform? Mine is jeans, brown ankle boots, top, scarf, cardigan. When I’m not feeling creative, I rely on these pieces to make me feel cute anyway.

Here are my key pieces:

  • cognac ankle boots
  • cropped dark grey moto jacket
  • ripped skinny jeans
  • scarves
  • patterned tops
  • loose-fitting neutral tee
  • casual dresses
  • brown leather heels
  • Henley tops

Use this list as a wishlist for items you might want to consider splurging on when you have the chance – investing in these pieces will make you feel much more put together. Then you can try out other trends at cheaper prices, while your staples will last you forever.

 

5. Find the key words that define your style

Who do you want to be? Don’t think about who you should be. Do you want to be a bohemian goddess? Do you want to be a bad ass CEO? Do you want to be a rock star? What do you want your style to say about you?

This may seem kind of silly, but it’s so helpful – you need to have a persona in your mind to move toward. One of mine is very weird, but it puts a clear image of a persona in my head (for whatever reason) – “The Cool Girl”. I know. But when I look at a top and think, “Is this what The Cool Girl would wear?” it becomes clear instantly. The style that comes to mind is torn jeans, casual tees, chic ankle boots, interesting tops, simple jewelry, dresses that are simple but make a statement – sexy but laid back. The Modcloth Girl, or The Coachella Girl, or The Professional Classy Chick, would have a totally different style.

So here are my key words:  “cool girl”/edgy, bohemian, girly, casual, simple

 

6. Think about your lifestyle

Do you work from home, but have a ton of heels and pencil skirts? No wonder you have nothing to wear. Start with being realistic about where you are in your life right now. You need a closet full of clothes that make sense for your life. Not Beyonce’s, or Elizabeth Warren’s, or Serena Williams’. Look at the proportion of time you typically spend in certain categories and try and get your closet to match that. If you never go to the Grammy’s, then you probably don’t need 5 ballgowns. If you teach yoga for a living, invest in awesome and cute active wear, and stop loading up your closet with blazers and blouses you’ll never wear.

Here’s mine:

Lifestyle: work, casual weekend, working out, going out

Most is work, but it’s very casual – every so often I want cute work out gear and a killer let’s-go-dancing outfit, but I don’t need to invest a lot in that category.

Tip: Use your key pieces that you outlined in number 4 to help with this one, plus the favorite things in your closet that you keep reaching for again and again.

 

7. Now you’re ready to really polish that Pinterest board

After thinking about your dream style and closet, and matching that to your real life, you’re ready to go back to that Pinterest board and create a final curated and crafted mood board of your personal style. Hopefully things are starting to come into focus a little bit – but remember, it’s a process!

Weed out anything that doesn’t fit with the work you did above, and take a scroll through – this is what you’re going for.

 

8. Take action

Alright. Let’s take a look at that other side of your closet. Now, some stuff may be things you love, but wear more sparingly – these could be tops or dresses in one of your accent colors that are great for one of your lifestyle categories. But look through what you have and make some tough choices. Would you pin that sweater to your board? Is what you’re seeing lining up with your key words? Would your style icons borrow clothes from this closet and pretend to forget to give it back?

 

9. Use your new shopping weapon

Use your new style board as your guide when you go shopping from now on. Take a scroll through before you head out on a spree, or use it when you are on the fence about something in the dressing room (“but it’s only seven dollars….”).

I use Pinterest for shopping all the time. I have my trusty “My Style” board now, plus I like to have a separate board as a shopping list so I won’t forget to look for wish list items (I know, I’m a Pinterest board hoarder). I did a post a loooooong time ago about how I use Pinterest as my closet’s bff – you can check it out here.

Remember, less is more – we’re not going for a TON of pieces that scream your style, but slowly collecting a curated closet that has just enough – and makes you smile when you see it.

 

10. Rinse and repeat

Come back to your style board every so often and reevaluate – especially after life changes like getting a new job, weight gain/loss, having kids, after the latest Kon Mari binge, etc.

 

I hope some of this was helpful! I also created this fun worksheet that combines a lot of these steps into one page that you can use to brainstorm, hang in your closet, or just kill time at work. :) (Here is a similar one from Unfancy that I love!)

 

Download My Style Worksheet

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Neat Sheets


You guys – work has been insane. The holidays, then work travel, then an insane work load has made me a little on edge – and I find myself stress cleaning everything. The break room kitchen at work, a handle of one of our pots that could be just…a little…cleaner….

So I thought I would share a little trick that is making me so happy lately. I don’t know about you, but my linen closet has always stressed me out a bit. How can I make it so the sheets and towels aren’t constantly toppling into each other and making me crazy? Everything always seems to mush together and there’s always one pillowcase unaccounted for.

Then a few months back, we bought new sheets. And I thought, aw, look at how nice these sheets look all folded in this plastic thing made specifically for sheets. Then I thought, this should never end. They should always look this neat tucked in this plastic pouch. So I started collecting them.

Okay, I’m just gonna stop you right there and say I KNOW. This is a complete grandma moment. Once you are hoarding plastic packaging for some future but not yet realized purpose, you may need to check in and reevaluate things. HOWEVER. This turned out to be awesome.

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(Sorry for the ugly pictures, but this is some behind the scenes important shit.)

They all stack so nicely. And you don’t have to be like Martha Stewart about folding them to be able to fit them in there, either. You just throw the pillow cases in there with everything, and then every set has it’s own space and they are separate and neat and I love it.

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(Anthony calls these the “wifi sheets”.)

We have a curtain over our linen closet, so I’m not at all concerned with how things look aesthetically – I just want to open it and be like YES this shit is clean and organized. Grandma style or not.

 

But maybe you came up with a way to do this in a non-grandma way? If so, please share!

I have so many things to tell you all and so little time! Since when has work actually taken up my full-time schedule? Rude.

So, more to come – but please, in the meantime, tell me what organizational trick has been making you feel happy lately!

 

 

5 Ways to Revamp Your Closet

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Hello all you lovely people. I have been wanting to do this post for a while now, but dang this whole summer thing has kept me busy. Isn’t summer supposed to be the time to relax and unwind and have free time? Mine has been full of travel, work disasters, trying to buy a car, birthdays and road trips. It has been fun, but it has kept me away from this lovely blogging thing we have going.

Anyway – I, as you may know already, love clothes. I love over-analyzing outfits, shopping, scrolling through the women’s clothing section of Pinterest for hours, sending texts with pictures of my outfits to girlfriends, and just obsessing about fashion in general.

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I am no high-fashion student, and I don’t know designer names or what happened at fashion week. I love thrift shopping, and I get inspired more by friends than celebrities. I even have trouble reading fashion blogs because usually the blogger has no problem dropping $200 on a dress (I definitely have a big problem with that – it’s called my checking account). If you have any suggestions for fashion blogs that you are into, let me know in the comments!

I do enjoy following new trends (not all – overalls? Seriously??) and re-imagining my sense of style. I love thinking about what kind of style I want to have and what it would take to get there. This requires a lot of standing in front of my closet, tilting my head to one side then another, plucking at the fabric of a top and sighing, kicking a pair of shoes on the floor, and then closing the door to go shopping for a more acceptable wardrobe.

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I don’t, however, want to become a hoarder – so I need to purge more often than I binge. Since I shop mostly at thrift stores, it’s not a big deal to have a pile of things I have just HAD IT with and toss them in the car to donate – since I’m most likely going there already.

I started really cleaning out my closet when I gained weight. I was tired of feeling shitty that something didn’t fit me and then putting it back in the closet until the next time I wanted to feel shitty. I started pulling out things that didn’t feel flattering on me, even if I loved them. I gave them to friends or donated them, and now I feel so much better about choosing something out of my closet in the morning.

Then my bff did a huge purge of her closet before she moved, and looked into capsule wardrobes and read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She whittled her closet down to the bare essentials and things she absolutely adored, and she loves it.

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I don’t know if I could do exactly what she did – I like a ton of variety – but it really made me want to do a total closet overhaul. If you want to spruce up your closet, and are obsessive about your clothes like me, here are the steps I recommend:

1. Start with a big purge.

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You may be like me and donate things continually when they stop fitting or start looking like they’ve seen better days. Even so, wait until you are so sick of your clothes that you want to burn them in the driveway – we need you in a ruthless, badass, won’t-take-any-more-bullshit mood. Then go through everything. Take a piece out. Look at it. Then ask yourself these questions:

Does my heart skip I beat when I see this?

Would I buy this, right now, if I saw it in a store? (this includes considering how new it looks)

Does this represent my style, or what I want my style to be someday?

Is it completely functional? (For example, it fits right, doesn’t have any rips/holes/stains, all zippers/buttons work, I can wear it on a moments notice (it doesn’t need a tank top underneath that I don’t own), I’m not “waiting on the perfect belt that will make this top AWESOME”, etc.)

Do I wear this regularly? -OR- Do I have a VERY good reason to keep this if I don’t wear this regularly? (don’t think about seasonal stuff, we’ll get to that)

Is this adding something to my wardrobe? (For example, is this your fifth blue and white polka dot t-shirt? Maybe explore what’s going on there and give a few up.)

If you answer yes to these questions, then keep that sucka and rejoice. If you’re like “erm, um, maybe, no, sorta”, then chuck that thing in the donate/lucky friend pile.

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Look for duplicates, things that were part of a style that is now outdated for you, and things that DON’T FIT. I’m serious – I’ll allow you ONE pair of jeans that you can stare at and say, “one day when I’m the size I was freshman year…” but that’s it. That shit is torture. If you start wearing only things that fit you, I promise you will feel so much hotter and put together. Live your life.

2. Get black hangers.

Sounds random, but I LOVE it. Emily told me about it and I was like, well, maybe when I care THAT much… that time came sooner than I thought, and let me tell you, I wish I had done it sooner. They can be whatever type of hanger you want, but make ’em black. I personally like these because they are thinner than the round plastic hangers I had before, and it really makes a difference visually:

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It just – makes things look less chaotic, and you actually SEE your clothes. I had a mixture of blue, teal, pink, white and black hangers, and I didn’t realize it, but it was distracting.

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3. Keep track of what you “need”.

I always try to remember the holes in my wardrobe for when I go shopping, so I don’t keep cursing myself for not having a basic blank tank and then coming home with bags full of new shoes.

If you are a pinning addict like me, check out my post on managing your wardrobe with Pinterest. I explain how to make a board for items you need so you always have a running list. The great thing about this is it comes with you to the store, so there are no excuses. Whip out your phone when you first walk in so you can keep a look out for the things you actually need.

Another way I’ve kept track of my wishlist items is by using my mirror on my closet door. I found a dry erase pen and just started jotting things down in the moment so I don’t forget. That way I can put it on my list right when I think of it. Looking at it every day also helps keep these things in mind for when, let’s say, you’re online shopping at work….

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4. Use an app.

I recently discovered Cluise and it’s pretty fun. If you have a night alone, grab a bottle of wine, your fully charged phone, and put on a marathon of some girly show on Amazon (my choices: The Good Wife, Awkward). Then grab each little pretty thing out of your closet and take a picture of it. Cluise helps you label it and you move on to the next piece. It sounds like a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it. At the end, you have your entire closet at your fingertips. Great for scrolling through in bed when you are trying to figure out what to wear the next day.

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You can of course make outfits and save those too – Cluise even puts outfit ideas together for you, based on your local weather (!!!) or on one piece you want to wear. Here’s one it made for me that I hadn’t thought of before:

 

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I recommend using the same backdrop for every piece. It was easy enough for me – I just threw everything on the floor, and the wood actually looks nice. You can also add a photo of yourself wearing the outfit and share it with other users. Cluise has its own kind of Pinterest-y feed that’s fun to go through. When you see a picture of a user wearing their outfit, you can swipe left to see the individual garmets, and like and follow them. If you get the app and like it, check out my profile at Stephanie @ Miss Mélange.

 

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5. Archive clothes you’re not using.

Off-season clothes:

This was something that blew my mind. Why didn’t I think of it before??!! Why have coats and sweaters all in your face when it’s July? If you have a place to store them, having your off-season wardrobe out of your way will make your closet feel so much roomier. I put mine in a big trunk we have at the end of our bed – other people, like normal people with a garage or guest room closets – can use a labeled bin that’s totally out of their way for months on end.

Bonus: it gets you super excited for the new season. “I forgot how CUTE my sweaters are! I can’t wait til it gets cold enough to wear my peacoat!” (where I live, this will never happen, but I can dream.)

Clothes you love, but you aren’t in love with:

This was another thing my bff told me about and I was pretty into it. If you have a TON of clothes and are struggling to have them all in your closet at once, this might be something to think about. Personally, I was totally going to do this, but actually ended up with a lot of room after the seasonal archive, so I didn’t have to. But I definitely recommend it for those who are still trying to free up space.

Go through your closet (after archiving your non-seasonal stuff) and see if you can make even more room, for the ultimate zen experience when you open that door. Take out things that you like, and don’t want to give away…but it’s not exactly the hotness right now. Think about your closet as your Spotify or iTunes library – take out everything that you are not obsessed with – leave everything that lifts your mood every time it comes on. It’s not like you’ll never want to listen to the other stuff again, but let’s make your wardrobe AMAZING whenever you go to pick something out. Go through each thing and ask: “Am I in love with this?” If yes, leave it in. Then, voilà – you’ll end up with a closet full of things you are completely in love with.

Now, put the clothes you took out in a pretty accessible place. The non-seasonal stuff can be tucked somewhere that’s not as easy to get to, since you’ll only grab it a few times a year. But you’ll want to have these clothes close by in case you want to swap some things out or need something specific for an outfit. When I was thinking of doing this, I used some drawers in my closet and rolled the clothes up for maximum space and visibility (these drawers were freed up after my purge – turns out I didn’t need 5 sweatshirts! – and the seasonal archive):

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Hopefully this method will allow you to fall in love with your clothes again and again. When you first get it set up, getting dressed in the morning will be so much easier, since you love everything in front of you. Once you start getting sick of everything and bored again, bring out your other clothes and switch what’s in your closet with what you put away. You’ll have a fresh new wardrobe like you just went on What Not to Wear.

(If you never get bored of the stuff you kept hanging up, and you never really feel like wearing the things you put away, then you know what to do – throw that shit out. You never wear it, and it’s taking up space.)

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What do you do to revamp your closet? Do you have a different seasonal process? Do you have a way that you keep your closet fresh and up to date with what you are into?

Please share – my closet is always a work in progress.  :)

 

 

 

{How To}: Manage Your Wardrobe with Pinterest

pinterest Do you ever wake up in the morning and just hate all of your clothes? Like there is no outfit to ever be salvaged from your closet?

I feel that way too often. I forget I own things, forget why I have that top and what I ever matched it with, and hate everything I have to wear on my body.

A year or so ago I tried to fix this issue by creating an Outfit Archive on Pinterest. There are days (although they are hard to remember sometimes) when I’m super impressed with myself and an outfit I put together, so why not remember that combination for a time when you have zero inspiration?

Enter the selfie.

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Gotta love Anthony’s creeper cameo

 

I created a board where I would store all my outfit selfies for future use. It’s really great to be able to scroll through it real quick while I’m laying in bed, thinking of what to wear tomorrow.

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You can also make notes about what you can’t see very well in the photo – jewelry, another option for shoes you didn’t go with that day, etc.

I’ve also used it to store nail polish triumphs, outfits that I saw others pin where I have all the pieces they have… whatever works to give yourself some inspiration.

The great thing about this is, you know it is all doable. Everything you see on that board you can wear. I’ve had plenty of times where I just went into the Women’s Fashion category of Pinterest and got frustrated because I didn’t have any of those expensive clothes!

You can also set the board to private if you aren’t as shameless as me. That way you can post awful bathroom selfies that are totally blurry and not worry about other people seeing them. I have no such worries, for some reason.

Another board that I have come up with is the Wardrobe Wishlist. I use this when I’m shopping to remind myself of the holes in my wardrobe that need to be filled. Why do I have zero blue things? Why do I have a million pairs of jeans but no shorts? This way I’m not buying 8 purple tops or the first thing that looks pretty in the window. Purposeful shopping! A little more guilt-free, if you ask me.

It also helps me remember what I need to replace in my closet. My yellow flats and red wedges are so dear to me, but they are looking a little bit… too loved. I can keep track of the things I need to replace on my Pinterest board, so if I give them away I won’t forget how awesome of a staple they were, and that I need to buy another pair.

photo (1) I love using Pinterest this way because it really feels a little more productive then just browsing and wishing I had those clothes, or aimlessly shopping. You can follow me on Pinterest here if you want to check out my boards.

Happy pinning!

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