Building a Signature Wardrobe

  1. The first step in creating a personal style is to do a self-assessment of your lifestyle. What do you spend most of your time doing? What is your work environment like? If you work from home you may require a more casual style then if you work on Wall Street. Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to buy expensive, formal clothes if you work at a construction site. The best clothes for you are the ones that you will use over and over again and also be appropriate for the occasion. You should also reflect on what image you want to project to others. Are you currently a teacher trying to make a transition into the fashion world? You may need to reassess the goals of your wardrobe as you make new goals for your life. Try to strike a balance between dressing for reality and dressing for who you would like to be in the future, as clothes can be a very important message to others about who we are. 
  2. After you have thought long and hard about your lifestyle and future goals, try to visually represent the pieces which correspond to your image. You can do this by cutting pictures from a magazine or taking photos of clothes that you see online or in stores.  It is essential to keep in mind your overall image and to make it stick by giving it a name such as “urban mom,” “classic elegance,” or “utilitarian chic.” Collect all these images in a folder or arrange them on a peg board for clear viewing.
  3. Next is the hard part-you will need to look in your closet to see which clothes do not match your new style, no longer fit, or just go unused for some other reason. This is ESSENTIAL, as part of the process of creating your new style will be letting go of your old style, even if it is difficult at first. That means if you chose as your style “classic elegance,” you need to toss the boho moccasins and the bright pink stripper heels.  Make sure every item in your closet furthers your final style goal!
  4. After you have pared down your wardrobe, you should get ready for the fun part. Take that folder of images which depict your new style and go shopping! Remember to keep in mind the style that you have chosen and be careful not to stray. When picking out clothes, make sure you choose items not as individual, stand-alone pieces, but consider how each piece will go with something you already own. If it doesn’t go with something you own, don’t buy it, as it will most likely sit in the back of your closet without ever getting worn.
  5. It is essential to limit your wardrobe in regards to color. This means choose a color scheme that goes with your chosen style. For example, “classic elegance” might limit choices to mostly black, white, gray, or navy, with and occasional highlight of red or gold. “Romantic chic” might need a color palette of pastel pinks, yellows, greens, and blues, with some vibrant fuchsia or deep amber thrown in. Limiting your palette doesn’t have to be boring, it will in the long run make getting dressed easier because every item that you have ideally will match with every other item in terms of mood, etc. and it allows you to be more creative and expressive with your dress.
  6. As you create your own fashion “rules” in terms of what suits you, you also need to create breadth in your wardrobe. You need to have pieces that work on different occasions. For example, a simple black dress can be worn with a sweater and boots at work but also be dressed up with heals and unique jewelry for the evening. Your goal here is to choose pieces which have more “mileage” in terms of occasions on which they would be appropriate or you would feel comfortable wearing them. 
  7. Finally, you should create your personal style by choosing certain pieces over others because they further your ultimate goal and message.  The more you are able to articulate and convince yourself why you should choose one piece instead of another, the more skilled you are becoming at creating a wardrobe that has real style and expression and best suits your lifestyle.

creating your personal style