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The Best Style Advice I Ever Received

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As women we tend to pay at least some (or a lot) of attention to our wardrobes and personal style. Certain details and pieces catch our eye repeatedly, no matter how cluttered the store, and we know the specific clothing items that we would wear every day if we could. With endless options of constantly changing trends, styles, and price points, it can be difficult to build a wardrobe of pieces that are true to who we are, one that includes a careful mix of trendy and timeless while optimizing our needs (professional, comfortable, lifestyle, high fashion, etc.).

As one who appreciates the art of fashion and can wander through a whole mall, I tend to love many styles and feel the need to create variety in my closet (sometimes to a fault). In a brief conversation with a friend (oddly not about clothes at all), she simply said something like, “But those aren’t my colors; dark teal, gray…that’s pretty much it.”

I didn’t know how planted in my mind that comment would be until the next time I was standing in my closet, pondering its next purge and subsequent re-stocking. I felt dissatisfied with some items I tried to make “me.” For the first time, I was totally content with having lots and lots of navy, cream, greens (mostly olive), grays, stripes and all kinds of peplums…and getting rid of the rest. Personal style is just that, personal.

So I’ve changed my shopping approach. After a piece grabs my attention and I check the price, I hold up the hanger, assess the fabric between my fingers, and ask myself, “Is this me?” and, “Do I already have something too similar?”

I love that a seemingly brief chat with a friend pushed me to embrace my unique style and keep me focused on what I truly love to wear, from work to working out.

So, if you still struggle with finding and embracing your unique look, consider these tips for your next closet purge or shopping spree:

1. Take inventory.
What items would you wear every day? What pieces bring you joy to wear? Use them as a template/palette to compare to potential purchases and consider ditching the items that go unworn.

2. Know your colors and patterns.
Just like Rachel reminded me, stay true to your colors (for the most part), whether it’s what looks best with your skin tone or what makes you feel good while wearing it. For me, I just don’t go near racks of pinks or florals, knowing that no matter how flattering the style, they will likely sink into the back of the closet and my money will be wasted. On the other hand, bring me all the blues, brown leathers, olive greens, and geometric patterns!

Personal style is just that, personal.

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3. Know your fits.
When you find a detail or cut that is both fun and flattering, I say it’s more than okay to have more than one, or variations for every occasion. This also applies to straying away from styles you don’t feel your best in (“No, flared jeans, I will not come back to middle school with you!”).

4. Know your stores.
When you find a store or website with clothes you love and that fit you well, keep going back! As seasons change, they’ll likely have just what you’ll want to stay current yet true to yourself.

5. Go for effortless.
If I beeline for an item before checking the price, it’s almost always true to my style. When I pick up something I have to think about too much and reassess multiple times, it usually gets returned and isn’t worth adding to my wardrobe.

6. Don’t forget accessories.
These tips can apply to the small pieces that bring an outfit together. When it comes to jewelry, handbags, shoes, etc., pick one or a couple of signature pieces and have some variety with the rest. For many, this may be a fine leather purse, a pair of earrings that were a gift, or careful shopping splurges.

Do you have a number one fashion rule? What are the pieces or colors you simply can’t imagine living without (even if they’re yoga pants)? Tell us in the comments!


You’ll also like Everything You Need to Know About a Capsule Wardrobe, These 4 Denim Trends Are Heading Your Way3 Pieces Every Millennial Needs in Her ClosetHow to Wear White Jeans All Year-Round, and  7 Brands That Are Helping Women Around the World
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Catie loves gardening (yes—inside, apartment plants do count), “family” dinners with friends, and simplifying her closet.

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