Breaking and re-making a wardrobe

Hey!  Long time, no see.

I have been really slack at taking outfit photos lately, so there hasn’t been much to post.  Sorry about that.  Though I have done a fair bit of shopping recently here in Aus, so there should be some outfits on the way soon!

Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion and style.  I don’t know when it was that I decided I wasn’t happy with my style.  2014?  Let’s just say 2014.  I bought a bunch of stuff in 2014, then was filled with guilt, so I started my year of no shopping.  Of course, prior to the year starting, I went and bought a whole bunch of new stuff to last me the year.

Even though I can laugh at my former self, I also have come to accept that these were all stages in the process of breaking bad habits, and working out exactly what is my style.

  1. Stop shopping.  I really do suggest a year (if you have a massive wardrobe, like I do).  Or some other length of time that is truly sufficient to really wear nearly everything in your wardrobe.
  2. Read the Marie Kondo book.  Purge.  Purge.  Purge.
  3. Read blogs on how to curate a style (Into Mind).  Read reddit (femalefashionadvice) like it’s the new bible.  Use Pinterest.  Find styles you like.  Try new things.
  4. Purge some more (moving house, and moving overseas is really helpful).
  5. Slowly begin to make new purchases for your new style.  Don’t binge!
  6. Read some more blogs on how to curate a style.  Read reddit (femalefashionadvice) even more, then start to realize (much like the bible), that you don’t believe everything written.
  7. Become addicted to Pinterest.  Create inspiration boards for your style.  Make them as cohesive as possible.
  8. Realize that you don’t care so much about trends (welcome to being in your 30s!) and you simply want to look stylish, wear things that suit you, and also wear clothing you actually like.
  9. Start shopping again to find key pieces you’ve identified as missing to help make your new (old?  more focused?) style more successful.

Phew!  And that’s where I’m currently at.

Pinterest has actually helped a lot.  I thought I was using Pinterest really effectively (just pinning anything cute I came across while online “window” shopping).  Yeah, no.  I finally read the reddit thread on how to use Pinterest effectively.  I wish I had done this sooner – it’s really changed my game and focused me.  I had previously been pinning individual garments, shoes, accessories (which is useful) that I thought were cool.  Then I’d make boards of capsule wardrobes containing actual items, what I thought my style should be, and silhouettes.  But now I’ve started pinning entire outfits, details, and more silhouettes which makes a much more cohesive story.

I’ve also learned that apparently I like something called “modest fashion” (after noticing a trend in the tags of many of the outfits I pinned and liked).  Yes, that’s a thing and yes, many of boards that I follow on pinterest that actually have an appealing aesthetic (e.g. 1, 2, 3) often cater to the modest fashion crowd.  I guess considering my conservative mid-west upbringing, makes sense.  I had previously assumed that modest fashion was a religious based fashion movement (and for many, it is), but for me it’s just personal choice.  I guess it’s because I’m not a fan of bodycon, cleavage, etc.  Though I do have a penchant for mini skirts and bikinis…

And I think a lack of cohesiveness has been a major issue in my wardrobe recently.  I had a lot of cool (statement) pieces that never got worn because I didn’t have enough basics.  I was torn between buying things I actually loved (statement pieces) and things I thought I should be wearing (business casual pieces for work, usually clearance items that were “good enough”).  I didn’t have a cohesive palette – instead I just wore ALL of the colours all of the time (and it worked because my wardrobe was simply ridiculously huge).

Then I went the other direction – I thought I wanted to be like all the other instigrammers/bloggers/etc. and have a wardrobe entirely of neutrals.  So I bought almost exclusively neutrals or internet approved colours for the last 6 months.

Now I’ve pulled back and trying to regain some sense of self.  I’m never going to have a capsule wardrobe.  I’m never going to be happy with a wardrobe entirely made up of business casual black & white basics.  I need to find a style (and palette!) that suits me – e.g. made up of pieces that I’m naturally drawn to and already inclined to buy.  Not things that I’m simply gravitating towards because the internet says I need them.  In other words, I re-evaluated a bit.

I’m nearly finished purging things that I don’t like or no longer fit the aesthetic I’ve been creating and building up my basics (all that black and white will still come in handy).

In other words, a wardrobe, a style – is an evolution.  Sometimes it’s painful (hello, financial constraints).  It also can’t change overnight (so yes, I will continue to wear clothes that I don’t love).  And I am still bound to make some mistakes, but I think this is where I’m headed, aka a style called “quirky but polished” or possibly most apt: “librarian chic“.  If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you’re probably just laughing as I’ve essentially decided to do a more grown up version of my previous loud and eclectic style (previously dubbed “PhD chic”).  You’re welcome.

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What do you think?  Have you done a wardrobe overhaul or tried to change your style?  Do you need to?!

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