Painfully Hip Remix: Maximize your closet and nail down your personal style

It’s funny how times like these can spawn a rainstorm of buzzwords (is anyone else already sick of the word “recessionista?”). “Shop your closet” is a recession-triggered slogan which alludes to making do with what you already have. So I’d like to resurrect the following classic post which, although over a year old, can be even more useful today.

Do you have an over-flowing closet, but nothing to wear? End up wearing the same boring things over and over? Or maybe you get really confused and have no focus when you go shopping. Think you know what you like, but fear you can’t pull it off? Well then sweetie, you need to keep reading…

1. Figure out what you love.
Take out the top pieces in your closet that you love, not neccessarily things that you wear all the time. I’m talking about your most special, going-out pieces. Like the overtly impractical cocktail dress that you spent too much on because you had to have it. The over-sized peacock pendant that you shouldn’t wear dancing cause it hits you in the face when you pogo, but sometimes you can’t resist anyway. Your favorite uncomfortable shoes, your grandma’s silk Pucci scarf from the 60s and that hat you sometimes wear even on good hair days. Whatever it is, if your heart goes pitter-pat when you put it on, pull it out. But be selective and forget about trends. Try to lean more toward things you’ve had and loved for a while, not just your newest and trendiest acquisitions.


2. Take a look at your favorite go-to staple pieces.
Pull out your perfectly worn out indigo skinnies. Your Audrey-est little black dress. Your comfy leather shoes, slouchy grey cardigan, colorful vintage sneakers, well-tailored black jacket and very versatile pair of flats. Choose the things you wear the most, while thinking mostly of their aesthetic value; how good you think they look on you, not how comfortable they are. You’re trying to figure out your personal style, not what to wear whilst hungover on your couch watching the 3rd season of Arrested Development.

3. Assess your tendencies.
Ponder your choices and think of a few words that describe your aesthetic. According to my picks, I tend to gravitate more toward 60’s styling and feminine details combined with edgier, more casual pieces. Next time you go shopping, think about these 20 pieces and try to choose things that enhance them and round out a strong aesthetic. But don’t be too strict for too long. Always allow room for your style to evolve. Choose your trends carefully and don’t let them rule your style.


4. Learn to sew.
As you are going through your closet, start setting aside the pieces you’ve held on to for a while but never wear. Consider why this is. Is it too dressy, too frilly, too girly, fits weird? All of these things would be fixable if you just bite the bullet and learn just a few simple sewing skills. Removing a superfluous ruffle, replacing buttons and hemming jeans are a few things that take mere minutes to complete and can turn something “blah” into something a little more “oh hell yes!”
Start by reading 6 Sewing Tips for Beginners from The Closet Seamstress.

5. Confidence, confidence, confidence…
Do you really want to live the rest of your life worrying about what people think? Those rare pieces that give you more confidence are few and far between. I hate it when people say, “I’d love to wear that, but I’d never be able to pull it off.” Pshaw, my friends, pshaw. With the right amount of confidence, you could pull off zebra-striped overalls, even if you’re not M.I.A. Once you’ve figured out what you truly love, the only thing left to do is rock it like wee Stella…


When in doubt sneer, strut or just grin and no one will ever doubt your style choices ever again. Besides, who gives a poop if they do, they call it personal style for a reason.


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