How to build a Stronger Sense of Style and make your Wardrobe more Sustainable
Guest Post by Stylecoach Marta Rossi of StylemeMarta
“Oh, I love how she looks in that!” - “That looks great on her!” - “I wish I had her style!”
How many times have you uttered these words? I know I have, plenty of times. After seeing some stylish pictures of the latest “It” lady and wishing I could pull off her look, or rushing out to buy that same top or denims and yet never quite feeling I was comfortable with the look and eventually never wearing them again.
When I started working as a Wardrobe Editor, I used to ask my clients if there was anyone they look up to style-wise. Often enough people had a style icon they immediately referred to, from Audrey Hepburn to Olivia Palermo via Kate Middleton. I realised early on that this wasn’t actually an ideal approach for the work we would be doing: the process of going through people’s wardrobes and creating a unique, bespoke look.
Not that there’s anything wrong with having fashion icons, I have plenty, a new one every month! But I know now that this kind of narrative leads people to “copy” looks they’ve seen in magazines or reach out for outfits they’ve spotted on their favourite blogger. And that really gets in the way of building a distinctive, strong personal style, which is not only the ultimate goal of hiring a style coach and having your wardrobe choices edited, but also the most solid way of building a sustainable wardrobe.
Since then I have changed the question to “what is your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?”. I urge you to ask yourselves the same question, because you’ll find that your favourite piece probably has great sentimental value. It could be some gorgeous dress that made you feel special. It could be the old cashmere sweater you “stole” from your mum and makes you feel “cosy” every time you touch it. It could be the old jeans you bought ages ago that make your legs look like they go on for miles.
Lilac Pleated Skirt by Rakha
Notice how what these items have in common is the way they make you feel. I bet none of you picked something you impulse purchased because you saw someone else wearing it, or you got on a “buy one get one free” offer. I’m here to tell you that the piece of clothing you picked, is where your personal style begins.
The best part of having wardrobe editing sessions is looking at my clients looking at themselves in the mirror and going “Yes, that’s very me!”. You may not get there straight away. Cutting through the noise takes a minute. We are so constantly bombarded with options that we sometimes forget what really is “us”. But starting to build a closet entirely revolving around your personal (and therefore unique) style is rewarding in the long run.
Reversible black dress by JanNJune
There are 3 steps you need to take towards a more sustainable wardrobe:
Step 1 - Truly understand what makes you feel comfortable, good, sexy, powerful, cosy, secure, in control (or whatever adjective best describes your personal style).
Step 2 - Research the suppliers that offer a selection close to your newfound style sensitivity and ethics. This may take some time, but once you’ve found your trusted pool of online or physical stores, your perfect pencil skirt is just one click away.
Step 3 - Keep your editing hat on! Have a mood board (even a mental one) with the “makeup” of your personal style and have it in mind when you shop. When you are about to reach out for yet another black scoop neck top, the answer is YES, you can have too many black tops. And NO, you don’t need another one.
I call it my DELI mantra:
Declutter - Release the old, ill-fitting items of clothing you no longer wear or love into the universe (recycle, repurpose, reclaim).
Edit - Pick the pieces that speak to you, hug you, make you feel good about yourself, look great on you.
Black Lace Day & Night Set by Siku Moja
Learn - Stop and notice what is flattering on your body shape, what your favourite fabric is, be curious about who made your clothes, where they come from, read the labels.
Invest - Invest in 5 key staple items (a little black dress, a blazer, a cashmere sweater, a pair of black patent pumps, perfect fitting black trousers for example) and then have fun selecting new seasonal pieces that spice-up your wardrobe (I’m looking at you, pink jumper!)
Have an extra bit of fun setting yourself a weekly challenge to wear something that’s been sitting in your closet for ages, but wear it in an unconventional way. Trust me, it’s fun and it will help you break your old fashion habits! For example: pair up a casual denim shirt with a classic black pencil skirt and heels to go to the office. Add some statement jewellery and red lips. Or dress down that floor length formal dress you love with sneakers or cowboy boots and a biker jacket.
Now that you have your tools, go break some fashion rules!
Marta Rossi is a London based style coach, specialising in wardrobe editing and personal branding. An unshakeable truth-teller with a mission to lead a more sustainable life, you can find her at www.stylememarta.com.
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