Don’t Let Your Style Stagnate
Modern life is hectic and everything seems to happen at once. Between work, social and personal commitments, it’s a wonder we ever manage to get anything done.
Our attention flits between so many things that it never really settles. Information attacks us from every angle and it changes our opinions, priorities and actions on a daily basis. We live in a constantly evolving culture where technology is outdated before it has even hit the shelves and fashion never stands still.
And what is the cumulative effect of all this? It makes us bored quicker. We’re always craving the ‘next big thing’ and once something new has arrived, everything before it is considered obsolete.
Not only that, due to fashion being such a superficial entity, as soon as we become bored, even in the smallest possible way, it has a huge impact on our entire wardrobe – not just the little piece that sparked it all off.
When this happens it’s a long, slippery slope down to complete style dejection; where nothing looks good on you and your wallet screams in anticipation of the battering it will soon be suffering.
But before you accept this dire situation, there are a few things you can do to keep your current style interesting…
1. Experiment With What You’ve Got
Not long ago Matt encouraged us to turn toward the fairer sex for style inspiration. Women seem to have an innate grasp of how to manipulate colours, textures and accessories, and can almost revamp their look on a daily basis.
Compare this to the rather heavy-handed, disorganised methods often used by men and the female way of shopping, styling and making the most their wardrobe is hugely refreshing.
When your girlfriend, house-mate or partner returns home after a trip to the shops, does she spend hours trying on that new t-shirt with her entire wardrobe? At first this might seem strange – after all, you’re more interested in a cup of tea and a sit down – but look again and you’ll see that it’s actually a fantastic way of exploring your entire wardrobe.
Experimenting with your clothes is one of the only ways to truly improve your styling ability. You can stare at lookbook after lookbook, street style photo after street style photo, compiling a huge list of outfits you want to wear, but you won’t get anywhere unless you know your existing wardrobe inside and out.
Most of us will own a collection of clothing that is far, far bigger than any of our current ideas of style would suggest. There is a huge amount of potential locked up in the items that simply swing back and forth as we reach past them, and it’s here where the true power of our wardrobes lies.
You can spend a fortune on new pieces that you think you need, but you will still end up wearing the same four or five outfits you always fall back on because you haven’t tried out any new combinations. Taking the time to properly analyse and style your wardrobe regularly (just like the women in your life) will help take your look to the next level, ensure you utilise every inch of your current wardrobe, pinpoint items you no longer need and, ultimately, save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
Don’t be afraid to emulate lookbooks that inspire you, but do it using the clothes you already own. Put that shirt with another pair of trousers, push yourself to wear those chinos that have been hanging around for a while, try out new colour combinations and mix your formal and casual wear – you’ll never know if something looks good unless you try.
As an illustrative example, the lookbook below shows how four basic items most men own – a navy blazer, denim shirt, red checked shirt and beige chinos – can be utilised in a variety of ways…
2. Avoid Your Favourites
Whilst experimenting with your wardrobe (as above) you should also be thinking about trying to avoid your favourites – those pieces that always manage to weasel their way into your outfits and which you find yourself reaching for nine times out of ten.
These are your comfort pieces; they are a fall back for when you lack inspiration or are in a hurry (as we all are, nearly all the time). Trying to move away from them can be difficult but it’s one of the best ways of forcing yourself to experiment and style other pieces you own in ways you normally wouldn’t.
Remove these crutch pieces from the equation completely or utilise individual items to finish off your newly styled outfits – just don’t let them take over.
There is, of course, a time and a place for your favourite outfit or your favourite coat. Having a go-to uniform (read: signature style) shows that you have gone through the experimental stage and now know exactly what works for YOU: your body shape, skin tone, age, features and lifestyle. Just be prepared to push these things aside when you are looking to inject new life into your personal style.
Who knows, you might even find a new favourite.
3. Revise And Make Plans
So, you’ve done your experimenting, ignored your favourites and gone a bit wild with your styling. If you still find things are getting a bit stale, then it’s time to step back, take a very objective look through your wardrobe and ask yourself three things: where are you? Where do you want to go? What do you need to get there?
The majority of us are hoarders; we hold on to things for far too long and wardrobes very quickly become cluttered. A wardrobe full of things you don’t need, want or that don’t fit anymore is nothing more than a distraction. Having a good clear out will make you feel more positive and your wardrobe appear fresher. Be ruthless and put the spoils on eBay so you can plough the funds back into future style development.
If you feel like you want to completely remodel your personal style, think very carefully before you actually commit. More often than not you’ve just hit a temporary rut – consider making subtle adjustments or injecting something a bit different into your look, rather than going for a total transformation.
Once you have identified your new direction or that crucial next piece of the puzzle, make it your goal to achieve an end result. If, like me, you get paid at the end of the month, spend the weeks leading up to payday searching for and planning your next purchases. Endeavour to find the perfect item before you part with your hard earned pennies.
Use this as your carrot and mentally plan how you might start wearing your new purchase – it will almost certainly make your wardrobe more interesting.
If you have found your wardrobe has become stale or you are considering a change, take a read through these articles before you do anything drastic:
- The Importance Of Reinvention
- Reinventing Your Personal Style: The First Steps
- Reinventing Your Personal Style: Refining Your Clothing
- Reinventing Your Style: Refining Your Clothing (Part 2)
- Reinventing Your Style: The Looks
- Reinventing Your Style: Taking Influence From Style Icons
- The Importance Of Wardrobe Maintenance
- Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe
4. Find That One Key Piece
If we added up the number of hours that we all spent browsing the internet, pining over clothes and making impossibly expensive wish lists, it would probably represent a shockingly noticeable portion of our lives.
But whilst this is arguably a very worthy past time (we are, after all, simply sating our desire for menswear), it can quickly lead us to building a wardrobe full of items that we probably don’t really need, either because we already own a thousand of them or because “ooooooh, that’s nice”. And although purchasing said items might give us delicious, immediate gratification, it is by no means the best way to keep our personal style interesting.
A far better choice would be to find that one key piece which will unlock all the potential already lurking in our wardrobe. For example, I recently bought a denim jacket for just £40 from ASOS – and it is by far one of the best investments I have ever made.
This one seemingly insignificant piece of outerwear has opened up a whole new side to my wardrobe; it has made it much easier to incorporate my chinos and trousers into my everyday looks, and I have created so many new outfit combinations that I won’t have to wear the same ensemble for a very long time.
This single, wardrobe-transforming item could be almost anything: a smarter pair of shoes that you juxtapose against more casual pieces; a pair of tailored trousers that is the missing link between your casual and formal wardrobe; an accessory that injects a bold shot of colour; or, like me, a piece of outerwear that renews your interest in your current wardrobe, encouraging you to make the very best of what you’ve got.
Inspired by my own key purchase, the lookbook below shows how many different ways something as simple as a denim jacket can be utilised.
From casual to smart-casual, standalone piece to layering element, the possibilities are limited only by your own imagination:
Ultimately, there is only so much you can do to keep your personal style interesting and inspiring. At some point, sooner or later, your wardrobe will bore you; it will feel dull, unexciting and completely wrong. It will seem totally at odds with the look you were trying to create and you’ll think you look ridiculous, no matter how hard you try.
You will want to change everything about it – you may even want to throw it all away and start afresh. But before you do, try doing one thing: accepting the situation you’re in.
Sometimes you just need to accept that you will get tired of your clothes. Everyone does, even us here at FashionBeans. It can happen for many reasons: because you’re stressed; because you can’t afford the clothes you want; because you see someone much better dressed than you; because you’ve gone through a bad patch – almost anything could set this thought process in motion.
But hold fast and you will break through. It might feel like you need to completely change your look, but this is very rarely the case. For most of us, the time of mass experimentation is over and we’ve found a look that we like, which means a total change is completely out of the question. You must have faith in your own abilities and take note of steps one to four in order to try and work your way out of it.
Most importantly, remember that this is when having a signature look will come into play. You might currently hate everything you put on, but deep down you know that these outfits work. They have served you well in the past and they will continue to do so moving forward as they set the foundations for your future style.
Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought. Everyone experiences a little style doubt once in a while – it’s completely natural. As long as you take steps to combat it, then you’ll find yourself climbing back out of that mire soon enough.
You could even argue that the whole experience becomes something of a positive, especially if it drives you to change the way you view your wardrobe. If it makes you try new things, utilise all of your wardrobe or plan your purchases more carefully, then I think we can all agree that it has actually done some good.
But now it’s time for your say:
- Have you lost interest in your style recently?
- How did you get over it?
- What do you think causes such a change in attitude?
- Got any tips for people going through a style crisis?
Let us know in the comments section below…