For many, the New Year is about making Resolutions with a capital R (no pressure from us if you’re approaching 2022 with a more free-wheeling attitude, though!). There are countless fashion goals you could set yourself, from creating mindful spending habits to getting round to that long-overdue wardrobe clearout. Our suggestion is geared towards self-discovery: finding your personal style.
Accelerated trend cycles have made it all too easy for us to overconsume, buying into every revival only for it to pass within 3–5 working days. Pinpointing your personal style is a crucial first step in becoming a more sustainable shopper, encouraging you to invest in quality items you’ll love for years to come instead of impulse purchasing from every New In page you see. Plus, you can approach your wardrobe with confidence every day, knowing you’re dressing for you.
So, where do you start? Here are our tips:
Shop your wardrobe
You should start by looking at what you already have in your wardrobe, separating the items you reach for every time they’re clean from the ones left unworn for so long you forgot they existed. Identify patterns and gaps; maybe you collect statement shirts, or you’d like to wear trousers more. From there you can make a wish list, moodboard or album on your camera roll to inspire future purchases.
Narrow down your aesthetic
While you’re browsing for style inspo, think about the aesthetics that you align with. After all, clothing forms a huge part of our identity, so your personal style should reflect who you are. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- What do you want people to know about you from your clothes?
- Can you represent any interests in your clothes?
- Do you prefer vibrant colours or neutrals? Monochrome or pattern?
- Do you feel more comfortable dressing traditionally masculine or feminine? Or a mix of both?
- Are there any decades or subcultures you identify with, or any style icons you want to pay homage to?
Create a Capsule Wardrobe
The Capsule Wardrobe method was pioneered by Caroline Rector, a.k.a. Un-Fancy, in 2014. It suggests paring back your wardrobe to less than 50 items (including coats and shoes) that you can wear interchangeably, and only adding to it during seasonal transitions or after donating unwanted items. This streamlining process is a great way to discover your personal style organically — with so few items to work with, you have to be sure every new purchase is something you love or need. It promotes mindful consumption, too, which is great if one of your resolutions is to be a more eco-conscious spender.
Let’s talk trends
Fast fashion brands are speeding up the trend cycle, resulting in unsustainable micro-trends that are cast aside and condemned as cheugy (Gen Z’s favourite word for out-of-date fads, FYI) by the end of the season.
Sometimes, though, the stars will align and a trend will fit perfectly with your personal aesthetic. What then? Well, charity shops are treasure troves of long-forgotten relics (that’s code for fitted tees and low-rise denim, for anyone participating in the Y2K renaissance). Small businesses on Etsy, Depop and Instagram are great places to look for vintage and handmade trend pieces, too — especially accessories! That way, you can get all the nostalgia while supporting an independent slow fashion biz, rather than driving demand for mass-produced garments. Just remember: on-trend pieces should add to your existing staples.
Don’t put yourself in a box!
There’s no strict rulebook when it comes to personal style, so there’s nothing stopping you cherry picking ideas from clashing sources of inspiration (grunge meets cottagecore, anyone?). Always keep in mind that it’s okay to evolve, too! Your core wardrobe may not change much, but you can always experiment with new aesthetics if you feel you’ve outgrown your current one.