We all have those pieces in our wardrobes that could be best described as “well-worn” favourites, and almost feel like old friends, you know the type that envelope in a big warm hug on those really shitty days when everything just feels really hard. Bad day at work, roadblocks getting your side hustle off the ground, a bad breakup!
But like all good things, too much and you’re on the brink of feeding an addiction that can spiral into the unchartered territory better known as “I was once a stylish being under all these “comfy” clothes. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not here to tell you that you need to forsake comfort for style, I am simply saying that falling into the trap of comfort dressing could be taking a serious toll on your confidence.
For me this realization really hit home after my second babe, Maia, was born I subscribed to the lycra-only-everyday-all-day school of style for waaaaay longer than I should have. I always vowed that even thought I was a work-from-home mum on most days I would not let motherhood take away my style, and yet there I was spiraling further into Lycra-ville my confidence in tow!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love activewear, but I mostly feel best in it when I hit the gym at 5am – after that and it’s a reminder of the day that did not go to plan, because as I’ve learned and teach my clients, style is so important in shaping the tone of your day.
If you wake up feeling a little average and put little to no effort into your outfit, chances are you’ve just double-downed on that average feeling!
Instead, I love to use style as a way to set the tone for how I want my day to go. Regardless of whether I am leaving the house to meet a client or working from my home-office, I get up, get dressed in a kick-ass outfit that makes me feel unstoppable, do my and hair and face and look at myself in the mirror and go “today is going to be a good day”. My appearance, my words and my mindset are all setting the same intention – today I am going to kick some serious goals.
So, if you feel like you’ve lost your style mojo, or your wardrobe is driving your confidence down faster than a flash sale, it might be time to ditch your old friends “comfy clothes” and up your style ante. As my forever muse Coco Chanel said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” If you’ve lost that woman under shabby layers, it’s about time you find her again. Here are my top tips.
If you don’t feel good wearing it, or it no longer suits your shape, it’s time to go. Here’s how to kickstart your declutter:
- Go through your entire wardrobe and make three piles – KEEP, DONATE, REPAIR/TAILOR/DRY CLEAN.
- Next reorganise everything you want to keep into style and arrange by colour. For instance, I like to have sections for tees, tops, shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, jackets and then I arrange them by colour.
- Drop off your donations / repairs and dry cleaning items. Sometimes an alteration like lifting a hem or removing a sleeve etc will breathe new life into an existing piece.
2. Shop Smart
It’s really easy to buy things on a whim just because “it will do” or you saw it on Instagram and you don’t have time to shop. After decluttering I would advise to start rebuilding your wardrobe with intentional purchasing. Start with what I like to call a “core wardrobe” which is a tight edit or pieces that mix-and-match into a variety of looks that won’t date easily and will allow you to create a series of effortless go-to looks with that will take you from desk to dinner and beyond.
Stick to neutral colours like white, black, grey, nude, navy, red. They all work together and don’t date easily, but in saying that, don’t be afraid to add some personality to your look by choosing striking silhouettes, statement accessories or pops of colour that suit your personal style.
Just don’t go overboard buying too many trend-driven prints and colours because you will end up with a wardrobe full of pieces that won’t work together. Also, where possible, try to buy an entire outfit that you love. Knowing you have a complete outfit that works together takes the guesswork out of getting dressed!
3. Dress For Your Shape
There is no denying your shape changes as you get older and especially after having kids. My best advice here is to stop worrying about size. Dress to flatter your shape, if that means buying a medium instead of a small or 12 instead of 10, because it looks better, just do it.
I personally have a mix of ranges from S to L in my wardrobe. I buy the size that can works best for the way I want to style the outfit I want to wear. Focus on buying silhouettes that highlight your best bits. Love your shoulders? Show them off with off-the-shoulder tops. Have a small waist, highlight it with high-waisted bottoms or belted outfits.
4. Update Your Hair & Make Up
It’s amazing how a new hairstyle or a colour change can instantly make you feel like a million bucks. Updating your image is the perfect finishing touch to your new wardrobe.
Rosie McKay is a Sydney-based stylist and founder of My Virtual Stylist, a personal styling platform that offers a range of digital styling and personal shopping services so you can have a personal stylist at your fingertips. Good shoes and a good strong long black are non-negotiable, When she’s not curating the perfect style edits for her clients you will find her freelancing for a range of well-known brands and producing blogs for My Virtual Stylist. You can get more of her expert style advice and check out what she’s wearing, buying and loving on Instagram and Facebook.