Getting dressed is stressful. From trying to keep up with trends, matching colors, and even finding flattering silhouettes, it can all seem overwhelming. While following trends can be fun, and even help you find your own style, it’s extremely harmful to the planet — in 2018 there were 17 million tons of waste just produced from textiles — and holds you back from finding the clothes that will make you feel like the best version of yourself. Developing your own style boosts your confidence, lessens consumption, and will overall make you more confident. Here’s how to do it.
The first — and biggest — step is looking for inspiration. It’s much easier to shop for things once you know what you like. Therefore, it is crucial that you find inspiration before you start buying things. It is so easy now to order a bunch of different clothes online, but inevitably, those clothes will end up in the back of your closet for months until you decide to finally donate them. So do your research first. There are lots of ways you can do this. Social media is a great place to start. Apps like Pinterest and Instagram have vibrant fashion communities, and allow you to save posts to “boards” or “collections.” Once you have gathered pictures and videos of outfits and styles you like, then you can start shopping.
Start small. Finding inspiration is a great start, now looking for commonalities in the outfits and styles can help you start looking for things to buy. More often than not outfit pictures will have links to where the clothes are from. Additionally, looking for sustainable brands is a great way to lessen your environmental impact. Ordering one or two versatile pieces to kickstart your journey is super important. The quality and versatility will sustain them for years meaning you won’t need to keep buying certain items of clothing if they fall apart. These can be anything from a different style of jeans to a new cut of shirt. You should be able to work these into your existing wardrobe to make sure you really like them. After you are sure, you can get more experimental with your purchases, and you don’t have to stop at just clothes.
One common item I found when looking for inspiration was these pants, I had them all over my Pinterest boards and when I bought my first pair they immediately became a staple in my wardrobe.
Accessorizing can transform an outfit. It can take any basic look and make it chic, sporty, or like you just walked out of an 1800s-period piece. Adding things like jewelry, shoes, and hats can make or break your outfit. Refer to your inspiration boards for this step, there might be a lot of jewelry involved, or maybe none. Maybe different kinds of sneakers, maybe heels. Accessories can also be seasonal, adding hats and scarves when it gets cold out is a great way to spice up an outfit. A great way to start experimenting with accessories is to look at what people you know have. When I first started looking for jewelry, I looked at my mom’s collection, tried things on, and started to find what I liked and disliked. Experimenting with jewelry that your family or friends have first is a great, free, way to try things on without producing waste on buying jewelry you may not even wear. Whatever it is, it adds a lot to your outfit.
Dont limit yourself
It can be easy to get into a fashion or style rut. I wore the same three pairs of leggings and four pairs of sweatpants every day, for months. It was bad. I got sick of never wearing anything that felt like me, I was just putting clothes on, instead of getting dressed in outfits that made me feel confident and happy. I started looking online and, honestly, got really overwhelmed. So I went through my old clothes and tried them on, I came up with new outfits out of clothes that I thought I would never wear again, and I was able to put together a few outfits that I felt like me. Then I started poking around thrift stores and experimenting with styles, some of it was bad — like really bad — but through trial and error, I found some clothes that really make me feel like myself. It can be really hard to keep trying to outdo yourself or try not to be an outfit repeater, but continuously going back and looking for influences, as well as looking for new styles can keep you inspired to keep creating new outfits. But being an outfit repeater is cool, finding outfits that you want to keep re-wearing over and over again is great, and you should re-wear them, like the great Lizzie McGuire once said, “I may be an outfit repeater, but you’re an outfit rememberer” so wear and re-wear your outfits, it’s not only a great way to reduce the stress of getting dressed in a pinch, but it also lessens your likelihood to be continuously buying new clothes. When you do want to find new outfits you can go back to your Pinterest boards, or you can turn to influencers, they can be a great resource when looking for outfit inspiration especially if you’re looking to branch out. There are no rules in fashion, so express yourself in however many ways you can.
These are some of the outfits that I’ve found through experimenting with what I like!
Help the Earth
Capitalism and overconsumption make our world go round, but it is killing our planet. According to the Climate Action Initiative at Princeton, it takes around 3,000 liters of water to produce one cotton shirt. Buying things second-hand, from thrift stores, or websites like Depop, eBay, and Poshmark, are a great way to lessen your environmental impact, as well as find unique pieces for less money. So by finding a sense of style, you are not only helping yourself but also the planet.
Once you’ve been able to come up with some outfits you like, you really want to focus on being confident, because overall that’s what you want to focus on, not what others think, but how you feel in an outfit. Finding inspiration, looking for commonalities, accessorizing, and allowing yourself to play around with different styles will all push you to find a sense of personal style!