Raise your hand if you’ve been wearing the same shirt for the past week straight and the graphic below hits a little too close to home.
Rest assured, you’re not the only one; I fall into fashion ruts and I’m a stylist!
In light of this issue that we all face, I want to share my top 6 tips for pulling yourself out of a style rut. First, though, it’s important to know HOW we got into the hole of monotonous fashion before we figure out how to get out of said hole.
How did we end up here?
Humans are creatures of habit. Just mess with someone’s daily routine and you’ll receive a backlash that is reflective of a person’s desire to avoid change. Our instincts tell us that change is bad, although, our minds know otherwise. Combine our dislike of change with our addiction to dopamine and you’ve got a style rut waiting to happen.
Here’s how it plays out:
You put together a new outfit. You like the way it looks and the way it feels. People tell you how good you look and this makes you happy (i.e. your brain is secreting dopamine- the happy drug).
You continue to wear your new go-to outfit because 1) your brain likes dopamine and getting compliments and 2) you like the outfit.
Once you have several of these go-to outfits that you like, you stop creating new outfits. Your brain tells you that change is bad and you have enough good options already. And, if you’re me, you’re too busy/lazy to put together more outfits. You end up wearing the same five outfits until you die (or buy something new and start the process over again).
How to get out of a style rut:
Now that you know how you got into the rut (more or less), here are my top tips for getting OUT.
1. Use the hanger trick
The hanger trick is something I use on clients to help them clean out their closets. It is also a great way to force you to wear every item in your closet and not just your go-to items. Here’s how it works: Every time you wear a garment, return it to your closet on a backwards hanger. Try to wear all your clothes on correctly facing hangers before re-wearing backwards hung clothes, if you can. At the end of each season, I remove any forward facing hung clothes (aka: the ones that haven’t been worn) and donate/sell them and start the process over again.
2. Give yourself extra time
One of the reasons I end up wearing the same outfits is because I know what works and I don’t have time to put together something new. I’ve found that giving myself even an extra 15 or 20 minutes in the morning allows me time to play around in my closet and try on a new outfit without feeling rushed.
3. Know what works for you
We tend to wear clothing that looks good on us and fits well while avoiding the clothes in our closet that are ill-fitting. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to find out what looks good on your body shape. When you have even the most basic clothes in silhouettes that flatter you, you have more options of outfits. This is because you actually like more garments in your closet and thus are more likely to wear more garments- resulting in more outfit options. To see the 20 basics I think every closet needs (and what silhouettes are best for each body type), click here.
4. Keep clothing and accessories visible
It sounds obvious, but the easier it is to see something, the more likely you are to wear it. Is it easier to put outfits together in Goodwill or a fancy boutique? The answer is: a fancy boutique. When items are displayed well, it’s easier to pull them from the rack and put them on (which is why boutiques look the way they do). Consider re-organizing your closet to make every item more accessible.
5. Get inspired
Inspiration can come in all forms, but two platforms I love are Instagram and Pinterest. I recommend finding someone (celebrity or instagrammer) who has a similar body shape/lifestyle/style to you. Watch what they wear and how they put outfits together. You never know what you’ll learn and what you might want to try! Instagram accounts I like are: @fashion_unfolded_by_mandy (40+ style), @sustainable_consumption (20’s/30’s urban professional), @round2it (plus size), @stylishprofessor (40+ and tall styles). There are also lots of boards on Pinterest focused on things like: Petite, Plus, Specific Body Shapes, and Work outfits.
6. Get a second opinion
Remember playing dress up as a kid? Who says that stops when you become an adult? If anything, you should play more often because you actually have things to dress up for! One of the easiest, and most fun, ways to get out of a fashion rut is to host a fashion party and invite a couple of close friends over. Uncork some wine, turn up some tunes, and have your friends play dress up in your closet. See what new and fun outfits they come up with! A casual get-together like this is the perfect incubator for creative outfit ideas.
What gets you out of a style rut? Who do you follow for fashion inspiration?
Share in the comments below!