You may know that last year, I did something that I've been wanting to do for a long time: I threw out ninety percent of the clothes in my closet. It was a huge deal for me; up until then, I'd been somewhat of a clothing hoarder, if you will. A lot of the clothes and shoes and accessories that sat there had been accumulated since high school, and I rarely threw anything out. Eventually, I realized that I had a problem. My closet was overflowing, and yet I didn't feel beautiful or confident in anything I wore.
It was a process, but since then I've built my closet back up to something that I'm honestly proud of. I don't necessarily want the clothes that I wear to define me as a person or a woman, but we all have our own priorities and values in life, and my personal style is one of them.
I've been asked in the past what my secret is, and before I didn't really think that I had one. Not one that was especially deep or new, anyway. When I thought about it more, however, I realized that I have shopped by one rule since starting this new project, and it's really revolutionized the way that I choose what to buy and what to keep on the rack.
I know I've mentioned it before on this blog, but growing up, I wore a lot of hand-me-downs and clearance items. It was necessary, and I'm SO thankful that I had decent clothes to wear at all. This mindset was somewhat ingrained in me, and it was hard to shake that feeling of, well, it's a great deal so I might as well buy it, that I knew so well. When I started making decent money as an adult, I still purchased clothing off the clearance rack, even if it wasn't necessarily me. That resulted in a bloated wardrobe that wasn't cohesive at all.
So, what's my number one shopping rule? The one that has really allowed me to define my style organically, and without making lists or writing down what I think I might love, in concept?
It really seems so obvious, doesn't it? But how many times have you seen something in a store that was kind of cute, and you might, someday wear it? And you wouldn't normally buy it, but it was on sale for (insert some random percentage here) and you just couldn't pass up the deal? I can't tell you how many times I've done that, and the result is really just something else that you've wasted money on, that will end up at Goodwill with the tags still on.
I think by limiting yourself to items that you love (not necessarily that are your style, because I think that comes later), rather than price, you're able to create your own, perfect style. It also forces you to work with items that you may not have gotten in the past, because you didn't think it was you. Does that make sense?
In the past year, I've learned that I really love bows, that hot pink works better for me as a signature lip color, and that it's next to impossible for me to find a pair of pants that fit me really well. Among other things.
I hope it's okay with you, but I thought I would start sharing more about my personal style, for all areas of my life. Consider it my next exercise in defining who I am.