Getting into a style rut is easy to do.
We all go through it from time to time, even the most experienced and creative of stylists. We have our failsafe pieces that make us feel great, our style saviours, clothing safety blankets and it’s often hard to get away from them, to try something else and be a little more daring with our day-to-day looks.
I’ve always experimented with my style, for as long as I can remember I’ve always had a HUGE passion for putting outfits together, for styling myself in ways that I see on the catwalk, in magazines and in advertising campaigns. I take inspiration from all over the show when it comes to styling, whether that be all that I listed above, the people of Manchester, characters in my favourite films and TV shows and even interiors and food (yeah food) I’m often inspired by the smallest of things in the smallest of ways, whether it be a colour combination or the silhouette and shape of something, I make a mental note and use it to decipher the days outfit.
I’m often asked what inspires me, and I ALWAYS struggle to come up with the answer, in short, I’m inspired by everything, big or small; my brain works in mysterious ways when it comes to styling and it’s not something I’ve been able to eloquently explain on paper or in a video, but I will continue to try and share some insight on the matter soon.
But today, I thought I’d divulge you with the ways in which I avoid styling ruts, or when the inevitable happens, how I get myself out of it. Comfort zones are wonderful, I mean, it’s in the name, they’re comfortable af. But what I find with comfort zones is that they are boring as heck; they don’t set you up for the day, they don’t inspire you and they certainly don’t leave you feeling at your best.
When my outfit is great, I’m the best version of myself, I feel confident, I feel like I can take on the world and I feel the sassiest version of myself. I know that you lot love seeing me in a simple jeans and a tee combination, because that’s totally attainable and relates to a whole host of girls, no matter what your taste in fashion. However, jeans and tee’s don’t always do it for me. Don’t get me wrong there are some occasions, weather forecasts and moods that require nothing more than a simple jeans and tee combination, but if I want to feel on my A-game then they sure as hell aren’t the answer for me.
SO with that rather hefty intro (again, I apologise) I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to ditch your styling comfort zones once and for all!
1. Ditch One, Keep Another
We often have a full outfit or outfit combination comfort zone, whether that be jeans and a tee, a leather jacket and striped top combination or an ankle boot and A line skirt love affair, so my first tip for getting out of your comfort zone once and for all is to ditch one of those combinations but keep the other.
Take the jeans and a tee combination for example, step one is getting out of the habit of reaching for your jeans every morning. Perhaps tomorrow morning instead of instinctively reaching for the Mom jeans, you select the skirt you picked up a few weeks back that still has it’s tags on, or a pair of oh-so flattering trousers that have been gathering dust for the past few seasons, and yet, still team it with your beloved slogan tee or plain white tee. That way you’re not straying too far from your comfort zone (yet) but you’re mixing it up a little bit. Adding a little bit of sass and in turn, I guarantee you’ll feel like a brand new you. It’s these little changes that will eventually break you away from your styling comfort zone once and for all.
2. Start Small
Outfit fatigue will ALWAYS strike at the worst possible times. Usually when we’re in a rush (thats why I like to plan my outfits the night before *BONUS TIP*) and have no time to hit the shops. But, sometimes you simply don’t need to by an all new wardrobe to get out from within the depths of a style rut. Sometimes the answer is sitting right there in our pre existing and over flowing wardrobes, you just need to rediscover it.
Take a morning out and bring each and every item out of your wardrobe and lay it in style piles on your bed. Tops in one pile, dresses in another and bottoms in yet, another pile. Put back the pieces you wear week in and week out, and look at them hanging there. What is it you like about them? What is it that makes those items your comfort zone safety blanket pieces? Is it the colour? Or the cut? Is it the print or lack thereof? Really delve into what makes you love those pieces the most.
Then, go through the rest of the items and challenge yourself to style up your selected most worn faves using the pieces that are left. Go for combinations you’ve never tried before and try em on. Take mirror selfies of the looks you love as a mental note to wear them that week or maybe get your bestie round to help you decide which looks rule and which drool. This is a really fun way to find new combinations and new love for items you forgot you had, to resurrect pieces from the depths of your closet… Plus it stops you panic buying in Topshop which is always a bonus.
3. Add Some Colour
I’m often praised for my use of colour, and I really adore that kind of compliment, especially in a sea of monochrome. And with that oh so lovely compliment I’m asked how to inject it into a predominantly monochromatic wardrobe. Similarly to my last tip, the trick is to start small. Mix up your favourite items, whether that be an oversized blazer, a crisp white shirt, trousers or a dress and inject a little bit of colour using accessories, shoes or even just a lip colour. Injecting little snippets of colour in this way will brighten your mood without taking you out of your style comfort zone full throttle. Some of my fave accessories for doing just that are coloured or printed ankle socks (they look so cute with sandals or peeping over the top of ankle boots) belts, OTT earrings and neck scarves and ties.
Once you’ve got to grips and no doubt fallen in love with your new snippets of colour, it’s then time to take that failsafe piece and head to the shops for an updated and more colourful version of said piece. If it’s black and white you love, then perhaps go for a printed version, with a black base to start with. The black base will settle your nerves, whilst the pink florals or red polka dots will step you straight out of your day-to-day uniform and out of your comfort zone in a subtle way for others but in a big pat on the back way for you.
4. Get Inspired
One tip that never fails to help me when I’m having one of those weeks (YES we ALL have them) is to get my ass on Pinterest or on Instagram and get saving and pinning my fave looks. I have both a board on Pinterest and more recently a collection on Instagram named “Outfit Inspiration” it’s my little go to when I’m having a down day, week or god forbid MONTH!
Having a little collection of inspiration is sometimes just what you need to reinvent your style favourites, to inject something a little different or try something new entirely. Whilst I don’t believe these pockets of inspiration should be ripped off completely, it’s always a wonderful way to make you fall back in love with pre existing items in your wardrobe.
5. New Beauty Routine?
When I’m not feeling myself I instantly blame my wardrobe and how “I have nothing to wear” which is most definitely not the case. I get myself into a tizz, a huff and a serious girl strop when the outfit isn’t coming to me when sometimes, it isn’t the outfit at all. Sometimes it’s your make up or your hair that is the problem.
My hair is a biggie for me, it’s the one thing I can ALWAYS count on to make me feel like myself, even when I’m rocking a simple jeans and a tee. If my hair is volumous, messy and full of secrets (5 points for the film ref) I feel my most confident, but when it’s not, or when the eye look I’ve tried out just isn’t working for me, then even my most favourite of outfit’s won’t cut it.
Try a different hair look, or a new lip colour and I guarantee you it will lift your outfit from zero to hero.
6. Make an Investment
Now this is something I’ve learnt more recently since I’ve been lucky enough to invest in some beautiful luxury items for myself. The power of having a bloody gorgeous handbag or perfectly cut blazer or fresh out of the box heeled ankle boots is a STRONG one to say the least. When I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps about my wardrobe I like to peruse luxury websites to see whats new in from some of my favourite fashion houses. This often helps me revaluate my wardrobe and allows me to discover a space in my wardrobe in which I can fill with an investment piece. Sometimes all it takes is a bloody beautiful handbag on your arm to make you fall in love with your unloved wardrobe and to create outfit combinations that were since undiscovered.
7. Hit The Shops
Put on your trainers and your headphones, select a bad ass Spotify playlist and get yourself down to the shops. When I’m feeling uninspired by my outfit choices I love nothing more than taking a browse around the shops to see whats new in store. I often go into my style comfort zones and eventually a style rut in-between seasons, when the stores are showcasing the new season items but the weather isn’t appropriate for them just yet. However, heading into store and seeing the latest items and taking note of whats to come, how they’re styled on the mannequins and even the style of other shoppers and sales assistants can really help to pull you out from the depths of a style comfort zone and into a more rounded and open minded fashionista.
8. Ask For Advice
My friends and family always know when I’m in a style rut because I will ask them “When you think of my style, what outfit or item springs to mind!?” I really like to see how those closest to me interpret my style as it’s a nice way to learn those items you’re associated with in order to try and mix them up a little bit. Ask your boyfriend or your friends or even your readers, followers of viewers (I’m looking at you, let me know in the comments below) how they view your style, it will no doubt help you to work out if a wardrobe revamp is on the cards.
9. Host a Charity Sale or Clothes Swap
Speaking of wardrobe revamps, a sure fired way of revamping your wardrobe is to start over.
Now I know this is rather drastic, and won’t be to everyones taste, heck, it wasn’t something I EVER thought I would do until the moment I hosted a charity sale for the WE HEART MANCHESTER Emergency Fund but my goodness what a feeling that was.
Apart from raising a heck load of cash for a charity close to my heart, I was also able to start my wardrobe from scratch. I quite literally had nothing except a handful of my favourite t-shirts, jeans, jackets and shoes… SRSLY!
It was a little tricky for the first few weeks whilst I got to grips with my new streamlined and VERY basic wardrobe; but it was just what I needed to reevaluate my wardrobe and what I loved to wear. I then set to work filling my wardrobe up again with new pieces to experiment with, with new colours, prints and shapes and I’ve not had a rut since (my sale was early June)
If emptying your entire wardrobe isn’t your cup of tea, how about a clothes swap? Get a pile of unloved clothes together with your friends and have a night where you swap with one another, ones girls trash is another girls treasure and all that!?
And finally experiment! Have fun with fashion, thats what it’s all about and thats why we all love it so much. Sometimes we forget and we take ourselves and our outfits too seriously. Throw on your loud and proud prints and colours TOGETHER, you never know, you might just love it?
Mix up textures, prints, colours, silhouettes and proportions and come up with outfit combinations that you’ve never seen before. Personal style is exactly that, it’s personal, so don’t try and copy what you’ve seen on Instagram, just do you, you never know, you may well start an Instagram trend of your own?!?
So they’re my tips for ditching your style comfort zones and escaping the dreaded style rut, I really hope you found this useful, please let me know if you’ve tried any of the tips yourself or perhaps you have your own ways of combatting a style rut, I’d love to hear them.
I also wanted to quickly discuss my outfit in this post here as a true example of me getting out from underneath my style comfort zone and feeling bloody awesome to boot.
Stussy isn’t a brand I’ve ever worn before or every really considered purchasing until I saw this bloody AWESOME t-shirt. I adored the orange colour contrasted with the blue print on the back of the tee, it was a statement, it was a brand I’d never worn (or ever thought I could wear) and I was certainly up for the challenge. I decided to combine it with a pair of tailored trousers that BeetleJuice would be proud of, ‘cause, why the heck not?
The vertical stripes are my best friend as they totally elongate my shorter legs, whilst the high waist fit works to elongate my body too, winner winner chicken dinner!? I LOVE how all over the place this look is, what with the sports wear, the bold monochrome striped trousers and the Carmen Miranda fruit AND glitter shoes, not OTT at all...
I wanted to explain a little about this look as this came from experimenting.
First up I had a brand I didn’t think I was cool enough to wear, a pair of trousers that I wanted to have some fun with and a pair of absolutely outrageously wonderful shoes, so I popped them all on together and I bloody ADORED the outcome. I think it shows in these shots too, which I have to say are my favourite images EVER! I felt totally freaking bad ass and at my most confident whilst wearing this look and strutting around Amsterdam in this outfit and even when people stared, I knew they were impressed (or at least thats what I told myself). Experimenting in this way can really allow you to discover fun new combinations that you never dreamed of and I think this outfit is testament to just that, what do you reckon?