The changing of the calendar is an opportunity to start fresh. Like bodies, relationships, and tastes, style is an evolution. What can you do this year to evolve your style, for more refined form and smarter function?
First, take a renewed look at what you already have. Hire a personal shopper (on Thumbtack) or invite a friend over to give you an honest assessment of the pieces hiding in the depths of your closet.
Then, purge them with the precise efficiency of a Marie Kondo-type. Commit to donating or selling anything that you don’t absolutely love. Have you worn it in the past year? Does it still fit? Is it well constructed and of quality fabric? Who cares what you paid for it—that’s irrelevant (if you keep it for that reason but never wear it, are you really retaining any value?).
Having trouble parting with a gorgeous but painful pair of shoes? Or that dress/suit from your anniversary five years ago? Think of it this way: you’re not throwing it away, you’re passing it on to someone who will covet and enjoy it as much as you once did.
You could also find something you’d forgotten about, once loved, and will love again. Don’t give everything away! NOT THE CHANEL SLINGBACKS!
Consider Your Needs FIRST
Invest in some new basics to solidify your foundation.
For men, that’s jeans, dark trousers, button-down shirts, plain white or gray t-shirts for layering. Perhaps a new wallet to replace that lumpy block of leather you have abused for years. I bought myself this Paul Smith slim card case with paisley stud detailing on sale at SSENSE for $66, down from $195.
Most women could work a jumpsuit, black or neutral trousers, versatile blouses in lighter colors, and black heels into any outfit for any occasion, especially professional settings.
Take a look at my If I was a Woman Pinterest board for ideas.
Bright colors should be approached cautiously, because they can easily clash/be difficult to match. Rich, muted, and neutral colors are best for filling out the bulk of your items…that is black, charcoal (dark gray almost black), navy, olive, gray, white, and light blue for dress shirts. I personally prefer things that aren’t pre-washed to look vintage.
Footwear note: have you noticed your feet are always achey after wearing hard/thin leather-soled shoes all day? Maybe consider similar styles on a thicker rubber or crepe sole. They’ll be far gentler on all parts of your feet.
My personal obsession is leather accessories. A statement handheld can balance any ensemble you arrange on your body by adding (or contrasting with) color (bold color is ok here!), silver or gold shiny hardware, or a shape/style that says:
- I like blue suede (THE ROW Multi Pouch suede shoulder bag, on sale $714 at Net-A-Porter)
- I handle serious matters (MaxMara wooden top-handle leather bag, on sale $903 at MaxMara)
- I value refined beauty in my daily life (Bottega Veneta Terracotta Intrecciato wallet-on-chain, $1,095 at SSENSE)
- I have a lot of stuff to lug around (Jerome Dreyfuss Lambskin Billy M, $575 at 24 Sèvres)
- I like an expensive look without the price tag (Theory Mini West Bag in contrast nappa leather, $415 at Theory)
The same can be said for men’s wallets. Don’t be timid about choosing something with flair.
Keep a rotation of at least three bag options for daily activities. Like shoes, finer handbags appreciate a rest now and again to reestablish their proper shape.
Consider Your Wants AFTER
Add detail and texture to your repertoire with new accessories. But think about them just the same as your foundation: as investments with timeless appeal.
I received a watch for Christmas (Braun AW50) and am thrilled because I’ve been without a daily timepiece for nearly two years. Its brushed silver face and matte black leather strap are the perfect pairing with the things I already wear—a brushed sterling cuff (Le Gramme) I’ve had since 2014 and an antiqued sterling ring with black enamel and garnets (Bottega Veneta) I bought in New York in October.
In perennially sunny spots, consider new eyewear, which are a sound investment if you wear them daily.
In colder climates, maybe some new headwear is in order, or a delicious pair of lambskin gloves in a rich hue. If you’re into belts…go crazy!
I used to buy expensive belts but never wore them, so as much as I enjoyed adding them to an outfit, they were mostly functionless (as I have a butt that keeps my pants up just fine) and unseen, so I sold most of what I had other than a few that I mix into outfits occasionally.
None of us really lack anything, we accumulate haphazardly. Resolve to edit in 2018 to evolve your style.
Refocus yourself on abundance with a fresh look in the back of your closet to see what you forgot you already own (and can rediscover for free!).
If you’re in the doldrums of style, reinvigorate your inspiration with a luxurious/nonessential purchase, like a beautiful piece of jewelry. Make yourself feel richly stylish, even if you can’t afford everything your eye desires.
- Think about the environmental impact of your style purchases: will it shortly end up in a landfill? Was it produced ethically and/or as naturally as possible? –> 8 Ways to Shop Ethically.
- Perhaps your next purchase should be so expensive that it hurts.
- Remember, sales promotions are simply a marketing tool. If items are routinely 50% off, they can’t be worth that much to begin with. There is always a markup and always a profit margin, even at 70% off.
- On the other hand, shopping full-retail means not having to scour in person or online during sale season (a.k.a. convenience)
- Use tools like Shopstyle to scope out options, set up sale alerts, and compare pricing.
- INVEST in perennial pieces rather than WASTE on single-wears.