For years, I felt like I never had anything to wear. Every time I went shopping, I came home convinced, thinking to myself, “This is it. This is the piece of clothing that will make my wardrobe complete and cohesive and show I’ve mastered my personal style.”
But the truth was, no single shirt, pair of shorts, or skirt could magically solve my problems—and that’s because my wardrobe was all over the place. Sure, I loved variety, and we all do. But from my lime green sweater to my flowy lace maxi skirt to my bedazzled denim shorts, there was too much variety. Finding my own personal style took a lot of trial and error—mostly errors—and years to figure out what I actually liked. Now that I’m on the other side though, I can confidently say: I have a closet full of clothes that match and that I actually love.
You, too, can find your own personal style—just try these five insider tips to mastering it.
1. Set aside a day to go look for clothes, not buy clothes
While I love dressing up, I sometimes dread going shopping, especially when I need to shop for something particular. The whole time, I feel frantic, running from store to store looking around for a random black pair of shorts or a beige dress. Instead, I started taking time to go to the mall to just browse—as hard as that is. This way, I had all the time in the world to try on anything that piqued my interest. It also gave me time to try things outside of my comfort zone, like my new form-fitting Skims dress that I would never normally wear.
Another key part of finding your style? Finding clothes that fit you well. For the last two years, when the world of online shopping dominated our lives, it could sometimes be really hard to nail your sizing in certain items, and when you have a return following a return (I’ve been there!), it can be really discouraging. So put on your fancy pants, haul your butt to the mall, and make a day out of it.
2. Use Pinterest as a mood board
The #1 tool that helped me along this journey? Pinterest. But when I started using the app, I thought to myself: I’m only going to pin looks I really love. And at first, the looks I pinned were all over the place. But after taking a deeper look, I was able to take a step back and say, “OK, I like this look because it’s all neutral tones” or “OK, maybe I actually don’t like this look, I only like the fact that Gigi Hadid is wearing the look.” Having all these different images of outfits in one place really allowed me to take a look at the bigger picture and analyze the similarities between the different looks.
3. Step outside of your comfort zone
Trying a new style of clothes can be really intimidating. It’s important to remind yourself that clothes and fashion are supposed to be fun! You have the ability to play around and try new things. And think about it: As time goes on, we grow and change, physically, mentally, personality-wise, etc. So why can’t your style change, too? You never know until you try.
With this, you can start small. For example, if you tend to stick to neutral colors, try adding in a pair of black-and-white printed pants. Or if you normally like oversized and baggy lounge sets, try styling a pair of tight biker shorts instead.
4. Start slow and evaluate the clothes you wear on a daily basis
When I finally started to nail the aesthetic I wanted to strive for, I felt the urge to fill multiple boxes and donate everything that didn’t fit that aesthetic immediately. But remember: Slow and steady wins the race.
Over the course of a few months, buy a few pieces here and there. Invest in quality pieces you genuinely can see yourself wearing for years, regardless of the trends that come and go. Plus, if you really do a full 180 with your style vibes and you only have two pieces that fit your new vibe, you can’t donate your entire closet or else you’ll only have a day or two’s worth of outfits. As your style is evolving, it’s also important to reevaluate the pieces you currently have in your arsenal. For example, do you no longer wear those hot pink pants because they don’t fit? Or because you don’t like hot pink anymore? In either case, you’ve gained valuable information.
5. Mimic the looks of people whose fashion you adore
Wanting to reinvent my wardrobe, I turned to my favorite fashionistas: Hailey Bieber, Carrie Bradshaw, and a few other Instagram influencers. I would sit and scroll through their Instagrams, trying to think of similar outfits I could sport and with items I already owned. And similar to the Pinterest tip above, this also allowed me to analyze why I gravitated toward certain outfits. I realized I loved the practicality of Hailey Bieber’s outfits, the wow factor of Carrie Bradshaw’s, and the (surprise!) neutral tones of the others. After recognizing these patterns, I knew what I liked and how I wanted to dress myself on a regular basis.
I also gained loads of outfit ideas that I never would have thought to wear in the first place. In the world of fashion bloggers and influencers, there is no shortage of content and inspiration. Use it to your advantage!