I Don't Know How to Evolve My Style
If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. As a wardrobe consultant and personal stylist, I hear this from clients all the time. They’re ready for their next step, have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are, and then realize their image doesn’t quite match the place they’ve worked so hard to get. The biggest challenge with this is reconciling how you think you should dress for this next step while still feeling like yourself. If you’ve been wearing jeans and sweaters to work every day and accept a promotion, it’s easy to think you should jump into suits. The trouble is, if you haven’t been wearing them frequently, it’s hard to feel comfortable and confident in them because they don’t quite seem like you. Below are my biggest tips for taking a step in a new style direction, whether professional or personal, while still feeling like yourself.
The third piece. It keeps showing up in my posts and it will continue to appear in them. The third piece really brings the whole outfit together. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic change for you. If you’re talking about work, this can be a blazer. If you’ve been wearing jeans, flats and sweaters non-stop, you can elevate your go-to by wearing jeans, ankle boots, a blouse, and a blazer. If your workplace is particularly casual, go for a knit blazer or a sweater blazer — they have the visual structure of a jacket but the comfort of a sweatshirt.
Try a new color. Not sure where to start? If you have any patterns in your closet that you love, pull out the patterned piece. Look at it carefully and find the smallest color (for example, the yellow at the center of a flower, or the boarder color around a shape), then add another piece to that outfit in the same color. This pulls that little color out and complements the whole print without being matchy-matchy. If you’re not a big fan of patterns and want to tread lightly in the color space, try one bold piece that can be worn with a variety of outfits. Red suede pointy toe shoes or an emerald green handbag can complement neutrals and evolve your style while still feeling comfortable.
Avoid costumes. I think this is an easy place to get tripped up. It’s natural to think of similar materials going together (for instance, a black wool pencil skirt and black wool blazer; leather boots and a moto jacket) but this is where things can veer into not feeling like you at all. Mix it up! Outfits are most successful when they have balance so pair a floral blouse with a leather moto jacket or wear a black pencil skirt with a leopard blazer or a satin bomber style jacket.
Stick with modern cuts. If you’re going to evolve into items that offer more coverage, such as incorporating more blazers, be sure to stick with modern cuts to avoid looking matronly.
Keep it you! Have a favorite color or cut? Continue to incorporate them as you expand your style horizons.
Style it differently. Can’t quit your black maxi dress? I’m all about tried and true pieces! Tie it at the bottom and add a knotted t-shirt over it for a different approach to the same piece.
Use what you can. Going from corporate life to retirement, or from a college job to professional career? Incorporate what you can as you move to your next step. Hang onto to those professional blazers to pair with jeans and a t-shirt or keep those great fitting jeans from your college job for casual Fridays.
Ultimately, nothing changes if nothing changes. You can make a few small tweaks to your every day outfits that will help you grow in your style while still feeling like yourself. The first small change can be the hardest step but once you elevate one part of your every day wardrobe, you’ll be able to continue to evolve your style in a way that compliments your growth.