From Drab to Fantastic – How to Switch Your Style

I definitely grew up a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. At the beginning of the summer (April or May) I decided that I was absolutely sick of wearing the same old thing! But being so over that look didn’t change what I had or knew how to wear. I wanted to be fashionable but comfortable. For as long as I’d known, unless it was jeans I’d always felt overdressed.

A month, or so, ago I was at a party that lasted all day. Homecoming. It started at Jared’s old fraternity at 2, then the football game (instead of going to the game we stayed at the house to continue tailgating while listening). Afterwards a second round of food arrived and the house was packed for the after party! I was wearing a skirt and tank top, and when the sun went down I started to get chilly. I live just a few minutes away, so I ran home to change. It was one of the first cold nights this fall, and immediately I thought of my standard jeans and a sweatshirt to warm up. I got all set in my “comfy” clothes and then realized that I wasn’t comfortable at all! I ran back to my room, put my skirt back on, and added tights and a sweater. Ahh. Comfort! In just a few months my outlook on clothes has drastically changed! It has moved into a realm where I not only feel good, but I feel like I look good as well. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Find your clothing crutch:

Everyone has one. Mine has always been jeans. I could have 12 different pairs of jeans along with a closet brimming with t-shirts, but every day my silhouette looked the same. This is my definition of drab. So, the key is to locate what your clothing crutch is. What item is it that finds its way into everything you wear? Do you own 4 pairs of identical sneakers? Is it that you can’t break away from t-shirts? Or is your problem similar to mine… are you a denim junkie? What habit or routine of yours is causing you to call your style to question?

So, have you identified it? GOOD!! The next thing to do is to alter it! I decided to leave my jeans by the wayside! I came to this decision just as the warm weather started, which made it easy to say “That’s it! No more!” I folded them nicely and tucked them into a drawer. That isn’t to say that I haven’t dug into that drawer, or reached for a pair of denim shorts – once in a while it really is exactly what you need – but I can count on one hand the times this summer that I have left the house wearing them. They have moved from a staple to their sporadic home among fashion statement.

Alter your wardrobe bit by bit.

Taking this staple out of your wardrobe will leave an obvious hole. Something will need to fill it. So now you need a plan. What can you do to stick to your decision? I bought skirts! Bright ones, frilly ones, and quite a few of the neutral colored, wear-with-everything variety.

Think heels, or boots to adjust your sneaker addiction. Or dresses, button-ups, and layers of tanks to replace your t-shirts. Your options are broad as long as you keep an open mind. With this said, keeping an open mind can be tough. Start by easing yourself into the change… put a spin on what you already know. Get some destroyed denim, or maybe even – cringe at the name – jeggings; a t-shirt that in no way resembles anything else you own… maybe something asymmetrical? Start small and head out of your comfort zone one step at a time.

Find Inspiration

If you are in desperate need of ideas, find a few fashion icons and keep an eye on what they are wearing. I LOVE fashion bloggers for this reason! Kim of eat.sleep.wear, Keiko Lynn, and Kelly of The Glamourai are three of my favorites! I read their blogs regularly to see how they’ve paired patterns or the style of shoes that they are sporting. I love feeling inspired, and this is how I do it for my clothes!

Accessorize!

I am always amazed at how much a necklace or a headband can change how I look. It alters the vibe of what I’m wearing. Especially now while chunky is so very in! On top of it being a fabulously simple step into fashion, it can also be absolutely inexpensive.

Good style doesn’t need to put you in the poor house.

It’s simple to change your style when you are in a position to throw money its way. But if you aren’t, it is still completely do-able. Get creative! Here are a few of my favorite solutions:

Back of the Closet

The things that you wear on a daily basis tend to gravitate to the front; but what do you have behind them? They are things that are in a perfect position to be considered, after all, you bought them… they probably fit you. Take a look!

Thrifted

Fantastic second hand stores! If you’re in Salt Lake wander through Uptown Cheapskate or Pib’s Exchange. These are all clothes that the store paid the original owner for. There is still life in each item, so take a look around.

Shop and Swap

This has to be one of my favorite things, though it may take a bit of explanation. Years ago I was invited to a party that touted margaritas, finger food, and fantastically inexpensive clothes. All I needed to do was bring a little cash and the contents of the back of my closet. A hand full of girls got together, we had drinks and browsed through each other’s clothes. There were prices set for each article and could be paid in cash or a trade. It was a fabulous party and when I went home I had an armload of new clothes all swapped for the things that I was debating donating anyway.

Inexpensive Shops

There are bound to be inexpensive shops specializing in your style of clothing somewhere close. If not, browse online! My absolute favorite (for today) is Forever 21. Jeans under $20, $6 for leggings, even cocktail dresses for right around $35. Keep your eyes open! There is absolutely no reason that you need to wear a different expensive top every day. Fashion doesn’t need empty your wallet.

Romance the Sale

Patience pays off. Keep your eye out, especially when there’s a holiday, there will be sales. I found one of my absolutely favorite lightweight jackets early last spring. I kept my eye on it for a few weeks and when I finally couldn’t wait any longer it had dropped from $45 down to $11! It makes me love it all the more.

DIY Fashion

If you’ve got time and some energy, go for a DIY. Here are a few links to individual tutorials as well as websites that specialize in it:

leg warmers

glamourai scarf dress

PS I made this

I Spy DIY

Throw it out baby!

Now that you’ve expanded your wardrobe it’s time to get rid of the things that you don’t WANT to wear. To quote a great woman (my mom) “If you get rid of the things illegitimately taking up residence in your closet, welcome items will take their place. It is the magic of the universe.” It is oh, so true! If there is room to fill, something will find its way there. You may be completely broke, but that doesn’t mean that you should be holding onto clothes that you will never wear just because you have them. If you are never going to wear them, they are taking your energy to store them. You have to look through them every morning when you get dressed and disregard them as the wrong thing. At some point this has to stop.

Always Wear Confidence

When all is said and done, and you’re ready to leave the house be confident with your decision – if you act uncomfortable, you will look it. Wear your clothes with confidence and no one will question that your wardrobe has changed. You are only as overdressed as you feel like you are.

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