For the past few weeks I’ve been working in a completely different field, reminding me how much the world of fashion retail is a bubble. I guess every field is—
Anyhow, this turn has given me the chance to road test some theories about dressing well and smartly I’ve sworn by for years. Here’s what I’m learning:
In fashion, we tell people that dressing well and strategically makes a difference in life.
And of course if you work retail it does.
But guess what? It makes a difference everywhere. I feel more confident and more myself in new situations when I’m wearing things I love. Good things.
And it’s funny- I’ve noticed peoples’ clothing, jewelry, or shoes spark easy conversations-- great pieces make great ice breakers if nothing else.
A few concepts we’ve talked about here show up over and over again in practice. The points I refer to most are here (we’ve done deep dives on these ideas, so scroll down if you would like more details on any of them):
Start here. Find a public figure or two whose personal style resonates with you—shoot for someone who’s seen often in formal and informal settings so you have reference points for both. Google them, analyze, make some lists, and get inspired. My muse sits somewhere between Kate Moss, Jane Birkin, Sienna Miller and the Olson twins. Go figure.
Next, look at your life to determine the bones of your wardrobe—those things suited to 80% of your life right now (the bones of my wardrobe right now are super stretchy skinny jeans, button downs or good tee shirts, and flat boots; looking ahead I need some event-worthy things).
Yes to Uniforms
Taking muses and bones into account, I can identify a uniform and stick to it. All of this makes life easier, and allows me to focus my time and budget. My uniform right now is black or gray skinnies, beat up moto boots, cool tee shirts, and great coats. I’m leaning on layered vintage jewelry, belts and hats to personalize. Looking ahead to events, I’ve got some insanely good blazers and heels in my closet as a starting point.
Consider the concepts above, and make mental notes or a few lists of things you think you need to build your uniform.
Shop your closet first to fill any wardrobe holes—I often forget about really cool things I already have.
Make a list of what you do need and invest in those things only (this could be some cool, unexpected accessories). NOTE: I shop second hand almost exclusively so that I can afford great quality.
Enjoy the grace one feels when they are effortlessly well dressed and healed and not in debt.