I turned 41 last month, and maybe it’s because I’m in my 40s, but I feel like I’ve finally deciphered my own style over the past few years.
I love fashion and am never ashamed to follow trends. Each new season brings new styles that inspire me. After years of impulse buying and trial and error (which is appalling to think how much money I wasted), I now know how to buy clothes that I will love and wear for years.
So I thought it was time to share these insights with you.
Here are the top tips I use to decide what to wear each day.
i had a baby
It may sound counterintuitive, but it wasn’t until I felt “worst” in my body that I found the clothes that made me feel the best.
During my pregnancy, I loved to dress up, but after giving birth, I completely lost myself, including my style. I had a new body type that didn’t feel right at home, so I had to re-evaluate my entire wardrobe.
Instead of putting on my old clothes and trying to revert to my pre-mother self, I embraced my new body (which took time!) and embraced my new role. But I still felt cohesive.
Having a baby in the winter, I love trench coats, oversized shirts and blazers, leggings, comfy jeans, and quality flats. Nearly four years later, they’re still the items I have the most in my wardrobe and are in high rotation.
Save the reference.
Instagram has a ‘Saved’ folder with styles that inspire me.
Some posts are from celebrities, while others are from ordinary women. I browse files almost every day. It’s a great reference when you’re unsure of what to wear, or helps you find gaps in your wardrobe before you go shopping.
When browsing photos, I always pick up common threads (blazers, jumpers, timeless pants, and utilitarian shoes most of the time).
Going shopping without a vision can make me a bit of a chicken. I gravitate toward statement pieces and shiny, fun things, but having visual references handy reminds me that they weren’t what I was after. The only thing that can justify buying a statement piece is having enough classics to pair it up and get multiple wears.
I gave in to comfort.
Five years ago, I had an impressive collection of high heels, outing dresses, and “event” items. Every time I cleaned out my wardrobe, I realized that I had hardly worn them anymore, but I bought another pair of heels that had been on my mind.
Finally, I acknowledged that my lifestyle had changed. These items were beautiful, but they weren’t practical.
Instead, I started investing in quality flat shoes like sandals, loafers, denim, pants and suits.
Once you start shopping for real life rather than fantasy life, suddenly you have a wardrobe of items that bring you more wear and tear.
I give myself a timeout.
I can be a pretty impulsive shopper, but it’s still something I work on.
I like to give myself time to reflect. If the next day or week you’re still thinking about the item and figuring out how to make it wearable in different ways, give yourself permission to go back and get it.
This also works for online shopping. Many sites let you leave items in your cart or add them to your wish list. Even better, some online stores will email you a discount if you keep the item in your cart for a period of time. Nifty trick!
I invested in quality basics.
I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just a white t-shirt, they’re all the same,’ and I bought cheap basic stuff.In the end, I realized that quality is king. they will continue.
Quality doesn’t have to be expensive. I have some expensive blazers and designer his t-shirts, but most of my essentials are affordable and well made.
Uniqlo is a staple of basic basic items. I love his Uniqlo T-shirts and knitwear. Marks and Spencer also offer great quality classics. Their merino wool jumper will last several seasons and still look like new (wash on gentle cycle in a lingerie bag).
Borrow (or borrow).
My weekends are pretty low-key these days (thanks to my 3-year-old), but I do occasionally go to fancy work events and weddings.
I almost always borrow a dress or ask a friend to borrow an outfit for something like that.
It’s better for my bank account and keeps the dress from hanging out in my wardrobe so I’m unlikely to wear it again.
My favorite sites are Glam Corner and Designer Ex.
Stick to your budget.
My favorite feature of online shopping is the ability to choose a price range. With the item you’re looking for in mind, switch your settings to the maximum budget for that item before you start browsing. It saves me from the temptation to splurge when I can’t afford it, or when I can’t justify it for that particular piece.
Then type in the size to further narrow your search and switch to “lowest to highest” price. Who are these people searching ‘best to worst’ anyway?!
This is a useful tip for sites like The Iconic and ASOS, which have a very large range and can be overwhelming.