They say the first step to overcoming a problem is to admit and acknowledge that there is one.
So...I have a confession to make, and that is that I have been in a bit of a styling rut as of late. Maxi skirts and button up shirts, you have been so good to me, but I think it's time we see other people, errr, outfits.
Now if you are in a similar boat you have come to a safe place where you can find out ways to get yourself out of this rut.
1. find out why you are in the rut
Discovering the "why" behind a phenomenon leads you to solutions. There are usually several factors at play when you find yourself in a rut, I am going to tell you some of the most common ones.
- weather and weather changes it has been humid with a capital H here in Houston, on top of being hotter than Hades with the occasional torrential downpour; since people are creatures of comfort and habit it is hard when you have been dressing for a certain type of weather and it changes or when you are trying to survive extremes in climate.
- health conditions sometimes people lose or gain weight, or are pregnant/post-partum and their bodies change and they struggle to adapt to those changes. Sometimes you get surgery or a condition which requires certain amounts of movement and breath-ability in your outfit or certain types of fabric, sometimes you get a skin condition that requires you to cover up (I had a bad bout of stress-related eczema on my legs and I didn't like showing them, so I wore a lot of maxi skirts).
- stress when your mind is on other things (whether it be work like me, family or other situations) you tend not to care as much about the things you are wearing and you start reaching for combinations which all kind of look the same or suit an immediate need.
- work dress codes because I have to wear professional dress a lot, most of my outfits gravitate to that end of the spectrum and I miss having a great casual style, so that is something I am working on. I still really like dressing up though, which is why the majority of my featured looks are a little more on the formal side. My husband has the opposite problem where he wants to transition to more "adult" style but his workplace is very casual.
- limited wardrobe this is not the case for me but I hear a LOT of people talk about this. I think that to an extent this can be a real problem, but I also don't believe you should have to do an expensive and complete overhaul. People do so much with minimalist and capsule wardrobes these days and I find that usually people who complain of this usually have ill-fitting clothes or clothes that don't truly reflect their personality and style. See my thoughts on this here, here, and here.
2. creative remedies to the problem
- so the weather is awful or it has changed...if it is very cold, layer or invest in some more insulating fabrics. If it is hot, DON'T layer. Find classic pieces in lighter fabrics and flattering but looser cuts. Find a variety of seasonal items so you are not stuck only wearing linen pants or bermuda shorts in the summer. Try on something different that is in season at your local thrift store so you can visualize yourself in it and try it out without investing a lot of money. There are SO many kinds of clothes out there and sometimes you won't know you love summer dresses until you just try one on that really rocks your world.
- your body requires a little extra care... there are ways to find different things to flatter a changing body, it just requires patience and a positive outlook. Again, I think the key is to try different things. Right now looser fit tops are in style which tend to be forgiving and can work well for a variety of needs. Just keep in mind if you wear something loose on top you've got to balance it out with something a little more fitted on the bottom. And vice versa, if you wear something tighter on top, it just tends to look more balanced with something less fitted on the bottom.
- stressed out...remember that you can't function at your best if you don't take care of yourself. Try to set small goals if you are feeling like looking good isn't priority number one, maybe you can set aside one day a week or per month (depending on your circumstances) where you dress up. I promise that when you set this goal and make a special effort and take that extra time you will be able to go about your day with that much more vigor and confidence.
- work dress code...I plan on doing a whole other post about infusing your personal style into a professional wardrobe. This is more for those people who find themselves wearing the same skirt set or slacks and blazer to work every day. Easy and quick ways to add variety to your work clothes is to incorporate different colors, cuts and accessories. There are now many different styles of slacks for women; high-waisted, paper bag waist, tapered leg, wide leg, I could go on and on. There are also a variety of prints and colors out there, not just your classic neutrals. If you are typically a pants person try some dresses and skirts, if you are typically a dresses and skirts kinda gal try some pants. Spice it up! Just trying things on never did hurt anyone, and just remember that most changing room lighting is evil so don't get depressed in there ;)
- limited wardrobe...as I mentioned prior to this post and in many others, there are ways to be flexible with a small wardrobe and cheap ways to improve on a wardrobe that you feel is lacking or doesn't reflect your personal style. Two good resources for revamping your look can be found here and here.
3. be gentle with yourself and have FUN with clothes
- try small tweaks on what you already do, I still wore a button-up shirt in this outfit but I wore a different kind of bottom and shoes. I also went for a completely different silhouette and color scheme than I have in the past few months. I wore a necklace which I hadn't done in a very long time; accessories are a small but powerful way to change your "uniform". A necklace, a statement scarf, some earrings or bangles, a hat, a headband, the possibilities are endless.
- take it slow, make sure to pamper yourself in other ways. I am a firm believer in the healing powers of doing your hair and make-up, or taking a day to do something you really enjoy, or painting your nails and listening to some good music. You will feel more inspired when you are taken care of in other ways.
- you don't have to dress up every day, but do plan and organize yourself so that you can set aside a dress-up day where you take the time to consider it and let yourself feel awesome.
- try something super out of your comfort zone just to change things up. For me that would probably be wearing high-waisted wide leg pants. I bought them awhile ago because they looked awesome on a friend of mine but I tend to shy away from them since they are so different from what I usually wear. My challenge to myself will be to find different ways to wear them and just wear them more often. Remember, this is all supposed to be FUN so go out there and have an awesome time trying new things and being brave with your fashion choices.
I want to take a minute to thank you for showing your support by reading this blog post, please share it with your friends if your found it helpful or comment below if you still have questions about this topic. I am interested in hearing from my readers and in engaging with them all on a deeper level.