Defining your style - part 1: Lifestyle

I have been meaning to write this one for sometime. I often get told "I don't know what my style is". Sometimes, we are so busy doing other things, such as parenting / working, that we don't have much time to focus on ourselves.  How we express our uniqueness gets lost in making sure our day to day life runs as smooth as it does.

Our wardrobe is full of clothes, but we often feel we don't have anything to wear. Maybe there are few "wow" clothes in there that we love to wear and make us feel confident. 

Finding our own personal style is not about following the latest trends but finding what we love to wear that makes us feel good and confident. Not looking like a model on a catwalk, but looking like you!

There are a couple of ways you can begin to identify what your style is.

Start by considering your lifestyle. 

  • what do you do? paid / volunteer work, study, house duties, parent, etc...
  • what do you like to do? sport, hobbies, music, dine out, theatre, camping, etc...
  • how much time is spent doing these different activities? weekly, monthly, etc..
  • what are your plans for the future? travel, change of job, parenting, new hobby, etc...
  • what is your realistic budget for clothing and accessories? 

Your wardrobe should reflect your lifestyle choices. That means, you have clothing appropriate to the different activities you engage in. The quantity of clothing for each activity is relevant to the amount of time you spend doing it. The money you spend on those items is relevant to the amount of time you engage in those activities. 

For example, I'm a f/t mother of 2 young children and works p/t as a personal stylist. I enjoy gardening, sewing, reading, baking, shopping and going out. I love going on the kindy roster and also to playgroup. We go to church and enjoy going to the beach / park as a family. We have recently bought a camper trailer.

My wardrobe consists of practical, comfortable clothing that is easy to care for and allows me to parent in - sit on the floor, play outside with sand, cuddle up for stories, bake together, etc... That is about 50% of my clothing.

I then have smart-casual clothing for going to work, eating out, church, movies, etc... in. It is still comfortable and practical clothing, but just a bit smarter and leans towards classic uncluttered styles. This would be the other 50% of my wardrobe that gets worn 30% of the time. These eventually get passed down into the previous section. Non of my activities require a uniform.

I don't really have any dressy outfits, so have pieces in my wardrobe that I can dress up when the occasion needs it. I love jewellery to add the finishing touch to my outfits. I also have an eclectic mix of bags, some vintage, one-offs and ordinary styles. 

I audit my clothes as I pack away one seasons outfits and bring out the others. I happily pass clothes on or bin those that have had a good innings. This allows me to see any gaps that may emerge the following season. 

My budget is not huge. Therefore, I tend to buy an item that I know will get mileage, mixing with at least 3 other things I currently have in my wardrobe. I like quality fabrics and finishes.

I always consider the cost per wear rule when looking at potential items - If something cost $100, I wear it 2 times, it costs me $50; If I buy something for $100 and I wear it 50 times, it costs only $2. 

This is my (navy) handbag that I recently bought. It is the "Baby Switch" from LouenHide, an Australian company who make classic styled handbags from leather or polyurethane. It also comes in a delicious range of colours including toffee, jade or fuschia. 

This is my everyday handbag when I don't have a nappy bag hanging off my shoulder (which is most of the time!). So far it has cost me (per wear) $10, but I know I will get it down to below $1. It goes with both my casual and smarter outfits, and is appropriate for most of the places I go to. 

How about you?

What are your lifestyle requirements? Does your wardrobe match this? Do you have combinations that take you through your different activities, mix and matching? 

Use your reflections to do a mini-audit of your wardrobe. Where do you have clothes in abundance and what pieces are missing? Can you allocate your next shopping spree to filling some of those gaps?

Take time to think through your lifestyle and how you would like your wardrobe to reflect this.