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The Fashionphobe’s Guide to Better Dressing (continued). Step 1: Get your bearings

June 29, 2016

Instead of the usual advice to begin the quest to dress better by assessing the contents of your closet, I propose you begin by assessing yourself.

There isn’t a magical capsule wardrobe for every woman. Our differing shapes, sizes, colours, ages, jobs, lifestyles and tastes mean we all need to dress differently to look and feel stylish. So it follows that to curate a wardrobe that will work for your particular taste, looks and lifestyle, it is worth reflecting on who you are, what you do and what you want to project.

This isn’t a step that you do once and tick off the list. Your sense of self needs to always be your compass. Your sense of yourself and your own style will most likely evolve, and your lifestyle, size and shape may change, but there are core aspects of who you are, what you care about and what you love that will remain constant.

Being guided by your unique inner compass will help you in many ways. You’ll avoid wasting time, money and precious wardrobe space on fads that don’t deeply connect with your own tastes, and similarly you’ll work out which classic pieces might be great for many other women, but just aren’t right for you. For example, a little black dress is often cited as an absolute must-have, and I agree LBDs are gorgeous, but I adore colours and patterns, and dresses are the easiest way to wear colour and pattern by far, plus wearing patterns and colour make me feel festive, perfect for a special occasion, so LBDs are wasted on me. But an LBJ (little black jacket) that works with pretty much all my colourful and patterned dresses (as well as most of my other clothes) is one of my personal essentials. My LBJ features a textured floral pattern so even though it is absolutely black it is also very me.

So think about what you love, how you live, and what you want to project. Consider different sides of your personality, and different aspects of your life. Most of us need a range of different clothes to take us through very different activities and moods, from dates, dances and job interviews to vacuuming, gardening, bike rides and babysitting. And perhaps also ponder if there is anything you want to try that you’ve never dared. If you’ve always wanted to, maybe it is time to consider giving 50s style fit-and-flare dresses, or bright red, or stilettos a try.

I think it can be helpful to actually try to summarise your sense of style in words. Or if you are more visual, you could make a mood board. Articulating your style makes it easier to remember, and that means your inner style compass will guide you more reliably as you learn more about how to improve your style.

My style: Vibrant & Comfortable


My style: Vibrant & Comfortable by fairlyunfocused featuring Avery

This mood board features items that are typical of my style, although I actually only own the stripey burgundy top and the spotted runners.

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