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How to Find Your Style (Spring Cleaning Week)

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It’s Closet Spring Cleaning Week here on the blog! Day one is all about how to find your style. It’s the first step in building a better closet.

Today I’m going to teach you how to find your style

This entire week on MERRICKSART.com is dedicated to helping you have a better closet. We’re breaking it down day by day, and today is all about how to find your style.

Here are three reasons why I think every woman should find her personal style

  1. Shopping is so much easier when you have a personal style. You know what to look for as you shop!
  2. Getting dressed is so much more fun when you know your style. Sure, anyone can put on pants and a top. But putting together an outfit lets you express your personality and have fun.
  3. Determining your personal style lets you lets you outwardly express your inward beauty and personality, which can lead to greater confidence. Hello, who doesn’t want an extra dose of confidence??

So even if you don’t think you have a style, or don’t think you need a style, you do. And it’s time to find it.

Once you find your style, are you stuck in that style forever?

No, of course not. Your style should evolve with your age, your circumstances, your location, and the trends.

But determining your personal style helps you navigate through all of those things while still making them feel like you, no matter where you are in life or what trends come along.

Where do I start to find my personal style?

The only way to figure out if a style feels like you is to try that style. If you’re drawn to a boho style, try it out. If you’re drawn to preppy styles, give them a shot. It’s all about trial and error. And trust me, I’ve made a lot errors before I really narrowed down my style.

Also, don’t feel like you have to buy a bunch of items and wear them around until you decide if they’re your style. Dressing rooms and online stores with free returns are your friend!

And don’t be afraid to copycat someone’s outfit until you decide what feels like YOUR STYLE. I share tons of outfit ideas here on my blog that I want you to use as inspiration. Directly copy if you need to until you figure out what works for YOU.

8 Steps to help you find your style

1. PICK YOUR TOP TEN

To truly figure out your style, you need to know what’s in your closet. Look through your closet and pick out your 10 favorite pieces (try to have a good mix of tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, and accessories).  These should be the pieces you wear the very most. Now lay them out on your bed all together and it’s time to start analyzing.

With all of them together, look for color themes, (is there a lot of black? A lot of bright colors?), shape themes (Is everything oversized? Or super fitted? Are all the skirts and dresses you picked A-line? Or all maxi length?), similarities in pieces (do you only wear flats? Are half of the pieces you picked black and white striped?) Finding themes among your pieces will give you a good sense of what you like that you already own.

2. WHY THESE TEN?

Next, let’s determine why it is that you love these pieces so much.  Pay attention when you get dressed to the pieces you feel the most confident and comfortable in. What is it about them that makes you feel so great? Is it the color? The fit of the garment? The way it highlights or hides certain parts of your figure?

Make note of these observations because finding pieces in similar or complementary hues or with similar silhouettes will help give you direction as you shop. And as you fill your closet with pieces of a similar style, color palette, or feel, you will start to build a cohesive and stylized wardrobe.

3. FIND A STYLE ICON

When you look in magazines or on Pinterest, what fashion bloggers, celebrities, designers, or fashion photos are you drawn to, in terms of their style? Search “style icons” on Pinterest (you can find the search right here) and determine which styles you like the best. Create a new Pinterest style board and pin each one you’re drawn toward.

Once you have 10-15 pins, look through and find themes, color schemes, patterns, or clothing shapes that recur. Hopefully you’ll even see similarities between these pins and some of the pieces in your “top 10” you pulled from your closet. As you shop, refer back to this Pinterest board to remind you of the colors, shapes and styles you want to look for and purchase. This is just another tool to keep your style cohesive and clear.

4. NAME THAT STYLE

When you think of your style, whether you have fully determined or developed it yet or not, what would you call it? Bohemian, classic, feminine, edgy, preppy, colorful, romantic, tomboy, minimalist? Which one or two (or three — it’s totally okay to have more than one!) fits your style, or are you the most drawn toward?

Typically most women have a mix of several, and that’s what makes their style feel unique to them. This is a good thing! Go back to those top ten and when you look at them all together, which styles above do they reflect?

If you have no idea, because all you wear is jeans and a t-shirt every day, that’s okay. Go to your Pinterest board and use the images you’ve pinned as a guide since they’re the style you’re aspiring toward. Putting a name (or several) to your personal style gives you a clearer direction as you fill your closet, and helps to avoid adding pieces to your closet that don’t work well with the rest of your wardrobe.

*Note: Keep in mind that even as you pinpoint your style, you can still add pieces in other styles to your closet. For example, if your style is minimalist feminine, you can still add boho or preppy pieces to your wardrobe — just add them in small doses, or find pieces that have preppy-feminine mix so they don’t feel out of place in your closet and are easy to style with the rest of your wardrobe. Make sense?

5. SHOW OFF YOUR STRENGTHS

As you’re determining what to fill your closet with, choose clothing and styles that work best for your body type. What do you get the most compliments on? Or what part of your body do you love the most? If you’ve got great legs, rock those skirts and shorts to show them off. If you have an hourglass figure, show off that tiny waist with fit and flare dresses or high waisted A-line skirts. If you’re not a huge fan of your knees, try midi skirts.

Don’t let your body limit your style, let it work with and enhance your style!

6. FIGURE OUT A STYLE THAT FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE

Don’t waste your money on clothing that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Even if it’s on sale, or you just really want it! My Grannie always talked about “price per wear.” If you spend $100 on a pair of shoes and wear them twice, it’s $50 per wear, which is kind of pricey. But if you spend $100 on jeans and wear them three times a week, their price per wear will be pennies within a matter of months!

It’s absolutely okay to occasionally purchase pieces that aren’t super practical (as long as you know you will get some wear out of them). Just think about your lifestyle before you purchase and make sure it’s worth the money you’re spending on it, because that money could go to a smarter purchase!

If you work at a desk job where you need to wear professional wear everyday, spend a little more on a nice, tailored pant suit (especially one where you can mix and match the pants and blazer with other pieces).

If you’re a stay at home mom, invest in a better pair of jeans that makes you feel amazing.

If you’re a personal trainer, spend the extra money on the best leggings and sports bra for your body.

7. CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Looking around at your location can help you find your style as well. I was chatting with my mom about this recently and she mentioned two stories about dressing for your location. She lives in Las Vegas where her bright red leather jacket fits right in. But when she wore it once on a trip to London, she instantly felt very out of place in a sea of black trench coats and sweaters. She also mentioned that her bright flowy maxi dress she wore on a trip to Hawaii stuck out like a sore thumb on her layover in hipster San Francisco on her way home.

Different cities and areas of the country have different styles and vibes, and while it’s absolutely okay to stray from them, dressing for your location does help give direction to your wardrobe. Personally, I feel the best when I feel like I’m blending in at least a little bit. I want my style to be personal and not cookie cutter, but I want it to fit with the vibe of my location (I also do this when I travel!)

So determine the style of your location and let it give your style a little direction. If you’re in the Southern states, go a little more feminine and preppy. If you’re in California, let your style be a little more boho and casual. Are you catching my drift?

8. KNOW WHERE TO SHOP

Where you shop can definitely determine your style, whether you’re aware of it or not. Of course department stores are great for finding pretty much anything you would ever need to put in your closet (you guys know I’m a Nordy Girl)  but I’ve found that taking cues from one or two other stores that you frequent helps determine your style as well.

Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie both have a very distinct bohemian style, while Gap, J.Crew are much more preppy. Old Navy and Madewell have a cool, casual feel to most of their clothing, Loft has more classic feminine styles, and Forever21 has a youthful, trendy feel. Where are you shopping the most? Pick two or three of the places you shop the most and look at what outfits they’re putting together in their lookbooks and on the splash pages of their websites, and see if they really fit the style you’re trying to create for yourself. If they don’t, stop shopping there and pick somewhere new that’s a better fit.

Don’t feel like you have to figure this out in one day. It’ll take time! But this should be a good starting point to help you figure out your style.

Your homework for how to find your style

  • Choose your top ten in your closet
  • Create a Pinterest board with outfit inspiration and ideas that fit your style (or what you think is your style — it’s oka to have a variety!)
collage of merrick's style

It’s Closet Spring Cleaning Week here on the blog! Day one is all about how to find your style. It’s the first step in building a better closet.

Today I’m going to teach you how to find your style

This entire week on Merrick’s Art is dedicated to helping you have a better closet. We’re breaking it down day by day, and today is all about how to find your style.

Here are three reasons why I think every woman should find her personal style

  1. Shopping is so much easier when you have a personal style. You know what to look for as you shop!
  2. Getting dressed is so much more fun when you know your style. Sure, anyone can put on pants and a top. But putting together an outfit lets you express your personality and have fun.
  3. Determining your personal style lets you lets you outwardly express your inward beauty and personality, which can lead to greater confidence. Hello, who doesn’t want an extra dose of confidence??

So even if you don’t think you have a style, or don’t think you need a style, you do. And it’s time to find it.

Once you find your style, are you stuck in that style forever?

No, of course not. Your style should evolve with your age, your circumstances, your location, and the trends.

But determining your personal style helps you navigate through all of those things while still making them feel like you, no matter where you are in life or what trends come along.

Where do I start to find my personal style?

The only way to figure out if a style feels like you is to try that style. If you’re drawn to a boho style, try it out. If you’re drawn to preppy styles, give them a shot. It’s all about trial and error. And trust me, I’ve made a lot errors before I really narrowed down my style.

Also, don’t feel like you have to buy a bunch of items and wear them around until you decide if they’re your style. Dressing rooms and online stores with free returns are your friend!

And don’t be afraid to copycat someone’s outfit until you decide what feels like YOUR STYLE. I share tons of outfit ideas here on my blog that I want you to use as inspiration. Directly copy if you need to until you figure out what works for YOU.

cream sweater, black leggings, black baseball cap
merricksart white skirt with chambray button down shirt and scarf

8 steps to help you find your style

1. PICK YOUR TOP TEN

To truly figure out your style, you need to know what’s in your closet. Look through your closet and pick out your ten favorite pieces (try to have a good mix of tops, bottoms, and dresses, and shoes).  These should be the pieces you wear the very most. Now lay them out on your bed all together and it’s time to start analyzing.

With all of them together, look for color themes, (is there a lot of black? A lot of bright colors?), shape themes (is everything oversized? Or super fitted? Are all the skirts and dresses you picked A-line? Or all maxi length?), similarities in pieces (do you only wear flats? Are half of the pieces you picked black and white striped?) Finding themes among your pieces will give you a good sense of what you like that you already own.

2. WHY THESE TEN?

Next, let’s determine why it is that you love these pieces so much.  Pay attention when you get dressed to the pieces you feel the most confident and comfortable in. What is it about them that makes you feel so great? Is it the color? The fit of the garment? The way it highlights or downplays certain parts of your figure?

Make note of these observations because finding pieces in similar or complementary hues or with similar silhouettes will help give you direction as you shop. And as you fill your closet with pieces of a similar style, color palette, or feel, you will start to build a cohesive and stylized wardrobe.

3. FIND SOME STYLE ICONS

When you look in magazines or on Pinterest, what fashion bloggers, celebrities, designers, or fashion photos are you drawn to, in terms of their style? Search “style icons” on Pinterest (you can find the search right here) and determine which styles you like the best. Create a new Pinterest style board and pin each one you’re drawn toward.

Once you have 10-15 pins, look through and find themes, color schemes, patterns, or clothing shapes that recur. Hopefully you’ll even see similarities between these pins and some of the pieces in your “top 10” you pulled from your closet. As you shop, refer back to this Pinterest board to remind you of the colors, shapes and styles you want to look for and purchase. This is just another tool to keep your style cohesive and clear.

4. DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE

Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint your style with an official name, like “preppy,” “bohemian,” etc. And often I think that choosing one of those styles can feel restrictive.  Instead,I want you to think of three words that describe your style. Or what you want your style to be.

If you have no idea, think of one outfit you have that you love putting on and choose 2-3 description words for that outfit.

And if you don’t even have one outfit that you love, look at your Pinterest board you just created, choose a couple of outfits you love on that board, and describe those styles.

My three descriptive words for my style are:

Choosing these descriptive words allows you to flow between various styles. Sometimes my outfits are more preppy. Sometimes they’re more edgy. Occasionally they’re very classic. But they all fit into the casual, simple, fun descriptions!

5. HIGHLIGHT YOUR STRENGTHS

As you’re deciding what to fill your closet with, obviously you’ll want to choose clothing and styles that work best for your body type.

Ask yourself this question:

  • What outfits do I feel the most confident in? If you love your legs, skirts, dresses, and shorts should for sure be in your closet. If you have an hourglass figure, belts, fit and flare dresses, high waisted A-line skirts, and bodysuits should definitely be in your closet. If you feel best with your neckline open, remember to choose more v-neck tops and less crew neck.

Choosing pieces intentionally that make you feel confident and flattering your body type will make such a difference in how you feel about your closet!

6. FIGURE OUT A STYLE THAT FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE

Don’t waste your money on clothing that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Even if it’s on sale, or you just really want it! My Grannie always talked about “price per wear.” If you spend $100 on a pair of shoes and wear them twice, it’s $50 per wear, which is kind of pricey. But if you spend $100 on jeans and wear them three times a week, their price per wear will be pennies within a matter of months!

It’s absolutely okay to occasionally purchase pieces that aren’t super practical (as long as you know you will get some wear out of them). Just think about your lifestyle before you purchase and make sure it’s worth the money you’re spending on it, because that money could go to a smarter purchase!

  • If you work at a desk job where you need to wear professional wear everyday, spend a little more on a nice, tailored pant suit (especially one where you can mix and match the pants and blazer with other pieces).
  • If you’re a stay at home mom, invest in a better pair of jeans that makes you feel amazing.
  • If you’re a personal trainer, spend the extra money on the best leggings and sports bra for your body.

For me, I invest in jeans, sneakers, and versatile tops (like t-shirts and sweaters) because those fit my lifestyle the best.

7. CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Looking around at your location can help you find your style as well. I was chatting with my mom about this recently and she mentioned two stories about dressing for your location. She lives in Las Vegas where her bright red leather jacket fits right in. But when she wore it once on a trip to London, she instantly felt very out of place in a sea of black trench coats and sweaters. She also mentioned that her bright flowy maxi dress she wore on a trip to Hawaii stuck out like a sore thumb on her layover in hipster San Francisco on her way home.

Different cities and areas of the country have different styles and vibes, and while it’s absolutely okay to stray from them, dressing for your location does help give direction to your wardrobe. Personally, I feel the best when I feel like I’m blending in at least a little bit. I want my style to be personal and not cookie cutter, but I want it to fit with the vibe of my location (I also do this when I travel!)

So determine the style of your location and let it give your style a little direction. If you’re in the Southern states, go a little more feminine and preppy. If you’re in California, let your style be a little more boho and casual. Are you catching my drift?

8. WHERE DO YOU SHOP?

Where you shop can definitely determine your style, whether you’re aware of it or not. Of course department stores are great for finding pretty much anything you would ever need to put in your closet (you guys know I’m a Nordy Girl)  but taking cues from one or two other stores that you frequent helps determine your style as well.

  • If you find yourself shopping at or loving pieces from Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, your style is probably more bohemian.
  • If you shop at Gap or J.Crew, your style is probably a little more preppy.
  • If you frequent Old Navy and Madewell, you probably have a cool, casual style.
  • If you shop at Loft, you might have a more feminine style.,
  • If American Eagle is your favorite store, you might have a more youthful, trendy style.

All of these stores have look books and outfit ideas. Look at those and see if they’re similar to your style (or what you want your style to be). If the outfits you see are not your style, the chances are good that the individual pieces aren’t going to fit into your closet well. So choose another store.

merricksart closet leopard sweater and olive jacket

Don’t stress, it takes time!

Don’t feel like you have to figure this out in one day. It’ll take time! But this should be a good starting point to help you figure out your style.

Your homework for how to find your style:

Ok, I’ve just shared a ton of info with you. Here are the first steps I want you to take.

  • Choose your top ten in your closet
  • Create a Pinterest board with outfit inspiration and ideas that fit your style (or what you think is your style — it’s absolutely okay to have a variety if you’re not quite sure!)
  • Choose your three descriptive words for your style

Tomorrow we’ll be cleaning out our closets together, so get excited!!

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