6 Steps to Update Your Personal Style

Yesterday I told you about how I reworked my elevator pitch and tried it out on a stranger at a conference luncheon and how that sparked an interesting conversation.

“I write a lifestyle blog about cooking with nutritious whole foods, my newfound passion for fitness and running, and wearable fashion for the typical suburban housewife.”

When I tried to explain how people relate to my fashion posts, even though I feel that my personal style is really quite plain and repetitive, she jumped in and explained how it might seem easy to someone like me who actually enjoys following the trends and trying new looks, but that it is really not that easy for many women. Which reminded me of a comment I had on my Daily Mom Style post last week. Someone simply said, “You make it look so easy.”

And that got me to thinking. It really isn’t that easy — even for me, and I enjoy it. It does take some work, and time and attention, and not everyone has that. It’s so easy to fall into a fashion rut, especially in the child bearing years. I remember those years, and how I would feel like I missed two years on the fashion scene — between being pregnant and nursing and losing preggo weight. All told, it was 18-24 months of being out of practice, and even though that’s a rather short time, I would feel like it was a big hurdle to get back into the swing of things and figure out what was current and what was not and how it worked for me.

I can only imagine how it might feel if you’ve let yourself go for five or ten years.

I can see how some women might give up and feel it’s too far gone to even try.

So I thought maybe I’d write a post about how to update your look and get out of a style rut — whether it’s a style rut from 2009 or 1999. I’ve broken it down into 10 steps. Now, I realize that finances play a part in this process. Not everyone can afford to totally revamp their wardrobe, and it will take some time. But hopefully you can tailor this plan to work for you.

6 Steps to Update Your Personal Style {and Get Out of that Fashion Rut}

1. Clean out your closet.

(Hey, I didn’t say this would be easy!) Go through your closet and remove anything that makes you feel frumpy or doesn’t fit well. Take a Saturday morning, and really do this right — you know, the three piles (one to keep, one to donate, one to trash) and get rid of anything that you don’t wear anymore (or don’t WANT to wear anymore).

2. Look around, figure out what’s in style and what look you want to go for.

If you feel that your look is really out of date, take some time to peruse relatable fashion blogs — go through the What I Wore Wednesday blog carnival posts at The Pleated Poppy and see what other women your age are wearing. Start to get an eye for what’s current and think about what looks you like, which ones you think you could pull off. It helps to know your personal style, but if you’re unsure, now’s the time to develop one!

3. Go shopping for a few new, stylish wardrobe essentials.

How to Find the Perfect Jeans

Don’t confuse stylish with trendy. Your goal here is to update your look so that it is current while keeping it age appropriate. Don’t feel the pressure to adopt every new trend, but there are a few wardrobe items that will help update your overall wardrobe. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Jeans. I have written several posts on finding the right pair of jeans. If you’re wearing “mom jeans” — go shopping! This is the single fastest and easiest way to update your style. Get a pair of jeans that is in style and makes you feel good about yourself.
  2. Shoes. I recommend having a pair of nude (skin-tone) wedge sandals or pumps, depending on your lifestyle. If you work in an office, go for pumps. If you’re lifestyle is more casual like mine, wedge sandals or espadrilles will go with so many outfits and instantly update your look. Then you should have a pair of casual flats — loafers or ballet flats, whatever suits your style. A metallic will actually be more versatile than black or brown. For the winter, you’ll want a pair of boots. Again, choose a pair that are versatile and will go with many outfits. If you’re blond, go for brown or tan boots. If you’re a brunette, dark brown or black will be most versatile for you.
  3. Fitted jacket. Again, depending on your lifestyle, this could be a blazer for work or a khaki jacket to go with your jeans. But get something that fits well and gives you some structure.
  4. Handbag. (You knew I’d include that, right??) Go for a color (yellows, greens and blues go with most everything), and make sure it’s large enough to hold everything you need. A beat-up handbag that is bursting at the seams never makes a good fashion statement.
  5. Dress. Buy one dress that makes you feel fabulous. Knee-length is most flattering. You can wear it with your new wedge pumps and fitted jacket for a whole new look!

4. Develop a uniform. 

Fashion Over 40

If you’re truly fashion challenged (or just don’t have the time or the energy for thinking about putting new outfits together every day) then it is perfectly acceptable to develop a “uniform” of sorts that works for you. This is pretty much what I’ve done — you’ve seen it! Skinny jeans, cute top (probably a sweater or a tank with a sweater over it — I don’t do button-downs) and ballet flats or boots. In the summer, it’s similar — jean shorts, cute tee, cute sandals. Funny that I use the term “cute” to describe my wardrobe items when I have never thought of myself as cute at all. Whatever works for you, your style and your life, figure out a look that works and then just wear variations on that look. This makes it easier to mix and match too.

5. Re-evaluate your hairstyle.

Have you had the same style for 5-10 years? It might be time for a change. Once again, I recommend looking at blogs of women you think look good for their age, and think about what might work for you. Peruse some hairstyle magazines, talk to your hair dresser or a trusted friend. Then go for a new look. This will be HUGE for updating your style!

6. Re-evaluate your makeup.

What's In Your Makeup Bag?

Another obvious one, but it’s amazing how many women are still applying their makeup the same way they did 15 years ago. Go to Sephora or a department store makeup counter and have someone give you a new look — or, if nothing else, ask them to show you how to apply your eye makeup. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but making sure your makeup is current will go a long way towards updating your look.

There is so much more I could say on this topic, but I’m trying to keep it concise. Did you catch that? Me, concise. HA!

What do you think? Is this helpful at all? What would you add to my lists?

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