It cannot be denied that fashion is having a transformation. Fuelled by the global pandemic, both fashion brands and consumers are re-evaluating their priorities. After Gucci moved away from the seasonal approach to fashion, the concept of trends is increasingly being called into question: do we really need trends to guide us as we get dressed?
Fashion’s throwaway approach has been criticised for years prior to the pandemic. The waste it generates continues to shock – the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is burned or sent to landfill every second, as a result of our “want it, buy it, then get rid of it” attitude to clothing. Aware of the fact that new designs will be available in stores as soon as the following week, consumers shop for occasions or season, getting rid of clothes as soon as that season has passed knowing something new will come along to take their place.
The result is not only an incredible strain on our planet, but a rather anxious, insecure sense about one’s own style. Every so-called “new season” (translated: every few weeks) magazine headlines scream about all the “must-have new styles” to “add to your wardrobe” without any thought to all the items we added last season, and where they will end up as more “must-haves” get added to our already overflowing wardrobes. This leads to a sense of never being quite right unless wearing the latest season’s trends.
Finding your personal style is an antidote to this – knowing who you are, what you like and what you feel good in eliminates the need to run after seasonal “musts” (which, let’s face it, are not musts at all), limits impulse purchases and helps you separate the things you will actually wear from those you may get rid of in a few months. It streamlines your shopping process, makes choosing clothes easier, and guarantees that you feel great about what you are wearing every day. If all of that was not enough, it also helps limit your impact on the planet by ensuring that your textile-waste footprint remains low. By only buying what you love and will wear for years, you break the cycle of constantly throwing away clothing and adding to the growing pile of textiles that end up in landfill.
“Knowing your style is going to save you time and money,” says stylist Rebekah Roy, director of vegan fashion website, event and store Bare Fashion. “You’ll know which shops align with your style and you can create a wardrobe that you truly love, so that you can get the most wears out of it.”
Analyse your wardrobe
Go through your clothing and see what you actually use, and what you haven’t worn in ages. If you gravitate towards certain types of clothing, make a note of that. And conversely, if there are items that you haven’t worn in a year then perhaps you are not very likely to wear them this year either.
This is the fun part. Scour Pinterest or Instagram for outfits you love and people whose style you admire, then analyse your digital moodboards. What silhouettes stand out? Any colours that you prefer? If there is a specific aesthetic that dominates, keep that in mind when shopping.
Notice recurring favourites
“Personal style doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be fun,” says Roy. “One of the simplest ways to understand your own style is to know your ‘style personality’: think about the movies you like, magazines, images or people that you’re drawn to on social media. You’ll start to see a pattern that connects all of them. This enables you to start discovering your own style personality.”
Learn what doesn’t work
This is as important as learning what you love. Make a list of styles, colours, aesthetics and elements that are not your style, in order to make it easier to avoid them. But remember that leaving your fashion comfort zone can sometimes be invigorating and refreshing for your style.
“Understanding your style personality will change how you shop and look at fashion,” adds Roy. “It’s not about following the latest trends or owning a wardrobe full of designer labels. It’s about understanding who you are and wearing clothes to express yourself.”
Don’t be afraid to really go for what you like
Challenge conformity – you don’t have to wear what everyone else is wearing. “If you like bright colourful dramatic outfits, then be bold with your choices,” encourages Roy. “Bold choice doesn’t mean a ‘costume’ – it could be a red suit!” Once you find the colours and silhouettes you like, wearing them will feel like home, regardless of what everyone around you wears.
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Cover image by Anastasia Shuraeva.