I'm coming into the new year with a fresh mindset and closet to match. Last year, I challenged myself to focus on transformation. I said goodbye to my old ways, and promised to level up while remaining intentional in all areas of life. Growing up in a filipino household I was always taught to save everything in case it will "come in handy one day". Those days rarely come along lol. After moving several times during college, my belongings had a good purge every now and then... but my wardrobe was a whole different monster. A stuffed closet with a bunch of random pieces I couldn't style together. Every time I needed something to wear for a special occasion, I went shopping and added to the crowded wardrobe which only added to the problem of clothes hoarding and spending unneccessary money in the process.
I knew something had to change, so I gravitated toward minimalism. I can tell you now, my minimal was not so minimal. Though I learned a lot diving into the world of Minimalism, I found that the KonMari Method philosophy was a better fit for me. I needed to simplify my belongings down to the essentials, assuring everything I had sparked joy.
My first big step: to curate a more versatile closet that was full of clothes that I loved, not what the current trend was. In reality, style is based on personal taste and learned that along the way. Personal style is as unique as a person’s fingerprint. Sure, someone can have a very similar taste, but yours… that can’t be duplicated.
This closet transformation didn't happen overnight either... in fact, it took all year. I was also approaching a point in life where I outgrew what was in my wardrobe and it wasn't a reflection of who I was becoming. How I accomplished this is a modge podge of several important resources (all linked at the bottom of the post). My post is a short summary of those inspirational reads and the action steps I learned from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and The Curated Closet. Here's how I took the leap.
steps that helped me define my personal style and rebuild my wardrobe
STEP ONE: Start with a Pinterest Board
Once you've created a board filled with your favorite styles, look for repetition on the board. What are you constantly gravitating towards? Look for similarities in silhouettes, fabrics, textures and color palettes. Whatever it may be, take note.
For me, I quickly noticed I loved dressed up denim, leather jackets, oversized sunglasses usually paired with heels or boots. I also love statement outerwear and unique open back or flowy tops. My color palette is very neutral featuring black, grey, white and beige and a few pops of colors like olive green, burgandy and vary rarely, a few other jewel tones.
STEP TWO: GIVE IT A NAME. DEFINE YOUR STYLE PROFILE. 🖤
One of the most helpful resources I read during this transitional time was The Curated Closet. It's a must-read guide that will walk you through defining your style and building your dream wardrobe! An important step from this book was to actually define your personal style profile. I wrote mine in my bullet journal per usual, but excuse my messy notes.
You don't need to fit inside a box and fall under a popular category like "bohemian chic" or "modern classic". Make it unique to you. I went through a few rounds of names, and several layers of white out after the above picture. It became "city sleek + chic" sometimes maybe even "minimally edgy", a reflection of my dressed up casual looks that are perfect for exploring the city, brunch or happy hour. 🖤
STEP THREE: THE CLOSET PURGE
The key during this step is to stay true to the style profile you have just defined. Remember those silhouettes, patterns, textures and colors we talked about earlier? Stick to those. This purge will cleanse you from the past and allow you to move forward into what you want your new wardrobe to become.
This part took me a full day. I put all my clothes in one giant pile then one-by-one categorized each piece in three piles: love it, like it, or toss it. The rules: keep what I love, find homes for what I liked but didn't need and simply donate what I haven't worn or was planning to wear anymore.
At first, this was hard...but then I realized much of what I was holding onto was less of the item itself and more of the memories and feelings that each piece reminded me of. I knew I'd always have those memories with me, so I thanked each piece I donated and let it go. I found it difficult to separate myself from festival style pieces and greek letters that were with me during some major life milestones, but I had to be realistic about how much stuff I could have and where I was headed in life. Don't worry, any extra special pieces found new homes. ☺️
STEP FOUR: Time to build the dream wardrobe! TAKE YOUR TIME AND BE SELECTIVE
Now that you've overcome the difficult part of getting rid of clothes you no longer need, we break the cycle and change those compulsive shopping habits moving forward. To make sure I didn't fill my closet back up, a good rule of thumb I try to follow is for every one piece I bring home, I donate three. That way, as I'm bringing new stuff in, I'm still minimalizing as I move forward.
I also now try to shop with a new mindset: quality over quantity. I no longer settle when it comes to buying clothes that may rip easily, or don't fit right, even if the sale is good. If you walk away from it and are still thinking about it 3 days later, go back for it. Otherwise, let it go, Be picky, it's not bougie, it's intentional. Build a strong artillery of clothes that you love and fit you like a glove. Take your time rebuilding, like I said... it took me all year and the journey still continues. Best of luck!
Now, it's your turn! How would you define your personal style? Let me know in the comments below!
More Favorite Resources for Personal Style Development
Blog: Define Your Personal Style By Anuschka Rees
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up By Marie Kondo