The concept that everyone has a ‘personal style’ is well-known, and it’s one that most fans of fashion will be familiar with. While most of us like to follow the latest trends and experiment with new fashion ideas, we all have a few defaults, favourites, that we like to come back to time and again – similar looks and styles that we always feel confident when wearing.
However, while personal style itself is well-understood, what is less often discussed is the fact that personal style can evolve.
What happens when your personal style evolves?
Let’s say that five years ago, your personal style tended towards the retro. Sure, you liked experimenting with more modern fits and outfits, but you always found yourself drawn to 50s and 60s styles above all else. You’d never met a print you didn’t love, midi and circle skirts were your uniform, and your hair and jewellery was always styled with a retro touch in mind.
Retro was your personal style and you loved it, built a wardrobe around it, and perhaps even became known for it amongst your friends and family.
Fast forward five years, however, and you suddenly find that the retro pieces you once so adored… don’t quite seem to be hitting the mark anymore. The outfits you once would have delighted in now feel a little odd to wear, and you’ve found yourself browsing Pinterest or Instagram and feeling drawn to simpler styles.
You still love the idea of retro outfits and still find the entire style appealing, but you don’t really want to actually wear them anymore.
The above is a classic example of a personal style evolution: when a person has a personal style that they love, but over time, it changes.
Why does personal style tend to change over time?
Simply put, because we as humans tend to change over time. Our lives are different; our priorities are different; and what we find appealing adjusts accordingly. Furthermore, it’s also common for people to care less about what others think as they get older.
Where they once wanted nothing more than to blend in, they now want to stand out – they’re drawn to brighter hair colours, more vintage style pieces, or a helix piercing or two – style choices they would have once shied away from, but now find exciting and interesting. In contrast, others may find that they take the opposite path, wanting to tone down a previously-outlandish style in favour of a more classic appearance.
Whatever the change, personal style evolutions are completely natural, and very few people will have a consistent personal style throughout their life. However, that’s not to say such a change is easy to handle.
Why can a personal style evolution be so problematic?
First and foremost, there’s a cost issue. Returning to our earlier example, if you have previously invested in a retro-inspired wardrobe, and now you don’t feel you want to wear retro-inspired clothes, then you’re stuck. You have a wardrobe full of clothes that you don’t really want to wear, and replacing your entire wardrobe can be extremely costly.
Secondly, your personal style evolving can be something of a surprise. Where you once felt you knew what you liked and always would, you’re now finding yourself drawn to alternative options – and it can take awhile to ‘catch up’ to such a significant change.
How can these issues be addressed?
If you have found that your personal style has evolved beyond your existing wardrobe, then the conventional suggestion would be to opt for a complete clearout of your wardrobe and a full makeover. However, this idea can be a little too dramatic – and not to mention expensive – for many people, so a simpler approach is usually preferred.
It’s best to start with a wardrobe clearout, focusing on removing items that you simply can’t envisage wanting to wear again. It’s at this point that you may find the Marie Kondo method – which has become so popular over recent years – fails you.
A garment may still very much “spark joy”; you could love the feel of the fabric, the colour, the overall style, which according to convention means you should keep it. However, if you truly can’t see you wearing it again, then it’s time to say goodbye.
Items that you could imagine wearing again should be kept, even if they have not been worn for some time or don’t quite suit your new style preferences. Focus at this point on wearability first and foremost.
With your closet a little lighter, start cultivating a capsule wardrobe that suits your new style preferences. Choosing a capsule approach – where you look to create multiple outfits from just a few garments – is a great way to experiment with your newfound style preferences, but without the need to replace your entire wardrobe just yet.
What’s more, you can also experiment in how you might blend your new pieces with items from the items that survived your wardrobe clearout; you may find that the blend of styles feels natural, and allows you to get the most of your existing garments.
When you have worked through your wardrobe, you can then begin updating your jewellery and accessories to align with your new style. Ideally, you should follow the same process as above: completely get rid of items you can’t ever imagine wearing, keep those you might wear, and then add new items as you go.
What about personal appearance changes?
If your personal style evolution encompasses your hair or body modifications, it’s usually best to make a significant change in these areas when you are comfortable with your wardrobe.
As these changes tend to be more long-lasting – you can’t simply change out of a new haircut, for example – then it’s sensible to ensure you feel happy in your new clothes and then look to explore more lasting changes after a couple of weeks.
When your personal style evolves, it can take awhile to adapt, but hopefully the advice above should help to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.