4 Tips for Reinventing Your Personal Style as You Get Older, Stylists Say
With the right strategy, you can achieve your best wardrobe yet.
Personal style is a fickle thing. One day, you feel like you've nailed it: Every piece in your wardrobe feels true to you, and you're totally comfortable in your own skin. Next, you have nothing to wear and are constantly distracted by others who seem to have things so much more together. It happens to everyone—but you needn't sit in those uninspired periods for long. With the right strategy, it's possible to spruce up your wardrobe. Here, we asked stylists for their best tips on reinventing your personal style as you get older. Read on for their step-by-step method for assessing your current wardrobe and deciding where to take it next.
Assess the way your personality has changed.
Your personal style is derived from your personality—so as you reinvent your wardrobe, you should also consider the ways you've changed as a person.
"If you've softened your personality over time, let your wardrobe reflect that with soft-to-the-touch materials and colors that flatter your appearance that are also softer," suggests stylist and image consultant Joseph Rosenfeld. "Or, if you've become emboldened over time, shift your personal style to project the confidence you feel by increasing the contrast in colors in your ensembles, embrace wearing jewel-toned colors, and wear clothing styles that look as sturdy as your persona."
Doing this will help you feel more like yourself and allow the people around you to see your true colors. It doesn't require tossing your current wardrobe and starting fresh, either. Even the way you style things—by making your outfits monochrome or maximalist, breezy or structured—provides a ton of impact.
If you haven't thought about the ways your personality has shifted recently, grab a pen and paper and write down five adjectives you aspire to be and five you think others would use to describe you now. That should give you a good idea of where to start.
Find themes in your favorite items.
Once you've done that self-evaluation, it's time to audit your existing wardrobe.
"Try things on and see how well they fit your body and flatter your personality," says Rosenfeld. Separate the items you love and see what they have in common. "That could include noting a range of textures or colors, or noticing that you are drawn to certain fabrics or patterns, or that you're drawn toward how certain clothing items fit your body."
You'll likely notice similar themes in your favorite accessories: Which colors, shapes, sizes, and materials do you love most? You can consider those takeaways as you develop your style.
If you're having trouble evaluating your own items, ask a friend to join you for your audit. Or, consider the way strangers react to your pieces.
"Think about the compliments you receive, when you receive them, and what specific things people say," says Rosenfeld. "Write them down so you can look at those compliments on paper. That list, even if it is one item, is where to start."
Consider your current lifestyle.
Your wardrobe shouldn't be aspirational—it needs to be filled with the pieces you actually use during your everyday life.
"I always tell my clients that they need to stay true to themselves," says Melissa Hernandez-Erickson, owner and lead stylist at MH Style Consulting. "Some things I take into consideration are their lifestyle, hobbies, and work title."
If you're retired, you might need more clothes you can wear to feel polished on your morning walk; if you're a C-suite executive, you'll need more business attire.
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Invest in versatile pieces.
Reinventing your personal style may involve purchasing new pieces. And when you do, pay careful attention to their versatility.
"When I find clothes and accessories for my clients, I always look for pieces that can be combined in multiple ways," says Scarlett De Bease, personal wardrobe stylist and image consultant. "Everyone can have fewer clothes and more outfits than they have now if they only buy items that can be worn in multiple combinations."
If you often feel like you have nothing to wear, it could be because you're missing some staples.
"Classics like a jean jacket, a nice pair of jeans, a clean and classy button-down white shirt, a classic pair of sneakers or loafers, nice slacks in tan or black, quality T-shirts, and things that can be versatile in your closet will be key," says personal stylist Kendra Sharpe. "From there, I add in accessories like purses, sunglasses, and layering pieces like sweaters and jackets."
With those basics, you'll be able to mix and match in all the ways that feel true to your new and improved personal style.