Growing up in mid-Ohio, there wasn’t exactly a huge fashion scene burgeoning around me. With the nearest big city 50 minutes south of my hometown, even if I was aware of what was fashionable, there was no accessible way to recreate these looks – that is until I found thrifting.
Shopping at thrift stores changed the game for me. It allowed me to have my own voice in my personal style. The more I found one-of-a-kind pieces at my local thrift shop, the less I cared about what was considered fashionable and focused on what made me feel great.
After nine years of thrifting, I still hold fast to this philosophy, but I will admit – it can be hard not to fall into temptation. I now live far from my Ohio roots in New York City, where I’m constantly exposed to fast fashion styles that bloggers, models, and others look amazing in. You start to think, “Maybe if I bought that YSL purse I would become It, too.” If I’ve learned anything though through my personal style journey, it’s to hold steadfast to who YOU are – not who someone else makes you feel you need to be. Here’s how I keep my style centered in a city that never stops changing:
1. Start with good basics. It’s a lot more difficult to define your personal style when you have pieces that are great as stand outs, but don’t really go with anything else. Go back to the basics: a black turtleneck sweater, flattering mid-wash denim, a go-with-everything tan trench coat. Once you have classic pieces to ground your wardrobe, it’s much easier to expand with more one-of-a-kind pieces that make your style special.
2. Invest in quality. I’m a millennial, so I’m definitely still splurging on that avocado toast and don’t have a lot of extra $$$ to throw around on cashmere cardigans and real leather loafers. Hbu? Lucky for us, baby boomers love to donate these kinds of items to the thrift store to snag for a cool $2.99. Better quality = longer use = more wear = better for you + the earth. Win win. For jewelry, I like to invest in local businesses and makers in the community that are actually controlling the process & quality of how these items are made. Often times they will use nicer metals and sustainably sourced elements that make each piece special + ethical.
1. Outfit plan: no, seriously. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who still sets 5 alarms every morning for work and snoozes every.single.one. Which leaves me approx. 15 minutes then do everything. My best outfits were never put together during a time crunch like this, and I’m sure yours weren’t either. Set yourself (and your look) up for success. I have outfit planning sessions where I’ll try on and plan my outfits in front of my mirror for the week ahead. It helps me get creative, and it allows me one extra snooze in the morning (don’t judge).
2. Keep an inspiration rack. Closets can sometimes become a black hole of forgotten itchy sweaters and I-was-going-to-hem-that skirts. Things get messy, you forget what you have, and most of all – it’s uninspiring. Create a curated rack of clothes, shoes, and accessories you’re absolutely head-over-heels in love with right now. You’ll definitely start to notice patterns in what you’re loving for that certain season, and it will get you excited to get dressed.
WHEN FINISHING THE LOOK:
1. Add a hat. I don’t want to hear any, “But I don’t look good in hats!” Shh. Everyone looks good in hats – you just haven’t found the right style for you yet! Almost no outfit of mine feels complete without a hat. They’re such a unique, untapped accessory many people don’t even consider to add because they have pre-conceived notions on how they may look. Some of my favorite styles: beret, wide-brim, messenger, and boater. Give ‘em a whirl.
2. Choose wisely. Jewelry is such a personal piece of you. It can represent so much – who knew a piece of metal could hold so many moments? Choose the jewelry you wear wisely and select pieces that you have a personal connection with. I personal love rings because my mom had a collection growing up that I would try on. I wear one of hers from the 80s every day because it reminds me of her.
These are just six of my favorite ways to stay true to my personal style from start to finish! Whether you live in a small town or big city, what are the things that help you center your style?