How to Find Your Personal Style and Stop Wasting Money on Clothes You’ll Never Wear

You’ve been through the hell of having a wardrobe full of clothes with nothing to wear. You’ve donated and thrown out probably thousands of dollars worth of hardly worn clothes and you’re over making the same mistakes. It’s time to perfect your wardrobe so you can love every item, to make getting dressed each day simple! I feel you. I have been there and I’m well on my way to the perfect wardrobe. So in this article, I will share with you my formula to know whether or not you should buy an item.

A closet full of clothes but you still have nothing to wear
Messy, overcrowded closet

Your Style Will Evolve and So Will Your Closet

Firstly, be kind to yourself and understand that as you change throughout the seasons of life, so will your wardrobe preferences and requirements and that is normal and nothing to feel guilty about. Whether its changing job industry or moving house from the city to the seaside, gaining or losing weight, or just general emotional maturing that’s changing your preferences, you will change your wardrobe as you go through life and that’s not a failure by any means.

Your Clothing Categories

In this article I share with you how I create my Wishlist items for my wardrobe and following that, the criteria the item must pass before a piece get’s added to my closet. This is going to be for leisure clothing only – not workwear – so let’s get started.

How your Lifestyle Should Influence Your Fashion Choices

There are so many fashion influencers to follow between Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest and all the blogs, but it’s important to remember that they often romanticise a life that doesn’t exist. Or maybe they live somewhere where the style of dress is practical for them but not for you.

Write a short paragraph describing your lifestyle. Be honest. It’s important to write down the lifestyle you have, not the lifestyle you aspire towards. For example: I’m a 34 year old mother living in Australia. It’s usually hot and winters are short and mild. I play with my son and take him out a lot. I take every opportunity to get dressed up and I love having lunch with my husband or girlfriends at a nice restaurant. It doesn’t happen very often though, every few months.

Nikki, a brunette woman, is drinking a glass of wine in a restaurant dressed in a stylish white button-down shirt. Her hair is neatly tied back and she has a bright yellow Italian leather handbag on the table
I love getting out of my “mum clothes” and enjoying a nice lunch at a restaurant

Now take some key aspects from this to guide you to the type of items you need in your wardrobe. Mine would be predominantly warmer weather clothes and my winter clothes would be few and most likely timeless styles because they aren’t getting that much use. When I used to live in England, I loved having a huge variety of coats because people would always see your outerwear more than the outfit underneath the coat. So you can see how the lifestyle changes the priority. Just continue through your paragraph noting what is non negotiable in your lifestyle, such as the climate. You need clothes that are comfortable, functional and stylish.

I used to live in London, UK and now I live in Sydney, Australia. My lifestyle has completely changed and therefor, so have my wardrobe requirements.

Creating a Wardrobe Wishlist

Now that you know your basic needs in terms or your wardrobe, it’s time to determine how to fulfil those needs. So that you don’t just go out and spend all your money on fantasy items that won’t serve you, make a Wishlist of what your closet needs. This is how I recommend you create your wardrobe Wishlist.

I’m not going to give you a list of items you need in this article because everyone has their own style and tastes. What I’ll instead ask you to do, is go through photos of yourself and see what photos you look good in. Or if you can remember the day it was taken, whether you felt good or not. Notice what clothes you’re wearing in these photos. Then take a look at the clothes in your closet and (don’t worry, I’m not asking you to clear it out today) go through each item one by one and decide if you absolutely love it, wear it often and can’t imagine getting rid of it right now. If you find any pieces like that, move them to one section of your closet. Keep everything else in a seperate section.

Going through your loved items, try to determine if there happens to be a colour scheme that’s coincidentally taken place or a certain silhouette or aesthetic. Have you realised you are drawn to very feminine clothes or perhaps oversized, or minimalistic? If you discover you do have one or two aesthetics, try to contain your Wishlist to include items of those styles.

elegant casual everyday look for autumn or spring with a Burberry taffeta trench coat
Nikki wearing a typical outfit of white button down shirt, jeans, white trainers and a Burberry trench coat. accessorised with black sunglasses and a neat hairstyle.

Don’t keep clothes that don’t fit you anymore. If you come across a piece of clothing that you love and once loved wearing but now it’s the wrong size, make a note of what it is and add it to your Wishlist or treat yourself to an updated version of it right away if you’re sure (but check my buying below criteria first).

The next step is to find where the holes in your closet are. See if you can wear your clothes differently to how you have in the past. Try to make them more versatile. Maybe you’ve never considered a particular skirt with a particular top before. Maybe in the pile of clothes you love you realise you’re missing a jacket, for example, and have to use a jacket from the other part of your wardrobe. Over the next few weeks, try to notice how often you have to use clothes from your unloved pile. For what purpose are you using these clothes and what do you wish you had instead? For example, using a jacket you don’t love. What kind of jacket would be more suitable for you? A blazer, a moto jacket, a puffer coat? Add it to the Wishlist. Keep building your wishlist for the next couple of months and don’t buy anything new while you’re building it. Then, once you’re certain about your wishlist items, you can buy it if you ever happen to stumble across the perfect item. But, you can only buy it if it fits the purchasing criteria coming up in the next section.

The Checklist

Now you have found the holes in your wardrobe and created your Wishlist (which is likely to keep evolving as you evolve by the way). You’ve finally found an item to fill one of those holes! Before you buy, ask yourself:

  • Does this fit properly? Don’t buy something a size too small as a goal to lose weight. Too big is ok if you can take it in yourself or you will definitely have it taken in my a tailor. Don’t buy it if it’s likely to sit in your closet for years because you’ve not bothered to get it tailored.
  • Is this garment comfortable? If it’s got itchy seams or fabric or keeps riding up or falling down, don’t buy it.
  • Does this outfit make me feel confident? If you feel like the fabric is too thin or the garment is too short, or you’re feeling the need to suck in your stomach, don’t buy it. You might look good but you won’t be making any happy memories in it. All you’ll remember when you look back at photos is how uncomfortable you were that day.
  • Is this outfit true to my style? It looks nice, sure, but is it you? Will it go with other items in your wardrobe that you put in your “love it” section? Can you imagine yourself wearing it time and time again? Did you love it instantly? Yes? Buy it!
  • Is this piece versatile? Can you see yourself wearing this in multiple ways for many occasions? Can it cross over from work to casual to dressy? Versatility gets bonus points!
  • Is this quality clothing? I’m all for investing in pieces that will last you a long time. You’d be surprised how many stores slap a big price tag on an item made from a cheap polyester or how you can find a 100% cotton dress in H&M. Always check the garment information, and look for straight seams, no loose threads, etc.
  • Is it easy to care for? Check the care instructions. Is it dry-clean only? Hand wash only? Be sure you are the type of person who can look after this garment. If being hand wash only means you’re literally never going to wear it after it gets dirty the first time then it’s not for you.
Nikki in the best closet staples for autumn. Featuring a Gucci Dionysus Wallet on Chain and Sarah Flint Natalie Flats with mom jeans
These St MRLO jeans, Gucci WOC and Sarah Flint flats are on high rotation in my wardrobe

Happy Shopping

That’s it! Just by following this method, I believe you’ll end up with a wardrobe you love. Create a Wishlist to avoid impulse purchases and just 7 little points to consider before you buy something new. The best part is, usually, you find the perfect item from your Wishlist without necessarily looking for it. Just the other day I found the perfect little black dress when I was just browsing the shops looking for nothing in particular. A LBD had been on my Wishlist for the longest time! When I found the dress that ticked off all my criteria I purchased it right away completely confident in this purchase and because it was a surprise to have found it, I got the rush of an unexpected splurge but even better, because there was not an ounce of buyers remorse!

I really hope this article helps you! Feel free to save it and come back to it whenever you need that checklist!

Love ya,

Nikki x

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