Understand your body type.
It’s important to understand your particular body type as you approach dressing your body. All body types are beautiful, and depending on your particular shape, some styles might be more flattering on you than others. Moreover, what’s flattering on other people might not necessarily be quite as flattering on you. Ask yourself what your body’s best assets are. If you naturally have a slender waist, giving you an hourglass figure, then belted blazers and crop tops will look especially great on you. If you naturally have slender arms and wider hips, giving you more of a pear shape, then “fit and flare” dresses might be just for you. If you have a broader chest and narrower hips, meanwhile, then you might draw attention to your legs with wide leg pants or bootleg denim. Overall, the most important thing is to decide what you love most about your body and to accentuate that with the way you dress.
Consider your lifestyle.
Considering your lifestyle is a good way to figure out which items in your closet are going to see the most use in the long run. Do you thrive in a business environment, where you are required to dress up five days a week? Chances are your style is going to be defined as more classy and sophisticated. Are you a creative who thrives best in casual environments? Chances are your signature style is more laid-back. Are you a busy mom who does her best to look put together on a daily basis? Maybe your signature style will include no-nonsense dresses and comfortable, yet stylish flats.
Go with what works.
Which clothing items do you find yourself returning to again and again? Try to pick out five items from different categories (tops, dresses, skirts, pants, etc.) that you would wear every day if it were socially acceptable. This should tell you something about which styles you naturally gravitate towards. Ask yourself questions about the particular style of each item, such as:
Is it crisp and tailored, or soft and relaxed?
What is the fit like? Is it fitted or more flowy?
What fabric is it made of?
Is it solid or patterned?
What color is it? Does the color complement you especially well?
What parts of your body does it accentuate?
What image does this piece project? Professional? Casual? Edgy?
Be careful not to fall into a rut.
Now that you’ve taken an inventory of what styles of clothing you naturally gravitate towards, it’s important to avoid buying too many of the same thing for your closet. Sure, maybe you love the look of black denim, but you don’t necessarily need three pairs of black skinny jeans. Use your favorite styles as a starting point, and then look for pieces that complement these styles.
Get rid of what isn’t working.
In addition to looking at what is working in your wardrobe, it’s a good idea to figure out what isn’t working. Remove any clothing pieces from your closet that you regret buying, that you’ve yet to wear, or that you have been saving for some fictional occasion will likely never come. Once you’ve done this, your closet should much more strongly reflect your personal style. In addition, ask yourself the same questions here that you did when taking an inventory of your favorite wardrobe pieces. This will help you avoid buying similar things in the future, which will only draw away from your personal style.
Go by the 60-40 rule.
While not a fashion requirement, of course, the 60-40 rule for building your wardrobe is a good rule of thumb when shopping for staple wardrobe items versus trendy wardrobe items. According to the rule, 60 percent of your wardrobe should be made up of staples—things like classic denim, a chambray shirt, a plain white tee, a smart white shirt, and a little black dress. The other 40 percent you should reserve for those more trendy items that complement your style, but will likely have a shorter lifespan in your closet. Trendy items in your closet might include printed trousers, a two-piece dress, a unique blouse, or chunky jewelry. In short, think of building your signature wardrobe as stocking up on staple pieces and then accenting with trendy items that complement your style.