During these two years of wardrobe editing, I realized there were several "layers" of style. There is your global style (or styles), that inspires you, that you can define by its caracteristics and recurring elements. Then, there are the details. Personal, subtle, details that make the difference between a purchase mistake and an all time favourite.
I started figuring these details out quite recently myself actually, maybe one year ago at most. As I am not a big fashion lover, I didn't pay much attention at first. That is, until I decided to figure out the reason of my purchase mistakes to avoid them in the future.
I covered most circumstantial reasons in the dedicated post, but sometimes, I buy something that fits the list, ticks all my boxes, and was carefully planned. But after a few months of (not) wearing it I realize this wasn't the right one. Why? That's where the Details come in play.
I think it's a sort of "step 2" of style searching. Once the big picture is clear, it is time to focus on the little things: colour shades, sleeve length, feel of the fabric...
- What do these details change?
In my case, it changed a fundamental element of my outfits: I now feel comfortable wearing my clothes. Not only are they actually more comfortable to wear, but I feel better in them, less self conscious, more myself, more at ease. "Bien dans mes baskets" as we say in French.
To be honest, I don't know which one is the cause and which is the consequence between my style changes and my feeling better in my life in general. But I know figuring out these details helped me find clothes that feel right. And I know that my latest purchase mistakes were outfits that did not meet these tiny details in cut, fit or colour.
- How to figure your details out?
There are many personal ways to figure out your own style details, your signatures. I have found one method that I apply quite often when I am about to buy something new.
You know what your favourites are, don't you? These clothes that you reach to when you have no time to dress in the morning, when you feel slightly depressed and want to feel good in your clothes today. These clothes that are the first in the laundry basket, and the first ones to be worn when all is clean and ironed. The clothes you wear when you meet someone important, the ones you pack when you travel.
Once you've gathered your favourites, there are two ways to go about it: by garment type or by outfit.
By garment type: you take your favourite, say, tops, and you try them on one by one. Then you try on the other tops, that you like but are not favourites. Do you notice any differences, even tiny? Are they more draped, or fit to the body? Are the colours brighter? Are they slightly longer, or shorter? Is the fabric slightly different?
By outfit: you wear your favourite outfits, combinations of your favourite clothes, and then you wear another outfit, that you like but is not a favourite. And you do the same: do you notice any similarity between two favourites? Any tiny differences with the regular outfits?
Finally, when you have pointed out a few details, you try your theory out. Go try some new clothes in your favourite store that have these details: do you like them? Do they feel right?
- To summarize...
Here are the steps of this method I used to find out some of my details:
- Gather your all-time favourite garments
- Try them on, separately or via favourite outfits
- Then try on regular garments/outfits, and point out tiny recurring differences
- Go to a store and try new garments matching these differences you've noticed
- If these new garments feel great to wear, you've nailed a detail!
It might sound a bit abstract, sorry about that, after all I'm no stylist or relooking professional. I'm just trying to share what I found out in my own style searching process. If it can help making things more concrete, here is a short list of some details of mine:
- Tops should be slightly draped, but not loose
- The perfect top length is about mid-hip, to be able to tuck them in, but to also avoid hiding my butt completely
- Avoid loose top with loose pants/shorts - the rule is: if one is draped, the other needs to be fitted.
- Cold colours should be paired with a warm colour
- Bags should be satchel-shaped, that can be worn on the shoulder, across body (more on bags in another post)
My objective now is not to replace all my clothes with favourites, but to make sure that my future purchases are all favourites. I hope this helps! Don't hesitate to leave a comment if I'm being confusing on unclear... Did you notice any details that make a difference in your outfits?