How to Figure Out (& Fix) Your Fashion Blind Spots
You know when you walk into a store and instantly gravitate toward one area of the store (holla, sales rack), a specific color or 27 very similar oversize sweaters? Or when you open your closet and realize it eerily resembles that of Wednesday Addams and you’ve “color-coordinated” by shades of black? We all have fashion blind spots. These are categories we’ve pigeonholed ourselves into, bad fashion habits we’ve fallen into over time or less-than-flattering looks we may have gotten used to wearing, overlooking the ones that might be a better fit for our current lifestyle and aesthetic.
Below, we’ve broken down five common fashion blind spots most of us are guilty of every once in awhile and I’ve seen countless times while styling clients and friends. These obstacles hinder our inner fashion goddesses, and we’re here to shed some serious sunshine on these blind spots and give you a few pointers to overcome them once and for all.
You own five versions of the same item
Just last week, I was attempting to organize my overflowing closet and counted eight denim jackets and six denim button-ups. The '80s called and wanted all their denim back, but I internally argued with myself that I needed them because they were all so different. Sure, the buttons, washes and silhouettes varied, but who do I think I am to take up my tiny New York City closet real estate with enough denim to partake in the Britney-Justin 2001 red carpet appearance?
I came to terms with the fact that I have a problem, laid the pieces out on my bed and voted off the weakest denim links. Realistically, I only wear one or two denim jackets and one top, so I needed to eliminate the space-fillers that were in my closet “just in case.” No one needs that many denim tops, or any similar pieces, that much. You can replace the piece once it’s worn out or update it every year if it’s a key staple in your closet. Minimizing your closet to only hold the pieces you really wear will help you feel more creative and resourceful and allow you to put the pieces in your closet to good use.
"The '80s called and wanted all their denim back."
You don’t think you can pull it off
Are you guilty of saying to friends, “You look good in it, but I could never pull it off”? It’s something I hear from every styling client I’ve ever encountered or when someone sees something outside their fashion comfort zone. Sure, clothes look way different on a runway model than they do an average woman, and you might think the girl on the subway wearing the colorful faux-fur coat and platform shoes has all the confidence in the world, but I can guarantee she probably gave herself a pep talk in the mirror before heading out that morning.
Everyone looks different, and that’s the beauty of clothing — you can truly make it yours. Follow bloggers who look similar to you or have a look you admire (curves, no curves, height, location, personal style) and notice how they style items. Take notes from the well-dressed people you see throughout your day and use social media as a platform to curate inspiration that fits your body and personal style. I know there are some trends or styles that really don’t physically work with my curves or 5-foot, 3-inch frame, but that’s OK because I work around it and find inspiration from people with similar body types.
Don’t rule out a style, item of clothing, color or silhouette because you don’t think you can pull it off. The more you start trying to break outside your comfort zone, the sooner the confidence and inspiration will come to you. Try to take at least one thing out of your comfort zone to the dressing room with you — it’s your safe space, and there’s no obligation to buy it or tell anyone you tried it on.
"Everyone looks different, and that’s the beauty of clothing — you can truly make it yours."
You have clothing attachment issues
Have you ever kept an unworn article of clothing in your closet for way longer than necessary just because you felt guilty getting rid of it? Or that “just in case” event when you really might need a tutu, bridesmaid dress or neon crop top? I can tell you from experience those “just in case” occasions rarely happen, or if they do, you’ll probably be so sick of seeing those pieces in your closet you’ll just want to wear something new, anyway.
Never feel guilty for breaking up with clothes, because it means you can sell them or donate them to someone who needs or wants them more than you — and, of course, once you’ve made some space (and possibly gotten some cash back), you can buy new items that are more flattering or up-to-date or that you’re simply more excited about. If you still feel like you want to keep everything in your closet (despite it having holes, stains or not fitting) it is time to declutter your closet.
"Never feel guilty for breaking up with old, unflattering clothes."
You’re missing the wardrobe hero piece
There are about 16 key wardrobe essentials every woman needs in her closet. These items can be paired with anything you own or styled together and can ultimately make up an entire wardrobe. These items include:
- A dressy winter outerwear piece, like a peacoat
- A leather jacket
- A denim jacket
- White, black and striped cotton shirts
- A white button-up
- A silk or dressy blouse
- A black suit
- A neutral pencil skirt
- An A-line casual skirt
- A little black dress
- A summer cotton or linen dress
- Dark-wash denim jeans
- Black denim jeans
- A pair of denim or neutral fabric shorts
None of these wardrobe essential items are trend pieces with embellishments, harsh colors or things you’ll possibly get sick of in one season. You can spend more on these items since they’re investments that are likely to last several years, won’t go out of style and a majority of them can be worn during any season.
"Try on everything that catches your eye, even if it looks weird on the hanger — it’s always better on."
You’re an overwhelmed shopper
Do you ever walk into a store and feel completely overwhelmed by the number of options, stay to one area or shop strictly off mannequins? Don’t worry — shopping can be stressful, and we have a few easy tricks to try while shopping so you feel less anxious and don’t miss any potential great finds.
- Do a once-over in the store. Look at the mannequins and the main pieces that jump out at you, and take it all in without picking up anything.
- Start in drive-by zones. Go to the areas where you don’t think you’ll spend much time, but can get through their racks faster, and don’t miss anything potentially placed in there. This might be outerwear, accessories, basics, etc.
- Go back to the standout items you saw, and work your way around that area. You’ll find items nearby that will match that mannequin dress that popped out to you. You’ll find matching outerwear, accessories and various colorways. The stores are meant to be set up so you can find an outfit in one area without feeling like you have to run back and forth between merchandise.
- End with your go-to spot. I normally end at clearance or sale items because sometimes there are hidden gems or something very similar to a full-price item I picked up earlier.
- Try everything on that caught your eye and you picked up. Even if it looks a little weird on the hanger — it’s normally always better on and worth a try.
- If you’re really stuck or need help pairing something together, ask a store associate. They know the merchandise like the back of their hands and can direct you.
- Look up the brand on social media and see how they style pieces. It’s likely you’ll find different looks on J.Crew’s Instagram than on an in-store mannequin as well as any popular trending pieces they’re promoting to consumers.
If you’re an easily overwhelmed shopper, try this theory out during a non-busy time. Don’t go during the weekend post-brunch rush or Friday after work — hit the store when it opens, a couple of hours before closing, on your lunch break or during a weekday. Once you create a non-stressful shopping environment and break it down into categories, you can really conquer the store and find its best hidden gems.
Originally posted on StyleCaster.