Some days we’re just lucky to get out the house wearing a clean bra let alone an outfit that is runway level pulled together, effortlessly oozing style but not so much that we look like we tried too hard and authentically reflective of the woman we are today and indeed, forever (aspirational music and angels sing).
Oh and I forgot to mention that if the outfit is worth it’s sartorial salt it should also be comfortable (no itchy scratchy allowed), business appropriate, age appropriate (grrr, don’t even get me started on this one; this is NOT a real requirement) and accommodate ALL the body temperatures that a woman with any level of hormone experiences on any given day.
It’s kind of a big ask (read, ridiculously huge expectation to place on ourselves).
And it often ends badly. True story. A 2016 poll conducted by Marks & Spencer and OXFAM revealed that 62 per cent of women have suffered ‘wardrobe rage’ (technical term) described as ‘an irrational tantrum about not having anything they want to wear’.
While I’m not at all surprised by the high number of women struggling with their wardrobe decisions, I am surprised (or perhaps more accurately, a lot ruffled) by the use of the word irrational.
Irrational means not logical or reasonable. But when you’re faced with the weight of a wardrobe that is dressed up as your friend but is actually defeating you at every turn, the logical and reasonable response is most certainly one of anger, frustration and rage.
And when that experience is on repeat loop most days of the week, it can get pretty toxic in the inner sanctum of your bedroom. Add to that the fact that women spend on average 17 minutes a day deciding what to wear, which equates to 6 months over a working lifetime. Ugh. Enough said. The struggle is real.
But the struggle doesn’t have to be real.
Instead, your every day reality can be struggle-free style.
There are powerful, solution focused practices you can start to put in place that will have you super styling in no time and probably more importantly, getting dressed in under 2 mins without the negative emotion (and yes, that includes the outfit selection bit) (aspirational music and angels sing again).
Whether you’re at full stage rage or somewhere lower on the struggle spectrum, it’s very possible for you to experience (and it truly is an experience) struggle-free style. Here are 5 simple things you can do today to get you started:
- Identify your personal style: what kinds of style, cut, colour, print, pattern, texture, fabric, and/or silhouette are you drawn to repeatedly? Floral, denim, tailoring, stripes, vibrant colour, geometric pattern, silks, pleats, utility, details, no details, unstructured, neutrals, mid-length (breathe) just to name a few.
A common thread will be revealed as you turn your mind to this. And it’s not always evident in the clothes you actually end up buying so look beyond your own wardrobe.
- Identify your body proportions: yes, I know it’s another snooze fest for some and an out-dated mechanism for categorising women’s bodies for others, but like the laundry, it just has to be done (especially if you want that clean bra AND a flattering outfit).
Generally best to ask an expert to measure you up but if that’s not an option, and while I’m LOATHE to write a blog about body shape, if you could do with some ‘how to’ advice, please comment below. And then I’ll think about it. No promises though.
- Map out the CORE pieces YOU need to build a versatile wardrobe: this does NOT simply mean Googling ‘the 8 pieces of clothing every stylish woman should own’. It’s going to take more than that.
While we all need versatile wardrobe staples, each woman’s particular set of staples (core pieces) will be different. Not everyone needs an LBD (little black dress) for example. The last one I bought was in 2002 and I wore it…well, never. I did, however, try it on eleventy thousand times, before quickly dismissing it in a fit of wardrobe rage. See how this works?
Another example? All women will benefit from a few great jackets, but the jacket choice will be different for each woman depending on personal style, body proportions, colouring, and lifestyle. This core piece might be an unstructured, patterned, silk bomber for one woman and a tailored double-breasted blazer for another.
The defining element of a versatile core piece is that it is a wardrobe workhorse and will effortlessly pull all other pieces together into an outfit. This doesn’t mean basic or boring though. In fact, your workhorse might also be a show pony, but that’s for another day.
The critical thing is to identify your core pieces and then build the rest of your wardrobe around them.
- Dress from the bottom up: Treat your bottom half as the lead and your top as the understudy. The bottom piece is foundational – it sets the scene. When selected first it leads you to many and varied outfit options simply by swapping out different tops and shoes. It’s one of the secret sauces to the NV Style System and it is seriously powerful. Start from the top at your peril.
- Hire a personal stylist: I know a good one. And yes, this is a bit cheeky but being the (mostly reformed) perfection-seeking missile that I am I wouldn’t even think about offering my service so directly unless I was utterly certain of the value it offers. Struggle-free style is what I do, it is my craft and I have honed my skills.
So if you’d love a wardrobe that you can rely on, that oozes style and ensures you stand out for all the right reasons but you are time poor or simply not that interested in doing the work (I get it, most of my clients are just like you), let me do the work for you.
If on the other hand, you are inspired to achieve struggle-free style by yourself, I wish you every style success, and I do hope the above strategies are useful.
Until next time,