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The Process of Discovering Your Personal Style.

discover your romantic style

I used to have the perfect wardrobe. I fondly remember the days when I would simply go into my own closet for an outfit to wear for whatever occasion I was attending at that time in my life. It was so refreshing to know that I had everything I needed, and my wardrobe suited my lifestyle and when I did go shopping it wasn’t out of need, but more for fun and to add pieces to my wardrobe that just updated and refreshed it from season to season. Those days of my beautiful walk-in closet came to an end when I decided to quit my public relations job in New York City, and embark on a cross-country, self-discovery journey. Upon returning home, to a very limited wardrobe and a deeper sense of self, I needed to start from scratch and rebuild my dream wardrobe all over again. I decided to call in the fashion experts: The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, How To Dress For Success by Edith Head and Secrets Of A Fashion Therapist by Betty Halbreich, and made a plan to read these books and document my journey of rebuilding my dream wardrobe and share the process with all of you. To make this process easy to follow, you can easily click on any blog post in the category, Rebuilding My Dream Wardrobe, to travel with me on this new journey.

From Walk-In Closet To Backpacking Across The Country.

Truth be told, I donated a shit ton of my clothes when I left New York City to embark on a self-discovery mission. Now, I’m back on the East Coast with plenty of colorful stories and adventures under my belt, and feeling that although traveling cross country with a backpack taught me so much about having a minimalist lifestyle, it’s time to build my dream wardrobe, again. Living like a yogi has been fun, but I’m ready for another walk-in closet. And now, after living out of a backpack for eleven months, I think it’s safe to say I’ve built some pretty strong minimalist muscles when it comes to my wardrobe, and my lifestyle. But for the sake of time and purpose of this blog, let’s stay focused on personal style.

I don’t remember everything I packed in my backpack, but I do recall the main ingredients. I had a yoga mat, hiking shoes, a pair of Toms, sneakers, and western boots on my feet. My ex-military boyfriend taught me how to pack like a boss, so I rolled up all my favorite yoga leggings, three pairs of jeans, some comfy sweaters, a jacket, two pairs of shorts, some tanks and tees, undergarments, and the personal hygiene essentials. Plus I had to carry my favorite books and journals. I couldn’t leave my entire library behind. Long story short, I had to get real creative with how I dressed for dates and other events that required a little more jazz than a tank with yoga leggings, sneakers, and a denim jacket. At first it was fun. I was a traveling yogi, so the shoe fit. But then I started to miss my old wardrobe and all the blouses, pencil skirts, blazers, wool winter coats, and my twenty pairs of jeans and a pair of shoes for every mood. What was I thinking? Just donating 95% of my wardrobe to my former coworkers, friends and The Salvation Army. Somebody shopped on fleek that day.

Creating A Versatile, Minimalist Wardrobe. 

Even though it wasn’t one of the best decisions I’ve made, it actually gave me the space to practice the art of creating a minimalist, versatile wardrobe, which is my best-selling style program and one of my main offerings of my style services. The first time I read through The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, I LOVED every single page. It was dense, and pragmatic and everything I needed. I learned very quickly that we share similar values. We’re both very clear, and intentional with how we want to dress. We don’t follow fashion rules. But we’re huge advocates of discovering yourself through personal style and having it tell the story of who you are through the clothes, shoes, accessories and pieces that you wear on any given day. We shared the same passion: building a wardrobe that is as functional and as personalized as possible. In fact, it wasn’t until reading this book that I finally had a language for a lot of the things I was already doing and practicing in my own life. I fell in love and recommended it to women everywhere. In my opinion, it’s the best style book on the market. She breaks down every single detail and gives you a simple, thoughtful step-by-step system on exactly how to discover your personal style and build a dream wardrobe. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I’m going to read through her book, and document my journey step-by-step. I’m not saying I’ll follow a straight line from chapter one through twenty-one, but I will read it again and work through it as I feel inspired. Full disclosure: I’ve done many exercises in this book, and have shared them with my clients (because they’re brilliant). But, I think there’s magic in the process of documenting my personal experience step-by-step, and I hope it will add value and create inspiration for everyone who reads this as they go through their own personal style journey. Because the truth is, even though I gave away almost every piece of clothing I ever owned, my personal style has changed so much, because my life has changed so much, and it’s beautiful to be able to rebuild and start fresh with a blank canvas. I mean, I chopped my hair, guys.

KEY PRINCIPLE #2: Be Authentic: Forget conventional style typologies like “classic” or “bohemian” and create your own unique look.

The Curated Closet Philosophy.

Anuscha Rees has written a brilliant book for discovering your personal style, and building your dream wardrobe. As I embark on this journey, it’s important to highlight why I chose to work through her book out of all the personal style books on the market. It all comes down to The Curated Closet Philosophy. In the book, Rees answers: “What Is The Curated Closet?  The Curated Closet is a wardrobe that’s perfectly tailored to your unique personal style and your life. It contains everything you need to feel confident and inspired everyday– no more and no less. It is not based on trends, style typologies, or a cookie-cutter list of “wardrobe essentials.” Your life isn’t cookie-cutter, so why should your wardrobe be?”

5 Key Principles Of The Curated Closet Philosophy.

I deeply believe in these principles and have been practicing them for years without even knowing it. All five of these principles apply to every single tip, technique, and exercise in the book, The Curated Closet. It’s important to outline them here, in the beginning of my personal style discovery journey, so as you follow along you can see how all five principles are woven into everything that I do.

KEY PRINCIPLE #1: Be Selective: Reserve your closet space for items you love 100 percent.

KEY PRINCIPLE #2: Be Authentic: Forget conventional style typologies like “classic” or “bohemian” and create your own unique look.

KEY PRINCIPLE #3: Aim For Quality: Build a wardrobe of high-quality pieces that last more than just a few years.

KEY PRINCIPLE #4: Style Trumps Fashion: Get excited about fashion trends that suit your own style, but ignore all others.

KEY PRINCIPLE #5: Put In The Work: Invest time and though into developing your style and selecting the perfect garments. 

Documenting Your Outfits For 2 Weeks.

Rees recommends starting your personal style journey in your current closet. The very first thing she recommends is documenting your outfits for two weeks. This exercise is something I ask my clients to do in my staple style program, because it’s important to actually see what you’re wearing, how you’re wearing it, and how you feel about what you wear on the day-to-day of your life. You choose a “normal” two week period of work, social events, gym time, and whatever else you’ve got going on and take two weeks of selfies. After that, she asks you to complete a Status Quo Questionnaire with all of your photos from the two weeks in front of you, and evaluate how your current sense of style. Then, after reflecting on your answers, you write down your style goals: what you like about your style and current wardrobe, what aspects of your style and wardrobe need work, and what skills you’re wanting to learn. Next up: collecting style inspiration and laying the groundwork for discovery.

Try This At Home.

Feel free to follow and experiment along with me, and try this at home. I also recommend seizing the moment and starting the new fall season with a fresh reorg of your current closet. To make space for the new, we’ve got to remove the old. Take all the summer items out of your closet and place them in storage. You can use bins to store any items you don’t use like swimwear, summer dresses, skirts and shirts, sandals, etc. I recommend choosing a bottom dresser drawer and storing out of season items there. It’ll be out of your closet, which will make more room for the in-season stuff. And having it in a bottom dresser drawer means it’s close enough that you can switch things up pretty easily without too much transportation.

Wanna update your wardrobe for the fall? Click here to learn more about my seasonal style program, The Fall Wardrobe Refresh, enrolling now!

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Stacy Hamm
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