Discovering you’re in a style, makeup/hair or color rut often happens by accident. Over time you gravitate toward, and then repeated the same colors or styles over and over again until one day it hits you or, as happened to a client of mine, she found out her children’s friends called her the ‘Purple lady’. Many women by the time they reach their forties have gone through numerous and varied stages of trial and error discovering what works best for their body type, personal style and fashion preferences. From then on nothing much changes. The danger is that being on the ‘right track’ can eventually turn into a style rut, that once they are entrenched in it can be very difficult to realize and/or escape. Now don’t think a style rut only happens after 40 – it can happen at any age, and is quite of often caused by a singular mindset. There are many reasons why one can be trapped in a thought pattern or trapped in a state of making style choice automatically. Whether it’s life changes, busy schedules or simply the lack of time or will to pay attention to one’s own style, a style rut is something that can be broken. I believe there are several types of style ruts:
- The Time Warp: your entire closet seems to be stuck in another fashion decade.
- The Peter Pan: your wardrobe is filled with the same style of clothes you wore 15 – 20 years ago clothes when you looked hip! Sure some things may be back in fashion but they will never be styled in exactly the same way. I say…’if you were young enough to wear it first time round – chances are you’re too old the second time‘.
- The Too Busy/Too Lazy to Think: every item is your closet is almost the same as the next and its been exactly the same for years. Sure it’s easy to get dressed in the morning but your wardrobe contains no more thrill to wear than flannelette pajamas.
Enlightenment often comes only after a particular comment or event has ‘shaken our tree’, and challenged the perception we have of who we are and how we are seen by others. Fashion and personal style is a huge part of one’s own image, and you may find that when your style is given an upgrade, your disposition follows and your confidence soars.
Change is Good
Life is ever changing:
- Fashion changes.
- Our body-shape changes.
- Our coloring changes.
- Globally thoughts on any number of subjects change.
- Our lifestyle changes.
- Our personal style expression can change.
- Our expectations and desires change.
- Our circumstances change.
Your style should match the changes that you go through in life, and it should reflect how you’ve come through all these challenges and how you’ve succeeded in them. Style is a great way to express that.
Unsure if you’re in a rut? Here are some symptoms:
- You’re uninspired as you look through your own closet
- You or others use words like boring, staid, dowdy, unyielding, inflexible, strange, weird, ordinary, uninspired or dull when describing your look/wardrobe.
- When shopping for something new you realize you have 4 or more similar pieces just like it in your existing wardrobe
- Your wardrobe looks like something from a retro party or Throwback Thursday
- Other people give you a nickname for your repeating signature look i.e. The Purple Lady
- You rarely consider wearing different styles or colors. Black is a no-brainer color, but sometimes you gotta step away from the all black attire
- You don’t bother looking in the mirror because your clothes and total look are the same as every other day of the year, so you know exactly what you look like.
- You don’t shop – you restock.
- You are dressing by someone else’s rules (and sometimes these people aren’t even around anymore).
- You can’t remember the last time you did anything different with your hair, makeup or clothes.
- You stop wearing a garment only when it’s completely unwearable.
Once a rut is identified it’s common to make excuses for why/how it happened.
- ’I don’t have time to shop’
- ’Nothing works at my age’
- ’I’m too fat/busy/old etc’
- ’Nobody cares how I look’
- ’I don’t have money to shop’
- ’I don’t want to appear vain’
- ’I couldn’t care less what people think’
Although I’ve heard all these comments, I have yet to meet a woman who deep down does not wish to look attractive. Most of us have discovered that when we look good, we feel good, and when we look good we get noticed in a positive way and treated better (not fair, but true). All it takes is the will, courage, and commitment to take action and make the change. At this point you may realize you want to change but have no idea of where to start. Overhauling your closet and lifestyle and doing a style makeover might seem overwhelming, but there are simple ways to navigate it through the change.
Changing or updating oneself takes a bit of time and courage. Training your eye to be on the lookout for small, inexpensive and easy changes is possible. Sometimes it’s a matter of adding a new accessory or a different combination of existing wardrobe pieces. Look and analyze how someone has put themselves together. Then see how you can use or apply that to yourself.
Hi Pamela, I could not agree more – these are just some of the things I’ll discuss in part 2.
It is so very easy to slip into the “rut”, however when people comment on a special colour or style, it makes changing all that much easier and gives us so much more confidence.
I try to avoid the whole ‘rut’ issue by picking up a piece or two in a current colour to add in to my mix – I can’t stray too far from particular styles I find as I’m a short apple in her forties. I find a fun current colour injection whether it’s jewellery, a handbag or a cheap and cheerful top seems to do the trick for me.