I have challenged myself to come up with a new outfit on every blog post for the past five years. There are certainly times when my creativity flounders. It seems that I’ve tried every possible combination or, if I haven’t, only the really boring outfits remain. I’ve got a few tricks to break through my style block. Perhaps one will work for you, too.
1. Start with an item from outside your consideration set
If you’re dressing for work, grab something from your weekend wear pile, like your favorite casual striped cardigan. Or, rummage through your evening wear. A sequined jacket will certainly spark up your business wear.
For dinner with friends, raid your workwear closet for a tailored blazer, roll the sleeves, and don it over jeans and a tee.
I also like to think outside the season. In February, you can get away with a sheer chiffon tank if you layer it over a turtleneck and jeans. (Note: this trick doesn’t play so well in the summer…it’s hard to make mittens work in July.)
Just introducing one discontinuous item into your dressing process can fire up your creativity.
Sequin jackets at work and sheer summer layers in winter expand your wardrobe options
2. Force yourself to wear something you haven’t worn lately/much
I own a red, silk, gold-embroidered, floor-length Thai skirt. Although it's fabulous, I wasn't sure how to style it and gave up after a few attempts. I went an entire year without wearing it. In fact, I stopped seeing it when I rifled through my closet. In early 2011, desperate for something new, I “found” it again. I put it back in rotation and it’s given my wardrobe new life.
Deliberately choosing a neglected item can be like getting something new. Once you’ve got the “new” piece in hand, choosing the rest of the outfit components gets a little easier.
I was only too excited to wear my "new" skirt after rescuing it from the depths of my closet
3. Refer to your inspiration folder
An inspiration folder can take many forms. It can be a collection of digital images on your computer (or Pinterest), a scrapbook of magazine cutouts, a notebook filled with outfit ideas. The first step is to record your inspirations. Then, when you’re style blocked, browse through your folder until you find something that inspires you.
My inspiration folder is a combination of magazine images and outfit ideas. I have it divided up into Fall/Winter Business, Fall/Winter Casual, Spring/Summer Business, and Spring/Summer Casual. When I’m stuck, I flip to the appropriate tab and feel creative again.
What’s your trick to working through a style block?