I’m seeing another trend lately with my clients and people I’ve spoken with inside my VIP email community. It’s something you might be experiencing, too, so it’s time to talk about it on the podcast…
And the question is: what to do when your personal and professional styles don’t match.
I’ve had multiple people reach out to me recently with complaints about their wardrobes feeling disconnected or misaligned from one area of their lives to another. They either feel like they have two completely separate wardrobes: one for their personal lives and one for work. Or they’re not sure how to express their style in all the different activities on their calendars.
If you feel like your closet has multiple personalities and you desperately want to bring it all together into a cohesive and versatile wardrobe, this episode is for you.
I’m going to give you 5 steps to find clarity about what your ideal style actually is and how to infuse your personal style into everything you do. Let’s simplify the process of getting dressed, my friend. Here we go…
Step 1: What IS your style?
Do you have a clear vision for your wardrobe? I always recommend starting with this step: dialing-in your signature style. Once you’ve pinpointed the style combination that aligns best with your personality, preferences, goals, and lifestyle, you’ll be able to make empowered decisions about everything else that goes into your wardrobe.
If you haven’t already done so, start by taking my FREE 5-Minute Personal Style Quiz. This is going to give you all the clarity you need to figure out how you want to be seen and known through your style.
Step 2: Reconfigure your top 3 style types
After completing my free Personal Style Quiz, you’ll receive your top 3 style type results. And how you come up with your signature style is in the unique way you blend these results to make them your own.
You can also reconfigure them based on the different tasks you have from week to week. For example, my personal style is a mixture of Natural, Feminine, and Dramatic elements. When I’m at home with my family, my outfits usually lean harder into the Natural side of things. But when it’s time for date night, I dial up my Feminine and Dramatic sides. For an outing with my friends, I love to focus on Feminine details. I’m sure you get the idea.
While your core signature style won’t change from one activity to the next, the way you want to show up to various places and functions might shift slightly. There’s a difference between knowing your style and how you apply it to the various facets of your life. It’s important to consider both.
Step 3: Look at your calendar
What are your typical wardrobe needs on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis? Take a look at your calendar for the next couple of months. Write out a list of your activities and what you would ideally wear for each one.
Where are you struggling to incorporate your style? Do you have a hard time reflecting the Creative or Alluring side of your style in your work wardrobe? Maybe it’s a struggle to feel Elegant when you and your family go hiking or camping in the summer. What are the key areas in your life that feel hard to align with your style?
Step 4: Create and compare your Pinterest style mood boards
Your next step is to create a Pinterest style mood board. I’d love for you to have just one style mood board that reflects all the different areas of your life. But if this feels like an impossible task, then create 2 separate mood boards: one for your personal life + one for your professional life (or whatever the key problem area of your life is). Do a search based on your signature style and pin all the outfits you love to your new style mood board(s).
Then, it’s time to evaluate them. What are the similarities? There might be more commonalities than you realize.
One of the clients inside my Wardrobe Refresh Program was concerned recently that the styles she liked for her professional and personal lives were disconnected. She felt like she had two separate wardrobes to manage. But in taking a look at her style mood boards for each, I helped her see that both were very reflective of her Classic, Elegant, and Natural signature style. One simply had more blazers and trousers while the other had leggings and sneakers. Both were full of basic staples, like t-shirts and timeless sweaters, neutral colors, and minimalistic outfits. There was way more cohesion than she realized!
That said, it is important to acknowledge the differences. Take a bird’s eye view of your style mood board(s). When you can pinpoint the discrepancies, you can start coming up with solutions.
To start problem solving, ask yourself whether your style types are represented in all areas of your life? If not, where do you need to adjust? How would you like your key problem area to be different?
Step 5: Think outside the box
This leads us to step 5, which is to get creative about how you infuse your signature style into all the areas of your life.
If you have to wear a uniform to work or if you feel like you need to look more polished, how can you still infuse aspects of your signature style into that? Maybe it’s the way you do your makeup or style your hair. Maybe you can use accessories or pile on more of one style element.
Part of this is taking the time to really get to know what your style is. What fabrics do you love? Which colors do you prefer? What are your style values and how do you want to feel when you get dressed? You need to know your style intimately in order to express it fully and consistently.
(Optional) Create a small capsule wardrobe for the key problem area
If you’ve worked through ALL of these steps and you really cannot figure out how to blend your wardrobe together in a cohesive way, you might need to opt for plan B. Create a small capsule wardrobe for the key problem area. Build a well-curated wardrobe exclusively for work. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and it can be a lifesaver!
I’d love for your wardrobe to flow seamlessly from one area of your life to the next. But there ARE circumstances, when this isn’t a practical reality. If you can’t see a clear way to tie it all together, decide whether it would actually save you time, stress, and headaches to just build out a small wardrobe for the specific area of your life you’re struggling to dress for.
Invest in a small collection of items that you can easily mix and match to make multiple outfits with and then stick to that for your work wardrobe or whatever area it might be. Generally, work is where we struggle the most. But it could be something else. You might have a mini capsule for your workout clothes or for lounging at home. There are usually going to be some pieces that you only use for one purpose or activity in your life. That’s okay! Not everything can be multi-purpose. Don’t make this harder on yourself than it needs to be.
If you’d like to explore the idea of creating a small capsule wardrobe for one area of your wardrobe, go back to HER Style Podcast episode #23: Capsule Wardrobes 101 and Why You Might Already Have One.
There are some great tips in that episode about what a capsule wardrobe is and isn’t. I dispel a lot of misconceptions and empower you to make your capsule your own, in a way that works for you!
So there you go!
Your 5 steps again are to:
- Define your style
- Reconfigure your top 3 style types
- Look at your calendar
- Create and compare your Pinterest style mood boards
- Think outside the box
And, if all else fails, your perfect solution might be to build a small, separate capsule wardrobe for work or whatever area of your life is feeling difficult to incorporate.
If you’d like personalized support with this from yours truly, let’s connect and talk about how I can help. Whether you join other women like you inside my Wardrobe Refresh Program or prefer a more done-for-you solution of working together privately, there are so many ways to curate a closet you LOVE. Click here to learn more.
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