Wardrobe Emergency: "Nothing ever suits me!"

Wardrobe Emergency: Nothing ever suits me!
Wardrobe Emergency: Nothing ever suits me!

Today's post is going to be a little pep talk about one very specific dilemma I get lots of emails about. I like to call it the "Nothing ever suits me" phase.

The symptoms go something like this: You really want to upgrade your look but nothing you put on ever looks right. Pieces you see online, in stores or on other people look bad or somehow 'off' on you. And even when you come up with an outfit that looks great in your head, when you try to replicate it in real life it just doesn't work. You don't feel confident or well-dressed, just super frustrated. As if clothes weren't made for you.

Fortunately, as miserable as it sounds, the "Nothing ever suits me" phase is just that: a phase that's easy to break through, if you can identify its root cause. Usually the problem is one or both of the following: a) a lack of confidence or b) you simply haven't found your personal style yet.

Root cause 1 // Confidence problems

This is a biggie. What we wear is so closely tied to how we look and, more importantly, how we feel about that, that it can almost be impossible to separate the two. If you are not happy (or at least at peace) with your body or your looks in general, you won't like what you see in the mirror, regardless of how great your outfit is. Your negative body image is preventing you from truly being able to enjoy and live out your personal style.

One thing that tends to go hand in hand with a lack of confidence is this idea that only a small, specific set of colours, styles or cuts will suit you and if only you could accurately identify your exact body shape or colour type, you would immediately look and feel great. Of course, it doesn't quite work that way. Sure, there may be a handful of colours and cuts that you look especially great in and a few others that highlight your perceived "flaws", but the vast majority will look completely fine and neutral. Your body is what it is, and clothes won't magically change that.

The fix

My advice: Forget body shape and other typologies for now and work on building up your overall confidence outside of the whole style/beauty realm. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities to change something for the better, in your life or others'. Set yourself goals and celebrate your successes. Look at what you have already achieved. And realise that, as cliche as it sounds: nobody's perfect. You will be hard-pressed to find a woman that is 100% happy with her body and wouldn't change a single thing should that magic fairy ever come knocking. And that is ok. Your body does not define you and it definitely should not prevent you from wearing what you like and expressing your personal style.

Root cause 2 // You haven't found your style yet

If confidence isn't an issue but you still find it ridiculously hard to put together outfits you truly like, then you haven't found your personal style yet, plain and simple. Fortunately, that's something this blog can help you with :) Step 1: Throw out the notion that developing a strong personal style is something you should be able to accomplish in a weekend. It's not. Stylists spend years perfecting their craft. If it was something that anyone can pick up in a matter of days, people like Grace Coddington and Patricia Field would be out of a job! And even people who aren't professional stylists but dress well, would likely tell you that they spend quite a bit of time thinking about what they wear and have done so for many years, decades even. If you have never been 100% happy with your style, you first need to catch up and put in the work.

The fix

So how can you develop your own personal style? By practicing and digging deep. Start paying attention to what other people are wearing. Look at how they combine items, colours, fabrics and silhouettes, whether they tuck in their shirt, roll up their hems, all the little details that can make or break an outfit. Comb through Pinterest, blogs and online shops to find looks and pieces you could imagine wearing, but don't stop once you have found a couple or even your first 20 outfits. If you have only just started working on your style you are still only scratching the surface. Keep going until a crystal clear pattern emerges and you constantly find yourself repinning the same kinds of looks and elements over and over again. Once you are able to recognize your style on other people and can pin point your exact likes, you then need to practice replicating it on yourself. Hunt down brands and shops that carry the types of clothes that you like. Again, this shouldn't feel too easy now that your standards have changed and you have very specific ideas about your ideal look. Next, practice styling your outfits. And then practice some more.

Check out the INTO MIND workbook or the Define your Personal Style category for lots more advice on how to develop your style.

Do you ever feel like nothing seems to suit you? How do you deal with that and what do you think is the main cause in your case?