How to Get Over a Style Rut

How to Get Over a Style Rut

Fashion at its best will always be playful, inventive and fun. Throwing together an outfit from scratch that makes you feel and look cool can serve as an escape, a creative outlet, and it can even boost your confidence. So when the dreaded morning comes and you find yourself staring at a closet full of clothes you thought you loved just a few weeks ago and you feel nothing – no joy, no inspiration and certainly no confidence boost – it can really suck.
Unfortunately style ruts happen to everyone. Some ruts mean you’re sick of your clothes and can be solved with a simple trip to the mall to pick up something new. Others mean full on fashion existential panic: “Why does nothing in my closet look or feel right? Do I even have style? Why can’t I tell anymore? Who even am I?”
But whether you’re just bored or fully spiraling, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to push yourself through the rut without too much damage to your wallet or ego. A few years back I read a book called “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. It’s about how to get creative inspiration from what other people are doing, and it totally changed how I look at creative endeavors. I’ve found that one of the best ways to get back in the groove of your own style is to mimic outfits that you love on others. This could be anyone from the characters on the show you’re watching to people you see on the street, but some of my favorite people to look to for inspiration are musicians. Artists tend to be some of the most fashion-forward people there are since they spend their careers doing what other people haven’t. Just take a scroll down Rihanna’s Instagram feed and you’re bound to find a look that grabs you.
I know that lots of people would be hesitant to do this since they want their style to be theirs, but don’t feel like it has to be a piece-for-piece, “I saw Cady Heron in army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops,” kind of recreation. Just take note of what you love about their outfit – color palette, textures, fabrics, neckline, whatevs – and either look for something you own that’s similar or hit up your favorite store and start hunting. If you decide to take the second option, try starting the search at your nearest and dearest thrift store; another place ripe with inspiration. If you’ve ever been shopping and seen a piece that was like, “Hi, hello. I have a story to tell. Please buy me and wear me to death,” get ready for that feeling multiplied by 25 at the thrift store.
Because you could thrift ten things for the price of one item from a regular store, you don’t have to feel too guilty if the inspiration you got from the distressed flannel or the dad-style Hawaiian shirt you chose fades after a few uses. Typically by that time you’ll already have your fashion mojo back and you’ll be good to go.
My last and perhaps most drastic tip is to alter the clothes you do have: cut holes where there weren’t holes before, sew on a patch, maybe even experiment with bleach or dye (be careful!!). Maybe you’ll create something that becomes your new favorite item, or maybe you’ll totally ruin a perfectly good shirt. Either way, trying to make something with your own hands is a fail-proof way to get the creative juices flowing. By the time you’re done, I can almost guarantee you won’t even remember you were in a rut.  

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