There are routine people, and there are fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants people. For most of my life, I have fallen firmly into the second camp. The plus side of being a wing-it kind of person is that you tend to be spontaneous and easygoing.
The downside is that you can be a hot mess.
I was a hot mess for probably the first 30 years of my life, and even today, the hot-messness is something I battle every day. My purse is either pristine or crammed with receipts. There is no middle ground, and nothing is harder than going against our natural inclinations.
That’s why I’ve become so fascinated by the study of habits. Rather than focusing, for example, on being an organized person, or a fit person, I can instead focus on small, consistent, daily tasks that help me reach my goals without overwhelm.
Since my focus is style, and since I wanted style to be second nature for myself and my clients, I started focusing on the habits that yield consistent, convenient style. These are habits that take the guesswork, the angst, and the daily drama out of getting dressed so that we can show up in a confident way and get on with our lives.
So here, 8 habits that will improve your style.
I speak about this often, and this may be the single most important style habit. Planning your outfits, whether you put your clothes out the night before or plan them for an entire week, makes mornings easier and lets you leave the house looking your best. Planning outfits also means that you will wear more of your wardrobe, rather than falling back on the same 5 items all the time.
Feeling well-groomed, polished, and pretty comes down to daily habits, from caring for your skin, hair, and nails to applying a little makeup before heading out the door. Keeping beauty kits everywhere you hang out, from the car to the couch, can make it easier and more convenient to squeeze mini beauty rituals into everyday life. Pluck your brows while waiting for the kids, for example, or do your nails on family movie night.
Nothing has been more of a game-changer for my clients, and myself, than the habit of taking a daily selfie. There’s a degree of objectivity that comes with looking at your outfit in a picture rather than a mirror, and you’re also keeping a visual record of what you wore and how it looked. Do this for a couple of weeks, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about what you actually wear, and how you look in your favorite outfits.
Nobody loves laundry, but since we have to wash our clothes anyway, it makes sense to take the next step to ensure that they are ready to wear before they go in the closet. Keep a steamer (or an iron, if needed) in your laundry room, and make it a habit to steam, iron, or otherwise care for your clothes when you are cleaning them before your put them away. Everything in your closet should be ready to wear.
This is more of a practice than a habit, but, whether you’re looking at your outfits in the daily selfie that you took in step 3, or checking them out in the mirror, go for a look that is slightly relaxed and not completely pulled together. A buttoned-up, highly polished look can actually be aging. Whatever you wear, whether it’s a suit or an evening gown or jeans, aiming for an effortless, relaxed look keeps the outfit fresh and youthful.
Betsey Johnson once famously said that women don’t dress for men. They dress for other women. I believe, instead, that we should dress for ourselves. Period. Your personal style is, well, personal, and you’re not going to have the confidence and joie de vivre that comes with feeling your best in your clothes if your choices are based on someone else’s preferences. Dress for yourself, and your confidence will be the most attractive part of your outfit.
While I have often stated that comfortable is not a style personality, it is a requirement. Nothing makes us look more ill at ease or out of sorts than an outfit that is ill-fitting, badly made, or otherwise uncomfortable. If you can’t tolerate stilettos, for example, don’t wear stilettos. You will look much more stylish and exude confidence, in a different (but still flattering!) style.
I get that survivalist types like to plan for the apocalypse or the next hurricane or whatever, but I’m willing to bet that very few of these people put the same type of energy into their emergency outfit, and let’s face it, it’s far more useful in day-to-day life. Have a go-to outfit (or outfit formula) ready for those days when you need to throw something on and still look chic and confident. Make sure that outfit is always ready to wear so you’re ready for anything. My current fall emergency outfit formula is a cami, jeans, and a blazer. It makes me feel ready for whatever the day brings.
Which of these habits will you try to incorporate into your daily routine? And what are your current style habits? Let me know in the comments!