Finding Inspiration and Getting Clear on What You Like and Need
Our 30 Day Style Challenge was really popular, and a ton of work. I had to figure out a way to simplify it in the New Year so I could keep it going and not be so overwhelmed with the administrative side of things. For those of you not familiar, I started off my entrepreneurial career as a personal stylist and owned Kristel Closets, for over a decade. At our peak, we had three offices on the east coast and a team of stylist covering New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia/Delaware and the DC Metro Area. We’ve worked with thousands of women, helping them navigate the overwhelming world of style and retail to build a wardrobe they loved. I no longer work with clients, but instead, take everything I learned over the years and share it in our style posts.
The Style Challenge was designed to walk you through the process of sorting, organizing and rebuilding your wardrobe, like we used to do with clients. Except this is free, I don’t come to your house, and neither of us needs to put on real pants if we don’t want to.
Over the next four weeks I am sharing each step with you. You can follow along at your own pace and reference the post as needed. You can still do the challenge with friends. We’ll still have conversations and I’ll answer questions, but instead of receiving separate emails and using our Facebook group, we are going to keep the process on this site. If you’ve been part of the challenge before, use this as a refresher, if you’re new, welcome!
The Style Challenge, now called 4 Weeks to A Better Wardrobe, is designed for any woman who wants to get a handle of her closet and fill it with clothes that make her feel confident and pulled together.
This is all of us, right?
Here’s how it works:
Every Tuesday for the next four weeks (starting today) we will share a series of challenges to help you build a better wardrobe. Take your time with each challenge. It’s great if you can get them done in a week’s time, so you keep momentum, but if you can’t don’t worry. Just be sure to finish each challenge, in order, before you move to the next.
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and insight and to chat back and forth with each other – and ask all the questions. Engagement is key to making this as valuable as possible.
Let’s get started.
Pull Inspiration Pictures
Before we met with a new client, we sent them pre-work. It was designed to help the process move smoothly and efficiently. I was always aware of the investment our private clients made when they chose to work with us, so this was a way to make sure we got on the same page as quickly as possible. Part of this pre-work was to pull inspiration pictures. I realized early on that we had first to establish the client’s likes before we could dive into an edit. In the early years of Kristel Closets, I would arrive at an initial appointment, which always took place in our client’s closet, and she would have trouble describing her style. It didn’t take long for me to realize that having a visual helps you to see the common elements in styles you like even if you don’t have a trained eye.
Many of you are looking to streamline and simplify your wardrobe. Without a clear understanding of your style, it will be a challenge to edit your wardrobe. By organizing inspiration pictures, we’re able to create a filter that will help you purge your closet and shop better.
We recommend Pinterest to help organize these images, especially for this challenge. It’s a great place to search and share ideas. Past participants have set up a board just for outfit inspiration. Feel free to share your boards in the comment section below. It’s fun to see everyone’s boards and sharing gives inspiration to others.
If you’re not on Pinterest, no worries. You can use magazines or catalogs. I like InStyle and Oprah magazine for this exercise. You’ll need them for next week’s challenge. Pour yourself a glass of wine or have a cup of tea and pull as many pictures as you like but have at least 20. For now, do not think about your body type, budget, or whether it’s appropriate for your life. You are just getting a sense of what you like. To get you started, take a peek at my personal style board.
Tip!: If you love books as much as I do, you might enjoy InStyle: The New Secrets of Style. It’s my favorite reference book that gives real-life examples of an array of styles and clearly explains the nuances to each look. Keep it in your closet for when you need some inspiration.
Define your Lifestyle
Our lives are constantly evolving, but our wardrobes tend to stay the same. If you have changed jobs, got married or divorced, had a baby, had another baby, left the workforce or are just getting back into it, this exercise will help you get clear on your needs. To get a visual of how and where you spend your time, create a Lifestyle Diagram. It’s easy; just draw a circle on a piece of paper to use as a pie chart. Now, break down your life according to percentages totaling 100%. Include work, activities, travel, date nights, anything you spend time doing. It’s important to see how you are spending your time. What you might find is that you’re buying a lot for work, but have nothing to wear to your kid’s soccer game. When I first did this exercise, it was evident I didn’t have enough options for social outings and date nights.
Tip!: We have had some participants take this very seriously! They went so far as to create an Excel spreadsheet and pie chart to capture their percentages. Do what works for you!
Complete both of these challenges before next Tuesday’s post.
I’m looking forward to connecting with all of you and walking through this process together! Remember, every post for the next three Tuesdays will feature a new challenge(s). Keeping the conversation going on this site will be a little easier for me to manage, and give us all a fewer emails in our inbox.
P.S. As we go through the process we’ll be updating our Wear to Work, Shoe, and Denim Closets with recommendations based off of your questions and needs, and are working on setting up a Basics and Weekend Closet, so be sure to check them out periodically.