We’ve all encountered it. You open your closet and nothing seems right, so you simply put on a variation of your usual basic outfit. You’ve just run into the dreaded style rut. What is to be done?
You could buy loads of new things, but that’s not a realistic solution for most of us. It certainly isn’t for me. When I need to work with what I have, but what I have bores me, I like to attack the problem from a different angle.
Some of these strategies, therefore, may seem more indirect than the usual methods. However, a style rut is often a variant of a creative rut. In both cases, you might have fallen out of touch with your intuition and disconnected from your playfulness. Tapping back into these things will help you break out. With that, here are 5 methods I’ve personally tried and tested.
Holding on to makeup you don’t use? Create makeup art – literally.
Grab a sketch pad and start drawing anything that strikes your fancy. It doesn’t matter if you think you can draw or not; this is just a way to shift your gears. I prefer to do this with waxy products like lipsticks and pencil eyeliners, or liquid liners which make for decent ink pen substitutes. But damp brushes with eyeshadows can work if you use paper that’s suitable for watercolors.
Got any spare glass bottles lying around? Try decorating them with nail polishes you’ve fallen out of love with (notes: always do this in a well-ventilated space, and never put the bottles in a dishwasher afterward).
Bonus: If you’re a parent, this can be a wonderful way to bond with your children.
Try some fashion illustration.
I used to do this digitally, and it taught me a lot about what I like and dislike. As before, it doesn’t matter if you think you can draw or not. This tip can be a good way to observe recurring patterns in your personal tastes. And who knows? You may just unearth a hidden talent.
Bonus: Can be used in conjunction with the previous method.
Think of what you enjoyed style-wise when you were younger. Find a way to incorporate it into your current lifestyle.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be on full display. If you liked, say, neon colors, and you currently work a 9-5 job with a strict dress code, I won’t tell you to wear MAC Candy Yum-Yum. But perhaps you could look for some inexpensive neon underwear. If that’s not your bag, perhaps a desktop or phone background change is all you need to revitalize your personal style vision. The point is to have a little fun on the daily.
Bonus: If you do find a way to flaunt it openly, it could be a conversation piece. If you choose to go the undercover route, having a little secret could give you a bit of a thrill.
Take a class involving physical activity.
I don’t know about you, but I find that eliminating my aesthetic influences and discouraging my vanity by getting down to the bare essentials – tank tops, sports bras, and yoga pants – refreshes my creativity and confidence overall. Not to mention, all that sweat can bring me a new appreciation for the times I can doll myself up without worrying about it.
Bonus: Depending on what you choose, it might bring you some new visual inspirations.
Meet someone new.
Does this have to be a date? No, not if you don’t want it to be. But when you meet people who make you feel excited to be alive, whether on a platonic level or another level, it’s enough to give you a boost not just style-wise, but overall.
Bonus: Socializing can give you more of an opportunity to wear the things you love.